Was the Public Adequately Warned About Violent LoDo Attacks?

November 25 2009, 9:32 AM

Charges have been formally filed against nine African-American youths who were rounded up by Denver police following a spree of assaults and robberies over the past four months. Two of the nine, 18-year-old Kendall Austin and 18-year-old Clarissa Lockhart, face additional charges for a hate crime after an incident on September 4, when they allegedly attacked two men at 16th and Welton streets (via 9News). As Westword points out, more than 30 suspects, all African-American, were arrested in the investigation, which alleges men and women were targeted simply for being white or Latino. The big question now is when, exactly, the city knew what was going on. Police did not acknowledge the crime wave in LoDo, writes 7News, until after the news organization requested police records for the area on September 3---two months into the attacks, a time when a special FBI task force was working to help Denver police solve the crimes. Denver talk-radio host Dan Caplis and callers criticized Mayor John Hickenlooper and police for failing to alert the public sooner, alleging a "cover-up" that left downtown visitors unaware of the racially motivated attacks. Hickenlooper and Denver officials defend their handling of the attacks. "They (the police) worked very quietly," Hickenlooper told talk-radio host Mike Rosen, in response to a caller's question. "Nobody told me about this investigation, that they had made progress" (via The Denver Post).