A Law Enforcement Appreciation Day rally in Denver, Colorado was interrupted on Sunday (7/19/2020) by counter protestors organized by the Party for Socialism and Liberation and the Frontline Party for Revolutionary Action.
Denver is coming fresh off the heels of the police-involved killing of William Lamont Debose (May 2020). In recent weeks, the city’s district attorney has also decided not to prosecute police in six separate killings. Colorado has also seen a rise in national media attention recently over last year’s killing of Elijah McClain in the City of Aurora at the hands of police and first responders. Violin vigils have been held around the globe, paying tribute to the young man who enjoyed playing for sheltered animals in the local area.
In the days leading up to the event through the use of social media, the organizers of Sunday’s counter protest made it clear that there would be no parties for pigs. They quickly outnumbered the pro-police crowd and made their rally nearly inaudible. SWAT and riot police surrounded the park and created multiple barriers between the two sides. Several scuffles broke out and I saw two pro-police protestors get straight ROCKED. The bald man in the photos who is wearing a “Make Space Great Again” shirt was already bleeding from his nose. While the man was being held back from a crowd of counter protestors, a random punch snuck through the mob and connected, knocking the man to the ground. Hand down, man down.
Immediately following that incident, I saw a man in a leather vest catch a flying kick to the forehead. It looked like it unfolded in slow motion, when in reality it probably didn’t take more than 4 seconds to go down. His face swelled up quick and some street paramedics helped him get to a bench. I didn’t get to see what led up to either of the attacks, but if you’re going to be a Trump-loving cop supporter during times like these, then you might need to take caution where you step. We are living during times where Brown kids are being locked in cages; where Black bodies are being executed on television; where the murderers of Black and Brown people are celebrated and compensated handsomely; where racists are emboldened by a leader who has his shown his true colors time and time again.
The pro-police rally disbanded after about 2 hours. The counter protestors continued their demonstration into the evening. I have been shooting protests for several years, but it was the first time I have felt a tangible win after one. I’m not sure if any meaningful conversations we’re had between the two sides, but I am sure both factions were further galvanized in their resolve.
The communities of Denver and Aurora are exhausted — for far too long, mothers and fathers in the Mile High City have had to bury their sons and daughters who fell victim to trigger-happy police... Paul Castaway, Jessie Hernandez, Ryan Ronquillo, De’Von Bailey, Elijah McClain, William Debose... say their names.
The struggle continues.
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