IDAHO SPRINGS – A two-county SWAT team was sent to a home in Idaho Springs to evict a 63-year-old woman. The eviction happened last Tuesday, according to Captain Bruce Snelling with the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Department.
“Usually an eviction doesn’t call for a tactical team,” Captain Snelling said.
SWAT team members with assault rifles were sent in because two dozen protestors joined 63-year-old Sahara Donahue. The protestors were part of a group called the Colorado Foreclosure Resistance Coalition, which is part of the Occupy movement.
The group’s spokesperson said they were there to help prevent officers from kicking Donahue out of her home. “We expected one or two sheriff’s deputies to show up, instead what we had was ten vans show up,” Darren O’Connor, a member of the coalition, said.
So why did so many officers show up? “What we learned a couple hours prior to the eviction was that one individual was seen with a hand gun that he was keeping concealed in his waistband,” Captain Snelling said.
A gun is something the captain wasn’t going to take lightly. After searching the protestors and their vehicles, it was determined the gun was only a BB gun, which was still a concern for the captain.
“Obviously in retrospect it wasn’t an excuse. It’s also a poor excuse for them to point assault rifles [at us],” O’Connor said.
O’Connor says the deputies knew it was a BB gun, since he had been live streaming the protest online prior to their arrival. The Captain says his department did not know it was a BB gun.
The protestors filmed the confrontation with the SWAT team members. In the video it shows the protestors cursing at the officers right before the officers throw some members to the ground to detain them.
“I think our officers handled themselves just fine. I’ll tell you at the end of day we were prepared to meet any resistance that may have come,” Captain Snelling said.
In the end, the protestors regret bringing the BB gun. They plan to make sure members know not to bring weapons or items that look like weapons to their next protest.
As for Sahara Donahue, she’s currently staying with friends. She told the protestors she stayed in her home for the last two years, even though it was under foreclosure, because she was trying to fight the process in court.
No one was arrested or charged with weapons possession. Two people were detained but later released. No one was injured, according to Captain Snelling.
Hat tip to daytrip for sending this along.