<Updated August 29th, 2020 to include Saturday’s event with Denver Police Department firing on non-violent protestors while mingling with armed White Supremacists. We are unable to see viewing Off-Meta Media’s stream where there was a need for police to escalate.
We have all now seen the video of the Denver Police Department and Mayor Hancock declaring a riot from Saturday Night’s protest. Total Anarchy in the streets. Windows were broken. Mayhem and Danger. Fear for your lives, the anarchists are here.
But not everything is as it seems. In Wisconsin, Officers are caught on video thanking White Supremacits or “Patriots” as they call themselves, for showing up, even handing out water to them. Within a few hours two people were killed by 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, who is reported to have an obsession with cops and fancies himself a member of the militia.
Now we are seeing this in Denver.
Cell phone footage shows Kenosha police telling armed insurrectionists, “We appreciate you guys. We really do,” and giving them bottles of water. Shortly after this video was taken, one of these men shot and killed two protesters and wounded another.
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) August 26, 2020
LOOK AT THIS CLIP! LOOK! THEY ARE WORKING ALONGSIDE THE POLICE pic.twitter.com/BPL5clfjrc
— A Friendly Dad (@AFriendlyDad) August 26, 2020
What most have not seen is the video of white supremacists, (or “Patriots” as the Proud Boys, the threepercenters, Colorado American Guard, Boogaloo Bois, and John Tiegan’s merry men refer to themselves as), who were out in equal or greater numbers than this particular set of protestors. Many dressed in black themselves. They even confirmed their numbers with Channel 7 News in this interview.
— Charles Schwaebe Jr. Jr. (@TroutBoneless) August 24, 2020
CALL TO ACTION: Step up to defend & protect what is OURS in Denver, Colorado on Friday, August 28 and Saturday, August 29.
Expecting Antifa and BLM rioters at the Denver capitol.
Be ready for the call at 5 PM on… https://t.co/rujqFZjmLA
— John “TIG” Tiegen (@JohnTiegen) August 26, 2020
It is not being reported that these “Patriots” were hanging out with the cops while waiting for action.
A truck full of militia patriot fascists were chilling with SWAT in Denver and were mobilized to brutalize black bloc protestors last night.
Paramilitary groups acting as an arm of the law isn't how the Nazis came to power or anything ? pic.twitter.com/oCf5lcQH0u
— abolishicedenver (@abolishice303) August 24, 2020
It is not being reported that SWAT was out before the protestors even arrived.
(I had attended the ‘Say Their Names #1000milesforracialjustice Caravan from Louisville KY to Denver’ earlier at the State Capitol with several state elected officials in attendance. The event ended at 8 and we dispersed peacefully. As I walked back to my car, police presence was heavy in the streets, with MRAV’s and SWAT vehicles out in numbers. I wondered to myself, as I left, why there was so much police presence for a peaceful rally.)
It is not being reported that tear gas was fired before the protestors did anything like smashing a window or catching a bush on fire.
It is not being reported that they pepper-sprayed people in the back.
It is not being reported that officers were flipping the bird and screaming obscenities at the protestors and laughing when they shot projectiles at them.
It is not being reported that police charged the crowd and drove over someone’s bike – while he was on it. Fortunately, the rider had jumped to safety.
It is not being reported that the Proud Boys were seen piling debris in a dumpster and spray painting ‘Justice for Elijah McClain’ on it.
It is not being reported that white supremacists were driving around in truckloads of men armed and ready to shoot someone.
It is not reported the police were protecting these “Patriots”. Or that the Patriots like to play music eerily like the Nazi’s in WWII. Open Carry is prohibited in the City of Denver.
(File is too large to embed and can only be provided as a link.)
There are those that would say the protestors are just partying. Then there are others who believe they are the antichrist here to steal our Democracy (don’t worry, that is being done before our very eyes with the sitting POTUS), and there are those with ill-intent who just want to “f*ck up protestors” in the name of “Patriotism”, the very word now associated with Right-wing extremists and White Supremacists.
This begs the question, why were no Proud Boys or White Supremacists arrested? Especially if they were armed – and odds are strong they were.
