Occupy Denver is recharging quickly after its most violent interaction with police to date. The fourth incarnation of the Thunderdome, the group's kitchen tent, popped up even before the police left, and last night marked a peace vigil to refocus the gathering after a less than peaceful Saturday. But the occupation's detractors are returning quickly as well. Last night, two occupiers were assaulted during an interview with Fox31.
The circumstances are strange. The irony of their occurrence immediately after a peace vigil could not be escaped, and neither could two strangers -- a man and his girlfriend in their mid twenties, who antagonized occupiers Tanner Spendley and Caryn Sodaro around 7 p.m. last night. The couple insulted the occupation and complained the group was taking the park and the street away from other citizens before growing physical and attacking the two protesters.
Occupy Denver's official website offers the following e-mail report from Spendley, who is filing a police report about the incident. Note that this account, and one that follows, refers to Fox31 as Fox News, even though the crew was local and not a part of the national cable network.
At about 7 p.m. tonight two provacatoures [sic] assaulted caryn sodaro with security and tanner spendley during a fox news interview. While attempting to take her [the assailant's] picture she grabbed my phone, at which point her boyfriend assaulted me. He was quickly removed peacefully at which point they ran off along with the fox reporter. We believe this was an intentional act to paint us as violent.
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The woman also slapped Sodaro, who reacted by wrapping her arms around the stranger to prevent injury. The result, which appears as though Sodaro is on top of the woman, was caught on camera.
In recent weeks, the group has occasionally faced problems with agent provocateurs who have been seeking to damage its public image -- an issue that resulted in one group member being suspended from group activities. Last night's assault is seen as similar by the author of the following post from Occupy Denver's Facebook account:
A sad story from the vigil tonight: At about 7 p.m., two provocateurs assaulted someone during a Fox News interview. The assaulter was removed by occupation security at which time they "ran off along with the Fox News reporter." This appears to have been an intentional act for the purpose of making us look violent through the mainstream media.
More from our Occupy Denver archive: "Occupy Denver: Biggest riot squad presence to date, pepper bullets, multiple arrests (PHOTOS)."