Tag Archives: Protest

Colorado Springs police win round one against socialists, convince local jury that free speech obstructs order.


CONVICTED! The March 26, 2017 arrests of socialist marchers finally came to trial last Friday. We were all found GUILTY! OF MARCHING! YES! Because that’s a crime in Colorado Springs. It’s disguised as a misdemeanor offense called “Obstruction.” On the other hand, all four defendants were acquitted of the more serious charge of Failure to Desist or Disperse, of which we were equally culpable, if you consider the police dispersal order lawful.

While a complete not-guilty verdict would have been more comforting, and of course just, the silver lining is that we can now appeal this decision to a higher court.

Appeal
Next time round, the judge’s prejudice, the prosecution’s dishonesty, the police misconduct, and the impropriety of applying an obstruction ordinance to curb protest, can be reviewed by adjudicators with more authority, whose decision can set legal precedence. Though appealing to higher wisdom in Trump’s America has become a crapshoot.

The kangaroo aspect of municipal courts does get tiresome. Our railroading was well oiled so our court scheduled only one day of trial. Six to ten officer testimonies, plus ours, plus the various surveillance and body-cam videos, seemed sure to expend more than a day. We played along, hoping to spare the charade no more time than it deserved.

We were also confident a jury could not fail to see through the preponderance of bullshit. Ours seemed a sympathetic jury with smiles and eye contact. They rolled their eyes at the police overreach. We sympathized with their having to upend their schedules to listen to the bullshit and so we wanted to hurry it along for their sake. We abbreviated our testimonies and our cross-examinations of the idiotic cops to spare the jury excess misery. At the same time we feared a contempt charge from the judge if our testimonies strayed into subjects the judge had forbidden us to mention to the jury. Like the Outrageous Governmental Misconduct.

Censored topics
The verdict should not have been a surprise. Earlier in the week the judge forbid defense attorneys from instructing the jury about the First Amendment. And so Friday’s jury had only to decide, were they out on the street or not? None of us disputed being in the street, which the prosecutors defined as obstructing traffic, therefore we were found guilty.

Judge Kristen Hoffecker’s rationale for eliminating the standard First Amendment jury instruction, and prohibiting defense lawyers uttering the phrase “First Amendment Rights” was because prosecutors argued the charge of obstruction had nothing to do with free speech. But what charge does? If a law overtly infringes on free speech, it would be held unconstitutional. As a result, police and city prosecutors use tangential offenses to criminalize protesting. Obstruction is a local favorite.

If police officers don’t understand the First Amendment enough not to violate it, and city lawyers don’t respect it enough to persist with prosecutions, and judges don’t know enough to throw out abusive charges, are we really to expect common citizens sitting in the jury box to know where they’re supposed to draw the line?

Obstruction
By chance I have some familiarity with the obstruction pretext. The prosecutor kept telling the jury that had we marched on the sidewalk, we would have avoided citations. Had she asked me directly, I could have answered: not true. I have frequently been threatened with arrest for OBSTRUCTING THE SIDEWALK. And there’s more to that story obviously.

Likewise, walking in the street is not the only way to be targeted with obstruction. I’ve been charged with obstruction IN A VEHICLE ON A STREET. Both examples happened at protests. Police can accuse you of obstruction, on the street or off.

Obstruction is be a legitimate violation of course. If you’re preventing someone driving by, in this example, or walking by, or a government function, or a commercial activity, etc. However, if the accusation of obstruction is the pretext to obstruct YOU from expressive activity, that’s an abuse of the ordinance.

An indication of such abuse might be if police allow others to do what they’re disallowing you, perhaps because of your ideology. In Colorado Springs, authorities have allowed numerous political marches on the street without arrests or threat of arrest. Some recent examples include #MeToo, the Women’s March, Black Lives Matter, Anti-Fracking, Critical Mass, Occupy, to name demonstrations which have taken our downtown streets without arranging permits beforehand.

