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Denver Police Chief said he refused second sweep of Auraria’s encampment

DENVER — One week after 45 Pro-Palestinian demonstrators were arrested on Tivoli Quad, Denver’s Police Chief Ron Thomas said a similar raid by his department likely won’t happen again.

“My thought in mind was that it would result in a small number of arrests if any. Ultimately, that didn’t turn out to be the case,” admitted Thomas on Friday morning to members of the Citizen Oversight Board.

Metropolitan State University student Lucia Feast was one of those arrested.

“I knew that their force could be used on me. And that was the scariest thing,” said Feast.

That fear remains in the back of her mind as about a dozen Pro-Israel counter protesters walked the perimeter of the camp one week after her arrest.

Thomas said last Friday’s sweep didn’t go as planned. He explained the objective was for Auraria Campus to remove the tents once protestors were taken into custody. Those tents instead were left there.

“As you might imagine, [they] just came and re-erected the tents. We were back at square one,” said Thomas.

At that point, he said Denver Police officers were asked to come back to shut it down a second time, which he refused to do.

Police detain Denver students protesting Israel-Gaza war on Auraria Campus

“We absolutely aren’t just going to go in and sweep out this peaceful protest just because they’re occupying a space on your campus that you’d like to use for something else right now,” Thomas said to board members.

Thomas also said there were no injuries to report that day to community members or officers.

Although some protestors told a different story.

“I witnessed them firsthand, there was someone who I witnessed thrown right onto the pavement that hit the back of their head,” said Daryn Copeland, a member of Jewish Voice for Peace.

Auraria campus did not respond to the chief’s refusal to intervene but sent Denver7 this statement:

“Members of Auraria Higher Education Executives Council met again today (May 3) with student protestors to maintain an open dialogue and find a peaceful path forward for our campus community. The discussion provided an opportunity for all parties to be heard. MSU Denver and CU Denver are actively setting up campus dialogue sessions as a way to engage our community. We will continue to support and encourage peaceful debate and civil engagement on our campus while ensuring the safety of our students, employees, and visitors.”

Denver Police said it’s up to the Denver City Attorney’s office if the pending charges against those arrested will be dropped.

Denver Police Chief said he refused second sweep of Auraria’s encampment

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