Union says Denver officers ordered not to wear riot gear

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DENVER (AP) — Denver's police union says officers' safety is being compromised by orders not to wear riot gear during recent protests of police actions in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City.

Union attorney Sean Olson says commanders are telling officers not to wear the military-style gear because it looks intimidating and could intensify the protests.

Hundreds of high school students have been protesting since Dec. 3, and officers are escorting them as they march down city streets. Four officers monitoring a demonstration last week were struck by a driver who suffered a medical emergency. One was critically injured.

Olson says more will be hurt if officials forbid riot gear.

Mayoral spokeswoman Amber Miller says officials are trying to ensure both officer and public safety, noting that protests have been peaceful so far.

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