Tag Archives: St Patricks Day

D.C. Capitol police versus Colorado Springs police

Charges Dismissed Against African-American Minister Targeted and Tackled by Capitol Police

Meanwhile, here in Colorado Springs the city continues to go after a woman with multiple medical problems needing multiple hospitalizations since the day they roughed her up at the annual city’s Saint Patrick’s Day Parade, even though she was not found guilty of any wrong doing at her first trial! Why?

The amazing thing about this effort to get Elizabeth Fineron convicted of something (this will be the third set of different charges the city has accused her of) is that the Colorado Springs police didn’t want to arrest her in the first place, they just wanted to rough her up, which they did by hauling her fast across the pavement. When she finally managed to struggle back up she was outraged and wanted to know if she was under arrest? The answer from the police was NO.

However, Elizabeth had just been deliberately humiliated by this police brutality in front of a large public crowd, and like the Reverend Yearwood Jr. in Washington D.C. had gotten upset by his rough treatment, Ms. Fineron was also upset, as any normal person would have been at that point. She did not feel that the police should just be allowed to treat her as if she was nothing more than a big bundle of trash to haul around at their free will, and demanded ‘to have her day in court’.

Still, the police refused to arrest her, at that time perhaps feeling some shame at what they had done to her? Elizabeth though, went from policeman to policeman stating that they had manhandled her for no cause at all, and that she wanted to be arrested alongside the other people being roughed up. They kept saying that she was not under arrest at all.

At last, one cop reluctantly told Elizabeth that if she tapped them with a finger they would call it assault and arrest her, though they wished she would just go away. Elizabeth’s response was simply to say NO… You guys beat me up, an elderly lady in poor health for no real reason at all, and now you want to act as if that was all right????… and she touched a cop with her finger tip… softly. Some arrest, huh? A real dangerous lady that the cops are now wasting our city tax money on for the umpteenth time to get her in the press… It is all very sad.

The city has decided not to retry 5 of the others their police roughed up, but goes after Elizabeth still, and Eric Verlo? As amazing as that seems?! Who can begin to try to understand their reasoning there? And all this time the Colorado Springs head cop, Richard Myers, has been playing with the Justice and Peace people as if the police is out to protect everybody? It just is not convincing at all, Police Chief.

At this point, not even the pro-war, Far-Out Right Wing Gazette editorial staff wants this idiotic attempt at prosecution to go on. Today, they came out with an opinion piece asking that no retrial of either Verlo or Fineron be launched. It was couched in their usual vile rhetoric, but still they thought it insanity to go through a trail again. They had the courage to take a position.

But where is the city council and mayor on this one? They like to talk nice, but have refused to speak out against city prosecution of the folk that police under their managerial direction roughed up. They are mum.

Shortly after St. Pat’s Day, the police had a riot in Los Angeles and beat up on people there, and even that notorious city not known for having their police under control disciplined some police for their actions. And now, the Capitol police admitted that they had gone wild taking down the Reverend Lennox Yearwood, Jr. as they did. What’s wrong with the city government and its officials here in Colorado Springs? It’s certainly not for lack of other municipal areas’ more positive examples that they act as they do.

The sad thing about this, is that the city council and mayor have expressed a desire that the city not be put in a bad light but they are completely unwilling to do the things necessary so that the city does not stand out and be seen as being a more intolerant and disrespectful place nationally than is the norm. They want to have their cake and eat it, too. That’s certainly the message they are giving out by wasting tax monies on yet another trial. Or, actually it will be two trials this time, as both the prosecution of Eric Verlo and Elizabeth Fineron will have two separate trials. It’s all very crazy…

Stop wasting our city tax monies on this nonsense, and come up with some legislation that would demilitarize the annual city St Pat’s Day Parade. By continuing this prosecution with yet another trial, you are using tax money to promote the idea that marching soldiers, Hooter girls, and politicians downtown is A-OK And city monies are to be allowed to promote such, yet city monies will stamp down hard on any counter social message trying to come out alongside the business as usual stuff.

Not all this city is made up of intolerant people who want liberal ideas censored using city tax monies. Not all this city wants its police to be used to rough people up and then to harass them using the judicial system afterwards. Get with the times, for they have changed since you in the city council used our tax monies to pay John O’Donnell to organize your march of squads of soldiers in a supposed Iraqi War ‘victory’ parade through downtown from the same spot your police assaulted Elizabeth Fineron for expressing a counter social message.

Fencing in the Free Speech Movement with Uncivil Liberties

Norman Finkelstein wrath of Israel
In Chicago, the Ditto-headed Right has fired noted scholar, Professor Norman Finkelstein, for being bothersome to Israel. In our very own Colorado they went after and got Professor Ward Churchill canned for being bothersome by his speaking the truth. But certainly things are better out at the University of California farm in Berkeley, are they not? Well, actually…

Here at the home of the original Free Speech Movement (Berkeley) that broke the McCarthy Era witch-hunt of the post WW2 times, the Ditto-headed Right has taken on the Left on their own home turf, and literally is fencing in today’s Free Speech Movement What the government and its ditto-headed agents won’t do to go to stop protest these days! Wall it all off…

Hey, here in Colorado Springs they will even drag elderly pro-Peace people across the pavement and then try to prosecute them later with criminal charges for blocking the road! They will wave stun guns and discharge them in menacing manner while dressed in storm trooper fatigues! They will actually apply choke holds on American Association of Retired People qualifying folk, too!

And in our nation’s capital, D.C., they will break up antiwar press conferences and bash the attending journalists and their cameras. Good thing nobody was there from al Jazeera, since they would have gotten murdered by some sort of air strike or sniper action by National Security robots.

Welcome to America the Not So Beautiful. Everyday is becoming a Saint Patrick’s Day Parade throughout our great land! Civil liberties have now been replaced with Uncivil Liberties, and it’s become a brave new world for our nation’s very few nonDitto-heads. Heil Bush! And Heil to our new leader to come, Hillary Giuliani!

We march in line, Oh America. Wallmarted is your charm.

Bad Paste

March on Washington SEPT 15How even and just is our American law! We are all equal under the law, both rich and poor, if we use bad paste. Big bad paste in protest of the US’s current genocide of the Iraqi people even.
No wonder our wonderful law enforcement officers had to throw the book at these DC rif-raf. Police break up meeting of subversive pasters This is the type of strict law enforcement that makes our courts such wondrous theaters!

