Tag Archives: Tattered Cover Bookstore

Charles Dickens and the Tattered Cover Bookstore

“Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day.” ?? Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
 
Pause you who read this and think of the man, Charles Dickens, who gave to the world some of our most memorable stories and books; A Christmas Carol, Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations, to name only a few. Charles Dickens, a man filled with compassion for the poor and hungry, who he wrote about so eloquently. Now comes The Tattered Cover Book Store who seeks to make a profit from this man’s stories and the people Charles wrote about; the Tattered Cover who through their membership in the Downtown Business Partnership, supports the Denver Camping Ban, a law that criminalize the poor and homeless.

Pause a moment for the poor and hungry. Tell The Tattered Cover, in the eyes of Charles Dickens, they are hypocrites. Stop selling his books or send a letter to the Denver City Council resending their support of the camping ban.

Send an e-mail to books@tatteredcover.com if you have compassion for the poor. Your voice will make a difference for those less fortunate. Please pass this on to all your friends and family; Together we can change the world.

PHOTOS: Denver cops serve complaint against a six year old playing a bucket drum at Friday Tattered Cover protest.

Weekly boycott of Tattered Cover Bookstore
DENVER, COLORADO- The weekly protest and homeless feeding in front of the LoDo Tattered Cover bookstore was interrupted on Friday night by the police, this time to serve a noise complaint against a six year-old who’d been beating on the bucket drums with his friends. The operation required two backup cruisers while six more laid in wait.

Weekly boycott of Tattered Cover Bookstore
The feeding began as it does every week. (Photos by David Anderson and Eric Verlo.)

Weekly boycott of Tattered Cover Bookstore
There was a kid’s picnic.

Weekly boycott of Tattered Cover Bookstore
Late arrivals noticed a buildup of police cruisers to the South.

Weekly boycott of Tattered Cover Bookstore
We stopped for a photo op with an array of cruisers waiting to the East as well.

Weekly boycott of Tattered Cover Bookstore
We hadn’t intended on drumming or chanting this week but by special request we brought three drums from the car for the amusement of the children.

Weekly boycott of Tattered Cover Bookstore
They played merrily until Officer Friendly rolled up.

Weekly boycott of Tattered Cover Bookstore

Weekly boycott of Tattered Cover Bookstore

Weekly boycott of Tattered Cover Bookstore

Weekly boycott of Tattered Cover Bookstore

Weekly boycott of Tattered Cover Bookstore
To quote David Anderson:

Denver police get tough with children; During a protest of the Denver Camping Ban, at the Tatter Cover Bookstore a police officer admonished a five year old boy. The officer explained to the little boy, that it was OK to protest but that he was not allowed to have any fun while doing it

Weekly boycott of Tattered Cover Bookstore

Weekly boycott of Tattered Cover Bookstore
Not only three cruisers but an undercover officer (in the grey t-shirt).

Weekly boycott of Tattered Cover Bookstore

The Denver Homeless Problem

The Denver City Council believes that if you criminalize, arrest and jail this man we have solved the homeless problem. If you agree with the City Council go back to your TV and watch the latest episode of “Keeping up with the Kardashians”. But if you truly want to understand, and you want more information, then join activists with OCCUPY DENVER on Fridays. In doing that small act, you will meet the face of the homeless, you will be on the path of becoming a true compassionate human being. The photos below show feeding the homeless feeding at the Tattered Cover Bookstore in LoDo, every Friday at 5:30 pm.

Okay DPD, Occupy Denver sees your verdict and raises you one drummer


DENVER, COLORADO- As Occupy Denver learned with the recent verdict, even one drummer performing an unwanted refrain can be considered loud and unusual enough to earn a complaint. With the Tattered Cover Five temporarily shell-shocked, reinforcements have arrived to bridge the gap, last weekend in the fearless personage of Colt Justice, who reports contrary to expectation, he was not arrested. Game on heartless Denver, lest Tattered Cover patrons and other Denverites ignoring the plight of the homeless fail to yield to the disturbing protestations of the Occupy homeless advocates.