What is being reported is that a set of about 75 protestors came out, approx. 24 windows were broken and a bush was caught on fire. It is not known if protestors ignited a transformer, or someone else did. It is not even known who was breaking the windows. Yes, they were dressed in black and perhaps they just wanted to smash things, but it is also known that provocateurs come out to infiltrate protests and instigate violence.
What is being reported is that people in power are ready to declare martial law because of these riots, with very little mention of the violence being initiated by white supremacists or the police, who fired upon them before any vandalism had begun.
This is just a few days after DPD was caught on film beating people in houseless encampments with batons as they “cleared” it.
Will the police and Mayor Hancock be concerned about these men showing up?
Are they issuing warnings that armed Patriots are planning to disrupt this coming weekend rallies planned?
It is easy to sit at home and watch the news sensationalize what is happening. They are in their vans and helicopters, or behind the police when they report. Or worse, simply resort to reporting what the police tell them without asking further questions.
We decided to ask the protestors ourselves why they chose to put themselves at risk.
We spoke to several people who were in attendance that night about what they witnessed and how they feel.
Before we dive into what they had to say, let’s get some things clear about what they stated to us:
No one knows who made the flyers for the event on Saturday. We know it was not Black Lives Matter. Not even those who attended know who organized it. It was all put out by an anonymous source. Many stated they were not even sure if the Denver Police themselves created the flyers. They also do not know if the person(s) breaking windows were part of their protest. We have three witnesses report the crowd moved away from the person(s) who broke the windows. So most were not there to smash things. In fact, many protestors were heard telling them to stop.
When asked why they would attend the event if they did not know who the organizers were, they all said, unequivocally, it was to fight for justice.
‘They are tired, they are angry and they are tired of asking for justice. It is not being served.
You can hear the pain in their voices when they speak. Countless black and brown bodies lost to police brutality, and justice alongside it. To date no officer has been charged in the killing of Elijah McClain, Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, or the countless others killed at the hands of police.
Homelessness, addiction, suicide, mass shootings are up and our system does nothing about it – except state a window has more value than a human life.
They will be in debt for the rest of their lives just to have a college education and while over 200 other countries on the planet have a healthcare system that works for its citizens, the United States does not. COVID-19 only pulled the curtain back on all that is wrong with the country’s politics and policies. They have families, people they take care of, they want a better world, and they want the attention of those in power.’
These are the things they said to me.
Two more shootings by police happened this weekend. One was the almost execution-style shooting, by the Kenosha WI Police Department, of Jacob Blake getting in his car with his 3 children in the backseat. This led to large turnouts of protestors and cars being caught on fire in Wisconsin. And more killings.
Yes, cars are being caught on fire in Kenosha. Windows are being smashed around the country. Donald Trump is sending in the Federal agents — again.
We find it puzzling that the same Patriots who stand so strongly for the Second Amendment, will back federal interference with States experiencing people exercising their First Amendment rights. Worse, that these “Patriots” literally do say they want to kill them for saying “Black Lives Matter” — and sometimes they do kill people. We witnessed the Jeep in Aurora. Conservatives are coming to the defense of Kyle Rittenhouse.
They call them all rioters and looters as the justification, but the fact is with as many protests that are taking place, most of them are peaceful. Those that become disruptive and turn to vandalism, all have experienced police violence escalating them. We witnessed this first-hand in Denver.
What many people do not recognize is police behavior, and the police response to the protests of that behavior has escalated the situation, far more than people dressed in black who break windows can ever do. The Denver PD even stated they thought this group was amateur so why the heavy artillery tactic? Why target such small groups with such heavy artillery? Watching the feeds all week leading up to Saturday, August 22nd, 2020 it was as if violence was being welcomed.
It is important to note who all was in the Audience Saturday night. A LOT of police; heavily equipped, a significant number of ‘White Supremacists’ along with the Proud Boys, and the ‘Anarchists’ as referred to by Mayor Hancock.
I do not hear these officials decry any of the reasons WHY protests might turn ugly. They blame one sect and that is concerning. With a cocktail like that in Downtown Denver, what did they think was going to happen?
