DNC 2008: Anti-capitalista bloc scuffle started as staged fight between cops

From the Denver Post:

When a Jefferson County deputy unleashed pepper spray at unruly protesters on the first night of the Democratic National Convention, he did not know that his targets were undercover Denver police officers.

Now the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado is questioning whether that staged confrontation by police pretending to be violent inflamed other protesters or officers during the most intense night of the four-day event.

The protest occurred Aug. 25 at 15th Street and Court Place near Civic Center. Police ultimately arrested 106 people, the highest number of arrests in a single day during the convention.

According to a use-of-force police report obtained by the ACLU, undercover Denver detectives staged a struggle with a police commander to get pulled out of the crowd without blowing their cover. The commander knew they were working undercover, and the plan was to pull them out of the crowd and pretend they were under arrest so protesters would be none the wiser.

A Jefferson County deputy, unaware of the presence of undercover police, thought that the commander was being attacked and used pepper spray on the undercover officers.

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.

Denver police have said they were trying to control the crowd moving from Civic Center. The officers testified in court that they had intelligence that anarchists planned to gather in the park, then move toward the 16th Street Mall to wreak havoc at delegate hotels and other businesses. The activists had posted that plan on a publicly available website.

Full story here

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