Tag Archives: DPD

On its 4th anniversary, Occupy Denver is beating up the Urban Camping Ban. #OWS #S17


DENVER, COLORADO- At 1am last night, the Lindsey Flanigan Plaza Occupiers defended against their twelfth police raid in 30 days, this one a sweep of violations of the city’s “Urban Camping Ban”. After forcing individual sleepers to stand and feign gathering their things, the police officers left without confiscations, citations, or arrests. The supervising officer admitted that DPD orders are to disrupt the protest camp every night.

During the day, police enforce a statute 49-246 allowing the director of public works to designate “encumbrances” on the public right-of-way. Occupy is of course, by definition, an encumbrance. Officers make protesters fold up chairs and umbrellas and threaten to arrest anyone who puts them back up.

At night the DPD enforce an ordinance against sleeping in public. The officers make their presence felt, then take off. Meant to make the camping spot less hospitable, homeless participants see through the ruse and swiftly resume their slumber. With who-knows how many HALO cameras focused on us, the plaza is the safest bed in town.

The unintended consequence of the nightly raids is that campers oversleep. When the courthouse opens, the public streaming in gets a shocking view of what otherwise goes unseen: homeless sleepers on the concrete.

Occupy Denver caught off-leash again


DENVER, COLORADO- Halo camera operators spotted Lizzie AT LARGE in the Lindsey Flanigan Courthouse Plaza on Sunday night. Ten police cruisers arrived to deliver the citation. They stuck around to make other inquiries, someone wouldn’t offer ID on command so they put him in handcuffs, he did not consent to a search but they searched him anyway and released him.

EVICTED! Denver police conduct sixth raid on courthouse protest camp, this time seizing signs, flags & tombstones.


DENVER, COLORADO- Occupy Denver’s Jury Nullification Education Protest Camp had gathered steam Labor Day weekend, overnight participation growing to thirty sleepers Monday night, but at 4:30pm Tuesday DPD riot cops swept through the camp in force. Activists were allowed to save only what they could carry. All other items were considered “abandoned” and then removed by the officers as “encumbrances” as outlawed by notices recently posted by DPD. Nearly a hundred police officers in riot gear, including two vehicles carrying SWAT soldiers, swooped upon the Lindsey-Flanigan Plaza encampment when the afternoon camp security team had dwindled to four. Only one camera was on hand to record the police raid. Over the course of 45 minutes, homeless contingents were able to scramble to preempt the DPD confiscating their personal items. Once again the police appear to time their raid when most of the protesters have stepped away. Will Occupy Denver have the stamina and resilience to stand against the constant stealing of its resources?

The Occupy Denver participation is already weakened by counterinsurgent strategies to demoralize and marginalize their actions from within. The Denver activist community has seasoned social media promotors and videographers who are being waylaid from assisting the city’s highest profile protest since the Occupy movement of 2011.

Two arrests that made national news, a court order, a “Plaza Order” amended, a preliminary injunction granted, a contempt of court ruling declined, four more arrests for erecting “encumbrances”, then two more. A total of six raids, two evictions, and not a hope that any of the charges will stick. Next the District Attorney will be subpoenaed. Can an action be any more successful?

We protest the encumbrance of justice

Denver authorities have chosen a weak strategy to clear the Lindsey Flanigan Courthouse Plaza of public protests. They are relying on a vague city ordinance to declare that the plaza must be kept clear of “encumbrances/obstructions” without specifying what those might be. Last week they put up signs. By definition, a public demonstration aims to be an obstruction of the offending mechanisms of injustice, ergo, “No Justice, No Peace.” Encumbrance is direct action is a people’s last recourse. By definition, a protest is trying to encumber oppression. When the people are seeking redress, the police are our encumbrance. Fortunately the US Bill of Rights forbids the encumbrance of dissent.

Here’s the statute referenced by the signs:

§ 49-246. The manager of public works or the manager’s 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.

Judge rules Denver Police harassment was not in contempt of injunction, but he doesn’t know the four fifths of it.


