Columbus Day Protest Arrests

DENVER: 10/6/07 Riot-clad Denver police officers moved quickly and violently against non-violent protestors this morning in downtown Denver. Over fifty people sat down in the street to protest the Columbus Day parade. Unlike past years when officers and protestors cooperated during the arrests, officers moved in quickly and used violence against the protestors. Many ofthose arrested were led away by two officers, both using pain compliance holds on the detained person. Those arrested were clearly in pain as they were pushed, pulled and dragged to two Denver Sheriff's Department buses. The use of force by police, particularly the extended periods those detained endured pain compliance holds, constitutes a significant human rights violation. CopWatch observers report that the sit in protestors did not use violence. At least a dozen other arrests were reported as well. After the initial arrest several other protestors ran into the street to block the parade, these individuals were also forcibly arrested. Several of those arrestedwere not participating in the sit-in. At least one arrest by Denver Sheriff's deputies did not appear to have any reason at all.Although police routinely have worn riot gear during the annual protest, this year CopWatch observed a clear escalation in the show of force by police. Riot sticks were being brandished by officers rather than remainingin their belts. Denver Sheriffs actually had an officer armed with a shotgun facing protestors. Denver CopWatch believes that an excessive amount of force was used in detaining and arresting the protestors.

Although the sit-in was blocking acity street, those participating in the sit-in did not use violence. The organized nature of the arrests suggests that the use of force was plannedand approved in advance by the command staff of the Denver Police Department. Chief Whitman was on scene during the arrests. The actions by the Denver Police and the Sheriff's Department was a serious and unnecessary escalation in the use of force. Today's police action was a clear departure from the tactics they have used in previous years which quickly and peaceably removed protestors. The new tactics resulted in the spectacle of people crying out in pain with tears on their cheeks while their hands and arms were being bent backwards by Denver Police Officers. Denver CopWatch will be issuing pictures and video clips of today's violent events in the coming days.

-Article from http://angryindian.blogspot.com/2007/10/censored-denver-columbus-day-protesters.html

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