Those who’ve sought permits, by the way, learn they cost $7,000. Events have been cancelled for failing to fundraise the required fee. That very literally is not free speech.

Jail
Back on the stand, if I had been able to recount being charged with obstruction of a sidewalk, I could have emphasized I was JAILED for it.

Jail was another topic we were forbidden to broach. A jury is not supposed to consider the potential penalties to result from its verdict. Our jury had no inkling we could be jailed for our protest march. I say this because even our lawyers discounted its likelihood. But the first thing Judge Hoffecker did after dismissing the jury was to schedule all defendants for a Pre Sentencing Investigation. PSIs are unusual for misdemeanor convictions, though standard for felons, addicts and sex offenders.

The trial flaunted other indignities.

Objections
The jury pool from which we chose our jurors included an African American Teamster who spoke proudly of protest, even if it might block traffic. We wanted him on our jury and he was the only black person in the group. Naturally the city eliminated him first, without regard for the federal law which gives protected status to minority jurors. The judge repaired to her chambers and conjured another pretext to overrule our objection.

Two of our defendents exercised their Fifth Amendment right, not to testify, and as we all know, not to have that used against them. In her closing statement, our city prosecutor brought up the fact they’d chosen to avoid incriminating themselves. That’s a red letter all caps NO-NO which should produce a mistrial. Our judge ran to her chamber to consult the law (likely make a phone call) and reemerged steeled to shrug it off.

Lawful order
As I said, we were acquitted of Failure to Desist and Disperse. Most of us didn’t hear or understand the garbled commands which the police officers testified were lawful orders. Listening to the audio on the bodycam footage in court made it clear to me why those orders were not conveyed.

It turns out, instead of saying “This is Officer Keller with the Colorado Springs Police, I’m ordering you etc, etc”, the police were actually yelling “Get on the sidewalk! Get on the sidewalk!” We mistook them for hecklers responding to our chant of “Off the sidewalks! Into the streets!” And of course “Whose street? Our street!”

I didn’t hear the police barking at us on March 26, but I would recognize it now. I have since come to witness how police in their cruisers use their intercoms to communicate with the urban poor. They pull up on the homeless and from their cruisers dispense with all formality. “Get up! Stand up!” They yell to homeless not abiding by the new no-sitting ordinance. “Move it! Pick up your things!” They yell as they sweep the public parks and homeless encampments. Those apparently are lawful orders. If they say it twice, that counts as two warnings.

Today kids are learning a valuabe civics lesson. Government won’t do anything for people, without a gun to its head.

OH THE IRONY. But Poe’s Law probably governs in high schools too. For the same reason irony doesn’t compute on social media: adolescent frontal lobes.

I don’t have much use for guns myself, but it’s obvious to me that when the corporate media gets behind a public issue like gun control, it can’t be in the people’s interest. AT ALL. Since when have even Big Dems supported anything righteous?

The news usually blacks out calls for social reform. Unless it’s the common people you’re asking to disempower, not corporate hegemony. Today the press is platforming the protests with live feeds and biographical highlights of the youthful petitioners. This is MANUFACTURED DISSENT. Nickelodeon suspended its television programming to accommodate, in essence, a protracted commercial break. A young person’s choice to “walk out” from school today is not rebellion, it’s conformity. To the astroturf. Get a load of the profiling of the Florida students, portrayed as movement organizers! Their role more resembles contestants for America’s Got Talent: the Protest Edition.

The #March14 school walkouts across the country only confirm the mendacious education our children are getting.

Gee kids, when you graduate, to no job, no health care, no environmental protections, no economic rights, maybe even no home, AND a leveled playing field of NO PRIVILEGE for any of you, you kids are going to need guns.

Covertly spawned, color revolutionary, Arab Springy pro-democracy protests can do for Iran what we did to Syria.

When Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu express their support, you can be certain it’s not for the good. Foreign military intervention in Iran aims to repeat the western demolition of Syria. While authentic public protest in Iran should be tolerated, western intelligence operatives should get no quarter. Terminate all covert actions in Iran, especially US-funded “democracy” agents. And NO WAR WITH IRAN.

D’ya think ANTIFA might be a trap?

Black Bloc
By all means shout down the fascists. Shout down white supremicists. Bash the alt-right. Do it in black bloc, if you must (and yes we must). March on, against, and over, capitalism. Declare yourself anti-fascist. Express solidarity with ANTIFA protests and counterprotests across the country. I would rethink, however, opening an Antifa franchise without knowing who elsewhere can now act IN YOUR NAME.

No one owns the ANTIFA brand. Like “black bloc”, it’s a tactic, not a movement. Except as this moment’s zeitgeist, the brand has indeed become a movement. The imperative to repudiate emboldened Nazis lacks for neither urgency nor legitimacy.

Antifa is horizontal like Occupy, no leaders. Its membership is fully self-nominated. Except where Occupy Wall Street offshoots offered local casts of characters, Antifa participants remain undercover. The problem becomes whose undercovers.

I fully support confronting fascists. I might quibble about picking fights with inarticulate Nazi cosplayers. Our corporations, the media, and the police who protect both are the full grown, authoritarian fascists.

I likewise support black bloc as an essential strategy for effective protest actions. I encourage picking fights with dogmatic nonviolence passivists who continuously thwart the potential of public demonstrations.

I support Antifa as I do Earth First, as I do ELF, or ALF the Animal Liberation Front, or Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Intifada if you’re begining to catch my drift. I stand with them without wearing a mask because my expression of support is my political right. I do not act as them, wearing a mask.

Antifa may be serving the establishment just fine by diverting youthful rebellion from directing its energy at STATE fascism. It may be suiting populist urges just fine too by allowing discontents to vent our disgust against punchable twits instead of the impregnable powers that be. Ideally those inclined to resist fascism will catch on to who really needs the pounding.

When that begins to happen however, some Antifa chapter (the media will call it a “cell”) in Reseda or Des Moines or Stuyvesant is going to commit an outrage of domestic terrorism and the Antifa brand will be blown. It may be government black ops conducting a false flag, or three percenters shy of a full load hoping to ignite a race war, or misguided revolutionaries jumping the gun. It won’t matter. “Antifa” will be declared a terrorist organization. Pardon the pun, that will be trump.

And while we know Antifa is not an organization, intelligence records will have mapped out who were the ringleaders and daredevils of concern to national security. Authorities may or may not round up suspected co-conspirators and charge them with racketeering. That’s not even my worry. Once discredited and forced underground, Antifa enthousiasts will recede into the woodwork. All the organizing, educating and networking will have come to naught.

I anticipate that my thoughts here are not going to find favor with my many friends currently marching behind the Antifa banner. But I know a number of idiots among them too, and worse, suspected moles bent on disrupting productive insurgencies.

Though Antifa in its character employs security culture stratagems, by design it’s one big back door. I know some comrades see that as essential to escalating a revolutionary force. I see the absence of a binding ideology to be its undoing.

How about we think outside the box too calculatedly provided to us by our anti-fa social engineers? That box is pre-addresed and postage due.

If you are anti-fascism or anti-capitalism, WHAT ARE YOU FOR?

BE THAT.

You can fly the Antifa banner but do it as an allied organization you are meanwhile building.

You can punch the same Nazis and blockade the same racists, and you can sell the establishment killer app for which you control the code.

Black Bloc

Police body cameras reveal Colorado Springs law enforcement used arrests to infiltrate a student socialist group.


COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO- Police body worn camera footage accidentally discovered to defendants in the March 26, 2017, protest cases, has revealed a mysterious side story at the Colorado Springs Socialists’ “March Against Imperialism”. At that march, six participants were cited for marching in the street. Meanwhile, a curious seventh was detained, driven off, but not cited. CSPD Officer Krueger’s body-cam recorded what happened and more.

