Denver jury finds camp protester NOT GUILTY of tent erection (obstruction).
By Eric Verlo
NOT MY TRIBE - 11/17/2015 6:37AM MDT
DENVER, COLORADO- Andrian “Monk” Brown was observed on HALO camera “erecting a tent” on the spot he’d been arrested two days before inside a similar tent. He was arrested escaping the scene of the crime and or walking his dog around the block. This week Monk was tried for obstruction, the deputy city attorney prosecuted the case herself but was unable to overcome the jury’s inclinations that the charges were “silly”. Monk’s defense attorney rested her case without presenting a thing. Essentially the closing argument was this: did a three-man tent obstruct anyone in a large public plaza? NOT GUILTY.
The jury had many questions of their own for the prosecution’s witness, District Two Commander Anthony Lopez. The judge allowed none of them. One of the questions asked “what was written on the tent?” In fact the tent was decorated with many slogans and constitued part of the political protest in front of Denver’s municipal courthouse.
The protest had been going for three days, twentyfour-seven. The protesters had won a federal injunction preventing the city from arresting them for the pretext of “jury tampering”. The protest was pushing up against the “urban camping ban” ordinance although the city refused to cite that infraction, instead confiscating the “encumbrances” of activists and charging them with obstruction.
Many “evictions” later, several activists are now burdened with cases of “obstruction” and Monk’s verdict offers hope that Denver juries will see through the city’s pretext.
An important lesson learned during Monk’s trial was the opportunity offered by the police arrest video. While issues of “jury nullification” or the camping ban or the right to assemble or the police state would be impossible to sneak past a city attorney’s objections, talking about them calmly over a megaphone during the police raid will give the jury a full uninterrupted twenty minutes of background context with which to reveal what “encumbrance” the city is really worried about.