Denver Police Protests: Eleven Arrests, Pepper Spray, "Dead Cop" Sign

Update below: How to describe a rally against alleged police brutality and misbehavior in Baltimore and beyond that was staged yesterday evening at the Denver jail and Civic Center Park, followed by a march on the 16th Street Mall?

Depends on who's doing the describing.

The Denver Police Department is touting its professionalism in the face of a violent invective, including a sign that reportedly announced, "The Only Good Cop Is a Dead Cop."

In contrast, protesters claim abusive actions on the part of law enforcement that disrupted what would otherwise have been a peaceful protest.

What's undeniable are the number of people taken into custody amid the demonstration: a total of eleven arrests.

The first DPD tweet about the demonstration went out at about 6:15 p.m.:

Subsequent police tweets acknowledged the first of the arrests, as well as the use of pepper spray.

There were also selective DPD retweets about officers' restraint from media members such as Fox31's Mark Meredith.... well as the station's Angel Andres....

...and Daryl Orr:

There was also this DPD retweet, presumably intended to provide a flavor of the language being used by protesters:

The assorted actions were summed up like so:

Protesters and their supporters tell a different tale.

This video, posted by YouTube user Jonathan Cunningham, is summarized like so: "Dixon chokes a woman and headbutts me."

Also jarring is a clip shared by Rumble On, which uses the Twitter handle @activedenver:

Another account about the protest was posted on the Occupy Denver Facebook page. It reads:
friends, there is a lot to say about tonight's brutality from the Denver Police Department. we were pepper sprayed en masse, violently hit and shoved around, almost run over by cop motorcycles, while some of my dearest comrades and friends were violently tackled and bloodied and kidnapped by DPD. 11 arrests tonight, some facing serious felony charges. we need to get everyone out of jail as soon as possible and support them and to do that, we need to raise money for bail.

even skipping one cup of coffee to donate $5 helps tremendously and means the world. please consider donating what you can.

This narrative is followed by a link to the Denver Anarchist Black Cross Fundly page. At this writing, donations have topped $1,900 toward a $2,000 goal.

There's a wide gulf between these disparate versions of what went down in Denver last night. But no matter whether demonstrators or police deserve the lion's share of the blame for the escalating situation, one thing's clear: Tensions between law enforcement and a significant portion of the citizenry continue to rise.

Update: Since the publication of this post, we've received another video from the scene, this one showing protesters staggering away from police shouting "Pepper spray!" See it below, followed by another participant video and a 7News wrap-up.

Baltimore Protest in Denver from Voice Media Group on Vimeo.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts