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05 February, 2016

Leaked: Denver police use undercover ‘shadow teams’ to target protest leaders

A leaked police manual reveals how Denver police respond to marches and other forms of protest, including their use of undercover “platoons” of officers to pick out leaders for later arrest.

On Jan. 19, Unicorn Riot, an independent media collective with several members in the state, published a heavily redacted version of the 2011 edition of the “Denver Police Department Crowd Management Manual” obtained through a Colorado Open Records Act request. Days later, an anonymous source sent them an unredacted copy of the 2008 edition of the manual. The two editions appear to have few differences and the policies described in both versions match the behavior of police toward protests, according to activists and journalists interviewed by MintPress News.

This manual has been a tremendous help to our reporting in terms of understanding the police apparatus that is deployed at protests,” representatives of Unicorn Riot told MintPress by email.

Both editions of the manual provide guidelines for handling both planned and spontaneous protests while maintaining that “all police personnel will ensure minimal disruption to First Amendment activities.” However, they provide little guidance to help officers differentiate between protected speech and unlawful behavior. “This talking point and any other mention of the ‘First Amendment’ by the police seems to just be public relations,” Unicorn Riot noted in the email, adding that Denver police regularly target activists who speak out against the police, even if their behavior is law-abiding.

Full report and leaked manual:

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