What happened at the March 26 rally, beside the police dispersing a fully legal assembly? This video documents that the CSPD tried to give deeper cover to a team of El Paso County Sheriff’s plainclothes operatives, by giving one of them the credibility of an arrest. In truth, it worked for three weeks and several socialist actions, until the undercover team spooked everyone with their excessively sketchy zeal. As the March 26 evidence was released to defendants, the contradictory police reports began to accrue. Then a file labeled KRUEGER BODY-CAM emerged.

1. Krueger-cam
The first thing you see is the twenty or so protesters, clad in black, waving red flags, rallying on the steps of Colorado Springs City Hall. Speakers are railing against capitalism and imperialism. CSPD Officer Krueger comes upon this scene, among the reinforcements called, because fourteen of the protesters, mostly masked, were observed to have marched on the street.

(Marchers had followed Nevada to Bijou to Tejon to Colorado back to Nevada, trailed by the cruisers of CSPD Officers Mark Keller and Roberto Williamson. Returning to City Hall, participants were told by CSPD Sergeant Clayton Blackwell that they could protest on the sidewalk but would be ticketed if they stepped back into the street.)

As the rally goes on, the officers hear that orders have changed and everyone is going to be ticketed. On camera, Officer Keller relates a possible motive: “LT wants everyone identified.”

(Most of the protesters are masked. Arrests will give police the pretext to register everyone’s identity, whether the person walked in the street or not. By “LT”, Keller may be refering to Lieutenant Webber, who dispatched officers to the scene, or Lieutenant Mark Comte, in charge of CSPD intelligence.)

As officers discuss whether to rush the group or detain two or three protesters at a time, CSPD Sergeant Blackwell discloses to his men: “There’s two UCs in there, and they’ll just take a ticket like everybody else.” Blackwell adds, jokingly: “So hopefully we don’t have to start spraying ‘cause I don’t know which ones they are.”

Officer Keller tells Krueger and Canaan he thinks one of the protesters is concealing a knife. He fingers a masked protester wearing a Carhartt jacket.

CSPD Officer Dustin Canaan knew nothing about the undercover scheme.Though Krueger and his partner, CSPD Officer Dustin Canaan, were informed about undercovers, they don’t know that they are being tasked with arresting one.

Officers Krueger and Canaan are formally instructed that when the move is made to issue citations to the protesters, they are to apprehend “Carhartt”.

In fact, the first planned arrestee of March 26 is “Carhartt”. Aka the sheriff’s undercover.

Officers encircle the rally as Sergeants Ingram and Blackwell tell the socialists that “Everyone is getting a ticket!”

When the officers confront “Carhartt” he loudly abuses them with expletives proclaiming his innocence. He does this to incite fellow protesters to resist the police effort to detain him. Everybody else however is either walking swiftly away or calmly accepting their citations for Pedestrian-in-the-Roadway and Failure-to-Disperse.

City police unknowingly encircle sheriffs undercovers

Officers Krueger and Canaan ask “Carhartt” whether he has a weapon. The suspect responds with a strange command, voiced between clenched teeth: “Pat me down at the car.”

CSPD Office Krueger escorts detainee Mark JacksonThey don’t hear his response and so repeat their question. “Carhartt” sticks to his odd refrain: “Pat me down at the car!”

Krueger and Canaan walk “Carhartt” to their cruiser where he admits he has a weapon, a “M&P Shield 9mm”. He alerts the officers that his gun is tucked into his front waistline, with the safety off. In his pocket the officers find an additional magazine clip.

(Let us reflect for a moment, that only Officer Keller knew about this undercover. Imagine if events had escalated and any of the other dozens of police officers had caught a glimpse of the undercover’s gun. What kind of trigger-happy confrontation could have resulted with the socialist marchers caught in the middle? We might also wonder what Carhartt intended to do with two magazines full of bullets.)

Officer Canaan unloads the 9mm, removes the bullet from the chamber, and places everything on the front seat.