Sadly, the most likely outcome from these investigations will go the same route as the countless others. No wrong-doing found.
Elijah McClain was walking down the street. Breonna Taylor was sitting in her house. Justice has not been served for them.
Rather than painting these protestors as “rioters and looters” why not find out why people feel as they do? The current method of communication between policing bodies and the greater community is not working.
We already know the answer to that question. It would require us to look at a Justice System that is not working for all, and frankly never has. It would require us to examine our own values, our own prejudices and how those racial biases play out in society. It would require us to look at how greed has corrupted our electoral system to the point that our current President -with known ties to mobsters, Russians and numerous convicted criminals- is willing to shut down the Post Office in order to not relinquish power.
It has corrupted us to the point that 751 people have been killed by the police in 2020. In the last few years it has been averaging approximately 1000 people a year killed at the hands of officers. This year, we are on track to almost double the number from previous years.
For those that state the police are also putting their lives in danger, 105 officers died in 2019, 55 of them on the job, the remaining 50 were accidents.
This isn’t to say that officers’ lives don’t matter, quite the contrary. It is merely stating that officers are nowhere in as near as much danger as portrayed. Officers choose their profession, people don’t choose the color of their skin.
Currently, the United States spends $100 Billion on our Police Departments. They are not underfunded. In fact, they probably receive too much funding.
Would this kind of scrutiny on police budgets cause them to escalate? They did bring out all the heavy artillery Saturday night.
Our police have become mini-militaries, not only in equipment but also in attitude. Police officers are not medical examiners, they are not mental health providers, they are not social workers, they are trained to pretty much do one thing: Shoot who they perceive are bad guys.
Unfortunately, they see too many people as bad guys. They are trained to see bad guys hiding in every citizen.
The officers themselves also bring some baggage with them, with many of them aligning with radical “Patriots” far too often. The FBI warned 10 years ago about White Supremacists infiltrating the ranks, and secret cop hate groups are being outed regularly. They have the highest rate of suicide of any profession and domestic abuse is rampant among officers.
They do not see citizens (without privilege) as people who need protection, they see them as the people the privileged need to be protected from. They see black men as dangerous – no matter how old they are or what they are doing. Tamir Rice was on a playground and Elijah McClain was simply walking home from the store, but both were viewed as “reasonable” to kill. Here at home, Denver ranks in the top 15 for most violent departments.
Aurora PD, meanwhile, seems to be competing with Denver PD for generating negative coverage, with many of the same problems. In fact, Aurora Police Department was out helping the Denver PD when the protests first started, and Aurora Councilwoman Alison Coombs was threatened by Aurora Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 49 President Marc Sears for simply standing with Black Lives Matter. We cover some of Aurora’s troublesome history, including Elijah McClains brutal killing, in this article.
We might ask ourselves, why would the police want violence?
That answer is easier than we think. It deflects from what is really happening. Black and brown bodies are killed and receive no justice, the homeless are beaten, and anyone who protests this system of inequality is seen as a criminal. Meanwhile, violence runs rampant through the departments. Not to them, from them.
Maybe we should consider the job isn’t really working for them either?
What would happen if we changed how the job looked? Defunding the Police does not have to be a radical idea. It is the idea that as a just society, we want to lift as many people up, not down, in order to lift ourselves up too. Maybe if the job didn’t require them to be judge, jury, and executioner, maybe they would be happier too?
If we think violence is breaking a window and not vandalism, then we must remember that violence has been employed by those oppressed throughout history.
The Suffragette Movement did not consist of women having tea and crumpets. It consisted of women getting beaten and raped by cops for protesting, and it consisted of women responding by breaking windows.
Our elected officials can join the police in pretending that the real problem is the protestors. But it isn’t.
Our real problem is that America has a broken system. It’s time for them to stop beating the homeless, stop criminalizing the addicted, stop killing people, and it’s time to Defund the Police.
While breaking windows isn’t really our method of protest and we feel deeply for the small businesses impacted (so please don’t smash local businesses, we have enough economic issues from COVID-19), we are trying to understand why this is happening around the Country. We hope you will too.