The Denver Police Protective Association is claiming that at a student walkout in Denver to protest a grand jury's decision in Ferguson, Missouri, students cheered when four police officers were injured.
On Wednesday, hundreds of students from East High School in Denver walked out of class, protesting a St. Louis County grand jury's decision not to indict former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown. According to local outlet KUSA-TV, the students walked from their school to the state's capitol building, and local police officers were escorting the students in order to ensure their safety. However, during the walkout, four officers on bicycles were struck by a car and injured. One officer was still in critical but stable condition as of Thursday night, KVDR-TV reported.
In a statement released Thursday by the Denver Police Protective Association, the association alleges that students acted inappropriately after the car accident. The statement, obtained by local outlet KWGN-TV, says the union learned that "several parties in the protesting group cheered and chanted 'hit him again.' These actions are not only reprehensible but quite possibly the most disturbing thing this Association has ever heard."
But the Denver Police Department said in a statement that it cannot independently confirm claims that students cheered after the officers were struck protecting protesters." The statement notes that if students did indeed cheer, the Denver police chief believes that behavior doesn't reflect "the opinions of the vast majority of protesters from East High School."
The police union also said in a statement that the protesting "high school students not only broke [Denver Public School] rules by leaving school without authorization, but broke laws of the City and County of Denver and State of Colorado regarding traffic regulations and the right to assemble with a permit. The DPPA recognizes citizens’ rights to assemble lawfully. This, however, was not a lawful assembly, which ultimately cost four Denver Police Officers a trip to the hospital."
The police union did not respond to a request from The Huffington Post for comment.
A statement from Denver Public Schools said that the district has "no knowledge of the alleged comments." The statement says that students have expressed concern and support for the seriously injured officer, and that "student leaders at East today presented Denver Police Chief Robert White with flowers to give on their behalf to the officer and his family."
One student told KDVR-TV that she overhead some protesters making disparaging remarks to police during the walkout, but that those protesters were older men and not students.
On Thursday, city leaders, including the Denver Police Chief Robert White, met with students at East High School to talk about how to improve trust between students and police officers, says KUSA-TV.
Below are pictures of the protest that took place on Wednesday:
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