Denver mayor cancels speech amid protests over shooting

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    DENVER — Denver Mayor Michael Hancock canceled a speech to a gay rights conference because of protests at the event over the police department's fatal shooting of a 17-year-old girl, a spokeswoman said Friday.

    Amber Miller said it appeared that demonstrators at the Creating Change conference would not let the mayor speak and that he hopes to reschedule his appearance. "The demonstrators were there to make a statement on recent events," Miller said in a statement, "and the mayor heard them and respected their right to make their views known."

    The five-day gathering of the National LGBTQ Task Force is expected to draw 4,000 activists to downtown Denver and runs through Sunday.

    Hernandez was killed on Jan. 26 after allegedly hitting a police officer with the stolen car she was driving. However, a passenger in the car Hernandez drove disputes the police account and said the officers fired first. Some activists have linked the case to other fatal encounters between police and minorities, such as the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York City.

    Hernandez was a lesbian, and her case has garnered additional sympathy among some gay rights activists. Her wake is scheduled for Friday evening.

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