You are here
Home > Local News > Activism > The Lindsey Flanigan Courthouse Plaza protest timeline (July 2015 – present)

The Lindsey Flanigan Courthouse Plaza protest timeline (July 2015 – present)


UPDATED: This is a timeline of the legal battle which began in July 2015 over activists’s right to protest in the Lindsey Flanigan Courthouse Plaza. It explains why activists with Occupy Denver did not believe they were being given lawful orders when commanded to stop and why activists still believe the DPD were wrong to make their arrests. The city’s charges of “encumbrance” and “obstruction” appeared calculated to circumvent a federal injunction protecting the public’s First Amendment rights.

July 27, 2015
Mark Iannicelli and Eric Brandt distribute jury nullification literature at Lindsey Flanigan Courthouse (LFC) plaza. Mark Iannicelli is arrested and jailed for two days, charged with seven felony counts of jury tampering. #15CR03981 (charges dismissed 12/16 by Judge Plotz).

Aug 7
Warrant is issued for arrest of Eric Brandt for same incident, same charges. Eric Brandt is arrested and jailed #15CR04212 (charges dismissed 12/16).

Aug 14
Colorado 2nd Judicial District Chief Judge Michael A. Martinez issues order CJO-1 barring protest, including structures, in LFC plaza. (The Chief Judge later explained that his motivation was to preempt racial unrest on occasion of potential death sentence being given to African American Dexter Lewis, so soon after Aurora Theater Shooter James Holmes, who is white, had been spared the death penalty.)

Aug 17
Through attorney David Lane of Kilmer, Lane & Newman, plaintiffs Eric Verlo, Janet Matzen & Fully Informed Jury Association file complaint for federal injunction protection against continued arrest of jury nullification pamphleteers in LFC plaza

Aug 19
Having become apprized of CJO-1 posted at courthouse, Verlo et al file amended complaint to include a challenge of the plaza order. US District Court Judge William J. Martinez grants an injunction hearing for August 21.

Aug 21
1. An AMENDED CJO-1 is posted to courthouse entrance. Colorado Chief Judge Martinez amends PLAZA ORDER prohibitions to apply only to highlighted area, not entire plaza.

2. US Judge Martinez hears oral arguments on federal injunction. LFC plaza is stipulated to be not just a designated free speech zone but a traditional free speech zone.

Aug 25
US District Judge William Martinez grants preliminary injunction, strikes first paragraph from amended plaza order. He rules the prohibitions in the highlighted area cannot limit non-amplified speech, the accosting of passersby, or the distribution of literature.

Aug 26   FOUR ARRESTS
8am: New REDACTED amended CJO-1 [Plaza Order] is posted on glass door of Lindsey Flanigan Courthouse. Occupy Denver activists initiate an all-day protest to distribute FIJA fliers.

10am: Protesters erect a popup canopy which is immediately confiscated by DPD citing activist lack of permit. Other materials confiscated include table, chairs, drums, banners, signs and jury nullification brochures. However there are no arrests or citations.

1pm: City Attorney Wendy Shea agrees to have DPD return confiscated property. DPD equivocates (for two days), citing lack of a specific person to whom property should be released.

3pm: Plaintiffs Verlo et al file motion to hold DPD in contempt of federal injunction for the confiscations. (DPD was later found not to be in contempt because evidence was not conclusive that literature had been confiscated.)

9pm: Occupy Denver erects three tents. DPD and SWAT seize the tents. Four protesters arrested for obstruction: William Hall #15GS012195 (took a plea deal: probation and area restriction), Adrian Brown #15GS012196 (trial 3/8, not guilty obstruction & failure to obey, guilty interference, 20 days jail, on appeal), Fred Hendrich #15GS012197 (case dismissed 6/13), Eric Verlo #15GS012198 (trial 1/11, guilty obstruction & interference, 20 days jail, on appeal)

10pm: Remaining protesters stay overnight in sleeping bags awaiting release of arrestees. (Thus begins a 24-hour protest which continues for 56 days.)