DENVER, COLORADO- US District Court Judge William Martinez found action taken by the Denver Police Department against an Occupy Denver protest to be NOT IN CONTEMPT of his federal injunction to halt arrests of Jury Nullification pamphleteers, although the judge based his ruling on only the first DPD raid, not the four next raids that happened in the interim. Obviously justice system reform needs JUDGE NULLIFICATION literature for jurists whose purview is hindered by purposefully limited scope. Judge Martinez heard only about the DPD confiscating a canopy, he wasn’t allowed to consider the eviction of our tents which included four arrests, the second seizure of our canopy, the loss of another tent with two more arrests, and the raid on three more tents, pictured above. The police based their actions on the activists lacking a permit from the Denver Manager of Public Works although no such permit exists beside which that manager’s authority doesn’t extend to the Lindsey Flanigan Plaza. Judge Martinez wasn’t informed of any of that.

Police raid Occupy Denver camp, issue citation for having OD leader off-leash.


DENVER, COLORADO- Occupy activists had no sooner retrieved their pop-up canopy, which the Denver police had been ordered to return, and re-erected it, when riot cops marched in again to re-confiscate it! After tearing down the now usual “encumbrances” Friday morning, this time the canopy, table and chairs, and not also the handcart, drums, signs, banners, brochures, water, and personal items, the officers were determined to issue a citation. But for what? Apparently LIZZIE had been spied off-leash on the city’s Halo surveillance cameras.

Lizzie’s owner was not on the scene, but the humble Canis Lupus Coracinus had been entrusted to fellow Occupier Caryn Sodaro, who swore to break pig skulls before she would ever surrender Lizzie to the pigs. Behind the SWAT team and shielded riot cops, two officers were approaching with a black leash.

Onlookers have described the strange tiptoeing that’s overtaken the latest dances between activists and the DPD, but witnesses to this scene can attest they were bracing themselves for both Caryn and Lizzie’s abrupt demise. Fortunately the DPD deescalated and wrote a citation as other Occupiers took photographs of the surreal show of force. The circus, a literal circus, was calculated no doubt to overcome Occupy’s well broadcasted Oppositional Defiant Disorder.

It’s presumed DPD Intelligence knew that Lizzie had been anointed the newest leader of Occupy Denver. Their recordings would also have reflected that we expected she be accorded diplomatic immunity from the city leash law. Lizzie is the successor of Shelby, the border collie who made news in 2011 as the inaugural “leader” of Occupy Denver, when Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper wouldn’t accept a leaderless movement.

Spotted at Denver #BlackLivesMatter march: police gun mocking public fear of lethal force


DENVER, COLORADO- It may not have been the motorcycle cop who was overheard at Sunday’s #BlackLivesMatter march -commemorating the one-year anniversary of the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson- telling a fellow officer “they’re upset about a Nigger who was killed”, but one DPD biker photographed had decorated his sidearm with flair one might hope wasn’t standard-issue. Stuck on the handle of his Glock was a variant of a smiley emoticon which mocked the apprehension a subject might feel upon seeing the unholstering of lethal force.


Photo by Patrick Jay

The History of the Denver Police Department

Before the Denver Police Department began murdering the men, women and children of Denver, they were burglarizing Denver homes and businesses.
 
In 1960, the largest police corruption scandal in the U.S. to date began to unfold. More than 50 area law-enforcement personnel – almost entirely Denver Police Officers were caught in a burglary ring. Cops had stolen over a quarter of a million dollars from businesses they were supposed to be protecting on their beats over a ten-year period. Police cars would close down a few blocks of a major business avenue, such as University or Broadway, then burglarized and stole the safes from the businesses along the closed down portion of the street. Alarms would be going off all up and down the street, they would take their loot, then respond to the alarms and take the reports. It all came to a crashing halt when an officer named Art Winstanley literally had a safe fall out of the back of his police cruiser. He testified against his fellow officers and then by the end of 1961, 47 police officers had lost their badges. The DPD called it “Back Friday”.

