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The Denver Detention Center came under scrutiny after the county had to pay out over $6 million to the family of street preacher Marvin Booker who was killed by sheriff’s deputies while in custody. Reforms may or may not have been implemented; the deputies were neither charged nor dismissed; and the facilities remain defiant about disrespecting your rights. I had the opportunity to visit the DDC recently and I can report the experience was miserable. While the public often thinks that inmates deserve the worse the better, a county jail houses suspects not convicts, protected by the 14th Amendment from punishment before a fair trial.
DENVER, COLORADO- The occupiers of the Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse Plaza were thrown a curve on Friday afternoon when city workers were observed installing signs closing the grounds to the public from 8:30pm until 7:30am. Was this an affront to US District Court Judge William Martinez who had affirmed in federal court that the courthouse plaza was a free speech zone “24/7”? There wasn’t time to consult a legal opinion, so when a DPD cruiser interrupted the Occupy Denver GA at 8:25pm to announce the curfew and threaten arrests, the occupiers retreated to the public sidewalk north of the courthouse, where the higher profile of Colfax Avenue would make up for having to time-share their 24hr encampment. DPD swept through the park at 8:30pm to assure it was vacated and activist spent the next hours making a ruckus on the street, egged on by Friday night traffic. At bedtime a civilian dupe came over from the jail to warn that deputes told her everyone would be arrested. Laughs. At 2am a DPD platoon paid the habitual visit. Warnings that the activists were in violation of the trespass order were laughed off, and the officers told off for abusing their authority telling lies, so police could only force sleepers off the public sidewalk and mandate that signs be untied from the trees. From their beachhead on Colfax Activists promised to retake the plaza at 7:30am where they intended to catch up on their lost sleep in broad daylight.
With dusk falling across the skyscrapers of upper Manhattan, Pope Francis implored the city – all cities – to care for the less fortunate. “There are the foreigners, their children who go without schooling, those deprived of medical insurance, the homeless, the forgotten elderly,” he said. “These people stand at the edges of our avenues, of our streets, in deafening anonymity.”
Happy birthday to Occupy Wall Street. 4yrs old & still drawing party crashers (who took everything but the cake).
DENVER, COLORADO- Our #S17 bash for the fourth anniversary of #OWS was interrupted by an eviction, actually the second sweep of the Lindsey Flanigan Plaza that day, where Denver police and SWAT took everything, our inverter, sewing machine, banners, posters, flags, fliers, file cabinet (administration tower #1), kitchen sink, everything but our cake!
DENVER, COLORADO- At 1am last night, the Lindsey Flanigan Plaza Occupiers defended against their twelfth police raid in 30 days, this one a sweep of violations of the city’s “Urban Camping Ban”. After forcing individual sleepers to stand and feign gathering their things, the police officers left without confiscations, citations, or arrests. The supervising officer admitted that DPD orders are to disrupt the protest camp every night.
DENVER, COLORADO- Halo camera operators spotted Lizzie AT LARGE in the Lindsey Flanigan Courthouse Plaza on Sunday night. Ten police cruisers arrived to deliver the citation. They stuck around to make other inquiries, someone wouldn’t offer ID on command so they put him in handcuffs, he did not consent to a search but they searched him anyway and released him.
Someone got a citation for public urination this weekend at the protest occupation of the Lindsey Flanigan Courthouse. This may be due in part to overnight guest demonstrators now being denied access to the public restrooms at the adjacent detention center. Ironically many of those shut out are frequent patrons and fee-payers of the jail.
Occupy activists will very likely not be allowed to erect an outhouse, based on the structural restrictions which police are enforcing against “encumbrances”. So far the jail pretends to have full discretion to discriminate among who can use its 24-hour toilets. Thus camp bathroom facilities will remain al fresco, but that should not preclude urban toilet amenities with which camp organizers can designate latrines and shit holes to keep participants from littering the landscaping with poop.