Judge ‘DC Warren’ to the jurors, “There will be no discussion of The War allowed at all in my courtroom. This is strictly whether or not if a municipal violation has occurred or not. You must decide if there is absolutely no doubt in all your minds that the defendants did use unlawful and illegal paste, and that matter alone. If you think without any reasonable doubt that they did use illegal paste then you must convict.”

Favorite photos of St Patrick’s Parade

Peace marchers are stopped
The shirts versus the skinheads as child and companion look on

Bookmobile moves up from the rear
Peace marchers catch up

Bringing the bookmobile to a halt
Officer Paladino halts bookmobile, Marshall Pete Page blocks paraders

Putting in the call to parade organizer O Donnell
Parade monitor Dougie Haig phones organizer John O’Donnell

We redouble our call for PEACE
We will not be silenced

Paladino extracts Eric from bookmobile
Paladino enters bookmobile and retrieves Eric by the wrist

Eric taken from the Bookmobile
Eric is subdued by Officer Paladino and co

Esther is told not to interfer
Paladino grabs Esther’s attention

Esther is pulled to the ground
and pulls her to the ground

Taking us down March 17 2007
Paladino releases Esther from arm-bar hold, girls cry

We receive a scolding
Officer Paladino will not tell us his name

Marie asks about our first amendment right
Excessive force officers?

Bystander video shows Elizabeth knocked off her feet
Elizabeth is twisted off her feet

Elizabeth is not exactly carried
Paladino carries Elizabeth off

Elizabeth is dragged past WAR NO MORE banner
without clearing the ground

Molly holds on to her banner
Officer Wrede breaks Molly’s banner and tries to take it

Eric and Molly being led off the street
Molly is led off by the throat

Bill and Frank are apprehended
Bill and Frank are apprehended

St Patricks Day parade t-shirts
Frank is moved using a pain-compliance hold (illegal choke-hold)

Colorado Springs hillbillies
Hillbillies applaud as-

Frank Cordero being held in an illegal choke hold in front of the kids
-their kids get a civics lesson

Officer fires taser as a warning
We are driven off at taser point

The police contigent forgot the theme was green
Men in blue wore wrong color to the parade

Elizabeth is not a happy camper
No dialog

Elizabeth leaves by ambulance
Elizabeth makes her exit

(Photo credit due Mark Lewis, Eric Barker, Kate Holbrook et al.
See all the pictures at www.CSAction.org.)

Charges that might stick

Paladino halts free expressionTo all supporters of the SPD7, please forgive our dropping our eyes from the ball. The city charged us with intentionally obstructing the parade, and we got caught up refuting the argument.
After the mistrial, we the defendants are now being led to understand that the city is pondering other charges, perhaps failure to disperse, perhaps resisting arrest. Fine. None of us failed to respond to a legal order, nor resisted arrest, even considering no one was being told we were being arrested. But that is to catch us up in another semantic argument.

Might I suggest charges that would have more traction?

If the city wants to find me guilty of trying to express myself, in a public place, in a parade run partially with public funds, policed by public law enforcement, they can find me guilty.

If the city wants to find me guilty of failing to stand idly by as friends and family were being dealt undue violence, in violation of the 4th Amendment, or with dignity, the 14th Amendment. Guilty.

Did we have the intention to march in that parade, as we had the year before, as we were permitted by the Bill of Rights, with every authority and respect accorded by law, to project our message of Peace On Earth to the 40,000 assembled there, most of whom, polls showed, would welcome seeing the sentiment spoken in public? Yes we did.

Does the city intend to show its citizenry and the rest of the country that freedom of speech, freedom from oppression, due process, and the enforcement of such rights don’t fly in Colorado Springs?

The travesty started with three opinionated dim-bulbs among the parade organizers, made worse by several violent police officers. If the city persists, they confirm that the blood-thirst, anti-American, anti-freedom, anti-civil-liberties conduct was endemic and systemic. As a resident of Colorado Springs, I’m going to do the patriotic thing and root that out.

I know what you did last spring

Taking us down March 17 2007
We were able to obtain these prosecution photos during the trial. Officer Paladino has finally released Esther from a painful arm-bar. The sign (obscured by a balloon from the Chipotle parade unit passing beside us) reads KIDS NOT BOMBS.

Eric taken from the Bookmobile
Esther asks the police officers why they are initiating such violence.

Esther Kisamore is brought to the ground
Esther is then pulled by the arm to the ground for having interfered.

Elizabeth, whom the police pretended was the peace marcher seen sitting down, was still leaning into the Bookmobile trying to find her walking cane.

Hung jury is defeat for police and city bosses

In the end, the decision by the defense attorney to let the police and parade organizers do all the talking is what got a hung jury. In short, it was the witnesses for the prosecution that did all the blabbing contrary to what the reactionary daily paper, The Gazette, would have wanted to image to the public. Only Elizabeth Fineron testified as a defendant and her testimony was quiet and reasonable. The prosecution witnesses came off as a little too slick at times, and quite a bit incompetent at others.

The Gazette editorial staff have consistently tried to paint the St Pat’s Day Parade proPeace group as loud and belligerent, and pushy with their message. And they have projected that the message of peace somehow was an endangerment to the public by being allowed with all the allowed (and encouraged) pro military messages at the parade. In this they echoed the argument by city officials and their parade organizers that push the anti-social message that War somehow is patriotic, while peace activists are to be taken as being dangers to the community and violent.

The defense attorney argued that no blame should fall to the police, they were merely as confused as the defendants were from the general chaos coming from basically an incompetent group of organizers. But this message was a false one actually, that merely was a defense lawyer strategy not to take on the police directly inside the courtroom.

In reality, the police had all the power to use discretion and avoid the excessive use of force to police the parade, but just did not do so since they were so gung ho and ready to bop the ProPeace people on behalf of the organizer and his agents.

There was no miscommunication at all, and 2 of the jurors were apparently able to sense that this was the case and decided to stand firm and hang the jury. They saw that the blocked street was the conspiracy of parade organizers themselves, and not the proPeace walkers. The other 4 jurors were impervious to common sense and allowed their own fixed prejudices and desires to bop proPeace people on the head, too, to prevail with their votes to convict. Nothing much was going to change their minds.