Art was sent to the prison in Canon City along with over 40 of his cop buddies. When the prison door swung shut on Art, he complained to the warden that no one liked or respected him, he said the other convicts were being mean to him and spitting on his food tray; these were the convicts that Art had arrested and sent to prison for crimes that he had committed.

Many of these crimes by the Denver Police Department were known and whispered about at the time by other policemen, citizens and politicians, but for fear of retaliation from the cops, they remained silent.

It was only when one rat with his foot in the trap, trying to save himself, exposed the true extent of the crimes of the Denver Police Department. Sixty five years have now passed and the DPD have moved on from burglary to murder.

There are many who speak out for respect for the policeman, they see his blue uniform and badge, read his propaganda of “Protect & Serve” and then slovenly give them a free pass in all matter, they mistakenly think they are incapable of a lie.

These people are the product of police propaganda and a media who quietly sweeps police crimes and brutality under the rug, never to see the eyes of the public.

One of the best examples I can give is of a recent event; A policeman who was called for a disturbance at a Target store, helped a young boy repair his bike.

It seemed the boys bike chain had come off and the policeman helped him put it back on, the incident was reported by another policeman who was also there. It was said the this incident went viral; So what would my complaint be?

Had You or I, ordinary citizens stopped to help this boy, you would never had heard of the incident and it certainly wouldn’t have went viral.

I didn’t see a cop helping the boy, I saw only a man helping the boy. A blue uniform and badge does not make him a saint.
Truth be known; most of the general public have little or no contact with their police department outside of traffic stops. They have little knowledge of how brutal the unchecked police powers have become. And while these brutal crimes go on unchecked by some policemen, the others remain silent; that in itself is a crime. To be a good cop, he must stand up and bear witness to the crimes he has knowledge of, especially when it is wearing a blue uniform and badge. To do less, is to become a partner in crime.

Would that same cop who helped this boy with his bike, if put in the situation where he saw one of his fellow officers commit a crime, speak out and make an arrest of his fellow officer? History has taught us that he would not.
Where the general public see’s a badge, a blue uniform and give’s their respect, I see a human being that is capable of both good and bad deeds, and should be treated as such just as any citizen would be treated.

A question we might ask: How is it that the DA has not filed one criminal case against the police and yet the juries in civil court have awarded million of dollars to victims of police abuse.

Mitchell R. Morrissey was elected District Attorney of Denver in November 2004 and was sworn into office on January 11, 2005. He is responsible for the prosecution of more than 6,000 felony and 18,000 misdemeanor criminal cases every year.

Argonaut Liquor helped city of Denver jail Caryn Sodaro, the DPD’s most vocal critic of police brutality.


DENVER, COLORADO- On Thursday July 30 in Denver Municipal Court, Argonaut Liquor succeeded with what the City of Denver and its violent policemen have been trying to do for years: take down Occupy Denver activist Caryn Sodaro. Earlier this year, Caryn was attempting to film the DPD as they brutalized a handcuffed detainee in the parking lot of the liquor store on Colfax Ave. When store managers couldn’t block her camera phone with their hands, they authorized officers to arrest Caryn for trespassing. Of course they had to pretend she’d been warned once before.

Yesterday a jury found Caryn Sodaro guilty of trespass, though they heard scant mention of the crime she was trying to document and prevent. It didn’t come up and video evidence was snipped to exclude it. Videos from multiple vantage points were excluded and witnesses were not questioned about the brutality they saw. Protesters were characterized as protesting the police, not police VIOLENCE and not protesting to PREVENT IT.

In one of the trial’s most surreal moments, the city attorneys were trying to admit officer body cam evidence taken of Caryn after her arrest, angrily describing the brutality she witnessed. The prosecutors hoped her coarse language would displease the jury. The defense attorney objected for that reason, even though it would have been the only evidence to explain why Caryn risked arrest, if indeed she knew she was not allowed on the Argonaut lot. The judge disallowed that video in the only ruling she made in favor of the defense.

