It was supposed to be a peaceful expression of support for Denver’s beleaguered local police. The sixth annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Day event was scheduled to be held on July 19th in its normal location at the amphitheater in Denver’s Civic Center Park. Conservative writer and speaker Michelle Malkin, who has dealt before with radical leftists trying to prevent her from speaking on college campuses, was to be a featured speaker at this event. But an assortment of anti-police militants, including members of the Marxist Party for Socialism and Liberation and other Black Lives Matter supporters, violently shut the event down before Malkin had a chance to speak. “No parties for the pigs! Shut down Pro-Police Rally,” they advertised on Facebook.
The Denver police should have been prepared for what was coming. But instead of being grateful for the public show of support, Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen wanted the Law Enforcement Appreciation Day event rescheduled or moved to another location because he feared a Black Lives Matter counter-protest. Pazen’s duty is to protect people’s exercise of their constitutional right to peacefully assemble for whatever cause. But Pazen, who had marched together with Black Lives Matter demonstrators the month before, was willing to effectively give Black Lives Matter and their radical left wing supporters veto power over free speech.
The organizers of the pro-police event did not back down. They began, as scheduled, with the Pledge of Allegiance and a prayer. But the peaceful participants were vastly outnumbered by the police-hating militants who showed up as promised to shut down the pro-police rally. They used fascist-style tactics to accomplish their mission. A number of women attending the peaceful event were assaulted by the rioters, in some cases with hard objects such as batons.
Michelle Malkin herself was one of the victims of the mob’s assault on the Law Enforcement Appreciation Day rally as she tried to protect one of the participants. She caught what transpired on video and tweeted a portion showing “the moment one of our people was beaten on stage by invading BLM/Antifa.” One of the rally organizers was bloodied in the face and head right near Malkin.
Lillian House, an organizer for the Party of Socialism and Liberation that co-sponsored the militants’ shutdown action, said that any celebration in support of police is “unacceptable” and “just all around out of touch with the struggles people are facing.”
Are we now at the point in Denver and other major cities across the country where mobs decide what speech is acceptable or unacceptable and are permitted to enforce their dictates with violence? It seems so. “I’m ok. America is not,” Michelle Malkin tweeted following the mob’s shutdown of the rally at which Malkin was supposed to speak.
“Outrageous violence,” tweeted Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli. “These tyrannical, left-wing anarchists hate free speech. If you do not agree with them, they believe you must be beaten down – literally. @michellemalkin”
The Denver police were reportedly told to stand down initially, allowing the angry mob to first drown out and then violently attack the people who had come out in support of the police. The police said that it was only after some of the rioters “made aggressive moves” toward police officers themselves that they used pepper balls and a can of pepper spray to disperse some of the rioters.
Malkin summed up the mayhem in her July 22nd column for the Jewish World Review. “Unprovoked, the cop-haters blared airhorns, sprayed our faces (mine included), burned an American flag, punched, shoved and menaced and took over our stage,” she wrote, adding that the police did not intervene in time. “Freedom of speech? Association? Peaceable assembly? Ha. Ha. Ha,” Malkin sneered.
Instead of supporting those exercising their constitutional rights, many in the privileged “Fourth Estate” media view the violent lawbreakers as mere “counter-protesters” who deserve respect. On July 23rd, four days after members of the Party for Socialism and Liberation and their comrades disrupted the peaceful assembly in honor of Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, the Denver Post published an editorial entitled “Trump and the federal agents he can deploy need to stay away from Colorado’s protests.”
The Denver post editors pompously declared that “Trump — or any president for that matter — does not get to decide whether or not protests occur.” True, if the protests are peaceful. But militant mobs do not get to decide either what speech is “unacceptable” and back their edicts with force. Yet that is exactly what happened in Denver last week. If the local police fail to protect their residents’ civil liberties, it is time for federal agents to step in. Not to fight run-of-the-mill street crimes but to protect law-abiding individuals’ fundamental constitutional freedoms from extremist group violence.
President Trump has focused on mob violence that local law enforcement agencies have proven unwilling or unable to contain. The mayhem in Portland, including unprovoked nightly attacks against federal officers and property, is the leading example today. Seattle and Denver are not far behind. If people peacefully assembling to celebrate law enforcement, as they have done annually in Denver for years, can no longer rely on law enforcement for protection against violent mobs, something is very rotten in America. We are no longer living in the same country where we were brought up to believe in a nation of freedom under the rule of law.
To add insult to injury, the Denver Post editorial referred to the rioters as “counter-protesters calling for police reform.” No, they are violent revolutionaries whose expressed intent was, in their own words, to “shut down” the pro-police rally. A forcible shutdown of a peaceful assembly is not a peaceful “counter-protest” protected as an inviolable right under the Constitution. Intimidation and beatings are a criminal infringement of the rights of others to peacefully assemble, which require a firm law enforcement response.
The Denver Post editorial refused to blame either side. “Videos taken at the event by a Denver Post reporter capture fights erupting occasionally but don’t make it clear who is to blame for the skirmishes,” the editors asserted. “Denver police handled the situation admirably by allowing both groups to assemble, but also attempting to protect people from harm by breaking up fights. Pulling police from the event after things had settled down and one group left was the right call. Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen should be applauded for how his officers handled the volatile situation.”
Reality check: One group assembled peacefully. The other “group” – a mob – attacked the already assembled peaceful group who had begun their pro-police rally onstage. The police failed to amass enough officers to stand between the pro-police rally participants and the much larger mob, allowing thugs from the mob to storm the stage and beat up members of the peaceful group. The police only responded to the mob violence when some of their own officers were being threatened. The mob succeeded in shutting down the Law Enforcement Appreciation Day event, which forced the participants to leave for their own safety. Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen should be condemned for his actions before and during the riot, not applauded.
The Denver Post concluded its editorial this way: “Adding another agency to the mix — one with questionable accountability for their actions and directives from the president that one side of the dispute ‘hates America’– could have been disastrous.” Wrong again. The violent mob could have been dispersed before they launched their attack on a peaceful assembly of people exercising their constitutional rights.
The Denver Post editorial board, like so many in the mainstream media, refuse to accept that militants attacking peaceful demonstrators they do not agree with, law enforcement officers and public property do truly hate America’s capitalist constitutional republic. The militants clamor for revolution to bring down the present system and replace it with a socialist state. Consider what the Party of Socialism and Liberation, an organizer of the shutdown of the peaceful pro-police rally in Denver, proclaimed in its party program:
“The Party for Socialism and Liberation [PSL] exists to carry out the struggle for socialism inside the United States, the center of world capitalism and imperialism… Only a revolution can do away with the rule of the capitalists once and for all. The aim of the PSL is to abolish the corrupt, rotten and anti-people capitalist economy, state and governmental system, and replace it with one dedicated to meeting the needs of the people — a socialist system.”
Michelle Malkin has been one of the leading conservative voices warning us what militant left wing groups like the PSL have been up to for years. She has put her personal safety at risk to uphold the fundamental rights of free speech and peaceable assembly. Malkin did it again on July 19th in Denver where she was physically confronted by the shutdown mob organized by the Party for Socialism and Liberation and its comrades. For courageously facing down the self-declared socialist revolutionaries, Michelle Malkin deserves our thanks.