In short,the prejudices both for always supporting the police whether Right or Wrong, and also for those who supported the right to have both military and proPeace groups together in this city parade seemed to stay fixed throughout the testimony. Four of the jurors would probably have convicted the defendants as being guilty of conspiracy to commit murder if they had been asked to do so by police and prosecutors. Two of the jurors had the ability to say to themselves, ‘Just hold on now…this could have been done totally different at this parade.’

This desire by city bosses to squelch anything other than proWar and military based commentary at their city St Pat’s Day event has now caused them to allow the police to get away with roughing up a group of mainly elderly and infirm parade participants, and has helped squander hundreds of thousands of municipal tax monies in trying to get away with it. Will they just keep thumping away with more waste for their crusade by going for a new trial of these innocent individuals? Will they argue again that these 7 people conspired together to deliberately and to intentionally block this sponsored city parade? Will they just continue to look and act vicious and stupid by taking this same action once again, bringing in the lawyers to thump heads after having the police do so?

One thing is for sure… If The idiot editorial staff of The Gazette has their way, that’s just exactly what city officials will try to do. They will waste yet more tax monies in an effort to convince the public that proPeace people are violent, and proWar people are peaceful. And we will sink into having yet another Alice in Wonderland style trial taking place inside the city.

What would Lockheed want with their monies influencing the local scene as Colorado Springs major employer? And what would the Bush led Pentagon want? The police are there to do the bidding of these folk and not so much to ensure public safety of parade participants themselves. They are perfectly ready to make examples of any that would try to step out of line from public promotion of militarism inside the City of Colorado Springs. They call that defending the public safety. Isn’t that right, Police Chief ‘Liars’ Myers?

The J&P fails to argue its case in court

For weeks now, I have had a sense of impeding doom as the Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission has consistently failed to adequately argue the case of the Saint Patrick’s Day Seven police attack in the court of public opinion. The issue of how the city used its police force in a brutal manner to suppress the citizens right to express their opinions in public was not put forth in a strong manner, but rather increasingly was replaced with a love fest with the police chief, orchestrated by a religious pacifist contingent that only has seeked to underline its eternal commitment to turning the other cheek.

This meek and defeatist attitude about defending antiwar speech has now been extended into the court room, as the St Pat’s Day 7 seem headed towards losing their criminal case. They have allowed the ACLU lawyer to not argue their issues for them, all the while watching like meek sheep before the slaughter. So far, the desire to have their day in court has been taken away from them by their own lawyer!

Instead of arguing that the police acted in an unreasonable manner and with undue force, the attorney for the defense has said that the police were in an untenable situation, absolving them of any responsibility for what happened. What an astounding weak defense, as the St Pat’s Day 7 lawyer has absolved the city and its police force of all blame for the attack on his own defendants! Instead, he has confined the defense to only insisting that the ‘volunteers’ for the city contracted organizer of the event, John O’Donnell, had acted in an untrained and indisciplined manner, and that John O’Donnell himself had seemingly tried to cover up that fact.

But where is the obvious here? Did the police have to follow orders from the city contracted parade organizers without being obligated to use any of their own discretion? No they did not, but that is not being argued in the court by the defense lawyer. He just cedes the issue entirely, though it seems rather obvious that a little bit of police initiated discussion would have gone a long way before pulling out the heavy use of physical police force. Instead, he has weakly allowed the gloating cops involved to just act like it was their natural right to have attacked his defendants in they way that they did! And that the defendants probably brought about their own problems…

This case has also always centered on the role of John O’Donnell, and whether or not the City of Colorado Springs would be allowed to divorce itself entirely away from its relationship with him. Because neither the defense lawyer nor the Justice and Peace Center has made the slightest effort to expose this man’s incestuous relationship as city organizer of pro-military events for the city, they have allowed the man to posture as an innocent private person solely concerned with the ‘security’ of parade participants, and not as a suppressor of one point of political view to the favor of cheerleading the other political point of view, which is the pro-war point of view.

He has done this through consistent backing from the city government with tax monies taken from all the citizenry. This should all along have been the main defense argument, both in and out of court. Instead, in all cases, both the defense lawyer and many in the J&P have referred to him as being ‘good people.’ In fact, he is practically a paid employee of the City of Colorado Springs, who directs their police force even though a ‘private’ citizen and not a police official, and organizes major city events under the complete guidance of city government. And an official who suppresses free speech against war that he finds objectionable while allowing pro-military views to proliferate.

The J&P has not been arguing its case before the court in the trial, and has been weak at doing so in general. Today is going to be the last day of the trial, and hopefully the jurors can see through the obscurantist trial proceedings to understanding the real issues not being discussed there. And upon doing that, that they can find the defendants not guilty??? That is now a big ‘IF’.

Unfortunately, the defense lawyer has let a scenario be presented where it appears natural that when the police say jump, that the defendants should have jumped through the hoops IMMEDIATELY. And that by not doing so was in fact, only their way of blocking the parade route,which is what they, in fact, are charged with doing. In short, the St Pat’s Day 7 are seemingly being hung by their own lawyer.

PS- I had thought not to write any more here but am doing so now because of the importance of this trial event. I think it’s important that a true picture be presented of what is now transpiring in court here on this particular blog.

Day in court for police brutality

The recent CS Independent update on the St Patrick’s Day Seven left the unfortunate impression that police brutality has become a less significant component of the events that day. In reality our lawyer wants his defendants to answer for our guiltless actions without demeaning ourselves making counter accusations of excessive force.

While the upcoming trial concerns only the specific accusation that we seven intended to obstruct the parade that day, in fact the actions of the accused were most certainly influenced by the repressive manner of the police. If our lawyer is unable to raise the issue of the unnecessary violence, the attempted humiliation, the illegal physical coercion and reckless injury at our trial this week, a remedy will most certainly require further legal action.

The CSPD learned nothing from their misdeeds at the 2003 anti-war protest. Now that people recognize my face from the parade incident, I find myself besieged by accounts of police brutalization of the city’s homeless and less fortunate.

