DENVER (KDVR) – Denver Public Schools Board of Education member Tay Anderson told FOX31 that he has retained a lawyer after an incident in Lincoln Park outside the Colorado Capitol Wednesday.
Anderson was in the park as Colorado State Patrol and other agencies cleared out the homeless population who had been living in a tent city for several weeks.
It’s unclear exactly what happened, but Anderson tweeted a photo of himself at the hospital saying “My body hurts all over … I will be okay! STILL I RISE.”
Anderson told FOX31 that at this point he has not taken any legal action, but is pursuing the options available.
Murphy Robinson, the executive director of the Denver Department of Public Safety, discussed the incident during a news conference Wednesday afternoon.
He said about 6 a.m., the public safety department and other local agencies cleaned up the park after the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment declared a public health emergency.
Robinson said the city arranged transportation to shelters and had mental health professionals on hand.
“We had a lot of compliance,” Robinson said.
He said the clean-up was not a Denver Police Department function and that officers were there to protect staff members.
Robinson said DPD only got involved when “advocates and agitators” tried to stop the progress of the clean-up.
According to Robinson, people blocked a gate that had been erected for the clean-up.
Anderson was in the middle of the group near the gate when he fell, Robinson said.
It is unclear if Anderson was shoved by a police officer but that is under investigation, according to Robinson.
Anderson maintains he was shoved by a DPD officer. He said he was taken to Denver Health Medical Center and diagnosed with a concussion.
The City released the following footage from one of its “HALO” cameras, which recorded the incident:
“I’m sorry this happened to you. I’m sorry that you fell,” Robinson said, referring to Anderson.
Robinson said if there was an improper use of force, the person involved will be held accountable.
During a separate press conference Wednesday evening, Anderson said he wanted to turn the attention back to the problems people experiencing homelessness face in Denver.
“This administration continues to fail in housing our unhoused neighbors,” Anderson said of Mayor Michael Hancock.
The board member adamantly refuted the City’s claim that he fell.
“We’re not going to allow this to happen again,” Anderson said.
Two people were arrested at the clean-up.
Gov. Jared Polis issued the following statement, in part, about the incident:
“The capitol is not only the symbol of our Republic but also where the legislature convenes and a popular site for the exercise of free speech from perspectives as varied as our state is large. When people attend these hallowed grounds they should feel safe. Instead, the area recently became a public health hazard dangerous for both those experiencing homelessness and for visitors, and that is not acceptable especially during a pandemic.”