Caryn’s protesting activity has been given area restrictions before and friends know how strictly she adhered to them, unconstitutional as they were. Drivers giving her rides had to take detours to keep Caryn geographically safe. When a defense witness tried to add this detail, or that he’d returned often to the Argonaut even while the managers had testified that he too had been “trespassed”, the defense attorney cut him off, stopping his own friendly witness with “I ask the questions here.”

I’ve seen valiant public defenders, but this free public servant was determined to give Caryn her money’s worth. No character witnesses, no context of Caryn’s activism, nor even sympathy for her altruism. The argument was restricted to: did Caryn trespass or not, and Argonaut employees perjured themselves claiming that Caryn had been instructed twenty days before that she was “trespassed” from Argonaut’s property. That incident was provoked by Caryn being harassed and humiliated by an in-store Argonaut rent-a-cop who followed her to the checkout stand and told her she was “too drunk” to purchase a bottle of wine. He initiated a shouting match, not she, and that’s another detail the PD declined to exploit.

Did I mention Caryn’s public defender opted to forgo his opening statement! The jury was let to assume the case was about a retailer’s property rights versus a group of protesters’ whim for trespassing.

Even when public defenders are brighter than you expect, it’s important to remember they don’t work for you. Public defenders serve the judicial system, this one determined to preserve law and order even when it is demonstrably racist and violent. Mr. DiPetro, the Judge and the city attorneys colluded to frame Caryn’s prosecution as independent of the DPD’s agenda to target her and bring her down. At moments of the two day trial, the audience was equal parts fellow activists, armed sheriff deputes, and DA attorneys gathered to oversee the exploitation of charges pressed by Argonaut Liquor. The only laugh the audience was allowed was when officer descended on Caryn, eager to put her in handcuffs, before she even had time to sign the paperwork required to imprison her.

Paul Castaway and a mother’s grief


DENVER, COLORADO- On July 19th 2015, I met the Mother of Paul Castaway, a young native American man who was shot four times by the Denver Police Department and died of those fatal shots. At the memorial service she saw me sitting there watching her, she quietly walked up and held out her hand and ask me my name, then in a very soft and quiet voice she said “Thank You, for coming” With her eyes and slow movement of her step you could see the weight of her grief. I was stunned into silence.

[Paul Castaway’s Mother and the memorial for her son, killed by the Denver Police Department one week ago on July 13th 2015.]

When we arrived at the memorial site, she knelt down in prayer placing flowers there.

I started to reach for my camera, and then I heard her first quiet sob. I was frozen in place as I listen to her sobbing, a mother’s grief for a lost son that only she can suffer alone. There would be no clicking of the camera in this moment of sorrow.

Earlier in the day I had been to a support the police rally in the Civic Center Park, I was there as part of a group of counter demonstrators. The police support group were very loud and unyielding in their support for their police Department.

As I sat listening to the Mother quietly sobbing for her lost son, I wondered; If those police supporters could hear this Mother’s grief, if they could see her tears; would they still fell the same about their blind support of the Denver Police Department.


[The police protecting their KILLER COPS supporters from peace activists.]

In killing Native American, the Denver police bit off more than they can chew.


DENVER, COLORADO- Denver police have shown they can kill with impunity, be they black lives or latino. But the latest officer-involved murder of a Lakota man brought the American Indian Movement into the street and that’s an escalation no council of ministers can reverse. When police victim Paul Castaway asked his killers “What’s wrong with you?” he was echoing the entire Denver community exasperation as officers continue to murder unarmed men and women of color, as if outrage over police brutality isn’t on everyone’s lips already.

“What’s wrong with you guys?” asks mentally ill man as police murder him.

DENVER, COLORADO- Native American Paul Castaway was having a schizophrenic episode when his mother called the Denver police for assistance. Castaway held a knife to his own neck as he tried to hold off the officers but they shot him anyway. As DPD cuffed the dying 35-year-old, Castaway spoke for everyone when he asked “what’s wrong with you guys?!”