If the Saint Patrick’s Day Seven are making too much fuss for your taste, please consider that it has less to do with our treatment suffered at the hands of the police. We stand for all Americans who expect their civil liberties to be respected, particularly those who may not have a parade audience in broad daylight to insure they will be treated with civility. Somehow we must impress upon the CSPD to adopt a culture of respect for the dignity of all the people it serves.

The ACLU has chosen to defend us because the police should not conduct themselves as if they have the license to curb free speech and inhibit the freedom to assemble. And certainly not by means of force.

Police foreknowledge on St Patricks Day

Raining on our parade April 17 Saint Patricks Day 2007
We used to joke around the fire at Camp Casey about whether we were being surveilled or infiltrated by agents or disruptors even, as has been done with historic regularity to opposition political groups and their organizers. Even to discuss it today with CPIS or PPJPC feels self-aggrandizing. We know ourselves that we do not pose such a threat that law enforcement would need to monitor our actions.

Let’s dismiss out of hand the idea that struggling activists in Colorado Springs would merit infiltration. So too wiretapping or bugging devices. Have we ever raised but a timid excuse-me to authority? Have we ever mobilized even more than a smattering of protesters ready to press our local leaders for accountability? We have not. We might grab the news on occasion, but in that respect we seem quite willing to telecast our intentions on the local news. To eavesdrop on us then would be redundant.

Alright then, how about email exchanges? Any need to monitor our email passing to and fro? Local ISPs handling the email could flag potential buildups of momentum. Is law enforcement in touch with them? Maybe, maybe not. Who wants to sort all that, or file the paperwork to get the analysis from Buckley.

At least an observer might want to watch our general mass mailings, for calls to arms. What about checking those weekly announcements at a minimum to see what we say we are doing?

And what about the websites? There are less than a handful of community websites which post and discuss upcoming actions. Would the police be looking at websites like this, or csaction.org, or ppjpc.org to try to sort out what’s up?

Police Chief Myers, in explaining the mishandling of St. Patrick’s Day, pointed the finger at the PPJPC and myself for duplicity in joining the parade. Myers explained that our websites made no mention of our intentions to march with the Bookmobile. Well, putting aside their erroneous conclusion, Myers’ statement confirms the answer to the last question: are the police checking in on us online? They say they do.

The police check the websites
If they had looked at our website, they would have seen what? Our calls for participation in the parade, our discussion of the parameters of the permit, our reservations, when we would be assembling, where we were parking, even the larger plans we had to conduct a peace rally in adjacent Pioneer Park. Those were plans we were still trying to juggle. I was hoping to gather onlookers from the parade route and have them join us afield for an impromptu peace rally. These plans were fully fleshed out and debated online, in multiple places. If the police studied our websites as they say they did, they would have seen our plans for that Saturday.

So even if the police weren’t infiltrating us, surveilling our meetings, wiretapping our phones, monitoring our communications, sifting our email, or reviewing our public announcements, they would have known from our websites that the PPJPC was marching with the Bookman, in green peace t-shirts, as we had done, announced and recruited for, online, the year before.

The police excuse of having been taken unawares on St Patrick’s Day, of being confronted with not knowing whether we had a permit, of stopping us in the parade route instead of earlier in the assembly area, begins to ring a little of falsehood.
Come to papa
The odds of us encountering a smiling Erwin Paladino of the CSPD, head head-cruncher of the 2003 anti-protestor police work, begin to look very improbable. The strategy then to throw us to the ground creating a scene, creating an obstruction themselves, making a lesson out of dealing with people stubbornly clinging to their rights, begins to look a little premeditated.

That is, if you believe the police are keeping their eye on us. We disrupt at the Broadmoor, we seek redress at our representatives’ offices, we banner the main streets, we interfere with military job fairs and recruitment strip malls. We show up at City Council and have them scrambling amok. We don’t plan any of this in secret. Probably somebody’s responsible for keeping themselves abreast.

So did Erwin Paladino draw the plum job of getting to apprehend us one block from the official parade start? Or was it a big coincidence? At the staging we could have rallied or prevailed from a dialog unhurried by the pressure of holding up the parade. At Tejon and St Vrain the police got to appear improvisational and exercise executive authority to take us down.

CSPD Officer Erwin Paladino of 2003

Come to papaHas it been made clear enough in the multitude of retellings of the events of St. Patrick’s Day 2007, that an Officer Erwin Paladino was the chief agitator in the police camp? He directed the arrests and handled most of them with two chief accomplices, guy with taser and guy of choke-hold. (Maybe not coincidentally the three men in blue in our T-shirt advert image at right.) The other of the fourteen policemen on the scene stood in the wings to receive us as we were removed from the parade route.

If the police had been interested in removing us efficiently from the street, the officers could have handled it on one swoop. Instead Paladino was let to do the dirty work, dirtily, throwing me to the ground, yelling at us pell mell, acting over-taxed when in fact the police outnumbered us.

Police misconduct, 2003
Imagine our surprise when Mark Lewis, reviewing the videotapes from the wrongful arrests of peace activists in 2003, discovered that the chief police bully in that case was the same Officer Paladino! You can hear him on the tape telling a woman she could walk to Boulder because he was impounding her car, then handcuffing her before she could even do that. She and friends were standing outside of a Dairy Queen, where they’d parked, after the tear-gassing of the antiwar rally.

The Dairy Queen Dozen won a settlement from the city of Colorado Springs, an admission that the police had acted improperly. And yet four years later, here’s the same wrongdoer, Officer Paladino, pulling the same uncivil behavior, the same abuse of authority, the same escalation of brutality, worse actually, in the midst of children and elders.

We’re told that any admission of wrongdoing on the part of CSPD could never include a reprimand of a particular officer, certainly not one like Paladino who wraps himself in a flag whenever there’s a fallen officer memorial.

To tell you the truth, I got the very strong impression, on St. Patrick’s Day when we were trying to learn his name from the other officers, that they weren’t too proud of his actions either. Most of the police bent over backward to treat us with consideration, as something of an apology for what went wrong on the street. Paladino would not tell us his name when we requested it, and when it came time to record it on most of our arrest forms, the officers filling out our paperwork pretended amnesia it seems, they didn’t want to betray his name either if he wasn’t brave enough to give it himself. That’s a man not likely respected by his colleagues.

