Forty seven water protectors were arrested yesterday as militarized police cleared both Oceti and Rosebud camps along the Cannonball River in Standing Rock. Helicopters flew low, not to support the ground troops conducting tent to tent raids, but to interfere with resistance drones recording the spectacle. Drone operators report their links being jammed and their drones being forced into collisions if they were unable to avoid the Homeland Security choppers. There were many live feeds being broadcast from drones, long distance cameras and on the front lines. Once Oceti camp was cleared, one by one the feeds were interrupted and dropped. When connections resumed, viewers learned that Rosebud camp too was swept and cleared. Rosebud was on reservation land, not disputed treaty land, but BIA officers helped by militarized police evicted everyone.
STANDING ROCK, ND- Morton County sheriff deputies have admitted using STING GRENADES against the Standing Rock water protectors on Nov 22, which are suspected to have caused the serious injury which may result in 21-year-old activist Sophia Wilansky losing her arm. Protesters were fired on with rubber bullets, stun grenades, tear gas, pepper spray, and high pressure water cannons filled with chemical agents. Protesters were falling on the icy grass when deputies fired a sting-ball grenade into the group. Ms. Wilansky’s elbow was struck which severed her artery and all nerves in her left arm.
STANDING ROCK SIOUX ENCAMPMENT, CANNONBALL, ND- National Guardsmen mistook Standing Rock as an opportunity to suit up for a reenactment of the old Indian War tradition of murdering unarmed prayer encampments.
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.
Park County Sheriff Wegener releases incomplete CBI report on Carrigan, Wirth murders, calls it Final Report.
BAILEY, COLORADO- Under legal attack by the family of slain corporal Nate Carrigan, the Park County Sheriff has released the Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s report. Trouble is, it’s 289 pages. Only. And while media outlets have been able to extract that alleged shooter Martin Wirth had a temper, was a womanizer, and made threats of a “shootout at OK Corral” based on interviews of estranged friends. What’s missing in the report is as obvious as if it was redacted. The report doesn’t connect any dots.
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.
In spite of permits, plans or schedules, protests of Philly DNC begin Sunday, July 24, when whole world is watching.
CLEVELAND, OHIO- Already the 2016 RNC has a lesson to offer organizers of next week’s DNC in Philadelphia. Throw everything you’ve got into SUNDAY, Day Zero. Once party delegates disappear into the convention center, they take the reporters with them. It’s a mistake fresh activists make every election cycle. The biggest demonstrations are scheduled on the official start date, Monday, instead of Sunday when the streets have the undivided attention of the media, and especially of the international press. It’s no wonder Philly administrators approved protest permits for July 25-29, but none to large rally planners for Sunday July 24. My experience from conventions past is that Sunday marches will spontaneously take to the streets, but their numbers will remain limited by the fact that buses weren’t hired to bring the masses until the next day. By then only the alternative outlets will be covering events outside the convention floor. Even the largest protests on Monday will be belittled. The news stories will be about the underwelming turnout in comparison to the host city’s security preparations. Militarized cops will outnumber everyone and even protesters will feel let down by the apparent lack of resolve of their comrades who stayed home. It is dispiriting but it’s false, because the benchmark by which successful convention protests are judged is Chicago 1968, whose mythos has distorted a critical detail: the numbers. The protestors of the 1968 Democratic National Convention numbered only a thousand. The mayhem of lore was investigated and found to have been a “police riot” caused by Chicaco police forces which numbered 11,000. Those troop levels -both sides- will easily be surpassed in Philadelphia. The corporate media will of course pretend otherwise. If would-be disrupters of DNC 2016 were taught their people’s history, maybe they could take heart.
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.
My friend Martin Wirth made the news yesterday trying to protect his Bailey Colorado home from a predatory mortgage company. Today he is dead and I can’t say I believe this is what he intended. He took a sheriff’s deputy with him, and he wounded two more, but I don’t believe Martin intended that either. At this point we know only law enforcement’s side of the story so it’s too early to give Martin credit or blame. RIP everyone, victims all.
DENVER, COLORADO- A local activist flipped off a municipal court judge. Yes, it’s not done, but the consequence was more severe than even the judge intended. She was attending a motions hearing of a fellow protester accused of disobeying a cop. During DPD testimony an officer was narrating a surveillance video which the audience was unabe to see. She tried to shift seats but was told to sit down. After two admonishments, she complied in silence but made a disrespectful gesture where she sat behind the flat screen monitor, where she thought the judge wouldn’t see. But a clerk did see the gesture and told the judge. Judge Nicole Rodarte, no friend of political activists and facing a roomful of them, immediately had her held in contempt of court for the remainder of the hearing. Contrary to instructions, the unnamed activist was taken across to the jail to serve a sentence of ten days. We’re not sure yet who was complicit with the mixup. Here’s what happened:
Who okayed Chicago’s $5 million hush payment for killing Laquan McDonald? Did buck stop with Rahm Emanuel?
