Denver Colorado Adding More Covid-19 Restrictions

Mayor Hancock Makes Another Mistake

Cristal M Clark

Again today, the city of Denver has added more restrictions in its fight against the spread of Covid-19, which would make sense if you did not have to worry about neighboring communities, I mean unless the entire state is on the same page, you are really not doing much to prevent anything.

Mayor Hancock is basically telling us that if you are resident or a nonessential business, you need to close by 10 and be home by 10PM.

At any rate, I get what he is attempting to do, but here is another erroneous mistake.

It’s the “Home By 10” order.

  • Liquor stores will be required to close at 10 p.m.
  • People will need to be home from restaurants by 10 p.m.
  • Order does not extend to essential businesses like grocery stores, pharmacies and hospitals.

Local new station “FOX31 learned before Hancock’s announcement that protesters will still be allowed to gather. They will be required to wear a mask and be socially distanced.”

Wait, what? Is that for real?

Well apparently, it is in fact for real. Protesters don’t have to head home at 10PM so long as they socially distance and wear a face covering, which by the way they are more than happy to do when they start to riot, shoot at each other, loot and burn shit down as it tends to hides one’s identity.

The reality is simple, no peaceful protest has ever really accomplished anything by protesting after dark. Think about it. The rioters, looters, shooters, pyromaniacs and anarchists tend to come out at night, with the exception of the Trump supporters and his unlawful militia groups and white nationalist hate groups.

A better move for Denver or any city to make would be to limit the days and hours that demonstrations can legally take place during this time of the pandemic. Not to thwart the pandemic but to keep the violence, burning of businesses down and looting to a minimum since demonstrators will be required to wear face coverings. It makes no sense to order a restaurant closed by 10 or a liquor stores closed by 10 and yet still allow demonstrations to continue well into the night. Make demonstrators abide by restrictions as well, demonstrate at designated hours in designated areas, i.e. no marching through the streets and blocking traffic, it’s not a fucking parade.

While we are at it here, a couple of weeks ago we cut back capacity in offices, markets, retail shops, gyms, guess what they have done to abide by that? Not a fucking thing.

I went into a WalMart last weekend, just to see, nope they are no longer counting the number of shoppers let into the store much less employees wearing face coverings correctly, Target either for that matter, nor is King Soopers, Safeway or any other market.
In fact, its beginning to look a lot like these restrictions are just being ignored, blatantly ignored by big retail.

We’ve already severed the arty of the restaurant, bar and entertainment industries, let’s do our best to stop the bleeding by taking it a step further and making sure no looting and rioting take place here, it’s time to limit demonstrations, protests and the like for the time being.

Cristal M Clark

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Donald Trump – ‘Anti-Maskers-Aren’t True Americans’

No War Was Ever Fought for American Rights, Liberties or Freedoms – Except for One

Cristal M Clark 

Show of hands, who is sick and tired of anti-maskers, anti-social distancers utilizing some bullshit excuse such as but not limited to, “my rights, my freedom, my civil liberties?”

I have to wonder just how uneducated people are? Most of those fighting and mouthing off are my age, not younger adults. The Younger adults are just working off of misinformation with regards to the virus and how dangerous it really is. And I am forgiving of the younger generations on this one, look at all of the older generations setting such shining examples of what it is to be a true american. 

So let me break down a list of major wars for everyone:

The United States declared war on Britain in 1812. It did so because Britain refused to stop seizing American ships that traded with France—Britain’s enemy in Europe. Sometimes there were also seizures of American sailors. These seizures were known as impressment. Not for US rights, liberties or freedoms. 

The U.S. entered World War I because Germany embarked on a deadly gamble. Germany sank many American merchant ships around the British Isles which prompted the American entry into the war. Not for US rights, liberties or freedoms. 

World War LL – The war began with Nazi Germany’s attack on Poland in September 1939, the United States did not enter the war until after the Japanese bombed the American fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941. Not for US rights, liberties or freedoms. 

The Vietnam War. The USA became involved in Vietnam because it feared the spread of communism. The USA were unable to defeat the Vietcong and were met with growing opposition to the war back home. Not for US rights, liberties or freedoms. 