Sheriffs undercover Mark Jackson concealed a loaded 9mm

The officers ask “Carhartt” whether he wants to be cited and released on the spot, or taken to be booked at the station? The detainee responds he wants to go wherever the other arrestees are being processed.

Asked whether he has a concealed carry permit “Carhartt” replies no.

It occurs to the officers that they can’t catch and release someone, however cooperative, if they’ve apprehended you carrying a concealed weapon without a permit.

Officer Krueger leaves to consult his supervisor Sergeant Blackwell about this arrestee who is carrying a gun without a permit.

Blackwell asks Krueger: “Is he one of our UCs?” He explains again: “We have two UCs. Do you recognize him?”

Krueger says no.

Blackwell comes to the cruiser to see for himself.

Sergeant Clayton Blackwell and Officer Dustin Canaan look at their unfamiliar detainee.

Blackwell doesn’t recognize the detainee either.

As Sergeant Blackwell walks away from the cruiser, he tells Krueger the suspect is not one of their UCs, then he ponders: “…unless he’s with the sheriff’s office?”

The suspect gives his name as Mark Jackson, d.o.b. 7/20/75, last digits of SS# 1033, phone number (281) 606-0532. All of which is probably phony.

Undercover Amy Walter speaks with an Eastern European accent.His partner “Amy Walter” has been sitting nearby on the curb. She didn’t flee like the other participants, but oddly, was neither cited nor unmasked like all those who remained.

(“Amy Walter” kept her cover for months after the arrests. She claimed to drive up from Pueblo and only appeared fully bloc’d up. She’s gregarious and eager, and speaks with an Eastern European accent.)

Jackson remains detained in the back seat. After a few minutes CSPD Officer Mark Keller comes to the window to look at the suspect. He walks off camera, probably to tell Sergeant Blackwell that he can confirm the detainee is indeed an undercover.

Blackwell returns shortly to the cruiser to tell Krueger “We’re good.” Lowering his voice, he adds: “He’s UC.”

After some thought, Krueger turns to Jackson and asks in a whisper: ”Are you with the Sheriffs?” The undercover answers in the affirmative.

Krueger turns off his body-cam.

2. Canaan-cam
The body-cam worn by Krueger’s partner, Officer Canaan, has all the while recorded the same sequence of events, but he wasn’t paying attention to the whispers, so his camera continues to record.

Officer Keller walks back to the cruiser, this time to tease the undercover. Keller leans in and jokes about the arrest he arranged by pretending to suspect that Jackson had a knife.

Keller begins: “You really should hang out with a better crowd.”

Mocks Jackson: “I know. ‘Fuck the Police’. Ha ha.”

Keller goes on: “Hey, youse in the street, I figured you should get a ticket like everybody else.”

The undercover then says: “That’s why I yelled ‘COME FUCKING ARREST ME!’”

The two then discuss whether the undercover’s female partner should also be ticketed. Jackson theorizes that one ticket is enough.

Meanwhile an unspoken decision is made not to carry through with Jackson’s citation. This disturbs the undercover. He asks “How will it look when I don’t get a ticket?”


As Officer Mark Keller leaves the conversation at the cruiser, he looks directly at Canaan’s body-cam.

Undercover Jackson then notices that Officer Canaan did not grasp the development. He tells Krueger “You better tell your partner what’s going on.” Canaan turns off the audio on his body-cam.

ANALYSIS
To recap. Sergeant Blackwell revealed that the city had two UCs planted in the Socialist march. Officer Keller knew of the undercover Sheriff’s deputies “Jackson” and “Walter”. An effort was orchestrated to give a citation to “Jackson” but that plan was aborted. Wouldn’t it be interesting to know why?

Jackson’s detainment did not generate officer reports from either Krueger or Canaan, but the alias “Mark Jackson” was listed in three places. 1) on the March 26 police blotter, 2) in the radio log as “Mark Jackson in custody”, and 3) mentioned in passing in the report filed by Officer Roberto Williamson.

