Denver police have released pages of text messages sent between officers who were assigned to the Occupy Denver protests.
In releasing the car-to-car messages on Wednesday, Police Lt. Matt Murray said police regret "the tenor and tone of some of these texts." Murray's statement said some of the communications "have not met the standard of professionalism expected by the Denver Police Department and the citizens of Denver in regards to the Occupy Denver protests."
The existence of the texts was mentioned in a court hearing on Monday.
Murray said the ongoing court saga is what drew the text messages to police administrators' attention. He said transcripts of the texts were requested by the court. While fulfilling that request, the content of those text messages came to light, Murray said.
"One of the first things we did was notify officers of the relevant policy and remind them what they are subject to and what's expected," Murray said. "And then we are going to be reviewing each one of these text messages and then determine what disciplinary action, if any, needs to be taken."
Murray said discipline could include counseling or something more strict but he refused to speculate any further.
Text Messages Call Protesters Hippies, Retarded
In one of the messages, an officer texted other officers, "They're supporting the same BS protests going on on Wall Street. The typical 'Tax the Rich' 'Eff the Cops' anarchist crap.
In another text, an officer talks about the crowd getting rowdy and says "The fun might be coming soon."
Another text calls the protesters "a buncha occupy Denver retards."
Police expressed worry about what the protesters were armed with, mentioning urine-filled balloons and "one of the protesters who had a dozen homemade weapons on him on an RTD bus. Machetes, shivs, nunchucks, throwing stars … all kinds of stuff to shank cops if they grabbed him."
In another exchange, a Denver police officer texts that the protesters are "running around with what the admin says are fake AR15's."
An officer responds, "If they point one at me I will shoot. How to we know they('re) really 'fake'?"
Things apparently settled down on Sunday, Oct. 30. An officer texted, "Sunday, the stoners get stoned, so no motivation to protest today."
On Nov. 4, an officer texted other officers that he heard the next day was supposed to be the biggest protest. An officer responded, " I say we just baton the people who start to incite everyone."
Another officer turned the "occupy" title on police. He texted, "This is occupy DPD son and we stay till the job is done."
Another text expressed displeasure with higher ups, texting, "This occupy sh*t has got out of hand because this liberal administration has allowed them to."
One officer referred to the protesters as "turds" and an officer called the "entire occupy thing" a "joke."
"I think a lot of us can empathize with officers who put their lives on the line, but we also expect them conduct themselves with a higher standard," said community activist Lisa Calderon of the Colorado Latino Forum.
"We released them because we felt like we had to take responsibility for something the public may not view it as professional. We don't. We don't view it as professional," said Murray. "Notwithstanding these text messages, the Denver Police Department continues to respect and will defend the Constitutional right to peacefully protest."
The texts were released after a request was filed by a Denver attorney.
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