Aug 28     ONE CITATION, TWO ARRESTS
4pm: After further calls to city attorney, the canopy is reclaimed from DPD property, and is erected immediately. DPD confiscates it as encumbrance. Citation is issued for dog off-leash to Caryn Sorado #15GV552914 (dismissed 11/24 via plea deal)

7pm: Immediately after his delayed release from jail, Adrian Monk Brown erects a tent. Within half hour, while walking his dog at South end of plaza, Brown is arrested by DPD and tent is confiscated. #15GS012303 (trial 11/16 w Rodarte, jury finds Brown NOT GUILTY)

8pm: Eric Brandt protests Browns arrest, chases DPD Commander Lopez car, arrested. #15GS012304 (trial 8/24 w Spahn)

Sept 1
8am: Hearing before US judge Martinez to hold DPD in contempt. Paying a visit to the Denver Department of Pubic Works, activist learn that there is no permit required for free speech activity and furthermore the department does not have jurisdiction over the Lindsey Flanigan Courthouse plaza.

4pm: Activists erect three empty tents marked with bold letters JURY NULLIFICATION TENTS. At 6pm, DPD arrives in force to confiscate the three tents, and pass out paper notices [Encumbrance Notice] which read:

!!Notice!! It is illegal to place ANY encumbrance on the public right of way. An encumbrance is defined as any article, vehicle or thing whatsoever which is on any street, alley, sidewalk, parkway or other public way or place. D.R.M.C. 49-246 et. seq. The manager of Public Works may order all encumbrances in the public right-of-way to be removed. The failure to remove items so ordered is a criminal offense; the maximum possible penalty for which is up to one year in the county jail and/or up to $999 fine. PLEASE REMOVE ALL PERSONAL ITEMS FROM THIS AREA. If personal items are not removed immediately, you may be subject to an order of removal at which time all items will be subject to removal by the Denver Police Department. Agency – Denver Police Department

The Denver ordinance cited above reads:

49-246. The manager of public works or the managers designee (hereinafter in this article, manager) is authorized to remove or to order the removal of any article, vehicle or thing whatsoever encumbering any street, alley, sidewalk, parkway or other public way or place (any such thing hereinafter in this article to be called an encumbrance). The manager may prescribe appropriate methods, specifications, placement and materials for encumbrances in the public right-of-way.

Sept 3
US District Court Judge William Martinez rules DPD is not in contempt because evidence was not conclusive that literature had been confiscated. (Note: plaintiffs order to show cause was filed on 8/26 before that evenings arrests.)

Sept 7
In the LFC Plaza, city workers install steel signs in center of plaza which read: NOTICE In reference to DRMC Sec. 49-246 this plaza must remain free from all encumbrances/obstructions – Denver Public Works

Sept 8
4:30pm: DPD conducts sixth raid on protest, confiscating everything that cant be gathered and held by activists.

Sept 11
Night raid, to avoid arrest everyone must stand and gather personal items as if to leave.

Sept 12
DPD Night raid. Everyone made to stand, no arrests.

plaza-handcuffs-timothy-campbell-nmt

Sept 13
Night raid, stop and frisk of Timothy Campbell because he looked threatening to an HSS security guard. Campbell is handcuffed but released. Michael Moore is issued a citation for having his dog Lizzie off leash #15GS013171 (1/5 plea deal, six month probation).

Sept 14
DPD confiscates encumbrances: chairs, flags, banners, toilet paper

Sept 15
While Michael Moore is loudly protesting at doors of jail about delayed release of Eric Brandt, jail deputies assault Moore and attempt to take him into custody. DPD arrives and delivers Moore to Detox. No arrests.

Sept 16   ONE ARREST
Surveillance operator observes Jose Pedro Trejo urinating in public. DPD force arrives, Pedro arrested #15GS013298 (Plea deal, time served, $50 fine).

Sept 17
1am night raid makes 12th raid. DPD threaten arrest for violation of urban camping ban

Sept 18   FOUR ARRESTS
While activists are celebrating 4th anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, DPD evict assembly citing encumbrances, arrest Eric Brandt #15GS013512 (trial 8/29 w Spahn) and confiscate majority of protest equipment and personal property, warn others to leave and face arrest upon return. Activists return and DPD arrest three more: Adrian Brown #15GS013537 (dismissed 3/18), Jay Maxwell #15GS013517 (plea deal, year probation), and Timothy Campbell who is tackled and charged with assault #15CR05088 (jailed 4 days, charges dropped 9/22).

Via their attorney, plaintiffs Verlo et al receive Spoliation Letter to preserve all correspondence, media, eg. evidence of activities in plaza, from August 2015 onward.