In August 1990, Iraq invaded the country of Kuwait to its southeast in a bid to gain more control over the lucrative oil supply of the Middle East. In response, the United States and the UN Security Council demanded that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein withdraw Iraqi troops from Kuwait, but Hussein refused. Not for US rights, liberties or freedoms. 

The United States invasion of Afghanistan occurred after the September 11 attacks in late 2001 and was supported by close US allies. … Its public aims were to dismantle al-Qaeda and deny it a safe base of operations in Afghanistan by removing the Taliban from power. Not for US rights, liberties or freedoms. 

Not one of those wars were entered into so as to fight for the rights, liberties or freedoms of America or American’s. Overall it was either to support our allies and so as to ensure ultimately that we were not invaded by foreign enemies. 

The only war part of America entered into over rights, freedoms and liberties was in fact:

The American Civil War which was fought between the United States of America and the Confederate States of America, a collection of eleven southern states that left the Union in 1860 and 1861. The conflict began primarily as a result of the long-standing disagreement over the institution of slavery.

Hey Trump, read that one again before you defend the Confederate Flag. 

As to Civil Liberties:

Civil Liberties – The state of being subject only to laws established for the GOOD OF THE COMMUNITY especially with regard to freedom of action and speech. 

You know what the anti-maskers miss about civil liberties right, I think we all see that it is the ‘good of the community’ part. Only thinking of themselves. What is good for the community currently is to wear a face mask and to socially distance.

Soldiers fight for America, not rights, not liberties or freedoms, they fight foreign enemies, potential invaders who if they were to get footing on American soil –  would in fact destroy our country. 

The self proclaimed Wartime President as Trump puts it, “the virus is the enemy.”

Guess what, the virus, the enemy is on US SOIL and destroying our country, our rights, our freedoms because it’s a goddamn virus. 

Anti-Maskers are a huge part of why states are now rolling back openings or considering shutting down again. 

Anti-Maskers by default are simply Un-American because a true soldier would fight the enemy and in this case its by wearing a fucking mask rather than a bullet or a bomb. 

So I am going to say this loud and I am going to say it proudly, Anti-Maskers are anti-american, either shut up and wear a mask to help fight the enemy like a true soldier who loves his or her country or go find country that will afford you your pitiful, shellfish behavior. 

Cristal M Clark

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Protests Against Stay at Home Orders 

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Denver Colorado – Operation Gridlock 

Cristal M Clark 

Have you seen some of the protests calling for an end to stay at home orders? Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina, Utah, Virginia, Kentucky and this weekend, Denver. The protests in Denver are a planned “Operation Gridlock” event around the Capitol building in people’s cars at 1 p.m., the other calling for people to bring signs and stand outside from 2 to 4 p.m. They have been organized by various groups, including Libertarian parties around the metro area. 

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Victoria Reynolds, chairwoman of the Libertarian Party of Colorado and a candidate for Douglas County commissioner: “It is the draconian measures from Gov. Jared Polis, local mayors and health departments that have forced people to speak out. We want to send a message to the governor, to mayors, to the federal government even to say: We elected you to represent us. You are our employees, you don’t get to stay working, collecting a paycheck, while you’re putting us all out of work.”

Sometimes when I see groups like this and I listen to what they are saying I sit back and wonder if they have been paying attention to what’s happening? If they think things are going back to the way they were they have been either ignoring the world, have sat drunk through all of this or are just flat out stupid. Things are not going back, that is precisely why the world broke. 

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We are all upset however, organizing protests such as these show the true ineptitude of the individuals who are organizing them. Their answer is to endanger the lives of others because they feel that the government is removing basic human rights, the ability to go out, be free, to work…the problem with that mentality is that these people are more or less the type to hide symptoms and risk infecting others just for the sake of being able to do whatever it is they want to do. The type of people who want to incite acts of violence, spread misinformation and fake cures. 

These stay at home orders were not put into place so as to take the rights of citizens away, but to save lives rather. I’ve heard what some of these groups say, they want to open everything up and they believe, if someone gets sick and dies they die, some of them even believe the virus is fake, the government is using it to try to manipulate and control us, they just want to go back to the way things were. 

