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Argonaut Liquor helped city of Denver jail Caryn Sodaro, the DPD’s most vocal critic of police brutality.

DENVER, COLORADO- On Thursday July 30 in Denver Municipal Court, Argonaut Liquor succeeded with what the City of Denver and its violent policemen have been trying to do for years: take down Occupy Denver activist Caryn Sodaro. Earlier this year, Caryn was attempting to film the DPD as they brutalized a handcuffed detainee in the parking lot of the liquor store on Colfax Ave. When store managers couldn't block her camera phone with their hands, they authorized officers to arrest Caryn for trespassing. Of course they had to pretend she'd been warned once before. Yesterday a jury found Caryn Sodaro guilty of trespass, though they heard scant mention of the crime she was trying to document and prevent. It didn't come up and video evidence was snipped to exclude it. Videos from multiple vantage points were excluded and witnesses were not questioned about the brutality they saw. Protesters were characterized as protesting the police, not police VIOLENCE and not protesting to PREVENT IT. In one of the trial's most surreal moments, the city attorneys were trying to admit officer body cam evidence taken of Caryn after her arrest, angrily describing the brutality she witnessed. The prosecutors hoped her coarse language would displease the jury. The defense attorney objected for that reason, even though it would have been the only evidence to explain why Caryn risked arrest, if indeed she knew she was not allowed on the Argonaut lot. The judge disallowed that video in the only ruling she made in favor of the defense. Caryn's protesting activity has been given area restrictions before and friends know how strictly she adhered to them, unconstitutional as they were. Drivers giving her rides had to take detours to keep Caryn geographically safe. When a defense witness tried to add this detail, or that he'd returned often to the Argonaut even while the managers had testified that he too had been "trespassed", the defense attorney cut him off, stopping his own friendly witness with "I ask the questions here." I've seen valiant public defenders, but this free public servant was determined to give Caryn her money's worth. No character witnesses, no context of Caryn's activism, nor even sympathy for her altruism. The argument was restricted to: did Caryn trespass or not, and Argonaut employees perjured themselves claiming that Caryn had been instructed twenty days before that she was "trespassed" from Argonaut's property. That incident was provoked by Caryn being harassed and humiliated by an in-store Argonaut rent-a-cop who followed her to the checkout stand and told her she was "too drunk" to purchase a bottle of wine. He initiated a shouting match, not she, and that's another detail the PD declined to exploit. Did I mention Caryn's public defender opted to forgo his opening statement! The jury was let to assume the case was about a retailer's property rights versus a group of protesters' whim for trespassing. Even when public defenders are brighter than you expect, it's important to remember they don't work for you. Public defenders serve

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? Caryn was retreating as ordered. In fact she was four spectators removed from the crime scene when DPD reinforcements lunged toward her to nab her. Now the DPD want to hang Caryn's arrest on a technicality, that she was trespassing, ignoring whether witnessing the potential commission of a crime wouldn't be sufficient excuse to bend the Argonaut's property rights. No one otherwise pretends that crimes like domestic violence are protected by claims to the privacy afforded by private property. Why does the DPD think its officers can indulge sadistic tendencies behind a veil of private security guards? On Tuesday Argonant dispatched staffers Chris Crowley and William Dehl to bear witness against Caryn Sodaro. I wouldn't bother to highlight the pair's personal identities here were it not for a colorful twist in the courtroom which in retrospect is unsurprising from blond thick-necked goons who may delight in watching inebriates get the jack-boot. Waiting their turn to receive instruction from the judge, Crowley and Dehl amused themselves through the long morning docket by making disparaging and racist remarks to each other about the mainly Hispanic and black defendants in the clutches of Denver's judicial quagmire, many of whom were in-custody and could not post bond. The Argonaut has been a Capitol Hill favorite for a half-century, and no doubt it has finessed the art of dealing with the regular drunks. No doubt letting local officers vent their anger against bums in back alley is a tradition in the liquor biz. Fortunately cell phone cameras mean those days are waning. The Colorado legislature recently reinforced the public's right to film the police. It can hardly be in the Argonaut's best interest to shield police brutality from citizens who want to intervene. The Argonaut doesn't want to highlight the consequence of alcoholism. Hopefully despite Argonaut's efforts, getting rolled by the cops will prove to be less inevitable.

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