Homeland Security gets in on the act, tells Occupy Denver noise complaint will trigger arrest


DENVER, COLORADO- Fresh on the heels of their courtroom victory, Denver police tell protesters at the weekly Tattered Cover picket: “We’ve received a complaint. Stop using the bullhorn or you will be arrested.” This from the window of a Homeland Security vehicle!

On May 6th a jury upheld Denver’s Disturbing the Peace ordinance, giving officers the right to stop political speech if they had the pretext of an onlooker’s complaint that the noise is “loud and unusual”. In the case of the TATTERED COVER FIVE, the objectionable noise was that of bucket drums. Case law has already established that protest drumming is protected speech, but city attorneys argued that didn’t apply if the intent to make noise had nothing to do with the protest message. Though megaphones were cited as contributors to the noise, the city and its police officers were careful to warn the protesters that only the drums were the offending elements, presumedly because what came across over the megaphones was pretty obviously speech.

Denver Occupiers returned to the Friday protest with little trepidation because we didn’t have our drums. We conducted the 5:30pm homeless feeding, then led chants and distributed fliers as we have every week since January 2014. We were discussing perhaps using drums again, maybe beating them softy this time, when activist at the corner holding down the vocal outreach reported an alarming escalation.

At 7pm the protesters at the corner of Wynkoop and 16th were approached by a police vehicle. From a rolled-down window an officer told they had to stop. “We’ve received a complaint” was the introduction we’ve heard before. “Stop using the bullhorn or you will be arrested.”

Um. No?

It’s the slow creep we anticipated, though probably a swifter kick of the boot than we expected. Give the DPD an inch and they want to hang you with it.

Except this was no mere DPD cruiser. It was a police vehicle marked “Federal Protective Service” from the Department of “Homeland Security”. Purportedly enforcing a noise ordinance.

So what next? The course seems obvious but it means someone willing to risk arrest, someone ready with a camera to record official interactions, and others prepared to backup the videographer and act as legal observers. Should a simple protest aming to interact with the public require such an infrastructure of extra activists? When Occupy Denver undertook to boycott the offending businesses behind the Urban Camping Ban, it seemed commitment enough to feed the homeless, hold signs and print fliers. Now we have to consult attorneys and spring legal traps for the popo.

So who’s up to play bait?

Tattered Cover Five return to the scene of the crime


DENVER, COLORADO- On May 8th 2015, the Tattered Cover Five returned to the scene of their heinous crime, feeding the poor and homeless. After being convicted in a kangaroo court hearing in City Court for disturbing the peace and being a general nuisance, the defendants once again returned on Friday to the Tattered Cover Book Store where they fed the poor on a rain soaked evening. When we as a society look past an act of compassion and charity in feeding the poor and homeless, to see our shame, to feel our discomfort and then to criminalize this act of kindness. Then we are a Broken and Sick Society.

We can cure this sickness in our society; we must unite and come together; You need only commit one small act of kindness; skip one hour at your local pub; one hour at the mall; one TV show and then come and volunteer in front of the Tattered Cover book store on Friday night. The one hour you give will tell the city “We Do Care About The Poor and Homeless” I believe there are many good and kind people out there, we need only find them. Are you one of those kind and caring people? Let us come together and show the city of Denver, we do care.

City of Denver wins court battle to ignore the homeless, one arrest made


DENVER, COLORADO- The trial of the Tattered Cover Five concluded this week. For three days a municipal court considered whether a complaint made against protesters drumming in front of the downtown Tattered Cover Bookstore should or should not curb the protesters’ freedom of speech. And the jury really didn’t get it. Not only did their verdict uphold the police’s discretion to decide whose speech can be considered to be disturbing the peace, but the jury introduced their own arbitrary enforcement, judging some drummers guilty and some not, even though the complaint which prompted the charges was based on the “loud and unusual noise” generated by the ensemble.

