Denver police spar with Anonymous on Twitter after May 5 protest

 "Your use of words like 'assault' and 'ambush' do not make them true."

Internet Culture

Published May 7, 2014   Updated May 31, 2021, 8:49 am CDT

Besides occasionally gropingthumpingtaseringarresting and indiscriminately using pepper spray, the police aren’t often keen to engage with protesters.

Featured Video Hide

Yet after a protest, organized by the Anonymous-affiliated group Every5th on May 5 in Denver, Colo., the officer in charge of the force’s Twitter account decided to do just that. Well, sort of.

Advertisement Hide

While hardly the Socratic dialogues, Denver police responded to criticism from popular Anonymous Twitter account @YourAnonNews, which claimed that officers intimidated and assaulted protesters attending its march against “police repression.”

Here’s how the exchange began:

.@DenverPolice can we get an interview about #Every5th?

— Anonymous (@YourAnonNews) May 6, 2014

@YourAnonNews – what would you like to know?

— Denver Police Dept. (@DenverPolice) May 6, 2014

Advertisement Hide

After the police agreed to talk, the following dialogue ensued:

@DenverPolice we are curious about why your officers are following people home from a peaceful protest and assaulting them in the street.

— Anonymous (@YourAnonNews) May 6, 2014

@YourAnonNews – we disagree with your characterization of the incident or actions of the officers.

— Denver Police Dept. (@DenverPolice) May 6, 2014

@denverpolice on what grounds do you justify ambushing people as they leave a protest? Are you denying that officers followed protesters?

— Anonymous (@YourAnonNews) May 6, 2014

Denver police continued questioning the language of the protesters and to dead-bat the allegations of violence by insisting the police were ensuring—rather than breaching—public safety.

Advertisement Hide

@YourAnonNews – Your use of words like “assault” and “Ambush” do not make them true

— Denver Police Dept. (@DenverPolice) May 6, 2014

@denverpolice you didnt answer our question. You said you “disagree” with our “characterization of the incident” but didn’t provide your own

— Anonymous (@YourAnonNews) May 6, 2014

The debate went cold, however, after @YourAnonNews tweeted them a video of alleged police violence.

.@DenverPolice we would love to get your comments on the video we just tweeted which shows your officers as a threat to public safety.

— Anonymous (@YourAnonNews) May 6, 2014

Advertisement Hide

While the video isn’t clear enough to determine what exactly is happening as the riot squad advances, eyewitness Alex Mullis, who posted the above video to Instagram, commented:

At one point the cops charged the crowd and tackled some people with flags/signs etc but stopped really fast cause of the reaction from everyone watching and filming. They pushed everyone back and threatened to arrest people who were standing on the street.

Denver police reportedly arrested five people.

Hours after the Twitter confrontation began, @YourAnonNews posted another video of police confronting the crowd with batons, with one police officer hurtling at the protesters with his baton raised as onlookers screamed, “No!” and “What the fuck?!”

Although the moment when the officer meets the crowd is obstructed, the police have yet to clarify why the officer was approaching a peaceful protest with such zeal.

Advertisement Hide

New video shows @DenverPolice attacking #Every5th march against police repression (on the sidewalk) https://t.co/MpNBOJFQz5 via @anarchoanon

— Anonymous (@YourAnonNews) May 6, 2014

Illustration by Jason Reed

Share this article
*First Published: May 7, 2014, 10:54 am CDT