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Friday, November 07, 2008
ACLU wants probe into police-staged DNC protest
By Felisa Cardona
Now the American Civil Liberties Union of
The protest occurred Aug. 25 at
According to a use-of-force police report obtained by the ACLU, undercover
The report says that the commander and an undercover detective were sprayed, but it does not indicate how many others were affected. The report also doesn't say whether the pepper spray used on the undercover police was the first deployment of chemicals that night or whether the riot was already underway.
On Thursday, the ACLU of
"The actions of the undercover detectives on August 25, 2008, may have had the effect of exacerbating an already 'tense situation,' as their feigned struggle led nearby officers and the public to believe that a commanding officer was being attacked by protestors and that the situation necessitated the use of chemical agents," says the letter, written by ACLU staff attorney Taylor Pendergrass.
"Such actions may have escalated the overall situation by causing officers on the scene to fear that the protestors threatened their safety, when in fact the struggle was only between uniformed officers and undercover officers," he wrote.
Denver Police Chief Gerald Whitman did not return a call seeking comment about the pepper-spray incident and whether the officers followed protocol by staging a disturbance with the commander.
Rosenthal said he had received the ACLU's letter about the pepper-spray incident.
He also received a letter from the ACLU last week requesting a probe into possible conflicting or false statements by police about the riot and whether the department withheld evidence in some of the protesters' criminal trials.
The ACLU contends videos show that protesters, as well as otherwise uninvolved onlookers, were never ordered or given a chance to disperse before they were surrounded and detained by police.
"The letters have been received, and I am in the process of reviewing and evaluating them," Rosenthal said Thursday.
As many as 60 protest suspects declined to accept plea deals after their arrests. Some cases have been dismissed and some suspects acquitted after a judge cited a lack of evidence.
Felisa Cardona: 303-954-1219 or email@example.com
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