The jury had even heard testimony that defendants were threatened with arrest if we “so much as touched a drum.” How then could this case be about disturbing the peace via loud noise? Defense attorney David Lane knew our acts of defiance were more accurately “disturbing the police.”

More obtuse than the Denver jury was the presiding judge, who resisted every rational objection and motion to insure that blunt authoritarianism always received the benefit of the doubt. I’ll admit our supporters in the audience were glib throughout the trial as our lawyer David Lane could hardly sidestep using the dumb and dumber city attorneys for mops. But the judge always ruled in dumb’s favor. It was as if courtroom 3H was an Affirmative Action program for logical fallacies, and the judge was a rubber-stamp for the rule of bad law.

This was never more clear than in the trial’s final moments, when extra deputies ringed the courtroom and then arrested an audience member.

Just before the jury was to emerge with its verdict, the judge reminded everyone that filming or recording the jury was prohibited. David Lane voiced his objection at the buildup of officers in the courtroom without cause. As usual the judge was dismissive.

Lane emphasized that in all his years this was an uncharacteristic show of force. The judge didn’t care: “Objection noted.” It was her usual refrain.

As the officers moved closer to the audience to make their oppressive presence felt, the activism instinct to raise cell phones at the ready gave the officers their cause. This escalated into a standoff, with the deputies ordering an activist to leave the courtroom. His protestations of innocence were interpreted as resisting so he was led off in handcuffs, prompting of course more impulses to film the arrest.

When more officers began targeting more cellphones, a voice of authority rang out. It wasn’t the judge calling for order in the court. No, she was satisfied to let the deputes maraud through the audience and extract people with physical force without even looking up from her monitor. It was the sonorous voice of David Lane that brought the officers to heel. He said “Nobody can take anyone’s phone.” Lane’s gravitas had never given the judge pause but it stopped the deputes in their tracks.

“The most an officer can ask you to do is to put your phone in your pocket” Lane continued. One activist was holding his phone aloft in a game of keep-away with two deputes. Hesitantly he and the other audience members pocketed their phones.

When the jury members made their entrance they were greeted by a militarized courtroom and an audience numb with shock over the justice system’s indifference to abuse of power. We were in for a worse surprise.

It could be the jury did step up to David Lane’s challenge. He’d told them they would never in their lives wield as much power as they did on this jury, their chance to fashion how First Amendment protections are upheld. Except they didn’t share Lane’s or our concern for holding off a police state. Instead they sided with the prosecution, who urged they preserve “the right to ignore someone else’s opinion.”

Honest to God, our weekly protest at the Tattered Cover was presented to have been about the Urban Camping Ban. The jury understood we were urging people not to ignore the plight of the homeless. The city prosecutor’s words could not have been more ill chosen if one is embarassed by irony.

I was one of the defendants in the Trial of the Tattered Cover Five. One of us escaped charges due to a clerical error, two others were found not guilty for lack of self-incrimination. Tim Calahan and I were convicted of Disturbing the Peace, specifically for having created a loud and unusual noise in violation of a City of Denver ordinance. I got two convictions, community service, court fees, one year’s unsupervised probation, and supervision fees (yes that is a non sequitur), but all of it stayed pending appeal.

David Hughes arrested
So what happened to the courtroom arrestee? I’m free now to say that his name is David Hughes, Denver Occupier and IWW organizer. David wasn’t released until the next day, mostly because neither the city nor county was sure with what to charge him. David was kept in an underground cell between the courthouse and the county jail while the trial went on.

Stunned by our defeat in court, our now un-merry band’s attention was diverted to our imprisoned comrade. David had refused to be excluded from the courtroom and next we learned that, like any good Wobbly, David was refusing to reveal his identity. By chance his wife held his wallet and phone so David was free to complicate his abduction as anyone innocent of charges might. We continued to shout “Free John Doe” outside the courthouse in solidarity late into the night.