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Again, things are not going back to the way they were. The jobs people had, many employers are only going to bring back half of the staff they had, if at all. People were making good money, but they are not going to be getting that back, companies lost so much from all of this they will not be able to afford to pay what they were, The job market is going to be super competitive and employers know that, they use that to their advantage, this has wiped out over a decade of job growth. To make matters worse, our president supports and encourages these outrageous protests, today tweeting things like liberate. 

These protests accomplish nothing because nothing is going back to the way it was.  

Cristal M Clark

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Covid-19 – America’s Grade

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American’s Feeling Unsafe, Uncertain, Letdown

Cristal M Clark 

Overall Grade: F+

This past week put thousands of American’s out of work, many of which are now worried about paying bills. To date our Government has done very little to calm those growing fears. As those fears swell, so will the already angry environment we have become. 

In America our answer to job loss is a meger unemployment, which does not meet any basic needs. Unlike in the UK where the structure put into place actually pays the out of work individual his or her salary they had been making so that they can continue to sustain the economy and people can still pay their bills. 

Here in the US we receive a huge fuck you, go into debt, lose all your shit and welcome back to a workforce that will no longer pay livable wages, yet we are not going to force the economy to alighn itself with anything other than greed, driven by both the corporate world and our very own government. 

Right before everything collapsed, 4 members of congress sold off their stocks making huge profits, which they did illegally because they utilized details from a briefing, which you, I or Martha Stewart would go to prison for. 

All of our lowest paid, lowest skilled workers, the ones no one wants to pay more than a meger $15 per hour are all stepping forward to help keep grocery stores, fast food, gas stations, open and running for the rest of us most of which are in fact panic shopping. Consumers freaked out so much due to a media driven panic, that the elderly and disabled are left empty handed when trying to buy food or basic necessities, our first responders are lacking basic necessities while they care for those hospitalized with Covid-19. 

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Our country, our infrastructure, our current systems in place, they do not work to bring an established society back from something like this. 

That said, when will we get back to normal? We don’t because the real question should be, what will our new normal be?

Financially, people are ruined, companies closed within a week, laid off workers in masses, are claiming they cannot afford to stay open. Many of the smaller companies may never be able to reopen and those that do will not be able to afford to bring back all of their laid off staff much less pay the wages they had been after taking such a huge financial hit. That’s the thing no one is talking about right? How many companies are going to just be gone, will people go back to the wages they had? The answer to that can be found in the aftermath of 2008. 

People have been slowly rebuilding their lives since 08, we have rent, house payments, car payments, credit card debt, student loans, and all of the other payments that go along with being an adult who lives, works and contributes to society. Companies who provide all of those things need to also step up here and help the society who gave them our business. I am not saying that car loans and mortgages should not be paid, what I am saying is that payments should be forgiven now and tacked on at the end so that people can survive this crisis. 

Utilities should not be shut off, cell phone providers should also allow a grace period. We as a society, we need to help each other, too. If anything this has taught us just how unprepared for a real human crisis we really are and how we need to bring manufacturing back to our own country, corporate owners must pay people livable wages to do that but it must be brought back so that we are not waiting on shipments of foods, medical devices and drugs because they are tied up at ports due to tariffs, wars, and utter bullshit. Our Government alone can and need to make that happen. 

So this go around before the United States Government agrees to bail out big corporations, banks and airlines, they need to consider long term, it’s the workers here that actually need the the bailout, we are the ones that made those big companies and small companies what they were before Covid-19, we drove the profits they lived off of. Likewise, I hope WalMart takes a look at their employees who have been working their asses off, while being yelled at, told off and who keep going during this mess, and pay those individuals better. Treat them like human beings for once. 

Until society gets some type of solid honest answers from our leaders, this swelling movement of anger that I am seeing on social media will get out of control. Cities and states who are just shutting down, that is not going to help calm the already fearful public. Sometimes local governments need to start looking at what is being talked about on social media. The vibe isn’t good and people are already talking about acts of crime, posting images of troops in cities that are from movies and telling people it’s happening in their cities, basically attempting to incite violence, that is how desperation works. That is what peple are feeling, hopelessness and desperation. On the flip-side of that, the United States Government needs to, it must take swift action against the mainstream media. Most of the layoffs and panic we saw last week, were a direct and clearly driven result of the utter and sometimes fantastic bullshit streaming from the mainstream media. I am not a huge fan of Donald Trump personally but he’s done a lot for this country, he sucks at public speaking we can all agree, when it is not in relation to business, the media has lowered the confidence the public felt in his economic plan to the point that if things get much worse, the public is going to deliver much worse. 