Until our trial, until criticism can be brought on police misconduct, who might Paladino be mishandling today? We were fortunate to have cameras focused on us at the parade, and to have a large crowd protecting us with its gaze. What of the hapless vagrant in a dark side street? He bears the brunt of the policemen’s abuse of authority, regularly beaten and harassed by officers with aggressive personality disorders and the means and opportunity to vent them.

Witnesses to the St Patricks Day arrests

Colorado Springs hillbillies
If you were a witness to the parade events on March 17 this year, please contact the PPJPC if you haven’t already. The CSPD has amassed two 3-ring binders full of accounts from their sympathizers which attest to the peace participants striking the officers with their banners and otherwise resisting arrest. Missed, it seems, by any of the bystander videos. If you wish to shed an altogether different light on the scene, please call the PPJPC or the ACLU and they can put you in touch with the defense lawyers.

Dragging antiwar vets through the mud

Here below is the case of an antiwar vet being dragged through the mud.
Ron: What are the potential punishments if they bust you?

Liam: It is basically a black eye on my record that makes it difficult to obtain future employment, particularly government employment.
To read full article about Liam Madden’s case, see Ron Jacobs’, Intimidation of a Vet. There is a similar effort to drag a local antiwar vet through the mud here in Colorado Springs and we’ll write about it later. Stay tuned…

And here’s more about Marine Sgt. Liam Madden from Common Dreams… Vets: Military is Attacking Free Speech

US Military Spy on Hundreds of Antiwar Demos

The Pentagon spied on hundreds of antiwar demos says the ACLU. Unfortunately, many activists in the proPeace crowd (and even the ACLU itself) seem to act as if they cannot draw the logical conclusions from this and act accordingly. Instead of helping publicize this reality of police and military surveillance and disruption of Peace proponents and their activism, they act as if doing so might be a hindrance and derailment of the Antiwar Movement! Therefore they run from the fight when it gets down and dirty. Isn’t that sad?

Without battling on behalf of those that might very well be the direct victims of this surveillance and rather instead acting as if they are chickens with their heads cut off who can’t come to the defense of those vilified without cause, is not helpful but harmful to the Antiwar Movement.

We must show solidarity with people when they are attacked and found supposedly guilty without due process. We must act forcefully on behalf of these people. Otherwise, we are accepting of the reality of those that want to make the whole world into one enlarged Guantanamo, where allegations need not ever be proven, but simply accepted as given fact by authority.

Activism without Solidarity is empty of content. The US military spy on hundreds of thousands of us, and we should not act as if the harm that falls upon some of us for our activism merely has innocently fallen out of the sky. If you know this, then work as if those peace activists that have been slandered are in fact innocent until proven guilty. If you do not, then in fact you are working with the saboteurs of The Movement For Peace, and not against them.

St Patrick’s Day Six plus One

Get a lawyer! Get a lawyer! Yes, go get a lawyer! In days gone past, people would shout, ‘Get a witch doc, he will intervene for you with the Gods!’ Well, us Justice and Peace folk got a lawyer for the St Patrick’s Day Seven, and we seem just as credulous as the most primitive of people about this magician playing against the legal Gods on behalf of those criminally charged.

No need to stay together, the lawyer says. Split into two! And get another lawyer, two. Two, three, many lawyers! I’ve seen folk meekly following the worst guidance of doctors many a time before, but now I guess I will get to see pro-peace people hypnotized by their legal, uh friend, the lawyer.

Eric seems to have accepted the advice to split The Seven into Six plus One, and so has the Six. Solidarity now thrown out the wind. This is now a legal issue and stand still.

It seems, we will stand still until the court rules against The One in favor of the city and its police, that the city government had assault people who tried to walk against the Pentagon. Gone is the issue of how John O’Donnell is mere front man for how the city issues permits and tries to stifle all but Pentagon led (and fed) parades, air shows, and assemblies in this city. No counter social issues Now! It’s divisive! Eric misled the poor city of Colorado Springs. Guilty as charged. Now stay out of any parade.

What is typical here, is how this decision to split the case was made not by our group discussion, but by a lawyer or two in our midst. And perhaps a publisher, too. In fact, most of the Justice and Peace still have yet to hear about how there will be two trials, not one. So sez the lawyer and we shall follow and do. All fall down. We got the lawyer, and he will be our downfall. How often this happens when Movement activists fold up, and allow themselves to be led by the nose by ‘legal specialists’. Deals and decisions get made in secret, and input of commoners get wiped out.

Such faith! To oppose the guidance of our legal counselor would be ‘inappropriate’, they would say? Of course, what was once a political matter that needed the mobilizing of public support, has now been turned into a hidden away, private court matter with all the rules to be followed of a legal system that allows Guantanamo to happen. People who still believe in following the rules of a democracy that doesn’t really exist, also seem to be content following the rules of a legal system that only exists in skeletal remains, too.

It looks bad in the days ahead for the St Patrick’s Day Six plus One. Shaking hands and hugging the police by the ACLU (as done at their recent annual meeting) will lead to defeat in the court room, but good relations between wanna-be power brokers and power. Lawyers most often get the people beat, not saved. A ‘good lawyer’ gets the Six saved, the One beat, and the Movement down the drain. And for that, he will be thanked.

That’s the better scenario. The worst, is well worse. Solidarity would do better.

Unpublished response to Gazette editor

Gazette editorial supervisor Sean Page thinks he’s clever to admonish the St Patrick’s Day Seven for disturbing the peace. Unseemly for pacifists, he derides, haha. Ala Rodney King he asks: why can’t you give peace a chance?

Mocking us for being insufficiently peaceful for pacifists is like the bully chiding his prey for not taking their lumps. This isn’t about making peace with you or the police officers, it isn’t about keeping the peace in our community, AT ALL. The issue is bringing peace to war-ravaged Iraq and Afghanistan, et al.

I can turn the other cheek, as a matter of fact, but I don’t presume to do it for the Iraqi. Why should the innocent Iraqi or Afghan bear the brunt of your anything? I want you to stop persecuting THEM and I offer you no peace until you do.

Call me uncharitable, but I don’t want to make peace with mass murderers, baby killers and rapists, or those who would cover for them, excuse them or egg them on. The minute you put down your guns and put your pants back on is when I will lower my voice.

Why did the city police attack the pro-Peace group at the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade?