Was David guilty of using his phone camera? It’s generally understood that recording devices are not to be used in courtrooms, to respect the privacy of witnesses, the jury, and the accused. In this case the judge had specified not recording the jury which had not yet entered. What had interested David was the disproportionate buildup of sheriffs deputees. How many law enforcement officers can you have in a courtroom before the public feels threatened enough that they need to film the officers for the public’s own protection? What doesn’t get filmed, the cops get away with. The judge certainly wasn’t concerned for our protection.

Reflection
I really can’t understate the disappointment we all felt about the verdict. It was predictable yes, but unsettling to see it happen. We had the best lawyer that money can’t even buy, undone by the steady creep of Fascism. I associate it with our society’s declining education and public engagement, abetted by oppressive law.

For three days, attendees who were not readily recognized as being with the defendants could circulate the halls of the Linsey-Flanigan courthouse and overhear deputees talk about the case. All the deputees were greatly chagrined that The David Lane was representing us. Apparently they all know his reputation. There was no press interest except by KGNU, but lawyers who saw David Lane walk through the hall made a point to stop by our courtroom when they had the chance to watch him work.

And so it was really a blow to the ego to meet with failure. I’ve written before about how police intervention at our Tattered Cover protests ceased entirely after the first arraignment date when David Lane showed up in our stead. We’d been surveilled by a half dozen cruisers every Friday for a half year. After David Lane officially filed our papers that number went to zero. No more visits from officers, no more drivebys with videocameras, for almost a solid year now. It should be interesting to see what happens this Friday. Will the cruisers be back? They still have no cause. No disruptions, no conflicts, no threat of lawbreaking whatsoever.

Before Lane the officers regularly interrupted our assemblies to recite their warnings in spite of our objections. When Tim and I were arrested, we had to sit in a holding cell, shackled to a bench, while Sergeant Stiggler berated us for looking like fools. We were wrong about the camping ban, we were wrong about our rights, bla bla bla bla. We kept our mouths shut to shorten his lecture. After enduring our bullhorn for three months, he’d composed quite a rebuttal. His diatribe contradicted the suggestion that our arrests were about the noise and not our message.

For now unfortunately the sergeant turns out to have been correct about our rights. And looking like fools I guess.

For now Denver’s Disturbing the Peace ordinance does dismantle the First Amendment. For now it does allow what’s called a “heckler’s veto.” That’s a marker of unconstitutionality where one person’s complaint could be used to silence political speech to which they object. It does allow police officers to decide what “time place and manner” limits to place on free speech. Nevermind “Congress shall make no law to abridge” –that’s up to the police. It’s their call!

At our earlier motions hearing David Lane spent two days arguing that Denver’s ordinance was unconstitutional, to deaf ears obviously. At that hearing, DPD officer after officer testified that what qualified as a disturbance was entirely theirs to decide. Lane laid the groundwork to show that Denver police officers aren’t given a clue how to respect free speech. This judge was already satisfied I guess to pass the buck to a higher court.

In the meantime activists can no longer brey with confidence about free speech rights in Denver. We’ll have to engage with police submiting their proposed abridgements. We’ll have to bite our tongues, as they do I’m sure, feeling our hands tied more than we’d like, they longing to beat us. It’s going to be more difficult to recruit newcomers, uneasy with what confidence we can responsibly instill in them. “Am I going to get in trouble” is the first question they ask. Now the more probable answer is not maybe.

Arrests reach seven at weekly protest of two-faced Denver bookstore

Tattered Cover arrests
DENVER, COLORADO- Occupy Denver’s Tim Calahan and I were arrested and jailed at last Friday’s boycott action against the Tattered Cover Bookstore. This marked Tim’s third citation for drumming, my second, and Janet Matzen’s first. For drumming. Disturbing the peace is what the DPD charges. We maintain the DPD are curbing our free speech. SO NOW I want to tell you the story of how famed civil rights attorney David Lane came to represent us.

