Denver police ‘Beat the Crowds’ T-shirt no laughing matter, protesters charge

Protest groups are demanding Denver police halt the sale and discipline anyone responsible for the creation of a “commemorative” DNC T-shirt distributed to officers featuring a baseball-bat wielding cop and the slogan “WE GET UP EARLY to BEAT the Crowds 2008 DNC.”

The back of a commemorative DNC T-shirt sold by the Denver Police Protective Association bears the slogan 'We Get Up Early to Beat the Crowds - 2008 DNC.' (Photo/Ernest Luning)

The back of a commemorative DNC T-shirt sold by the Denver Police Protective Association bears the slogan 'We Get Up Early to Beat the Crowds - 2008 DNC.' (Photo/Ernest Luning)

The T-shirt “makes a mockery” of the Denver Police Department’s Law Enforcement Code of Ethics and should be condemned, a statement from the Recreate 68 group said Thursday afternoon.

The group called for an investigation into the T-shirt and asked officials to “discipline” those involved. In addition, the group demanded that “police training regarding civil liberties be reevaluated, because it clearly has not achieved its intended effect.”

The front of a commemorative DNC T-shirt sold by the Denver Police Protective Association bears the logo '68 with a slash through it, representing opposition to demonstrators' interest in reviving the spirit of the 1968 Democratic National Convention. (Photo/Ernest Luning)

The front of a commemorative DNC T-shirt sold by the Denver Police Protective Association bears the logo '68 with a slash through it, representing opposition to demonstrators' interest in reviving the spirit of the 1968 Democratic National Convention. (Photo/Ernest Luning)

The black T-shirt — which also displays a 68 with a slash through it, a reference to demonstrators’ intentions to bring the spirit of the 1968 Democratic National Convention to Denver — has been available for sale since the week after the convention at the office of the Denver Police Protective Association, a union representing most of Denver’s 1,400 police officers, according to DPPA employees.

Nearly 2,000 of the shirts have been distributed, a DPPA employee said Thursday afternoon, and 100 more are on order. The shirt was given away to Denver Police Department officers and has been sold to officers from other departments for $10.

Denver Det. Nick Rogers, vice president of the police union, told the Rocky Mountain News on Thursday he hadn’t received any complaints about the shirts and said it’s common for Denver police to produce commemorative T-shirts after big events.

During the DNC, police arrested 154 protesters. On Tuesday, the Denver District Attorney declined to prosecute a Denver officer caught on videotape shoving a Code Pink demonstrator to the ground with his riot baton during the DNC.

From the Recreate 68 statement:

The people of Denver were assured by the city that it would respect First Amendment rights during the DNC, and that that police officers were being trained to do so. The actions of police during the DNC, which involved numerous violations of people’s right to freedom of speech and assembly, put the lie to those promises. And now this appalling, tasteless t-shirt shows why. The members of Denver’s police union clearly have no respect for the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution.

Here’s the video shot by the Rocky Mountain News of a Denver officer slamming a Code Pink demonstrator to the ground:

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Ernest Luning

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