Statement on Occupy Denver’s Meeting with Chief White

December 19, 2011 in Press

The group of 10 representatives nominated and voted on by Occupy Denver’s General Assembly met with Chief White today for 45 minutes. It went as many expected. Chief White stated that the decision to forcibly evict the Occupation had already been made. Offers by Occupy Denver’s representatives to come up with creative solutions to the impasse – including a way for Occupy Denver’s residents to take charge of maintaining the park at no cost to the city – were rejected in the meeting.

It seems clear to us that the city’s actions are not really about protecting the public right of way but about the city and state government using minor municipal codes to restrict the people’s rights to assemble and protest. Chief White made clear that Occupy Denver continues to face a potential raid at any point.

We consider using the city’s scarce resources to enforce municipal code in this way to be a huge waste, something Occupy Denver has been trying to avoid. Considering the DPD’s reputation for police brutality, we feel it would be a shame for Chief White to start his relationship with the City of Denver in this way. If we are evicted, this will be the fifth time the DPD has forcibly removed the Occupation – a tactic which clearly has not been an effective resolution in the past. We urge Chief White and Mayor Hancock to reconsider their threats to evict us until they have made time and space to come together to find creative, peaceful, and constructive ways to resolve this impasse.

Considering the fact that many of the people who are participating in Occupy Denver are homeless and no safe alternative to living with Occupy Denver has been presented by the city, we question Mayor Hancock’s and the city’s commitment to addressing issues of economic inequality and human rights that the Occupy movement is protesting.

We will be holding a General Assembly tonight at 7pm in Civic Center Park to determine our response. We urge our supporters to help resist with their presence by standing in solidarity with Occupy Denver in Civic Center Park over the next few days. Help us show the residents of Denver that its citizens are not encumbrances, and that the people want to see Denver interacting with the Occupation in a more productive and cooperative manner.