Cristal M Clark

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Bars, Restaurants, Gym’s, Schools, Public Events

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All Closed or Canceled

Cristal M Clark

Last night if anyone took a stroll through social media what you might have seen was a mixture of understanding in light of all that has been temporarily closed or canceled and then those that are displaced and now angry by it.

The facts are simple, in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and allow for hospitals and doctors to better prepare for it, we had to close and cancel things. Individuals were not taking the advice of anyone and over the weekend went out and posted pictures of the bars and clubs they went to, almost as if to snub experts. While most were saying things like they were immune to Covid-19, that was never what anyone suggested or said. No darlings, you are just less likely to die from it or develop serious complications from it, you can still infect others that are in fact more likely to die. Which shows how selfish and uncaring the general population can be, if the panic purchasing in bulk didn’t already give you any indication of that.

On CNN this AM the mayor of New York claimed this is likely going to be worse than the great depression and the black death. Great, let’s just stir up some more panic. Then another expert said we can do this no matter the financial hardships and that isn’t entirely accurate.

Some bars here in Colorado vowed to continue to stay open regardless, taking to social media and inviting people in, restaurants have vowed to start up their own delivery, scary if you think about it, as bad as Uber can be, they do at the least vet their drivers. Conspiracy theorists are taking to social media and pushing for civil war, civil unrest and acts of violence towards our fellow man and our government.

People, the vast majority of society here in the US are and have been living paycheck to paycheck since 08, while costs grew, pay did not keep in line with those increasing costs. Being out of work for even a week will destroy families and individuals, so we should hope that Trump and his administration have a plan in place to bail out the working class this time.

The public was already angry, they are now anxious, worried and afraid, and now mixed with pure anger it is only a matter of time before we as a nation are faced with civil unrest should people be out of work for weeks on end. We cannot survive without our paychecks, the president, congress and the nation need to be worried about that as well.

As of today, the overall worry is how society is going to manage and given our propensity towards violence, I can only assume that as our Government attempts to make things better they are in fact, becoming much, much worse.

I wish my fellow man all the best as we try to survive and push forward.

Cristal M Clark

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Denver Police Department- It’s a crazy man’s world now

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What’s a cop to do?

So as of last week in Colorado, it will soon be against the law to place people in jail when they are picked up on mental health or suicide holds.

Don’t get me wrong while I am all for this, I am at the same time not for this.

The law which takes effect August 9, 2017 affects all of the state of Colorado, means well, yet it serves no purpose other than to endanger the lives of innocent individuals.

Here is the reality, and trust me I get it, jails should not be utilized to house those that are deemed to have a mental illness or who are suicidal, yet who have not committed a crime that would warrant an arrest. Yet sometimes until the individual can be placed in the right facility, it is a truly necessary evil.

While at the same time hospitals and safe houses like for instance SCL Health, HAF house (Jefferson Center for Mental Health), MCHD,  Safe House, Denver General, Aurora Mental Health, and the like, all will flat out refuse to take a potential patient due to the perceived severity of mental issue that particular individual has.

This is a current and quite common practice, so when is the state who already funds most of these mental health facilities, going to tell them they have to now take all types of patients and no longer selectively pick and choose who they treat just because they don’t feel like treating a certain type of patient?

Or was that not part of the plan because no one wants to really address that?

And lets not forget those who are higher than a kite from things like meth. For those of you that think pot, forget it those kids are over at 7-11 getting nachos and slurpees.

In the meantime…

Denver police-crmeshop

So what’s a cop to do?

So yes, while I get that because of legalized marijuana the state is pouring money into these organizations, what I am seeing because I have friends applying for jobs at each organization daily is, those organizations not hiring.