The city police and parade organizers did not fully think out the consequences of their actions, but the attack on the peace group at the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade was not unintentional. In fact, it followed logically from the political direction given by the Colorado Springs city council and mayor.

The city police are employees under the control of the city council and mayor, and it is the city police on behalf of the city government itself, that gives out John O’Donnell his own permit each year to hold a parade. In all effects, John O’Donnell is merely a sub contractor for the city who is given a permit to issue yet even more permits, that simply allow and disallow who amongst the general public can participate in a city sponsored parade each year.

John O’Donnell has a long history of operating city promoted events in our city, and most of them have a highly charged social message of support for the wars waged by the US government. He takes positions on social issues, and they are almost always relatively in support of war, and many events he has helped organize have been fully funded by the city of Colorado Springs city government. Though some have only been partially underwritten.

In fact, less than 3 years ago, John O’Donnell, the city government, and the US military (US government) used large amounts of city and federal tax moneys to parade troops through Colorado Springs streets in support of the Republican Administration led US invasion and occupation of Iraq. They called this ‘supporting the troops’, and called the parade a ‘Welcome Back Home’ rally. Of course, we now know that the troops have been redeployed over and over from Fort Carson, and the public has slipped dramatically in its support of this US government war making. At that time, nobody appeared too much concerned to see the city government and federal government working through O’Donnell to parade for a partisan cause.

Because the city government and John O’Donnell are so intertwined in supporting the partisan cause of celebrating the constant US government wars and aggressions that destroy other nations, it is no surprise that the city police acted to thump peace partisans for entering into the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade. It was a natural reflex on their part, and to their credit, at least they did not get so totally out of hand and severely injure anybody they manhandled. That is the reason that the new police chief, Richard Myers can posture that ‘nobody got hurt’.

However, the city government and its police do hurt others when they take up partisan causes like supporting a US government war, and make no mistake about it, that is what they have been constantly doing. Driving down Cascade Ave. one sees the city tax money’s paid-for signs that say ‘Colorado Springs Supports the Troops’. Hint, hint… That means that the city government is supporting the Iraqi War. How clever the city government thinks it is to phrase their support for the Iraqi War in this manner.

In short, the city has a history of taking up the ‘social issue’ of supporting the US war on Iraq and uses the tax monies of all its citizens to do so. The annual military air shows each year are yet more ways that the city government uses tax monies and facilities to sponsor pro-war Pentagon fed propaganda. And through this steady city support of military aggression, now 7 people face criminal charges coming from a police action that could easily have led to no arrests, no threats, and no physical take-downs if the police had only had directions to use restraint, instead of heavy force.

To the city police, it seems natural to stop pro-peace participants from participating in city events. They have received no city government direction to do otherwise, and Mayor Lionel Rivera’s continued refusal to admit that the several police ambushes on us through the years have been totally totally uncalled for, only will lead to repeats of the same excessive use of police force in the months and years ahead. Too, he has repeatedly shown so far that the city government will refuse to accept that it has real bias in what events are allowed to parade through city streets. The bias is in favor of the military and war, and against peace advocacy by any public pro-peace assembly that would appear against war. The police are directed in their activities with this bias in effect no matter how much they might state that they are out there to protect us all. It will surprise no one that the police actually protect some more than others, and endanger many.

It is highly symbolic that John O’Donnell and the police decided to use the intersection of St Vrain and Tejon to have the police ambush us on St Patrick’s Day. This is the same intersection where the city and federal governments had him lead off the ‘Welcome Home Troops’ pro-war parade in June, 2004. They marched the troops with our tax monies around in a circle and then ended their pro-war demo at the same point. They had no problem with pushing social causes at that event at all. They do have a problem with us when we cross that fatal intersection calling for PEACE instead.

Mayor Lionel Rivera and his city police will do what they can do to try to stop us from participating in future city organized events. As it has been said already, we got roughed up for the message we carried, and not just for how we went about bringing it to the public. They will try to deny us the use of the public streets again unless policies are changed now.

The police and the mayor have refused to accept any blame for what was done St Patrick’s Day. To the credit of some of the city council members, others have done the opposite. Our thanks goes out to them for that.

We do want to work together with all to assure that all do have a way for public assembly without censure. Let the military march with kids in their camouflage khaki uniforms on, and let those that have the opposite message march alongside. The city belongs to both of our groups, and both of our groups pay tax dollars to open up city streets for public parades, and to close it off for other tax paying citizens who might even be against what the parades might seem to them to be about. After all, we don’t want the type of sectarian violence that the US military now has brought to the Iraqi people inside America itself. Do we? So city government needs to stop bias in what social causes it funds and endorses.

Police Chief Richard ‘Liars’ Myers

In the last week I have had 3 opportunities to see the new Colorado Springs police chief, Richard Myers, do his job as public relations head of the law enforcement division of the Springs City Government. Because of what I have seen of him in a little less than one week, I feel that Myers is totally deserving of having ‘Liars’ Myers become his new nickname.

Having testified at a city council meeting post the police attack on the peace contingent attending the city promoted St Patrick’s Day Parade, I received an invitation to attend a meeting held last week with Lionel Rivera, the mayor of our city, and other top officials of city government including the police chief, Myers, himself. This came about because I had stated at a city council meeting that I felt that the personal security of me and my family was endangered by the actions taken by the police at the St Pat’s Day Parade.

These police are employees of city government and receive their direction from city government, therefore I had informed the municipal government of Colorado Springs in my testimony, that I held them personally responsible for the uncalled on police assault on our peaceful group, and I asked them to take personal responsibility for what had happened. The assaulting actions of the police had threatened me and my family with physical harm and/ or unlawful arrest during that parade, and their behavior needed to be changed in the future for me and others to feel in any way safe.

At this meeting, Chief Richard Myers and others of the city government attending, had assured us of the pro-peace community, that the police and city government were only concerned that ALL citizens would have their safety assured (even us), and asked us to help work with them to help bring that about in the future. They made great effort to assure of us of their supposed sincere concern that we, too, be kept safe from assault by those who might disagree with us. They assured us that the altercation had been an embarrassment to the city, and that they had a desire to work together with us instead of against us in the future.

