politics

DNC Fuzz

Roving Bands of Police Shop 16th St. Mall

On the Saturday before the DNC, we were lounging on the patio of a Russian vodka bar, in Denver’s 16th Street Mall, watching roving bands of police. In groups of ten, twenty, thirty, they wandered down the sidewalks like wayward vacationers, stopping to peer curiously at shoppers and into the windows of cafes. They were dressed in full riot gear, helmets dangling languidly from straps on their shoulders, bunches of zip cuffs decorating their belts, but they merely ambled along. Whole blobs of them would slow to a stop, blocking the sidewalks, and while some smoked and chatted, others would suspiciously lift bits of trash out of potted plants, examine them, and carefully place them back. Sometimes a few would come to a halt, look ever so slightly baffled, and then turn, strolling back the way they’d come. It was vaguely ominous but bemusing. It was as if three hundred cops had been lifted from their patrols elsewhere and sent, unbeknownst to them, on holiday in a Denver pedestrian mall. We saw so many passersby eye these masses of police with total confusion, that I started to imagine that everyone in the city would be completely taken by surprise when the DNC started on Monday