So where is the money really going? They are not staffing up, because of they had been they would have been hiring a month ago.

Mobilization units? Kids just fresh out of school who have absolutely zero street knowledge?

Don’t knock that, knowledge is power, the more you know the better you are in certain circumstances. And when you have not worked with the criminally insane, the Bipolar, those that suffer severe bouts of PTSD, those that really do hear voices, and the like, on the streets you can’t help them no matter how much school you have had. It’ all first hand. Nothing more or less than that.

The worst most frightening part, what happens when no organization or hospital wants to take a certain patient, the individual can’t be placed, so what happens? 

They can’t be arrested or placed, so what they are allowed to saunter off into the night?

Thus potentially going off the deep end and harming themselves or others later?

Why do we continuously place the burden of our ill decisions on the nation’s law enforcement?

So now cops are faced with the decision, “find a reason to arrest the guy i.e, probable cause or place him somewhere if the mobile crisis team shows up and could actually assess the the man or women better than the cop or let him walk, thus putting the community in danger?”

Well the hands of the police are tied as of August 9th. They simply can’t arrest some individuals so you might as well get those welcome mats out…some of those individuals will be hanging out near your front doors.

In case you did not notice that could potentially make the overcrowding jail issue in Denver even worse.

It also makes the jail the poor issue, worse but that goes without being said here.

Several of my closest friends who work in the mental health community cringed as our glorious Governor Hickenlooper signed this into law.

I understand let’s not punish the mentally ill but why not?  To prove temporary insanity, takes quite the effort and from what I understand it is a truly rare thing.

So if someone is drunk, high or simply just lost it one day and breaks the law they honestly do know right from wrong, so why not jail them?

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Ask APD from years ago. I lost it once and yea I knew and still do know right from wrong despite a temporary loss of my better judgement.

The best part of that story is that the police my own family, knew that I knew right from wrong regardless of my momentary lapse in judgement. They arrested me to help me and you know what?

It worked.

Most of the time the individual does in face, know what he or she is doing and can very clearly decipher right from wrong. 

Mentally ill or not.

 The potential damage from this can never be undone.

I reflect on James Holmes. Who’s own doctor cried out for help knowing he was a ticking time bomb.

Where is plan b or c?

When the hospitals or mental health facilities and houses refuse to take the patient? Where is plan B or C? No one ever thinks outside of the circle.

To the beat cops who see this nonsense daily, I feel you, I have your back and more power to you.

You are being placed in one hell of a crap situation, it’s a shit storm brewing on the horizon.

Cristal M Clark

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Denver, CO where the homeless are the gift that keeps on giving.

denver-co-homeless-crimeshop

Denver, Colorado

In downtown Denver it seems that the homeless come in never ending waves. Once a sweep is done, another wave shows up eventually. 

Earlier this year the City of Denver conducted a sweep of homeless camps, forcing or so they thought the homeless off of the streets and into shelters and the like.

What really happened was the majority just found a new place to camp, along near the south Platte, some in neighboring residential areas where one resident reported to local media recently that she had, witnessed two homeless individuals having sex right out in the open, in her neighborhood…which by the way is nothing new for those who actually live right off of the mall area and in and around 13th, 14th, 16th and 17th avenues.

The point is, after the sweep earlier this year, the homeless numbers in particular areas dropped off, but they didn’t just stop being homeless or disappear. They camped out elsewhere.

Some blame it on the legalization of cannabis which I am sure brought some to Denver but it did not create the homeless issues that they face. Those very same issues have been plaguing the city for quite some time, for years in fact, prior to the legalization of recreational cannabis.

Now it seems the homeless have flocked right back to familiar territory. Drive down Lawrence by the shelter…you’ll find homeless hanging out, camped out and waiting…

The city has come out and said “we firmly believe people are best served indoors.” To some extent I agree with that idea, the intent is very well meant. But the idea itself is not one that will be successful at this juncture.

So here are the issues currently, residents, the city, business owners, visitors to the city, they all want the homeless out of sight and out of mind so to speak. So they came up with a solution designed to provide them shelter and a place to go, programs that are intended to help them become productive members of society.

But are the well wishers and planners truly understanding the issues that the homeless face?

