Protesters In Denver Vandalize Memorial To Fallen Police Officers, Police Told To Back Off

The president of Denver’s police union is upset with Denver’s police chief for allowing protesters, protesting police brutality in the city, to vandalize a memorial to fallen police officers, CBS Denver is reporting.

About 200 protesters marched through downtown Denver on Saturday, protesting the police killing of Jessie Hernandez and demanding justice for other people “murdered” or “kidnapped” by Denver police.

During the protest, vandals poured red paint on the memorial to Denver’s police officers killed in the line of duty, outside of the headquarters of the Denver Police Department. For reasons that aren’t clear, Denver police were told not to interfere with the vandalism, although two vandals were arrested and charged with criminal mischief.

Denver Police Union President Nick Rogers says the protesters crossed the line with their choice to vandalize the memorial, according to the Denver Post. He also blames Denver police chief Robert White for allowing the memorial to be vandalized, and is calling for White’s resignation.

“There is no reason to allow someone to desecrate a memorial. There is no reason to allow that to happen, it’s wrong … we have a breaking point, and we are there. I will ask all 1,400 police officers to rally, and we will respond to the mayor’s office in unison to hand him a letter asking for the chief’s resignation.”

Denver Police Cmdr. Matt Murray says that it’s the Denver Police Department’s policy not to engage protesters.

“We believe it’s better for the community not to have conflict.”

On January 26, 17-year-old Jessica “Jessie” Hernandez was driving a car (allegedly stolen) with four other teens inside down a darkened Denver alley. Police responding to “suspicious” activity came upon the vehicle and, according to the police account, the driver of the car drove it into a police officer, striking him in the leg. The police opened fire on the car, killing Jessie. However, the account of one of the passengers differs from the official police account; the passenger says that the police opened fire first, and that Jessica lost control of the vehicle and struck the officer because she’d been hit.

The killing sparked an ongoing series of vigils and protests in Denver, including Saturday’s protest, during which the memorial was vandalized.

CBS Denver reports that some officers were seen near the memorial with tears in their eyes. Denver firefighters have since cleaned the vandalized Denver police memorial.

[Image courtesy of: Downtrend]