On Saturday, at age six months and one day, Occupy Denver rallied downtown to protest police brutality. More than 100 people gathered with signs and chants for one in a handful of protests dedicated to the topic in the past week. Although relationships between Occupy Denver and the Denver Police Department have gradually soured during the movement's history, the march focused outward on high-profile cases such as Alexander Landau and victims of the Denver Diner incident.
At 11 a.m., the group began the day with a teach-in devoted to nonviolent protest tactics. Early fliers for the event urged peaceful interactions, which the group maintained throughout the event. Materials distributed during the rally warned against the police, calling the force a "terrorist group at large." Photos of Alexander Landau's bloody face taken immediately after he was beaten in 2009 featured heavily in the message.
Although Sharpies made their way through the congregation so that protesters could write a legal hotline number on their bodies to prepare for arrest, no one was taken into custody. Starting and ending at Lincoln Park, Occupy Denver's temporary home, the march lasted an hour and a half as protesters trailed through downtown with flags, peace signs and banners protesting brutality. Chants of "No justice, no peace, fuck the police," trailed behind them.
During speeches commemorating the occasion, protesters name-checked Landau, the Denver Diner victims and the DPD members involved in those incidents, noting that one of them, Officer Ricky Nixon, was part of both. "Incidents like these are the reason why we work toward change," protester Patrick Boyle told the crowd, accompanied by police on horses, motorcycles, and bicycles as well as in cars. "The city paid millions of dollars last year to settle police brutality cases, but they should never have happened in the first place. This kind of police culture cannot continue."
The next day, several hundred Coloradans met in City Park for another call to action, albeit impromptu. Dedicated to Trayvon Martin, an African-American teen shot to death in Florida on February 26, the meeting gathered steam on Facebook with little advance planning.
At 4 p.m. today, the Colorado Progression will host a march against police brutality, both to support Martin and continue to raise awareness in its efforts to persuade the Department of Justice to investigate the Denver Police Department. Landau will attend the event, as will family members of Michael DeHerrera, also hospitalized after an encounter with local police.
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