Sept 19   ONE ARREST
2:38am: Later that night, Mark Iannicelli is arrested for not removing his chair from plaza #15GS013527 (District court considering motion to dismiss)

Sept 24   THREE ARRESTS
Possible police agent sent into camp to provoke fight. Arrest of Adrian Brown #15M08835 (charges dropped) and Matthew Lentz #15CR05197 (jailed 5 days, charges dropped 9/28). Brandt arrested for interference #15GS013823 (6/13 trial ended in hung jury. Retrial is 8/1 w Faragher).

Sept 25
Adrian Brown files motion for expanded discovery on 8/26 tent arrest case (#15GS012196). Sept 25 is before the 30 day period after which HALO camera footage is regularly overwritten. (Other 8/26 defendants will be told their discovery motions were filed too late to prevent destruction of HALO surveillance video. Although all motions were similarly worded and requested the identical evenings footage at Brown.)

City challenges temporary injunction with US Court of Appeals.

4pm: CURFEW notice posted by City workers who install eight steel signs on periphery of plaza declaring a curfew. Signs read:

NOTICE The grounds of the Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse and the Denver Detention Center are closed to the public from 8:30PM until 7:30AM. Except to conduct official business within tne facilities. Violators are subject to citation or arrest pursuant to D.R.M.C 38-115

7:25pm: Activist are driven off the plaza by DPD. Protest continues overnight on sidewalk along Colfax Ave. DPD conduct night raid forcing everyone to stand and gather sleeping bags as usual.

Sept 26
Protest relocates across Colfax Ave to triangle shaped park on Northwest corner of Tremont and Colfax.

Sept 28?
After an activist discussion of an alternative fallback location being the plaza in front of the Wellington Webb Building, we discover curfew signs have now been posted there too.

Sep 30
City of Denver files motion to dismiss injunction.

Oct 6   ONE ARREST
Possible infiltrator disrupts camp by stealing property. She is ousted by Caryn Sodaro but later files a complaint in municipal court seeking a protection order against Sodaro. Warrant is issued for Sodaros arrest #15GS014734 (11/18 plea deal, 150 days jail).

Oct 9
Plaintiff files response to motion to dismiss.

Oct 16
Reply brief by plaintiffs

Oct 21   ONE ARREST
On first day of rain since plaza protest began, DPD effects full eviction of COLFAX CAMP. Confiscates personal property and protest materials. Hauls much of it in a garbage truck. Eric Brandt is arrested for obstruction and interference #15GS015407 (trial 9/7 w Spahn)

Oct 26
Reply from plaintiffs.

Nov 12
Reply in support of defense

Nov 16
Jury finds Monk Brown no guilty of 8/28 obstruction. Judge Nicole Rodarte in 3G. Deputy city attorney prosecuted the case.

Nov 17
Oral arguments to court of appeals, courtroom III

Dec 16
Denver District Court Judge Kenneth Plotz dismisses Jury Tampering charges against Mark Iannicelli and Eric Brandt (city does not appeal).

Jan 11
8/26 tent arrestee Eric Verlo found guilty of obstruction and interference, 20 days jail. Represented by public defender. On appeal based on ineffective assistance of counsel.

Jan 13
City makes first request for plaintiffs to show documents to defendants, as per spoliation letter. (Meanwhile activist defendants have received discovery motion responses that surveillance video is overwritten and all of city correspondence is privileged.)

Feb 1
Plaintiffs Verlo et al are informed that US District Judge William Martinez wishes to hold a full trial to consider a permanent injunction. Depositions will be recorded on Feb 12.

March 8
8/26 tent arrestee Monk Brown found not guilty of obstruction and failure to obey, but guilty on interference, sentenced to 20 days jail, on appeal based in inconsistent verdict.

March 16
Mark Iannicelli arrested again distributing JN fliers #16GS003320. He’s detained and cited for harassment and violation of CJO-1. Released within hours, charges dropped are 3/18.

May 2
Verlo et al file motion to show cause why former Denver defendants should not be held in contempt of court for the March 16 arrest of Mark Iannicelli. Filing was delayed because city refused to produce discovery evidence. Plaintiffs had to file a CORA request to learn facts of Iannicelli’s arrest.

