By Rick Sallinger

DENVER (CBS4) – Under an open records and criminal justice records request the Denver Department of Safety released video to CBS4 of police body camera video from the initial violent protest this past spring. With chants of “George Floyd, George Floyd,” protesters stood on the south side of the Colorado state capitol.

(credit: Denver)

Through a fisheye camera lens, police recorded the anger they faced through their body worn cameras.

One protester shouted, “We got to watch people get murdered on camera everyday, everyday.”

For about eight hours on the evening of May 28 and into the next day, protesters and police faced off.

CBS4 requested body camera video from that night to examine claims that police fired
their less lethal weapons only when under assault. The video sent by the Department of Safety
included two video clips with audio 12 to 15 minutes in length.

The video was recorded around 3 a.m. In the video there is a police action to force the crowd to leave. No order to disperse is heard before people are seen running and the sound of less lethal weapons being fired can be heard.

(credit: Denver)

As most in the crowd run, a dispersant is used by police on the south steps. Someone
is seen in the video throwing it back. The Denver Independent Monitor recommended dispersal orders in protests be recorded.

Police can be heard on the body camera audio communicating they were being pelted with objects.

“I got hit by a glass bottle. I didn’t know if you heard me on the radio,” an unidentified officer says.

One protester could be seen expressing his distaste for what police in Minneapolis did during the arrest of George Floyd. He said it was not a matter of race.

“I don’t care if it was a white man, Asians, I’ve seen dogs get more love.”

Multiple protesters were injured on this first night. So, too, were numerous police officers. On
the body camera video one officer can be heard saying, “We’re taking rocks, we’re taking rocks, large hazard.”

(credit: Denver)

What you don’t see is what wasn’t recorded. Police said in many cases body cameras wouldn’t stay attached. Among the recommendations made by the Independent Monitor are to make sure the cameras are workable, also to ban the use of rubber grenade balls, record clearly-given dispersal orders, more training for those who use less lethal weapons and better coordination with departments providing mutual aid to Denver Police.

Earlier in December when the Independent Monitor Nick Mitchell issued his report Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen responded, “We agree with the 16 recommendations and we are going to work hard to improve and adhere to the monitor’s report.”

A statement on the Denver Police website goes into detail on the recommendations and to the
report.

LINKS: Denver Office of the Independent Monitor | Denver Police Department

Rick Sallinger