DENVER, COLORADO- Occupy activists had no sooner retrieved their pop-up canopy, which the Denver police had been ordered to return, and re-erected it, when riot cops marched in again to re-confiscate it! After tearing down the now usual “encumbrances” Friday morning, this time the canopy, table and chairs, and not also the handcart, drums, signs, banners, brochures, water, and personal items, the officers were determined to issue a citation. But for what? Apparently LIZZIE had been spied off-leash on the city’s Halo surveillance cameras.
DENVER, COLORADO- Civil rights attorney David Lane will address Federal District Court on Monday seeking an injunction to stop the City of Denver from arresting activists distributing fliers to inform fellow citizens about the legal concept of Jury Nullification. UPDATE: An injunction hearing has been scheduled for 2PM FRIDAY, August 21, at the Araaj Federal Courthouse.
Delayed Habeas Corpus for Eric Brandt, then two Westminster kangaroo courts, despite $3,500 bond being paid.
WESTMINSTER, COLORADO- It was quite a day for Eric “Fuck Cops” Brandt, in custody at the Denver County Jail since Monday August 10, as usual for exercising his First Amendment rights. Even by Wednesday the jail wouldn’t allow Eric visitors or bail. Next they delayed his court appearance almost two hours. Then the judge wouldn’t grant a PR bond, choosing to require the homeless veteran to raise $3,500 for bail. Then the clerk insisted the entire docket be completed before the bond paperwork would be available. Eventually Eric’s bond was covered by a benefactor, but before Eric could be processed for release, the City of Westminster transferred him to their municipal court for a full afternoon of hearings.
Come One, Come All!
Admission: FREE FREE FREE!
Where: Denver Municipal Court
When: Tues, Aug 11, 2015, 1PM.
Featuring MARK IANNICELLI in his premiere performance and David Lane as his big stick.
As the drama unfolds, Mark will be charge with seven felony counts of jury tampering for passing free information to the citizen of Denver. David Lane, a seasoned defender of human rights, will protect Mark from the Judge and District Attorney, played by two Kangaroos. You won’t want to miss the final outcome of this grand performance by the city of Denver.
Requiring activists to “make space” for black or brown voices, if apolitical or reformist, is a counterinsurgency trap.
OFF-STREET ACTIVISM floweth over with do-gooders begging for a seat at the table, literally, tables, where the powers-that-be want them. Street protest organizers are berated about providing forums for disenfranchised voices, as if indoor choir-singing yields redress of grievances. Leaders of disadvantaged communities mistake cis-gendered, white activists for their actual oppressors, because that’s easier than facing down the police. But the dynamic is disingenuous subterfuge and it’s not coming from the allies who matter. The people of Ferguson did not wait for white social justice groups to “make space” for their protest. You’d think the lesson of Ferguson is obvious.
Eric Brandt found not guilty of petty complaints of Westminster Colorado. He’s being denied a jury at next trial.
WESTMINSTER, COLORADO- Homeless veteran Eric Brandt has been arrested 36 times by police officers angry about his “fuck cops” sign, often the arrests are violent. So far Eric has beat the charges but the City of Westminster is gunning for him. Though Eric is now represented by civil liberty specialist David Lane, city officials, DAs, cops, and prosecutors converge on Eric’s court appearances determined to slip their fuck-cops problem into a jail cell. They may yet succeed, but Eric’s chances improve when the judges see he has public support. Though Eric’s message is characterized as repugnant in a court of law, in reality people honk and wave and ask to have their picture taken with Eric. To no-one else’s surprise, “fuck cops” resonates, especially as Denver cops keep killing unarmed arrestees. Eric won his July 23 jury trial, but he has upcoming court dates August 3, August 6, and August 13, to name just the next three. If Westminster can jail Eric for just one of these cases, they can keep him off the ballot where he’s running for city council looking to represent the homeless constituency. Come see the spectacle that is the usually incomparable David Lane sharing the spotlight with scene-stealing Eric Brandt, running hilarious circles around his dimwitted accusers. A guaranteed laugh-fest at the expense of the much-embarrassed Westminster grumps.