Do they get it?

What is causing the homeless individuals to become homeless?

For some it is job loss or that the jobs they have simply do not pay enough for them to afford rent along with other housing costs.

Some suffer from mild to severe mental health issues that are under-treated, not treated at all or they are self treating through substance abuse.

Some are addicted to alcohol or drugs

Some suffer from a physical disability

Some have no family or friends that they can rely upon to help them so they all end up living on the streets.

A huge issue that the homeless complain about is the violence, assaults, filth and conditions at the shelters. The vast majority of the homeless will tell you that they would rather sleep on the street than in a shelter because the shelters are filthy, they have bed bugs, some are assaulted at shelters, hurt, and if you have ever walked through a shelter at night, it is pretty dehumanizing to say the least. 

A lot of the programs so as to help them are designed specifically for helping the homeless obtain housing and jobs. Some of the specialized housing for the homeless have rules, the programs are more in line with transitional housing. 

But to qualify certain conditions have to be met or the homeless is denied the housing or kicked out.

They cannot have priors for most of the transitional housing or if they do it cannot be sex assault and or violent priors, then the issue of substance abuse always comes up. While in most if not all of the transitional housing, they cannot drink or do drugs.

Well, that is a huge part of the homeless population. A lot do in fact suffer from some form of substance abuse, some have prior’s and some have priors that are due to mental illnesses that were never treated properly.

You cannot demand that the homeless give up whatever substance they abuse just so that they can have housing. I’ve heard people say, that if the homeless want off the streets bad enough they’ll give up drinking or doing drugs.

That is not a fair expectation to be honest. You don’t just expect a long time heavy drinker or drug user to give up something they are addicted to. It’s not instantaneous or easy and depending on the level of abuse, could potentially be dangerous to just give up cold turkey.

Then you have those that do want off the street but can’t afford housing. It’s easy to tell them to move to a suburb that may be more affordable, which then usually leaves them facing the hard cold reality of lack of transportation.

And some homeless, for them that is all that they know. If you have ever seen Shawshank Redemption, when Red gets out of prison, he struggles to adapt to life on the outside.

Think about a long term homeless individual, perhaps one that wasn’t ever really good at holding down a job, not drinking or using drugs, the family gig…it would not be easy for them.

So what we are left with is this really ugly circle that just doesn’t stop. We can’t force someone to seek help when they are unwilling to seek it out. We cannot force someone to seek a better life if they are content with the life that they have or if a better life is simply out of reach for various reasons and we cannot force someone to seek shelter if they do not want it.

The fact is, we cannot force them to head to any of the resources offered if they do not want them or if it, in the long run is not truly a long term solution.

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The problem that the city faces is, legally just because the homeless aren’t pretty to look at they can’t really stop them from being homeless.

The fantasy, the expectation and desire in this case are simply not in line with the realities of why the homeless are homeless and the solutions are far from long term.

Cristal M Clark

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Denver, Colorado Police Department – changing use force policy

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Denver, Colorado

In a move that I don’t often make, I am going to praise the efforts of the Denver, Colorado Police Department, in fact, I commend them for taking this very huge step forward.

They announced this week that they plan to rewrite the department’s use of force policy. I’ve said this so many times before, in all reality police departments across the US don’t really need the DOJ to step in and fix everything if a police department is willing and ready for change.

As it turns out, one of the departments that I often praise has paid attention to what has been happening with other police departments across the nation and has taken it upon themselves to change the way they react.

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Instead of telling officers what is legally allowed in terms of using force, they will now be encouraged and allowed to use the minimum amount of force necessary.
That translates to not shooting first and asking questions later, which DPD never really had an issue with but why wait until one surfaces?

They will be provided special training and models to help guide them on how to better react to different situations, according to DPD Chief Robert White.  

“I’m of the opinion it’s just not good enough for officers to take legal actions, but they also need to make sure those actions are absolutely necessary that’s where we are going.”

What citizens don’t often see or realize is that some police departments across the country have been watching the violence, the actions of both officers and citizens and they have listened to how citizens feel and they are now taking steps to change different aspects of policing.

That’s pretty important.