For three weeks “Mark Jackson” continued to infiltrate the socialist group, participating in several counterprotests, until everyone gave him the cold shoulder. His partner “Amy Walter” continues to contact group members.

The infiltration operation is extraordinary when you consider that the “Colorado Springs Socialists” essentially comprises the UCCS Socialist Discussion Group, a year-old student club chartered at the school. Though the students sometimes conceal themselves bandanas and hoodies when they attend social justice protests, they’ve committed zero acts of rioting, violence, or property destruction.

Once the video files had been released to the March 26 defendants, city prosecutors fought tooth and nail to quash the defendants’ subpoenas to the officers involved. The judge refused to review the body-cam footage, explaining that the El Paso Sheriffs Office had the discretion to refuse to provide further information.

Defendants insisted the prosecution was obligated to produce all the witnesses it knew to be on the scene of the alleged offenses, whether the witnesses were uniformed police or undercover. But the court won’t concede that the undercover operation merits looking into. The city stresses the importance of detectives being able to remain undercover to monitor ongoing crimes, in this case, jaywalking. The defendants are charged with obstruction and failure to disperse. If those are the crimes worth embedding undercovers, then the officers ought to be summoned to the trial to testify and secure convictions.

The defendants risked just that by insisting that the undercovers come forward as witnesses, but that risk was worth what the defendants were really after. What were those undercovers doing at the rally and at the march? Were they leading marchers into the street? Were undercovers taunting the cops as a demonstration that the protesters heard police orders to get off the street. Most marchers did not hear any orders, nor see police do much other than block traffic for their procession, contrary to the tone set by undercover Mark Jackson’s “COME FUCKING ARREST ME”. To prove the charge of Failure to Disperse” the prosecution has to prove that the accused wilfully defied the police. Jackson’s words seem meant to stand in for that proof.

Likewise, was Jackson’s belligerant response to police trying to arrest him meant to spark more resistance? Very often, riot cops target their own infiltrators who know to act outraged and resistive so that the crowd responds protectively. Jackson was clearly trying to do that.

Most of all, defendants wanted to get to the bottom of CSPD’s complicated operation to set their undercovers up to “take a ticket like everybody else.” How many officer were involved, and why didn’t officers recognize each other? Are the undercovers in fact with the El Paso Sheriffs Office or are they intelligence contractors or government agents? Who was coordinating this infiltration operation and who decided to call off issuing the ticket?

Who above all, thought they needed to insert an armed undercover, or two, possibly four, in the midst of a peaceful anti-imperialism march? Could a socialist group’s reckless co-opting of city streets warrant an undercover team’s reckless endangerment of unsuspecting activists surounded by very likley PTSD-addled police officers?

Jackson’s jittery behavior while detained in the back of the police cruiser hardly gives you confidence that even he should be trusted to wield a gun.

APPENDIX
The Krueger and Canaan body cam videos are circulating online. We’ll link to them as we locate stable copies. Below is an index of the events described above.

On the KRUEGER body-cam:

[0:45] Officer Mark Keller: “L.T. wants everyone identified.”

[3:05] Sergeant Clayton Blackwell: “There’s two UCs in there, and they’ll just take a ticket like everybody else. So hopefully we don’t have to start spraying ‘cause I don’t know which ones they are.”

[3:50] Off-camera officer: “Guy in the Carhartt [jacket] has a knife in his pocket.”

[9:00] Officers Krueger and Canaan discuss orders to arrest “Carhartt” suspected of carrying a knife.

[14:02] Sergeant John Ingram shouts: “Everyone is going to get a ticket!”

[15:20] Krueger and Canaan contact “Carhartt” who responds in a hostile and provocative manner. Unlike the other arrestees who are fully cooperative, he objects with loud profanity and derision.

[18:05] Krueger and Canaan discover “Carhartt” is armed with a 9mm handgun, tucked in his front waistband, and no concealed carry permit.

