February 17, 2015
Statement of the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado
“The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado applauds Denver Police Chief Robert White and the officers in command during last Saturday’s protest for keeping the peace and not intervening in a way that might have caused the situation to escalate or become violent after two individuals illegally vandalized a police memorial.
“The ACLU of Colorado does not condone vandalism. We advocate for peaceful forms of demonstration that do not break the law. By all accounts, the vast majority of the protesters present at the demonstration exercised their free speech rights peacefully. When two individuals did break the law, rather than jeopardize the safety of the officers on duty and the crowd of law-abiding protesters, police did not intervene and waited until after the demonstration to make an arrest.
“In April 2012, the ACLU of Colorado wrote to Chief White to request a review of department policies and procedures relating to use of force and crowd management after an attempt by police to take down a tent during an Occupy Denver demonstration provoked an unnecessary violent confrontation, resulting in the use of pepper ball guns and batons against law-abiding demonstrators.
“In this instance, we commend Chief White and the commanding officers for exercising restraint and not escalating the situation. A public show of aggression by police at that moment would not only have risked the safety of all who were present, it would have further denigrated the already damaged trust between the public and law enforcement.”
April 2012 Letter from ACLU of Colorado to Chief White: http://static.aclu-co.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/OIM.Rich_.4.12.2012.complaint.Website.pdf
Know Your Rights for Protests and Demonstrations: http://static.aclu-co.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Protests.pdf