PHOTOS: Activists calling for Justice for Jessica Hernandez in 2015 Denver Pride Parade, blocked police joining in.

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DENVER, COLORADO- A #JusticeForJessie action led by Branching Seedz of Resistance jumped into the Denver Pride Parade to block a police contingent from joining the procession. Activists held off the DPD for 10 minutes while leaders spoke against the January 26 murder of queer Latina teen Jessica Hernandez by DPD. After the disruptive standoff, BSEEDZ stood aside and was cheered by passing paraders until tucking themselves back into the parade under cover of allied group.

Despite the #Black Lives Matter theme of the MLK Marade earlier this year, no opposition was shown to marching side by side with Denver police. At PRIDE, community youth leaders were having none of that.


Just after the start of the parade, BSEEDZ wove through the crowd until they were ahead of the DPD cycles. Then with cries of JUSTICE FOR JESSIE and DISARM THE DPD they stopped the show.

Denver’s Argonaut Wine and Liquor reserves the right to roll their derelict customers without you videotaping it


DENVER, COLORADO- Occupy Denver activist Caryn Sodaro was arrested in April for filming Denver police officers physically tormenting a drunken itinerant behind the Argonant liquor store on 760 East Colfax. Appearing in municipal court yesterday Caryn learned her accusers aren’t the DPD but Argonaut itself, whose employees charge Caryn with trespass for not removing herself from their parking lot with sufficient deference. Caryn was among a group of onlookers who were hoping to curb the police abuse by recording it. Of course documenting police brutality is not illegal, so the City of Denver is relying on private interests to complain to take the heat from law enforcement’s decision to make an arrest. You might well ask, what interest does the Argonaut have to keep customers or passersby from witnessing police officers kicking homeless men behind its store?

Video still from camera footageCaryn was retreating as ordered. In fact she was four spectators removed from the crime scene when DPD reinforcements lunged toward her to nab her.

Now the DPD want to hang Caryn’s arrest on a technicality, that she was trespassing, ignoring whether witnessing the potential commission of a crime wouldn’t be sufficient excuse to bend the Argonaut’s property rights. No one otherwise pretends that crimes like domestic violence are protected by claims to the privacy afforded by private property. Why does the DPD think its officers can indulge sadistic tendencies behind a veil of private security guards?

On Tuesday Argonant dispatched staffers Chris Crowley and William Dehl to bear witness against Caryn Sodaro. I wouldn’t bother to highlight the pair’s personal identities here were it not for a colorful twist in the courtroom which in retrospect is unsurprising from blond thick-necked goons who may delight in watching inebriates get the jack-boot. Waiting their turn to receive instruction from the judge, Crowley and Dehl amused themselves through the long morning docket by making disparaging and racist remarks to each other about the mainly Hispanic and black defendants in the clutches of Denver’s judicial quagmire, many of whom were in-custody and could not post bond.

The Argonaut has been a Capitol Hill favorite for a half-century, and no doubt it has finessed the art of dealing with the regular drunks. No doubt letting local officers vent their anger against bums in back alley is a tradition in the liquor biz. Fortunately cell phone cameras mean those days are waning. The Colorado legislature recently reinforced the public’s right to film the police. It can hardly be in the Argonaut’s best interest to shield police brutality from citizens who want to intervene. The Argonaut doesn’t want to highlight the consequence of alcoholism. Hopefully despite Argonaut’s efforts, getting rolled by the cops will prove to be less inevitable.

Heads rolled because the McKinney TX pool party had a video. Where is video of DPD murder of Jessica Hernandez?


The COPS-GONE-WILD video of 14-year-old Dajerria Becton getting manhandled by McKinney Texas police officer Eric Casebolt got him in trouble. It’s even meant trouble for the racist woman who started the fight, for the racist who called the cops, for a school principal who defended the officer and for another teacher who defended the racism. I’d love to see repercussions too for the crackers pictured in the video waddling about with impunity as the black teens are being picked out. All that, not because some racist shit went down in McKinney TX, but because someone videotaped it and it went viral.

