Denver judge rules BEING HOMELESS IS IRRELEVANT to defendants charged with violating city’s urban camping ban
DENVER, COLORADO- A hearing was held today to review motions submitted before the criminal trial of three homeless activists arrested last November for violating Denver’s Urban Camping Ban. Terese Howard, Jerry Burton, and Randy Russel featured in the infamous 2016 video that showed Denver police officers confiscating their sleeping bags and blankets on the snowy steps of city hall. Through attorney Jason Flores-Williams, fellow Denver Homeless Out Loud (DHOL) activists have filed a civil lawsuit to halt the city’s homeless sweeps. In municipal court DHOL hopes to challenge the ordinance being used to harass, displace and imprison the downtown homeless. Already the city’s case appears to be derailing based on developments at the motions hearing. Denver municipal court judge Kerri Lombardi approved all the city’s motions and none for the defense. Lombardi approved the use of 404B evidence for the city, but simultaneously restricted Res Gestae evidence for the defense. In particular, she refused to qualify two experts on homelessness, precluding the accused from arguing a “necessity defense”. Judge Lombardi stated that being homeless was irrelevant to whether they were violating the urban camping ban. When asked to recuse herself, the judge declined, so attorney Flores-Williams declared his intent to file an interlocutory appeal to bump the case to district court. Meanwhile speedy trial was waived and a new court date was set for April 5th.
The Colorado Springs Gazette was not amused. Nor was the Denverite about my testimony yesterday in US district court, seeking an injunction against the Denver International Airport’s free speech permit. The city attorney tried to discredit me by forcing me to recite for the federal judge the full unabridge text of the sign I held at DIA. It was a riff on anti-Nazi cleric Martin Niemöller’s oft-paraphrased parable: “First they came for the Socialists, but I said nothing, etc”, this time foreshortened as a visceral response to Trump’s Muslim Ban: “-and we said NOT TODAY [strong expletive]!” We argued about whether my message was “welcoming”. I assured her that it was very warmly received and could not be interpreted as anything but uniquivocal solidarity. So I read it forcefully, resisting the inclination to lean into the microphone on the last word. Afterward my attorneys assured me it’s a good day in their line of work when you get to say MOTHERFUCKER in court! Judge William Martinez restricted hearing testimony to the single day (Wednesday) and promised to rule on the preliminary injunction by Friday, February 17.
DENVER, COLORADO- Adrian “Munk” Brown faces trial on Monday, charged his dog being at large on the Lindsey Flanigan Courthouse Plaza. This happened on June 21 of last year, when he was testifying at the trial of a fellow activist. Because Munk wouldn’t let the dog catcher seize his dog, he is charged with interference. Because more than a dozen officers responded to the scene, things escalated from there and Munk was taken to jail. But that’s the pretext. In truth– ADRIAN BROWN WAS TARGETTED, STALKED, TAUNTED & ARRESTED.
Occupy allstar Caryn Sodaro breaches bank doors, allows water protectors to ask Denver Wells Fargo to defund DAPL
DENVER, COLORADO- At the behest of the beseiged Standing Rock encampment currently blocking the Dakota Access Pipeline, Denver water protectors held an unannounced rally on the capitol steps Friday morning and marched prompty to the Wells Fargo building several blocks north. Led by the American Indian Movement, and joined by allies, the predominantly Native American assembly intended to deliver a message to the major banking entity underwriting the Energy Transfer pipeline project. The action Friday was prompted by President Trump’s recent executive order to bypass legal restrictions holding up the drilling. Arriving at the bank, the hundred fifty marchers found all doors locked.
Occupy v. Martinez (Plaza Protest Ban) 2016 US 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Decision AFFIRMING Prelim Injunction
Yesterday I published the federal judge’s order to grant the 2015 preliminary injunction against the Lindsey Flanigan Courthouse. Since that time the city motioned to dismiss, there were show cause hearings, and depositions, and an appeal to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. On April 8, 2016 the appeals court AFFIRMED the preliminary injunction. As a result this legal action is on the road to becoming a permanent injunction, to be decided at trial this April. The prospects look promising, based on how the appelate judges schooled our First Amendment adversaries. I’m reprinting their full decision below.