The story begins Thursday before the Anonymous “Every5th” march. A couple friends and I were feeling trepidatious about the Anonymous march because the previous month’s Every5th had been abruptly curtailed by riot police. Several Anons were arrested and a number more pepper-sprayed, and so we wondered if we couldn’t get legal advice about how to assert our First Amendment rights without surrendering ourselves to jail. Also on our minds were the past two fridays at the Tattered Cover where citations had been handed out, drums confiscated, and warnings given that if we drummed again, the next arrestees would be jailed. So we went to the celebrated lawyer’s office and tried our luck with the receptionist.

I told her we were activists who were having a rough time with police, we thought they were violating our civil liberties, could David Lane be of any help? She looked at us increduously. We couldn’t just walk in she said, we had to take a card, we had to call in, we could leave a message, they’d call back if they were interested, they might not call back at all, it certainly wouldn’t be right away.

We told her time was rather of the essence, these arrests were as predictable as they were egregious, we didn’t know where to turn and these arrests seemed to present the kind of case in which David Lane specialized. The receptionist repeated her instructions in a tone that reflected she was not sure I wasn’t simply a lunatic.

After making more prolonged and embarassing enteaties, I finally submitted to following her instructions but I insisted too on leaving a written note which gave me further time to expound on our DPD versus the people predicament.

Turning to make our exit, I explained that we would be leaving her office to join a protest at which chances were pretty good we were going to be arrested, but that the next night at the Tattered Cover, we were most definitely going to be arrested. The receptionist made the oddest face as she search my eyes for some sign that I spoke her language. “Wait just a minute please” she told us as she beat a hasty retreat. Within that minute she returned to say “David Lane will meet you in the conference room.”

We spent the next half hour relating the details of our past arrests, how each had been captured on video, in front of witnesses, and how we’d been warned arrests would continue. We offered too that the police were also videotaping assiduously and that their accounts would match ours. David Lane assured us if we were conducting ourselves as we presented and if arrests endured, he would represent us and anyone else who stepped up to the plate. If exercising our freedom of speech became a risk where it was supposed to be right, standing up for us was the least he could do.

That night we hit the streets with a renewed sense of confidence, and the following evening at the Tattered Cover was an empowering experience like no other. As you can see in the photo above, we couldn’t keep our eyes off the half dozen cruisers keeping watch on us. Would they swoop in? When would they descend on us? The anticipation was frustrating. Who should film, who should take whose keys and phone, who did or didn’t want to beat the drum. We were ready for jail, we were ready to tell the officers, as we had the weeks before, that they couldn’t do what they were doing, we knew our rights. This time we could assure our DPD captors that they were asking for trouble in messing with Occupy. Stay tuned!

Continued arrest of Denver Occupiers confirms homeless protest is battle line where people’s rights offend Capitalism

Occupy Denver arrests at LoDo Tattered Cover boycott
DENVER, COLORADO- The weekly demonstration in front of the Tattered Cover bookstore ended once again in arrests yesterday. Three Occupiers were arrested, led away in handcuffs, detained at length in the back of police cruisers, and given citations for “disturbing the peace”. Four bucket drums were confiscated, presumably one was beating itself. This marks the fifth arrest at the Tattered Cover action. Arrestees at earlier homeless ban actions had been cited for jaywalking, some required to post bond before being released from jail. Many more Friday night actions have been interrupted and truncated by a DPD show of force or DPD warning that a complaint gave officers license to restrict “time, place and manner” of what the activists decry as their free speech. Although a bullhorn was initially taken last night and declared to be evidence, it was returned to the Occupiers, probably for fear the act would too literally represent their voices being silenced.

The Tattered Cover disturbers of the peace are scheduled for arraignment on June 16 and June 30. These cases are not unrelated to other Denver protest arrestees who have court dates on June 10 for obstructing traffic and other technicalities contrived to intimidate political demonstrations. Until defendants are able to confront their charges, the DPD appears determined to arrest protesters at will.

Wall Street is why we can’t have nice things. Your gullible good nature is why America can’t change that.