NOW IMAGINE if the cop had pumped four bullets into the teenager, killing her!

Imagine if he’d fired a total of eighteen bullets and he kept pulling the trigger even after he’d emptied his magazine!

How upsetting would that be to see?

If you could imagine that girl a Latina, in a car full of Latina teens, one January morning in Denver, you’d be picturing the police murder of Jessica Hernandez on January 26, 2015. Jessica was unarmed, parked in a vehicle purported to be stolen, with four friends.

If you imagined there might be a video of that too, you wouldn’t be imagining things. Someone did make a video, in defiance of police ordering everyone to put down their phones. By a twist of unhappy fate, the Denver police took that video into evidence. They assure us it shows nothing remarkable. I imagine that might be what authorities in McKinney TX would say about their pool party video if it wasn’t in the public’s possession.

Police try to enforce vagrancy code to halt protest at Clinton Global Initiative


DENVER, COLORADO- It was day two of protesting the neoliberal agenda of the Clinton Global Initiative 2015 conference held at the Denver Sheraton. Activist had already had Secret Service warn them about jumping out in front of the motorcade and security guards claim the sidewalk was private property, when a Denver motorcycle cop threatened to issue tickets to any protester who didn’t remain standing. Denver does have an unfortunate anti-vagrancy ordinance that forbids sitting on the sidewalk. Though activist were surrounded by ordinary people eating their lunch or catching some sun, this officer made it clear that he had the discretion to decide which activity was allowed and which wasn’t. To quote David Anderson, who took the picture: “What a Joke!…One of Denver’s finest? Lard ass cops tells Caryn and Brandi they cannot sit down on buckets while protesting. Notice! Fat ass cop gives out warnings from a SITTING position!”

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

Occupy rally for DPD teen victim Jessie Hernandez rained out, Denver cops deploy anyway. #justiceforjessie

May 20 protest at Wellington Webb Building in Denver
DENVER, COLORADO- Rain kept numbers down at the event yesterday calling for Denver officials to investigate the brutal police murder of Latina teen Jessica Hernandez. Even as the crowd influx never surged beyond steady, over the course of two hours the police force arrayed against Occupy Denver and their allies never wavered from the usual: disproportionate and overwhelming. The DPD is obviously taking no chances with the potential firestorm the teen’s killing could ignite in the Denver community. Excellent. Humbled as we may feel that it takes so few activists to threaten the system, we feed off that fear. Individual police officers can denigrate protesters all they want, obviously the protests have their respect.

PHOTOS: DPD riot cops deploy pepper spray like it was Youtube repellent


DENVER, COLORADO- It started with a cop falling off his motorcycle, being pushed it’s alleged, by a bicyclist. Paramilitary officers piled on the cyclist while playing Orkin Man to Civic Center Park’s infestation of free speech. Photos from Denver’s April 29 march against police violence reveal that pepper spray was used less to disperse the hundred or so marchers than to repel Youtube bites. Photos by Patrick Jay and Jason Metter.


Although the marchers had already been herded back unto the sidewalk, militarized state troopers laid down a smokescreen of spray to create a no man’s land around their arrestee.


The march was 2% black, but the DPD chose from the 2% minority for the first arrests. Here activist Al Nesby has been pulled from the crowd while tablet-bearing witness David Long records the irony.


An officer assists in Al’s arrest by directing pepper spray at David whose perspective was apparently too up close and personal.


The officer also arcs his spray toward photojournalist Tanner Spendley.


Here officers spray an activist who was only mouthing off.

When the DPD aimed their pepper spray at individuals, it was because they bore cameras. Otherwise the spray seemed intended to fumigate. At no time were police officers under attack or trying to break apart a stubborn crowd. The pepper spray was dispensed like backwoods insect repellent toward an unseen foe whose sting the officers feared.

Wrote activist Jason Metter:

I believe the cops intended to attack us from the moment the march began. The cop who dropped his motorcycle, unprovoked, started a mini cop-riot by pretending to have been pushed. I did not see any protestors take aggressive actions against the cops. It seems the cops pepper sprayed us to prevent us from photographing and filming them and to punish us for not being meekly obedient to their unreasonable orders.

