DENVER (KDVR) — The Denver Police Department said two police officers were assaulted Wednesday afternoon while enforcing the city’s Unauthorized Camping Ordinance in the Five Points neighborhood. Denver Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca witnessed the enforcement and said the police narrative is not true. CdeBaca said police brutalized the campers.
Police have been patrolling the area of 29th Street and Glenarm Place over the past several days to connect people suffering from homelessness with resources.
“About 60 cops or more [were in the area],” said Terese Howard with advocacy group Denver Homeless Out Loud.
During the sweep, police said two officers were hit and/or kicked while they detained a man who was in possession of a BB or air-soft gun. Those living in tents on the sidewalks said the police used excessive force.
“For some reason [police] just start harassing us,” said camper Vince Martinez. “Coming every day.”
Howard said she witnessed police beating people with batons, stepping on a woman’s chest and pushing people.
CdeBaca — who wants to replace the police department with a peace force — was at the scene.
“Police were not injured, and we have it all on video,” CdeBaca said.
The councilwoman would not provide that video to FOX31 and Channel 2.
“There were a lot of other people, who are much more important than I am, that were injured,” she said.
The man with the replica gun was taken to a hospital for an unrelated medical issue, according to police. It’s unclear if he will face charges.
“[Police] dragged him until he … looked blue and unconscious,” Howard said.
DPD said the two officers who were assaulted suffered minor injuries. Those officers were checked out and cleared by paramedics on scene, according to police.
“The officers who were assaulted radioed for assistance and a large number of officers responded to the area to move the crowd back,” DPD spokesperson Doug Schepman wrote in an email to FOX31.
FOX31 has requested the police body camera footage to provide a better understanding of the events. Police said the incident is under review.