I must say, that this appeared to us as pretense on their part, since we had not been in the least endangered by anybody other than the police themselves at the parade. They ambushed us there, and seven of us continued to have our security endangered, since the city and the police insisted on pressing criminal charges on these seven of our friends, even though it was the police’s own use of uncalled force that was at issue. Never the less, we agreed with them to work together to stop this abuse of police force from further becoming an even more hardened pattern of local law enforcement in the future.

Some few hours later I then attended a projected forum held at a nursing home, that was to have been a part of conciliation court ordered as settlement for a previous attack by the police on a group of peaceful protesters at Palmer Park way back in the year 2003. The court had ruled against the city of Colorado Springs, where the police had tear gassed and assaulted people in an unlawful manner while protesting the beginning of the Iraqi War. The court had ordered that the police and the citizen plaintiffs against the police assault of 2003, hold a joint forum together in order that the police could help absolve themselves of their guilt in this uncalled for police attack on peacefully mobilized citizens, and extend a discussion to help assure that nothing similar would once again occur. Of course, it already had.

What happened at this planned court settlement forum, is that when the plaintiffs showed up to attend this event (most arriving from Boulder), the city of Colorado Springs and their police had taken it upon themselves to give themselves the power to have the final word in how this event would be condensed and edited for a later official release to the public. The plaintiffs said that this was contrary to what was agreed on previously through the court, and that they would not participate with a farce. Attendees from the local peace community then walked out, too, when the police and city encouraged us to take the plaintiffs place on the panel assembled for this forum. Talk about dishonesty here!

Actually only one fool answered the police/ city call to participate on the supposed peace community panel for this forum. The forum did not actually much get off at this point, and was terminated within minutes. Nobody from the peace community wanted to be tagged as scabbing on the plaintiffs who had been victims of the police back then.

Move to just three days later. The mayor and his police chief, Richard ‘Liars’ Myers, together had put on the tail end of the city government meeting agenda the official telling of the tales by the police ‘investigation’ of itself. They had not informed us of that, and had planned to pretty much be alone with the press to try and convict ( in the press) the Seven pro-peace folk facing criminal charges.

What makes this so reprehensible, is that they had spent, and would spend also with this report, much time accusing the St Pat’s Day Parade peace participants of having engaged in dishonesty and trickery. Further, they had repeatedly told us in our private meeting the week before supposedly aimed towards obtaining community-city government-police reconciliation, that none amongst themselves could comment on events relating to the St Pat’s Day Parade arrests. So what happens now?

Here, at the city council meeting where nobody from amongst us could counter until the day after, the new police chief, Richard ‘Liars’ Myers gave about 20 minutes of detail by detail comments before the public about the arrests. His account was so full of lies and distortions, that it would be impossible to even begin to detail them here.

Suffice it to say, that after pretending several days earlier to be holding a discussion with us where he and other police present told all of us that they could not comment or respond due to it somehow being counter to due legal process if they did so , that ‘Liars’ Myers then went ahead and did just that, and nobody in the city council saw fit to tell him that this was wrong and dishonest after having pretended that this was against police rules and regulations to enter comment about matters being currently discussed in court.

This is total sabotage of any effort to build public trust in the police. This is a new police chief whose only comments before the city council were lies, distortions, and denial of any police responsibility for their excess at the St Pat’s Day Parade. Instead of admitting that the police had used force when it was absolutely not necessary, he pointed the finger at the pro-peace participants who were roughed up and criminally charged. True, he did also point a finger, for a sec, at the official organizer of the event, John O’Donnell. This was supposed to impress the public as being even handed, it is supposed. Myers said that O’Donnell could have responded differently, which is as comical an understatement as any I have ever heard.

He whined about 35 cops on duty that day as not being enough. Oh brother! They could have policed that event with 3 police, and not 35 and the results would have been much, much better. What a self serving pile of nonsense we heard.

The most interesting part of the session was when several council members tried to figure out just who in the city was in charge of issuing the permit to John O’Donnell, supposed private organizer of this event, to hold the parade through downtown streets? The answer? Why the city police themselves. Go figure? It turns out that the city government of Colorado Springs is hiding behind their police who are hiding behind John O’Donnell, the contracted out organizer for the city, who then turns out to be directed by the city and city government regulations themselves! And then this circle of irresponsibility points their joint index finger at the private citizenry for being supposedly deceptive! It kind of takes the cake.

The city government of Colorado Springs is responsible to hold their police in check. They will not be able to do it hiding behind the phony smiles and lies of Police Chief Richard ‘Liars’ Myers. They should release to the public the official police transcripts of communications between them and parade organizers. There the truth stands, and it is not like the official smoke screen version at all. Meanwhile, there is little reason to pretend to work together with Police Chief ‘Liars’ Myers. He lost our confidence in him being an honest player in a little less than a week.

2003 police over-reaction under-revisited

In March of 2003, as an invasion of Iraq loomed ever imminent, citizens of 800 cities worldwide mounted the largest peace rally in history. In Colorado Springs three thousand people assembled in Palmer Park to urge President Bush to chose diplomacy instead of war. The participants were peaceful, but the police incited frustrations by diverting traffic from Academy Boulevard which prevented drivers from seeing the anti-war banners and eventually used tear gas to prompt the crowd to disperse.

Colorado Springs was one of only two peace rallies in the world where police used tear gas that day. Many Springs families with small children were caught with no way to escape the gas. After a subsequent review, the CSPD admitted it had overreacted. As part of a legal settlement with the people they had arrested, the department agreed to host a public meeting to discuss matters of police conduct with respect to a citizen’s right to assemble peacefully. The meeting would involve a panel discussion on the issues and would be videotaped for public broadcast and for purposes of training incoming police officers. After four years of legal wrangling, the meeting is finally scheduled to happen this Friday, May 4th, at the Senior Center on Hancock and Uintah.

What an unfortunate coincidence that the arrests this Saint Patrick’s Day happened before Friday’s citizen-police meeting. As we are now well familiar, on March 17 at the annual parade, forty five permit-holding participants were prevented from carrying peace banners in the Saint Patrick’s Day parade. Ten of them were brutally removed and seven of those were arrested; I was among them. The police and parade organizers still admit no wrongdoing, but bystander videos and photographs captured the police display of excessive force.

