DENVER — Friday, Oct. 14. 2011 — Gov. John Hickenlooper today released this statement about the events last night in Lincoln Park in downtown Denver:
“The First Amendment and the rights it guarantees for free speech and assembly are critical to our democracy. These rights are what set the United States above all other nations. We also have rules and laws that must be followed.
“Demonstrators in Lincoln Park were told every day this week they could not camp in the park. Yet each day the number of tents grew. Last night, and after multiple requests to follow the law, the Colorado State Patrol intervened. State troopers and Denver police demonstrated extreme restraint and professionalism as they encountered a very difficult situation.
“We owe the Colorado State Patrol a great deal of gratitude for their work. We also greatly appreciate the efforts by state employees from the Colorado Department of Transportation and the Department of Personnel and Administration, as well as the support from the Denver Police Department and Xcel Energy.
“Some people are finding it easy today to criticize the state’s response this week to what is a national movement in many cities across the country. There were numerous jurisdictional and legal issues to work through before a clear course of action could be set. For example, the state does not have a jail nor does the state have direct prosecutorial authority for park violations. We needed the cooperation of other entities and wanted to be very deliberate and thorough in our response.
“In the end, we worked with Occupy Denver to find a resolution that included constructive communication, many people voluntarily leaving the park, no violence and minimal arrests.
“We understand the frustration voiced by demonstrators about the economy, the loss of jobs and dysfunction in Washington. That’s why we are intently focused on economic development in Colorado. Just this week the state saw two global companies make significant investments in Colorado that will add jobs and momentum to business development efforts happening throughout the state.
“This kind of economic news doesn’t solve all of the issues raised by demonstrators this week, but it does show we all want the same thing: a healthy America where everyone can prosper.”