While we await a judge’s response to the complaint and motion for a preliminary injunction against DIA’s free speech permit, I was drawn to reminisce about an earlier federal injunction GRANTED against Denver’s 2nd Judicial District. It was/is (!) also a preliminary injunction curbing police intimidation. This one prevents arrests of Jury Nullification pamphleteers at the Lindsey Flanigan Courthouse in Denver. More broadly, it halts the enforcement of the despotic “Chief Justice Order 1” which attempted to curb free speech in Tully Plaza, between the courthouse and the jail, site of innumerable protest rallies since the facility was erected in 2010. After a protracted legal battle, the case will finally come to trial in April 2017. This case also started with police overreach, then a complaint, a motion, and a hearing. In August 2015, US District Judge William Martinez issued the below court order granting the preliminary injunction. Read more »
DENVER, COLORADO- Thousands streamed into Civic Center Park to spend Saturday afternoon listening to speeches against President Trump’s MUSLIM BAN. Lots of families with kids so I kept my sign on the fringe pointed outward. I don’t usually favor profanity but this slogan was spotted at New York’s JFK airport last Satruday, then replicated across the country the same weekend. I spotted several at the Denver rally AND in Colorado Springs, because I think, NOT TODAY MOTHERFUCKER says it best. Racism, bigotry and wanton abuse of power is obscene.
Unresolved 2015 protest case reveals Denver police have been concealing evidence from all activist trials
DENVER, COLORADO- A seemingly ordinary protester-in-the-roadway case has exploded in the face of Denver city lawyers from the prosecutor’s office to the department of civil liabilities. The case against activist Eric Brandt, for chasing a police motorcade which had falsely arrested a fellow demonstrator, today revealed that in arrests made at political protests, Denver police have been withholding key reports from the evidence disclosed to those defendants.
Denver’s Office of the Independent Monitor moved from its offices on the 12th floor of the Wellington Webb Building. Staff for the City Attorney, who’ve moved in, are saying they don’t know where the OIM has gone. Convenient. FYI, it’s moved to the Denver Post Building, but the information desk there won’t tell you were it is either. So the bad news is that you have to know it’s there, you have to have an appointment, and you have to know who you’re seeing there before security will send someone to escort you up. Denver’s OIM recently made the news about city council renewing their commitment to its existance, but it’s becoming nearly invisible to the public it’s supposed to serve.
If you’ve been arrested at a protest action you’ve got more legal options than paying the fine or taking a plea deal. Whether or not your act was constitutionally protected, or should be, or whether it was civil disobedience and was meant not to be, there are a couple good reasons to fight your charges in court. First, to draw further attention to your issue, and second, to give your prosecutors more incentive to offer a better plea deal. They might even drop your charges altogether.
UPDATE: Deaf blind judge gives Shadoe Garner 75 DAYS JAIL for possession of Wicca ritual athame and for littering.
DENVER, COLORADO- Shadoe Garner was found guilty today by a judge who didn’t blink at the public defender having no time to prepare, at discovery evidence not being provided to defense, at prosecutors withholding half their witnesses and videos (depriving the defense of knowing what might have be exculpable evidence), at being forwarned that a 35C Appeal was virtually guaranteed, and despite two police videos making very clear that Shadoe’s rights were violated, if only the judge had ears and eyes to see it.
DENVER, COLORADO- The effort to keep Denver homeless off the 16th Street Mall has meant supplanting them with police and police cruisers. At half block intervals, to help shoppers, visitors and business lunch eaters feel safe from the homeless.
DENVER, COLORADO- Credit Shadoe Garner and his fellow Dirty Kids for Denver’s current police crackdown on the downtown homeless. Credit might not be the word you choose, because the consequences have been disastrous for those living and panhandling on the street, but the homeless teens known by their community as the “dirty kids” were the first to stand up against the abuse. They refused to abide being commanded to stand when they needed to sit, or make themselves scarce on public property.
DENVER, COLORADO- The July 17 Law Enforcement Appreciation Day festivities could barely be heard above the din of bullhorns blasting Denver police for being the second most murderous in the nation. TV reporters hoped to record Occupy Denver’s enthousiasm for that morning’s killing of three police officers in Baton Rouge by disturbed Marine Corps veteran Gavin Long. Law enforcement claimed to be investigating what drew the Micah Johnson second act to Baton Rouge, though their public execution of African American Alton Sterling might be the place to start. Denver attendees didn’t have a clue why ordinary citizens would want to be so disrespectful of their relatives in blue. Blue lives matter, they shouted. Yeah? Blue Lives Murder was the response.