The Denver police department has already included a section to its operations manual that requires officers to de-escalate situations when reasonable and of course practical.

They included a section that says that officers now have a duty to render aid after they have shot a suspect or if they used physical force on a suspect if the situation is deemed safe to do so.

Chief White has also vowed to listen to input and idea’s which shows. What’s more is that the department did not take this process lightly. They consulted with something like 14 other departments, some of which were, Seattle, San Diego, Kansas City, Mo, a board of directors.

They even looked at input from from the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing and the Police Executive Research Forum.

The Denver Police Department is proving that they can lead by example. They watch, listen and actually choose to hear what is said by citizens, not just in Denver but nationwide and step forward to make the changes that are needed.

I commend them for the dedication they have for the community that they serve.

Success is not about being the best. It’s about always getting better.

Clearly the Denver Police Department gets that.

Cristal M Clark

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Welcome to Denver where you will be violently attacked and possibly die

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How I feel the media describes it after seeing, reading or hearing a headline:

~Denver’s 16th street mall violence is growing to epic proportions

~The Sky is falling in Denver, it’s all out war down on the 16th street mall

~Man brutally beaten with pipe on the 16th street mall (I saw the video the guy that got hit had a laceration and the man     swinging the pipe was arrested)

~Welcome to Denver where you will be violently attacked and possibly die

~Denver police standing around doing nothing while people are viciously attacked on the 16th street mall

~Denver’s homeless smoking crack and shooting up in the allies

~Stay away from the 16th street mall folks, nothing to see here…unless you want to get beat up by a homeless person…and possibly die

Not to make light of it, but…why is it that the media always over sensationalizes every little thing?

The 16th street mall and I am a native of Colorado has always had a problem with transients, some years are better than others. Back in the early 90’s Denver had a problem with transients being aggressive and passing out all over, in front of clubs, restaurants, shops etc.

They normally fight and attack each other more often than not, now they are going for people who might actually have something worth some value that they can take and then try to sell.

Denver, Colorado

Denver tried a few years back to create a “no-solicitation zone” along the 16th street mall which gave the ACLU the opportunity to get involved and win an injunction that prohibited the city from implementing that ordinance.  

The reason being was simple of course. The ACLU’s argument was that it is really hard to regulate speech in public spaces without running into the first amendment.

If memory serves, Denver doesn’t have a loitering ordinance, but even if they did, all the police can do is ask people to move along, away from the mall. If you look at it from a constitutional aspect, that law even more difficult to enforce because then you get into things like “selective” enforcement of the law, which can lead to other issues such as profiling etc.

A few years ago I lived right on 16th Ave a walk out the back door and I was on the 16th street mall. When the police politely tried to encourage the transients away from the mall, they ended up in my neighborhood full of houses, condo’s and some schools. A residential area.

Long story short is that, even that became problematic for the police. Homeowners feared going out after dark, most don’t have a garage when living in the city and some day’s you have to park a good distance away from where you live…that was a scary walk or two through the jungle.

Across the street from my place was a plastic surgery center and next to it was a vacant home. The plastic surgery center would allow for those of us in our condo’s to park in their parking lot at night and on the weekends.

Well, that vacant home became prime real estate to the transients, I lost track of how many times the police showed up to get them off of that property, and from camping out at it. In the end however, our cars were broken into several times, neighbors and I were harassed going to and from our cars, some people were shoved, hit, pushed and what not. Some mornings when heading out to work, we’d call in late after having found a homeless person asleep on our doorstep, some were so violent you didn’t dare wake them, you either called the police or hoped something would rouse them sooner or later so that you could get to work.

In February of this year, the DPD were called out to the now closed plastic surgery center because as luck would have it, someone broke into the vacant building, through the roof.

The point of that little story is simply contrary to what the Mayor said roughly 5 days ago where, he stated that part of the violence problems down on the mall are due to the legalization of cannabis, it’s not, it’s been on it’s way to escalation since before cannabis legalization happened.

From 2008-2013 when I finally begrudgingly moved out of the downtown area I noticed the transient population growing and becoming more and more aggressive.

But I do love the effort to blame the legalization of cannabis…without having any proof of that being even part of the reason as to why people are being attacked whilst strolling down the 16th street mall.