Laquan McDonald’s murder was covered up for over a year, five million was paid to his family to keep the killing under wraps. The Chicago police officer who shot McDonald was only charged after the video came to light. Laquan McDonald was killed on October 20, 2014, two months after Michael Brown. Ferguson protests were in full swing. Imagine if the communities of South Chicago had seen the video when Black Lives Matter was in ascendance. It’s hard to say from how high heads should roll over this scandal. Were the Ferguson and Baltimore riots countered from above? Was riot police strategy coordinated by agencies above municipal hierarchies like Chicago’s? We know the Baltimore protests were monitored by FBI surveillance flights. Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel most certainly should be forced to resign, but the authority which quashed the Laquan video is no doubt sitting on others, and this abuse extends beyond racism. Laquan McDonald’s killing and coverup didn’t just happen 400-odd days ago. It happened in the thick of Black Lives coming to Matter. Chicago cops were deleting Burger King security camera video while Ferguson solidarity protests were happening in Chicago.
A Teller County reporter for TMJ snapped this photo of the DEA visiting a local elementary school to give a presentation advising children against the use of drugs. The DEA agents landed a helicopter on the school playground to join reservists already deployed. Despite having secured the perimeter, and disarmed the kids, weapons were the show and tell.
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 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 restricts public access to Lindsey-Flanigan Plaza, to circumvent federal injunction protecting protest.
DENVER, COLORADO- The 24hr protest in front of the Lindsey Flanigan Courthouse was on its 31st day when city workers installed signs declaring a curfew on the courthouse grounds. Will the ongoing demonstration be grandfathered or will Denver police evict the Occupy Denver activists without notice? Occupiers meet tonight at 7:00 to decide a course of action.
The signage cites trespassing ordinance “D.R.M.C. 38-115” which would halt overnight occupations of the plaza. It cannot but seem to be calculated to restart arrests of the “Jury Nullification” activists, who won a court injunction to prevent the city from making further arrests.
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), even our kitchen sink. Everything but our CAKE!
Denver authorities have chosen a weak strategy to clear the Lindsey Flanigan Courthouse Plaza of public protests. They are relying on a vague city ordinance to declare that the plaza must be kept clear of “encumbrances/obstructions” without specifying what those might be. Last week they put up signs. By definition, a public demonstration aims to be an obstruction of the offending mechanisms of injustice, ergo, “No Justice, No Peace.” Encumbrance is direct action is a people’s last recourse. By definition, a protest is trying to encumber oppression. When the people are seeking redress, the police are our encumbrance. Fortunately the US Bill of Rights forbids the encumbrance of dissent.
Police in St Louis had to arrest protesters because they were blocking a major street instead of “protesting peaceably”. Other protesters were teargassed and authorities were frustrated that the clouds of gas and spray and people scrambling obscured documentation of rock-throwing which provoked the police officers’ pushback. No heed being paid to what “provoked” the protest in the first place. Not merely the anniversary of Michael Brown’s shooting in Ferguson, but the police killing of another black teen.
DENVER, COLORADO- It may not have been the motorcycle cop who was overheard at Sunday’s #BlackLivesMatter march -commemorating the one-year anniversary of the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson- telling a fellow officer “they’re upset about a Nigger who was killed”, but one DPD biker photographed had decorated his sidearm with flair one might hope wasn’t standard-issue. Stuck on the handle of his Glock was a variant of a smiley emoticon which mocked the apprehension a subject might feel upon seeing the unholstering of lethal force.
WESTMINSTER, COLORADO- Eric Brandt was so sure he was going to jail he got a tattoo. The one-man-band of protest movements had court on August 3rd before Westminster Associate Judge Paul D. Basso, who’d declined on a technicality to give Brandt a jury trial. Eric calls him “Judge Fatso” and lampoons Basso on the courthouse steps and so didn’t expect more than a brisk push into jail. Knowing they’d take his “Fuck Cops” t-shirt, Eric got a hasty tattoo. “It hurt. A LOT” said Eric, who did not intend to cease his protest behind bars. It’s the identical logo, placed just below the sleeve-length of a jail smock, faced forward on the arm he extends to shake hands. Eric’s lawyer, the formidable David Lane, joked that he was stung by Eric’s lack of faith in his attorney.
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.
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.
DENVER, COLORADO- Denver police have shown they can kill with impunity, be they black lives or latino. But the latest officer-involved murder of a Lakota man brought the American Indian Movement into the street and that’s an escalation no council of ministers can reverse. When police victim Paul Castaway asked his killers “What’s wrong with you?” he was echoing the entire Denver community exasperation as officers continue to murder unarmed men and women of color, as if outrage over police brutality isn’t on everyone’s lips already.