Even as the clouds of cayenne aerosol appear distant in these photos, each debilitated the nearby subjects and required rinsing of clothes, hands and faces.


Production note: all photographers were harmed in the taking of these pictures.

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?

An Open letter to the Denver Police Department

I can see you, as you sit there reading this; yeah, you with the donut jelly and crumbs all over the keypad and mouse. Searching Facebook and all social media sites looking for information. Doing a little undercover spying and investigative work so that you can run back to inform your buddies on what’s going down. There is a term for that; you are a “SNITCH”. In case you don’t know, a snitch is someone who hides in the shadows gathering information so that they might betray another.
 
We know what information you want. What are the protesters’ plans? How many of them are there? Where will they be? What are their names? We are happy to give that information to you. Unlike you, we are not a secretive in our goals. But before we give you that info we’re going to give you a little mix of commentary and history wrapped up in the truth. You seem to get very upset when the protesters call you pigs or holler “Fuck The Police”.

Personally, I think calling you pigs is a bit of and upgrade. When every human is born there is a residue left over, it’s called, afterbirth; it serve no useful purpose, it is waste left over from making of a human being. And this is how I see you, you are the “Afterbirth” that serves no useful purpose, you are the waste product. You want and demand respect from the citizens, yet you fail to understand that respect is something that is given, not taken. Respect is given for acts of valor, courage and bravery.

Do you believe it was an act of bravery when you murdered a 17 year old girl, Jessica Hernandez, in the alley, or when you murdered Marvin Booker in the county jail? Was it courage when you pepper-sprayed a 12 year old child in Civic Center Park on April 29th? Did one of you even think to go to that child and give medical assistance or maybe an apology? Or were you too busy looking for the next victim to assault? I can only assume you are brain-dead if you think these act will gain you respect.

The advent of the cell phone camera and internet has shown who and what you really are, that afterbirth, I mentioned above.

Back in the 60s we did not have cell phones to record your criminal conduct, but if you take the time to Google “Art Winstanley” you will discover you are not the first criminal cops. Art was one of Denver’s Serve & Protect cops who was also a burglar while on duty. When Art got caught, he “Snitched” on over fifty other cops who were in the burglary ring. He began his snitching after he was served a piece of cherry pie. How’s that for serve and protect?

And somewhere in your ranks is another Art who will come forward and expose your criminal deeds against the citizen. We don’t know who or when, but you can be sure, he or she is there to snitch on the rest of you.

Now about that information you looking for; I won’t give you any names, because unlike you, I’m not a SNITCH.

How many is there of us? We are many and our numbers are growing, your days and deeds are numbered.

Where is our next action? It will be everywhere on the streets, calling you out for your criminal deeds. The days of hiding your crimes are over and we will expose you.

Occupy Denver activist is arrested for filming cops brutalizing homeless man

Video still from camera footage
DENVER, COLORADO- On the subject of filming cops, Denver activist Caryn Sodaro is in trouble again. Caryn was attending a community meeting on Colfax Avenue when attention was drawn to an arrest happening at an adjacent liquor store parking lot. Several people converged on the scene, Caryn ahead of everyone, her videocamera aimed at an officer grinding his knee into the face of a prone man, likely homeless. Another cop looked on, warning his partner that they were being filmed, while an Argonaut security guard prevented the witnesses from getting close. Unlike onlookers who only dare to record an abusive arrest, Caryn tried to prevent further brutality and so raised her voice to caution the officers that their acts were not going unnoticed. Soon enough the witnesses were being ordered to leave Argonaut’s private property. Though deep within the departing group –everyone was complying– Caryn was picked out for arrest anyway. Fortunately she passed her camera to a colleague who was able to prevent the footage from being confiscated by the DPD. It’s all on tape: the details described here and the reinforcements piling on Caryn. She spent the afternoon in jail. Her next court date is April 27.