Denver is however, very tolerant of the transient community and always without fail has been, when those individuals behave and are non-aggressive.

Denver has tried many different avenues in an effort to curb the problem as well as the aggressive behavior that come along with a transient community living in parallel to a working society.

I do see a lot of blame being thrown at the DPD’s feet for lack of having “enough” officers at the mall at all hours of the day and night. Trust me, as far as the world is concerned, you are never going to please everyone and so…the police could not possibly have enough officers at the 16th street mall in someone’s eyes.

At the same time it really isn’t fair to blame the police department either. They cannot be everywhere at all times. And District 6 does have officers already assigned to the mall, they patrol it all the time.

Pulling officers from other active areas throughout the city creates potential problems in whatever area the officers were pulled from.

Approving OT is a great idea but officers can’t work 24/7 nonstop they do need a break from time to time as well.  Additionally, does DPD have a plan to hire more officers for that part of town or…

The other problem is that yes, sure the police can arrest the problem children, but guess what they do get out of jail eventually and where do you think they end up? Yes our courts can fine them but they aren’t working currently I’m guessing they are not going to be enticed to try to find a job just to pay a court ordered fine either.

When the transients do get money, they tend to spend it on alcohol, well store owners can consider refusing to sell them any, the store owners know the homeless community much better than the police do after all.

OF course that could also enrage the transient and cause a small issue in the store.

The 16th street mall could be privatized or the city could enforce the aggressive panhandling ordinance, in either case it only moves the problem away from the mall and over to another highly populated area for instance, Rino, Highlands, Cherry Creek, further south down Broadway and into residential areas.  

Besides, the Denver police announced last October that they would no longer be enforcing the city’s aggressive panhandling ordinance, because a similar ban in Grand Junction was ruled as a violation of panhandlers’ first amendment rights. So that’s out.

I should note here that Denver does have a law that prohibits being aggressive in an attempt to get money from a passersby which is not considered the same as aggressive panhandling. The problem is that it’s often under reported and when it is, it’s after the fact making it difficult for police to track down the transient.  

In case you didn’t notice my not to subtle hint here, solving the issue isn’t going to be that easy.

Finding a way to curb the violence is just a start. Society in general seems to be becoming more and more violent and although the reality is violence is everywhere we look, online, on tv, every newscast, social media, etc.

As much as we dislike it, our species has always been violent, so when the media suggests we are becoming immune to it, that is untrue. It is more publicized now than it ever was, and violence tends to grow at the same rate that society in general does.

A bigger society means that it is more prone to outbursts of violence. Add other things like lax laws, poor oversight, not having enough police, not enforcing the laws, the inability to read minds, therefore enabling law enforcement to know when a predator is going to strike, etc…All of that, well that creates a perfect storm.

Everything we do has a cause and then subsequent effect

Everyone can come to the table with plausible solutions to Denver’s 16th street mall problem, the questions are, how to implement those solutions and more importantly, are they long term solutions?

I mentioned some solutions above, while some seem really great, in the grand scheme of things they are short term. Short term solutions to me are the same as sweeping something under the carpet and just hoping it isn’t under the carpet the next time we look.

We basically throw a log doused in fuel into the fire and hope for the best just hoping that it keeps us warm for a really loooong time. The log usually burns through and we have to add another…

What’s more is that some of the very solutions I mentioned while they do sound great will push the problem further into residential areas and other upscale heavily populated areas of the city.

I lived near the mall when that happened a few years ago. Try living in a residential area just blocks away from the Mall, an area the transients moved to after having been kicked out of the mall area. That residential area lacks camera’s, lighting, shops, a witness, it does offer more hiding places for a transient.

Beefing up patrols is a good start if the DPD has the manpower to keep it up, arresting the transients however will only serve as short term solutions to long term problems. Moreover, again is that beefing up patrols long term or just through the end of this summer?

The point is, I hope the city is looking at more long term solutions that actually have the effect everyone is seeking.

I guess for now time will tell, we could always wait it out until next summer…

Cristal M Clark

@thecrimeshop

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Video shows man violently attacking people on 16th Street Mall; suspect arrested