Occupier Mark Iannicelli charged with jury tampering for distributing fliers about jury nullification at courthouse
DENVER, COLORADO- Soft-spoken activist Mark Iannicelli sits in the Denver County Detention Center tonight, wrongfully arrested for passing out fliers in front of the Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse on Monday. Though he and an accomplice had no personal interest in any trial at the municipal courthouse, Mark was charged with JURY TAMPERING, a felony with a minimum bond of $5,000. Mark was disseminating information about JURY NULLIFICATION, technically “know your rights” material, to people entering the courthouse. Jury nullification is an unpopular legal concept with a judicial system meant to crank out fines and jail sentences, but the US Supreme Court has affirmed the right of juries to think beyond their allotted jury instructions and the right of citizens to spread the word about that super-judicial discretion. As Mark was being handcuffed, a passing attorney tried to intervene. Asked if he was Mark’s counsel, the lawyer volunteered that he very well might be. Video of the arrest has already been filed with appropriate law offices and as a result Mark has representation. Though he was arrested before noon, as of 11:30pm Mark’s fingerprints have not yet “cleared”, until which time a bond cannot be posted. Meanwhile Mark’s inmate status has changed to “no bond allowed.” If these capricious abuses of authority persist beyond 7am, Mark will appear before a judge at 10am Tuesday.
DENVER, COLORADO- On July 19th 2015, I met the Mother of Paul Castaway, a young native American man who was shot four times by the Denver Police Department and died of those fatal shots. At the memorial service she saw me sitting there watching her, she quietly walked up and held out her hand and ask me my name, then in a very soft and quiet voice she said “Thank You, for coming” With her eyes and slow movement of her step you could see the weight of her grief. I was stunned into silence.
Naeschylus Carter Vinzant was lynched by Aurora Police. His family is asked to stand by police and “STAY CALM.”
AURORA, COLORADO- On June 6, 2015, unarmed African American Naeschylus Vinzant Carter was shot, walking along a quiet suburban street, in broad daylight, by Aurora police officers. No claim has been made that Naeschylus was resisting arrest or posing a threat, so his execution by cop seems another pignacious affront to the urgent Black Lives Matter movement. Now police have contacted his ex-wife and seven children to say they will make an announcement July 1st about Vinzant’s premature death. They want his family to stand at their side to urge the public to remain calm. In response, a rally is planned for 4pm Wednesday at a major intersection TBA. If you feel compelled to celebrate the impunity given to police lynch mobs, please keep it down.
UPDATE 6/30: the Jefferson County DA plans to take Vinzant case to a Grand Jury. This announcement was made in a joint statement from the DA and lawyers representing the Vinzant family. The statement came a day ahead of a scheduled protest and “asked the community to be patient and respect the process. Both want peace in the community.” Earlier in the day the same lawyers pressured the family and organizers to cancel the planned rally. The community was preparing to protest this usual method to defer justice, bury the crime and exonerate the officer.
DENVER, COLORADO- The No-Peace-For-Iran rally hosted by Zionist front group Americans Against Terrorism (AAT) on the capitol steps on Sunday was outnumbered by pro-Palestinian activists shouting from below. While one racist warmonger told the crowd “pay no attention to the kebabs on the sidewalk”, a Code Pink activist was able to hold up a banner right in front of the podium.
Western Conservative Summit guests and Republican presidential candidates called out for being tools & assclowns
DENVER, COLORADO- The annual Western Conservative Summit convened at the Colorado Convention Center on Friday but not without loud protestations from Occupy Denver activists. Denver police held their own demonstration of how to trample civil liberties when their Republican clients command it.
The Denver Islamophobes “Americans Against Terrorism” plan another rally calling for war, not peace, with Iran.