May 11
Deposition of Chief Justice Michael Martinez

May 31
Order received from Federal Judge William Martinez:

ORDER: Before the Court is Plaintiffs’ Motion for Order to Show Cause Why Former Denver Defendants Should Not Be Held in Contempt of Court [108]. Per D.C.COLO.LCivR 7.1(d) and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 6(d), the Denver Defendants’ deadline to respond was May 26, 2016. Denver filed nothing on that date, and has since filed nothing. Accordingly, the Court could deem the motion confessed. Solely in the interests of justice, however, Denver is ORDERED to file a response on or before June 3, 2016. No reply will be accepted without prior order or leave of Court. SO ORDERED by Judge William J. Martinez on 05/31/2016.

June 1
Motion to dismiss 8/28 chair arrest of Mark Iannicelli moves case to district court. Dismissal expected.

June 3
City responds to motion to show cause.

June 13
Fred Henrich 8/26 tent case dismissed.

June 20
Federal judge William Martinez responds:

ORDER: Before the Court is Plaintiffs’ Motion for Order to Show Cause Why Former Denver Defendants Should Not Be Held in Contempt of Court [108]. Given the nature of the alleged violation of this Court’s preliminary injunction, and given the lack of evidence that the alleged violation presents an ongoing problem, the Court sees no pressing reason to address potential contempt at this time. Plaintiffs are therefore DIRECTED to file a notice, no later than June 24, 2016, explaining why the Court should give priority to their motion. Otherwise, the Court intends to set this matter for a hearing immediately following the bench trial scheduled to begin on April 17, 2017 between Plaintiffs and the Second Judicial District. SO ORDERED by Judge William J. Martinez on 06/20/2016.

June 22
Jury trial for Eric Brandt’s 9/24 interference arrest results in hung jury. Retrial scheduled for 8/1 w Judge Faragher.

—-

NOTES:
A. List of 2015-16 plaza arrests (20) & citations (2)

No. Name: Date: Offense: Result:
1. Mark Iannicelli 7/27 (jury tampering) DISMISSED 12/16
2. Eric Brandt 7/27 (jury tampering) DISMISSED 12/16
3. William Reno Hall 8/26 TENT (obstr.) PLEA, prob., area restriction
4. Adrian Monk Brown 8/26 TENT (obstruction) NOT GUILTY obstruct & failure, GUILTY interference
5. Fred Hendrich 8/26 TENT (obstruction, interference, failure to obey) DISMISSED 6/13
6. Eric Verlo 8/26 TENT (obstruction, interference) GUILTY, 20 days jail, on appeal
7. Caryn Sodaro 8/28 (DOG citation) PLEA deal
8. Adrian Monk Brown 8/28 TENT (obstruction) NOT GUILTY 11/17
9. Eric Brandt 8/28 (failure to obey) ***trial 8/24
10. Michael Moore 9/13 (DOG citation) PLEA deal
11. Jose Pedro Trejo 9/16 (urinating in public) PLEA deal
12. Eric Brandt 9/18 TARP (obstruction) ***trial 8/29
13. Jay Maxwell 9/18 HANDCART (obstruction) PLEA deal
14. Adrian Monk Brown 9/18 A COOLER (obstr) DISMISSED 3/8
15. Tim Campbell 9/18 (assault/resisting) DROPPED
16. Mark Iannicelli 9/19 CHAIR (obstruction) to be dismissed
17. Matthew Lentz 9/24 (assault) DROPPED
18. Adrian Monk Brown 9/24 (assault) DROPPED
19. Eric Brandt 9/24 (interference) ***hung jury, retrial 8/1
20. Caryn Sodaro 10/6 (disturb, threats) PLEA deal, 150 days concurrent
21. Eric Brandt 10/21 WET PILE (obstruction) ***trial 9/7
22. Mark Iannicelli 3/16/2016 (harassment, violation of CJO-1) DISMISSED

B. Running tally:
Cases dropped or dismissed: 9
Not guilty verdict, obstruction: 2
Guilty verdict, interference: 1
Guilty verdict, obstruction & interference: 1
Plea deals: 6
Cases outstanding: 4

3. Trials still scheduled:
August 1, Eric Brandt (9/24 interloper interference), RETRIAL, LFC 3H
August 24, Eric Brandt (8/28 Lopez failure to obey), jury trial, LFC 3F
August 29, Eric Brandt (9/18 tarp obstruction), jury trial, LFC 3F
September 7, Eric Brandt (10/21 Tremont obstruct.), jury trial, LFC 3F
April 17-19, 2017, Verlo v Martinez, permanent injunction, Araj Federal Courthouse Rm A801

Leave a Reply

Top