Contentious Occupy Denver protest at Tattered Cover bookstore
Cops are people too, voting matters, use honey not vinegar, the only way is nonviolence, yada yada. Try this against your old liberals’ tales: If one million indignados foreswore property destruction, a policeman with a sharp pencil could subjugate them all, the state could spend more on amassing capital, and the press wouldn’t have to report a thing, etc. Occupy is a revolutionary movement rallying support for the understanding that we must burn down this castle of inequity and injustice. Those urging demonstrators to lower the pitchforks are the primary defensive line of the system. Armored police are nothing compared to the duped stooges who circulate among us enforcing conformity and dissent within-limits. Occupy Wall Street targeted Wall Street because it pulls the strings in DC. We can continue to protest corporations and the military but our biggest adversaries are our own defeatist tendencies. They are neither accidental nor transcendent, they are malignant.

Did you know that if you disagree with someone’s free speech you can call the cops and say their voices disturb you?


IN DENVER YOU CAN! Denver police have been silencing picketers at the downtown Tattered Cover Bookstore by asserting that complaints give them the authority to curtail the Friday evening protests at will, even before the 10pm noise restriction. The DPD cite “time and place” restrictions to free speech, such as, you know: you can’t shout “fire” in a crowded theater. Apparently they’re worried that crying “Boycott the Tattered Cover” will cause a stampede. We hope so too, and in a PUBLIC SPACE, we have that right.

The Tattered Cover doubles down on its privilege to ignore Denver homeless

Tattered CoverDENVER, COLORADO- Representatives of Occupy Denver met with both owner and manager of The Tattered Cover Bookstore last week hoping to avert taking public action against the popularly lionized bookseller for its passive support of the city’s Urban Camping Ban. There was hope that owner Joyce Meskis could reconsider her “neutrality” on the policy of oppression which has proved disastrous for Denver’s beleaguered street dwellers, at the very least, rescind her membership in the Downtown Business Partnership, the lobbying entity which conjured the ordinance.

INSTEAD Meskis told the Occupiers to redirect their efforts toward citizens instead of pressuring businesses to take sides. Meskis admitted she had not followed the city council hearings and so did not know that individuals have had no more clout there than have the homeless. The camping ban was proposed by a cabal of businesses, OD explained. Its repeal will no doubt require an outcry from the same. Meskis remained adamant that her business take no side. OD suggested that a bookstore of all places might want to hold itself to the higher ideals it propagates. What good is literacy if it does not elevate? Meskis held firm: the Tattered Cover must entertain both sides and allow customers to arrive at their own conclusions.

Imagine a dealer of books so pedantic. Really, are there two sides to human rights? Archbishop Desmond Tutu once wrote that neutrality helps the oppressor, never the oppressed. They haven’t read him, or maybe they disagree? More obnoxious than ignorance is arrogant ignorance. Even the illiterate do not argue against Edmond Burke’s “when good men do nothing.” What’s the point of enriching yourself with a business if it’s not to have more impact on your community?

Looking at the callous indifference of business leaders, who reserve their personal sympathies in the interest of dispassionate objectivity, you might as well be staring at an American general, a politician, or other such sociopath, the embodiment of Capitalism, void of humanity.

Fortunately people governed strictly by the bottom line are much easier to reorient than others whose values are ideological or moral. Attenuating their flow of customers brings businesses to heel. Money talks, and yes, it’s too bad the Tattered Cover has turned out to be the unlikely posterchild.

BUMMER? HARDLY. What we have is a opportunity to blow open the conservative liberal pretense that privileged first worlders need not soil themselves with taking sides. Wars happen, torture happens, neglect of the poor happens when community members, particularly the power centers of business, say nothing to oppose them. The Tattered Cover maintains its ambivalence is a principled stand. I think its acquiescence on the urban camping ban allowed the more preditory downtown businesses to rationalize their inhumanity, thinking “see, it’s not just us assholes.”

OD’s reluctant boycott continues undaunted this Friday at 5:30pm at the Tattered Cover’s LoDo store.

Tattered Cover boycott