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Third Guy Fawkes Day case dismissed as Denver continues to arrest marchers

DENVER, COLO.- Last night Denver police mobbed a demonstration protesting the officer-involved execution of unarmed suspect Dion Avila Damon in front of his wife and child. At the end of Tuesday’s march, Robin Hamm and Nathan Stickel were arrested for obstruction, failure to obey, and destruction of private property. They were still in custody when fellow activist, Joaquin dela Torre-McNeil, arrested at an identically uneventful march last November, showed up for his court date today only to hear the city motion to dismiss his case. Joaquin was charged with interference and resisting arrest, both accusations without merit. This morning the city admitted as much.

This marks the third of nine arrests made November 5, 2015 which have been dismissed. Peter Lewis, 31, was snagged as an obstructee, then detained on a possessions charge until all charges were dropped November 20. Brandon Deaton, 24, was charged with obstruction. He was represented by attorney Frank Ingham and his case was dismissed March 23.

Joaquin’s dismissal bodes well for the remaining six cases, which are equally unfounded.

Four are charged with interference and obstruction, plus the odd sundry misdemeanor: David Croisant, 29, is represented by attorney Birk Baumgardner; Selayna Bechtold, 19, is represented by Venkatesh Iyer; Mark Iannicelli, 58, is represented by Katayoun Donnelly; and Justin Berding, 25, is represented by Cheri Deatsch.

Two are charged with felonies: Damian Stasek, 25, represented by attorney Lon Heymann; and Jake Pauly, 25. Both are charged with assault of a peace officer, which happens whenever physical contact is not initiated by the police, although in both cases this was a technicality.

Bumping into police officers is going to happen if they get in your way, especially when they have no right to get in your way, given that your first amendment right was the reason they were supposed to stay out of your way. If there’s no obstruction, there’s no interference, and your collision with their obstruction of your civil liberties is not assault.

The November 5th march was uneventful except for the arrests. There was neither property damaged, traffic impeded, nor lives endangered. The police acted purely to intimidate and squelch protest. They succeeded but now the courts are not supporting their actions. As charges fall, the accusations lose veracity. Certainly the crowd’s anger at their demonstration being curtailed with such heavy-handedness is being shown to having been legitimate. You can’t arrest people for objecting to your unlawful conduct.

But DPD hasn’t been taught that lesson yet. Last night’s march for DPD victim Dion Avila Damon was equally harmless. Arrests were made for the usual show of force. Two activists remain in custody. The bureaucratic delay is now excused as a 24-hour processing requirement for fingerprints to clear the system. Only then will bonds be calculated and allowed to be posted. Detainees will then wait a minimum of five further hours to be released. When last night’s charges are dismissed, Denver will have to account for two more wrongful imprisonment cases.

One thought on “Third Guy Fawkes Day case dismissed as Denver continues to arrest marchers

  1. So are they going to make rich and or famous people wait 29 hours before making bond? Now, I just know that the Police, being of course Our Friends (citation- 2nd verse of “what did you learn in school today?”) and honorable men, citation Marc Antony in the eulogy to Caesar, wouldn’t be trying a “fast one” or any kind of end run around the constitution.

    So there’s no way they’re lying to us. And I just get the gut feeling they intend to isolate the political prisoners from General Population “for your own safety”.

    Here’s a thought: there’s a Police (and Prison Guard) memorial service down at Canon City every year close to this time.

    Maybe we should have a counter rally to commemorate those who died in one level or another of custody. Call it Police Victims Memorial Day. The businesses near Territorial Prison are mostly owned by a corporation called Retail Space For Rent. Have a perfectly legitimate demonstration of Advances In Stereo Sound Equipment. Just a vague thought. Not like I would have any details in mind.

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