When I arrived at the convention center in Denver yesterday I was struck by something: The police officers were really friendly.
I don’t mean they were fawning and falling over themselves to assist convention-goers, but they were pleasant and respectful, something I hadn’t seen for many years of living in New York City. With a population of 8,214,426, policing in NYC is bound to be different than in Denver, which has a population of just 566,974, according to recent census data. But during a time when Denver’s population has increased by almost 10%, the tactics used by those guarding and defending Denver seem downright provincial.
The Republican National Convention in August 2004 saw thousands of demonstrators descend on New York to protest the unpopular policies of President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. Records now show that the NYPD had a no summons policy and a “document suggests that the decision to arrest — instead of ticket — all persons whose protests were deemed illegal was made months prior to the convention itself,” according to the New York Sun.
In the first full day of the convention, the protests in Denver have been mild. Perhaps it is because people are less displeased about with Sen. Barack Obama’s policies.
Don’t get me wrong, Denver police last night arrested more than 100 protesters. According to the Rocky Mountain News, “the Denver Police Department and Denver Sheriff Department reported Tuesday morning that approximately 100 people were arrested. …The event started in Civic Center Park around 7 p.m. as protesters gathered for an unpermited event designed to ‘Disrupt the DNC,’ as a series of anarchist protests organized by Unconventional Denver have been labeled.”
I am not naive enough to think that there aren’t community issues with Denver’s police force, but for now it is nice to be able to walk down the street in a high-security area and not feel as if I am going to be shouted at because I’ve stepped off the sidewalk.
Deborah Creighton Skinner is the Editorial Director of BlackEnterprise.com