Denver police chief detains assault suspect outside community crime meeting

DENVER — Those living and working in Denver’s Lower Downtown and Ballpark neighborhoods met with police on Tuesday over what business owners describe as a crime epidemic.

During the meeting— just a day after a deadly shootout in the neighborhood— Chief Paul Pazen helped one of his officers put a man in handcuffs. The detained man was accused of assault by a nearby business owner.

The meeting with police, at El Charrito on 21st and Larimer, was scheduled before Monday’s deadly shooting. Business owners and residents took the opportunity to give police and Councilman Albus Brooks an earful.

Those in attendance said they are tired of drug use that breeds gang crime. The five people shot on Monday was the final straw for many in the community.

“There are significant challenges here, and we want to work together to address this,” Pazen told the crowd.

Pazen insisted that a collaborative citywide effort is working. He stressed success takes time. He says officers are more focused on arresting drug suppliers and getting drug users help.

“We watch families go down to the ballpark shielding their kids eyes while somebody smokes crack,” one man said. “And we say, ‘hey, I’m calling the police you’re smoking crack,’ and they’ll laugh at us.”

During the meeting, a business owner ran into El Charrito yelling he had been assaulted. With a FOX31 camera rolling, Pazen and his officers left the meeting. The chief himself helped put a man in handcuffs. The business owner, uninjured, told FOX31 he was punched.

Councilman Brooks says he is working with the mayor to pour more resources into the Lower Downtown/ Ballpark area in hopes of preventing crime. He is also calling for monthly meetings between residents and police in the area.

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