DENVER, COLORADO- In view of the anticipated US peace agreement with Iran, a Denver warmongering group Americans Against Terrorism (AAT) is planning a June 28 rally at the state capitol to reject any treaty which permits Iran to develop nuclear power. Their poster depicts a mushroom cloud over a Denver-flat metropolis, demonstrating that AAT knows exactly what it means to use terror and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims. Unsurprisingly, AAT didn’t have anything to say against the Charleston Church Shooting or other acts of domestic terrorism. (Or against racism.) AAT’s agenda has been to advance Israel’s interests, right now that’s drumming for war against Iran. Last year AAT rallied to support Israel’s 2014 attack on Gaza, “Operation Protective Edge”, which left 2,300 Palestinians dead and another 10,800 injured. Most of the casualties were women and children. Recently, AAT joined the equally pro-Israel Stand-With-Us to counter a successful BDS ad campaign running on Denver RTD buses. That’s who is rallying for “peace” this Sunday. Fortunately real antiwar activists plan a counter-protest.
Denver’s Argonaut Wine and Liquor reserves the right to roll their derelict customers without you videotaping it
DENVER, COLORADO- Occupy Denver activist Caryn Sodaro was arrested in April for filming Denver police officers physically tormenting a drunken itinerant behind the Argonant liquor store on 760 East Colfax. Appearing in municipal court yesterday Caryn learned her accusers aren’t the DPD but Argonaut itself, whose employees charge Caryn with trespass for not removing herself from their parking lot with sufficient deference. Caryn was among a group of onlookers who were hoping to curb the police abuse by recording it. Of course documenting police brutality is not illegal, so the City of Denver is relying on private interests to complain to take the heat from law enforcement’s decision to make an arrest. You might well ask, what interest does the Argonaut have to keep customers or passersby from witnessing police officers kicking homeless men behind its store?
“Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day.”
― Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
Pause you who read this and think of the man, Charles Dickens, who gave to the world some of our most memorable stories and books; A Christmas Carol, Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations, to name only a few. Charles Dickens, a man filled with compassion for the poor and hungry, who he wrote about so eloquently. Now comes The Tattered Cover Book Store who seeks to make a profit from this man’s stories and the people Charles wrote about; the Tattered Cover who through their membership in the Downtown Business Partnership, supports the Denver Camping Ban, a law that criminalize the poor and homeless.
DENVER, COLORADO- It was day two of protesting the neoliberal agenda of the Clinton Global Initiative 2015 conference held at the Denver Sheraton. Activist had already had Secret Service warn them about jumping out in front of the motorcade and security guards claim the sidewalk was private property, when a Denver motorcycle cop threatened to issue tickets to any protester who didn’t remain standing. Denver does have an unfortunate anti-vagrancy ordinance that forbids sitting on the sidewalk. Though activist were surrounded by ordinary people eating their lunch or catching some sun, this officer made it clear that he had the discretion to decide which activity was allowed and which wasn’t. To quote David Anderson, who took the picture: “What a Joke!…One of Denver’s finest? Lard ass cops tells Caryn and Brandi they cannot sit down on buckets while protesting. Notice! Fat ass cop gives out warnings from a SITTING position!”
PHOTOS: Denver cops serve complaint against a six year old playing a bucket drum at Friday Tattered Cover protest.
DENVER, COLORADO- The weekly protest and homeless feeding in front of the LoDo Tattered Cover bookstore was interrupted on Friday night by the police, this time to serve a noise complaint against a six year-old who’d been beating on the bucket drums with his friends. The operation required two backup cruisers while six more laid in wait.
The Denver City Council believes that if you criminalize, arrest and jail this man we have solved the homeless problem. If you agree with the City Council go back to your TV and watch the latest episode of “Keeping up with the Kardashians”. But if you truly want to understand, and you want more information, then join activists with OCCUPY DENVER on Fridays. In doing that small act, you will meet the face of the homeless, you will be on the path of becoming a true compassionate human being. The photos below show feeding the homeless feeding at the Tattered Cover Bookstore in LoDo, every Friday at 5:30 pm.