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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!

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