In the aftermath of the arrests, the Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission has asked the Colorado Springs City Council to hold a public meeting to address police department policy with regard to what happened that day. As yet they’ve only agreed to meet in private, to acquaint themselves better with peace activists.

While we welcome a better acquaintance, the PPJPC is not interested in obtaining a permission slip to exercise our right to self expression. We are interested in every American’s natural rights and civil liberties. We hope to establish an understanding that our city police department will implement a policy to honor and respect those rights. For that purpose we are requesting a public meeting where Colorado Springs residents who were alarmed by the heavy handed law enforcement can voice concern and give their input. The meeting on Friday will only address the police misconduct of 2003.

The Saint Paddy’s Day Seven, as we are being called, currently face charges in Municipal Court for obstructing a public event. The American Civil Liberties Union has agreed to represent us because at play are violations of multiple amendment rights. The police use of illegal choke holds, menacing with a taser and reckless brutality causing physical injury fall under illegal search and seizure and citizenship rights.

We are called called the Seven but in reality we are the Saint Patrick’s Day Forty Five, because forty five of us were deprived our first amendment right to freedom of speech. The parade is described as a private event, but it is held on public property and is underwritten with public resources. “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

We are called the Saint Patrick’s Day Seven, but we are in reality the Saint Patrick’s Day Forty Thousand, who saw that day the attempted abridgment of a fundamental American right. A right which Americans aspire to extend to all people of all nations. Many of us watching that day had no idea we would have to fight for that right here.

John O’Donnell mistaken for Democrat

What does it mean to be a progressive Democrat in Colorado Springs? I’ll tell you, it means shit. No matter how progressive you are, or how democratic. You’re judged by the company you keep and Democrats stick themselves with lousy company.

Take for example obstruction du jour, parade organizer John O’Donnell. I don’t bear a grudge for how he excluded peace marchers from the St Patrick’s Day parade, I bear a grudge for what he said afterward: that he’d do it again. Violence, trampled rights, brutalized elders, and O’Donnell says in hindsight he’d acted correctly. Though his assistants may have mistook a KIDS NOT BOMBS sign for BUSH KILLS BABIES signs, O’Donnell insists it was right to keep the peace message out of the St Patrick Loves Warmaking parade. Is that the kind of dim-sighted power-tripper “progressive democrats” call an ally?

O’Donnell’s a good guy I hear. A life long liberal. A progressive it’s said. A solid party fundraiser. I saw his name myself on a Governor Ritter dinner invite. I’ve even heard it said that you can’t get elected as a Democrat in this town without the support of John O’Donnell. Well that would be a damn shame.

I’ve also heard it said that it is impossible for a Democrat to win in this city. Small pockets are about all you can get. El Paso County Democrats count as victories elections in which they fared better than they hoped. The latest senatorial loss for example, which delivered the embarrassing Doug “Pigmy” Lamborn to office was hailed as a victory!

Now, on a losing team, exactly how valuable are your leading players? On a losing team?

On a consistently losing team, doesn’t the leadership need to go? The players who’ve delivered the losses and kept new blood from revitalizing the team, they too would need to get the axe. For the Democratic Party this was obvious in the 2000 election, and all the more so in 2004. Why pass the ball, up from the grass roots, to players who know only how to lose?

I ask you, what kind of Democrat can look at the 2006 election and think the public didn’t vote for peace? Democrats can support the military as staunchly as the next guy, the military is not anathema to peace, it keeps the peace. But a Democrat to subvert the call for peace? That’s someone running the ball for the other team. That’s a Goddamn traitor Son of a Bitch.

Nice guy? John O’Donnell should be, he’s in the business of PR. But John O’Donnell is a goon and I’m glad he’s unmasked. He should never again hobble another Democrat with his counter-productive piss-ant power-brokering playing for the other side. Throw the lout out.

More on the St Patricks Day parade

Why did a group of people with the non-confrontational message of “PEACE” deserve to be kicked out of a local parade and then blamed for the disruption?

We were gathering with the same green shirts, some peace flags and a few banners for an hour before the parade began. Parade organizers had time to advise us if we were not welcome. We—thought a peace message would—fit well with the “child-like mentality” of the event, and the message did receive support from onlookers.

There was no intention to be disorderly, or children would not have been involved as they were last year. We were shocked by the police’s rude actions and lack of prior notice.

Much has happened since Bookman’s “Let there be PEACE on earth” message in last year’s Old Colorado City parade:

America’s continued escalation (surges) in Iraq against the advice of many military experts while other nations were pulling out of that country’s civil war.

Our country was seen by the rest of the world as at least indirectly supporting Israeli incursion into—Lebanon and—Israel’s taking of Palestinian land on the West Bank.

The November election was a loud and clear message from U.S. citizens to end the Middle East conflicts, which have been strengthening the terrorists’ resolve.

Wouldn’t an inquiring mind find one of those reasons alone enough to support a banner suggesting getting out of an endless war?

Members of the local Justice and Peace Commission have been in this area for years trying to raise local consciousness about dangers of greed leading to injustices and war, and how peace will only come if it begins within ourselves.

(Printed in Letters to the Editor, The Independent, April 12)

St Patrick’s hooters

Well here’s some absolutely salacious news -that may not be the word I mean- on the much over-talked subject of the St Patrick’s Day parade. The PPJPC was accused of having crashed the parade, of having signed up under a false pretense, the BOOKMOBILE, even though we’d done the same thing a year before. But guess who really did crash the parade? The Hooters Girls!
Hooters was not among the registered parade participants, but marched with entry #56, the Colorado Springs Fire Department. But I guess nobody deemed the Hooters message of family-fun-in-orange-rayon to be either social or objectionable.
On a recent note, parade organizer John O’Donnell was just asked if the PPJPC would be permitted to march in next year’s parade. He said “no.”

Investigate this

While the CSPD investigates reports that its officers employed excessive force at The 2007 John O’Donnell St. Patrick’s Day Parade, you can check out this collection of news segments which feature the St Patrick’s police surge on home-video footage. (Courtesy of Mark Lewis)
Fast forward to these select items:
At the 5:27 mark, Frank Cordero in an illegal choke hold,
At 5:04, Molly Eaves being held by the throat,
At 3:30, Elizabeth Fineron knocked down by two police officers, and
At 3:14, dragged swifty across the pavement.