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Judge Deals 'Occupy Denver' Set Back

Photo by Kirk Siegler
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock addressed the lawsuit at a brief news conference at City Hall Wednesday.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock says he’s pleased that a federal judge has denied a temporary restraining order against the city sought by Occupy Denver protesters. 

The request for such an order had stemmed from a lawsuit filed against the city  which accuses authorities of trying to squash First Amendment rights by ticketing and harassing protesters on several occasions since the Occupy Denver events began in earnest in October.

Speaking to reporters inside City Hall, Mayor Hancock said the judge’s denial of the restraining order is not a victory for the city.

"Rather we see it as an affirmation of our commitment to consistently apply the ordinances and laws of the city and county of Denver as we’ve dealt with the Occupy Denver protests," he said.

An attorney for Occupy Denver told the Associated Press the judge’s ruling effectively nullifies the lawsuit.

Hancock defended city officials for trying to balance public safety and health concerns with the protesters free speech rights. 

Asked to comment about the city's police department which is under fire for several insensitive text messages that were sent among officers at the height of the Occupy Denver protests, the mayor said patience among some officers working long hours has been wearing thin. 

"Having to be out in the cold, this has not been easy and I’ve been starting to see some of the frustration of our officers," Hancock said. "That’s not an excuse, but I want you to understand that this is the frustration they have felt on the street and with regards to these text messages they will be effectively dealt with."

The Denver Police Department told the Denver Post as much Wednesday.   

Kirk Siegler reports for NPR, based out of NPR West in California.
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