BREAKING: Denver judge rules DPD “Shadow Officers” will be compelled to testify in Guy Fawkes protest case
DENVER, COLORADO- Judge Theresa Spahn ruled this morning that Commander Fountain of DPD Intelligence, and “Shadow Team” Lieutenants Mitchell and Jimenez, will be compelled to testify in the case of Selayna Bechtold, a 19-yr-old arrested at last November’s Guy Fawkes Day march. Selayna was accused of obstructing the roadway and was among nine jailed that night, out of one hundred who marched. Curiously, a document accidentally released into one of the defendant’s discovery evidence revealed that 27 of those 100 were “shadow officers”. That march was 27% cop. From a leaked DPD crowd management manual we know that undercover shadow teams assist the arrest teams by pointing out “persons of interest”. What Cmdr Fountain and his men can testify to is how the undercovers pretend to be protesters. Do they take the streets? Do they pretend to assault policemen? Do they ingratiate themselves with real protesters by encouraging or leading in acts of unlawfulness? The city lawyers lost their bid to quash the subpoena motion of the intelligence and shadow personnel, but they will probably keep resisting defense efforts to shine the light on Denver’s heavy handed suppression of public protest. Even funnier: have them watch surveillance footage of the march and ask them to identify those seen misbehaving. Which are protesters and which are cops? If neither side know, there’s a 27% chance they are cops!
UPDATE: This afternoon, after the jury was seated and after opening arguments were made, the city lawyers told the judge they finally had the chance to review the defense evidence, which included a video of Selayna being jumped from behind, dragged across the street, tugged this way and that until eventually piled upon by riot officers. Based on that video, the city no longer wished to proceed. That video had been posted to Facebook within minutes of Selayna’s arrest November 5th of last year. It’s remained online for nine months. Count me among activists who thought the authorities scrutinized social media more closely. Was this the reason or did higherups spend lunchtime discussing what shadow officers were going to reveal? The testimony of shadow officers will have to wait until the next pending tials, five remain and all the defense lawyers have now motioned to subpoena these gentlemen. Selayna’s courtroom by the way was filled with Denver city attorneys preparing for those upcoming cases…
UPDATED: This is a timeline of the legal battle which began in July 2015 over activists’s right to protest in the Lindsey Flanigan Courthouse Plaza. It explains why activists with Occupy Denver did not believe they were being given lawful orders when commanded to stop and why activists still believe the DPD were wrong to make their arrests. The city’s charges of “encumbrance” and “obstruction” appeared calculated to circumvent a federal injunction protecting the public’s First Amendment rights.
Billionaire reality TV villain Donald Trump is bringing his presidential candidacy roadshow to Denver JULY 1ST. Like the rhetoric of the Westboro Baptist Church, Trump’s utterances don’t warrant rebuttal. But unlike the lone Fred Phelps family espousing their gutteral homophobia, The Donald has followers. Some see Trump as an underdog challenging the empire’s vetted candidate. Some may be provocateurs staining his campaign with violence. What is certain however is that popular enthusiasm for Trump echoes his hate speech and dumbfuckery. If zenophobic bigotry congeals into a white power movement, that’s the specter of fascism that begs a swift preemptive beatdown. Trump can tramp his celebration of brute ignorance wherever he wants, it’s a free country, but local communities need not welcome his fan base aping the white thug’s antisocial behavior.
Friday July 1. Western Conservative Summit, Colorado Conventional Center, Denver. Be there!
DENVER, COLORADO- Denver street kids are standing up against DPD harrassment, SITTING DOWN. It isn’t orchestrated, it’s barely organized, a CBS affiliate covered the first arrests, but since last Wednesday, these homeless activists have been defying riot cops and orders to disperse, suffering several citations and arrests every day. As of Tuesday AM, two arrestees remain jailed, one of them bonded with a condition of area restriction preventing him from rejoining the protest.
The heart and soul of any revolution is found in the people who find the courage to stand up to the power of the state and cry out for justice. Such a man is Mark Iannicelli. Mark’s crime is to quietly and consistently inform the citizens of their rights. For this the state have brought the full force and power of their kangaroo courts with the aid of the Denver puppet police. Mark must be silenced, the status quo must be maintained.
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.
Here’s a better picture of Denver Homeless Out Loud activist Ray Lyall and colleague, with the usual Denver protest entourage. Ray Lyall was found guilty of trespass last week, like his cohort DJ Razee before him. The two were among nine DHOL members arrested defending Tiny Houses on October 25, ten if you include a follow-up action, but Ray and DJ are the only cases to come to trial. Four more are scheduled soon: April 20, May 9 & 10, and June 1.
DENVER, COLORADO- Ray Lyall was among nine homeless rights advocates arrested last October trying to defend a row of Tiny House model homes they built on public land administrated by the Denver Housing Authority. All were accused of trespass and today was Ray’s day in court before a jury of not quite his peers. Though the jury perceived Ray’s act to be political and were shown the paradox facing the city’s homeless, they found in favor of DHA and its SWAT eviction team. Denver’s lack of sympathy for the homeless is shared by Denver residents serving jury duty. All of whom were conscripted through addresses, many of them gentrified.