Saturday, June 21, 2008

Denver demonstrators: Don't tase me, bro!

Black helicopters sighted circling downtown Denver.

Denver police stocking up on pepper-spray guns and extended-ray tasers.

Not just the bad dreams of lefty conspiracy wonks. These stories come from the headlines of Denver daily newspapers. According to The Denver Post, Blackhawk helicopters conducted a drill over Denver the other day, shocking Yuppies sipping espresso on their rooftop patios. And then there's the police order for "88 Mark IV launchers and projectiles." The weapon fires plastic balls filled with a substance "like a combination of cayenne pepper and baby powder." A spokesman for the manufacturer says that this can incapacitate people like pepper spray, but it avoids some of the "more severe reactions."

Not to mention you could use the cayenne pepper to spice up your burrito and the baby powder can soothe skin chapped by the eruption of your tear ducts and mucous membranes.

All this for the August gathering of Democrats -- and street demonstrations planned by groups such as Recreate 68.

This was in the Rocky Mountain News:

The city received a $50 million federal grant for security. A senior adviser to Mayor John Hickenlooper has said the city plans to spend up to half that amount on equipment, with the rest going to pay officers.

But the city has refused to disclose how it is spending the money, prompting the American Civil Liberties Union last month to file a civil lawsuit.

The court filing alleges the city is violating the Colorado Open Records Act.

City officials say releasing the information is "contrary to the public interest" because it could disclose important tactical information, potentially jeopardizing security.

A city spokesperson could not be reached for comment Monday. Meanwhile, speculation about what the city is buying has run rampant.

Some organizers of protest groups believe police are buying extended-range Tasers and weapons that incapacitate people with high-intensity sound.

The Denver Police Department is notorious for snooping on peaceniks. This goes a few steps beyond that.

I've been pepper-sprayed and tear-gassed, and neither was any fun. Most of the time I was a not-quite-innocent bystander, but not always.

This is going to be one exciting time in Denver. Glad I'll be there recording it via my blog.

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