The Denver Police Department apologized Wednesday after revealing officers exchanged text messages that referred to Occupy Denver protesters as "retards," "hippies" and "civic center yahoos."
In one of the texts sent using a car-to-car messaging system, dated Nov. 4, an officer responds to another about the growing size of the crowds, writing: "yup. but they claim to be peacefully protesting. I say we just baton the people who start to incite everyone. the rest who are peaceful, let em stay lol."
In a message from Oct. 13, officers discuss problems that might arise from protesters getting kicked out of Denver's Civic Center Park: "probably little problems from the 'real' protesters, but the grungy hippies and the usual civic center yahoos will more than likely be a problem."
Police have clashed with Occupy Wall Street protesters across the country since the movement first started in New York City on Sept. 17.
Another Denver police officer wrote on Nov. 12: "This occupy s**t has got out of hand because this liberal administration has allowed them to."
On the same date, one officer even boasts about setting up a Twitter account to harass Occupy Denver protesters: "a few of us set up a twitter account to harass the 'occupy denver' people … a video was posted with the [motorcycle] mc offcr a few weeks ago who's bike was pushed … totally incriminating the guy and all the protesters were demanding on the video being taken down. was pretty funny. i love watching idiots make a fool of themselves … doesn't get any better."
Another officer refers to protesters as a "buncha occupy denver retards."
In a news release, the Denver Police Department called the behavior "inappropriate," but noted, "many Denver Police Officers have endured months of having to leave their families to come into work, giving up their days off and silently tolerating hours of taunting and abusive actions by some protestors."
The department is taking steps to "remind all officers of our expectations," Lt. Matt Murray, a police spokesman, said in a news release.
The messages were released, the statement said, "in a desire to be transparent to the people we serve."