[20:04] Suspect gives his name as “Mark Jackson, d.o.b. 7/20/75”, and asks: “How do you know I was in the street?” Officer Canaan replies “An officer pointed you out. He’s been watching you the whole time.”

[23:38] Krueger consults Sgt. Blackwell who determines that “Jackson” is not one of their two UCs embedded in the march.

[28:56] Off camera Sgt. Blackwell tells Krueger “He’s U.C.”

[29:20] “Mark Jackson” admits he is with Sheriff’s Office.

[29:50] Krueger turns off body-cam.

On the CANAAN body-cam:

[16:41] Officer Dustin Canaan unloads the detainee’s “M&P Shield 9mm” and places gun, magazines, and extra bullet on front seat.

[22:02] Officer Mark Keller approaches cruiser to take a look at the detainee’s face.

[24:52] Sergeant Blackwell taps on cruiser window, says “We’re good.” Whispers to Krueger (inaudible, but it’s on the Krueger cam where we hear: “He’s UC”)

[25:03] Officer Keller returns to cruiser to joke with “Mark Jackson” about having arranged his fake arrest. Says Keller: “Hey, you’se in the street, I figured you should get a ticket like everybody else.” To which Jackson replies: “That’s why I said ‘Come fucking arrest me!’”

[25:25] Keller discusses with Jackson whether or not to ticket his female partner.

[26:27] Canaan turns off the audio of his body-cam.

“On Saturday, your state will march for truth” says the invite. Hahaha SO true.

What’s wrong with protests being mobilized to demand transparency and full investigations into government misconduct? At face value, this weekend’s March For Truth seems like a perfectly earnest response, much like the March For Science sought to highlight public disdain for policies that deny scientific knowledge. Except the “truth” these organizers are trying to galvanize presumes to demonize Russia as perennial adversary and reboot the Cold War. This “truth” aims to differentiate itself from the “fake news” as the pot innoculates itself from Kettle Black. This is pro-war propaganda trying to pass as grassroots consensus, to out-truth the Truthers. The problem with Democrats steering grassroots protests is that they are the corporate war machine. The 2016 election transplanted the machine’s figurehead with that of a DOOFUS. But Trump is too much dilettante berzerker for practical purposes. Now warmonger propagandists have to work extra hard to manufacture public consent. Weekend marches are being mobilized in every state, as they say, but indeed on Saturday the STATE is marching to trademark TRUTH, to march Americans off to war with Putin to continue to destabilize the Middle East. Real truth would lead a populace to peace, not war. This is a Democratic Party march for propaganda.

Colo. Springs police disperse March 26 anti-imperialism rally because it was easier than listening to socialists

Colorado Springs Socialists
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO- Local socialists assembled at City Hall on Sunday to “March Against Imperialism”. After a brief march and an half-hour rally while encircled by CSPD, the socialists were informed they were “free to carry on with their assembly” but whoever lingered would be issued a citation for having been in the street. Making no distinction for who had and who hadn’t, the police began handcuffing participants and the couple dozen others quickly dispersed. Five socialists were issued citations for “pedestrian in the highway” and “failure to disperse” while another was arrested and detained for failing to show an ID while filming the police. That person was taken to the downtown police station and held until officers finally informed her of the charges for which she was being cited, after which she identified herself. Throughout her detainment, multiple officers kept up a harassment of questions, refusing her requests that she contact her lawyer. CSPD never issued an order to disperse, a fact that is borne out by witness video. But in effect that is what the officers accomplished. They threatened the legal assembly with citations, for failure to disperse!

CSPD cruiser gunboat diplomacy

It made a funny scene. Around thirty self-declared socialists, blockaded by eight sometimes more CSPD cruisers, in a standoff that lasted until the police lost their patience. Socialists spoke against imperialism, the police officers being their main audience that quiet Sunday downtown. Immediately as the march had ended the police had announced that anyone stepping back into the street would be arrested, and so no one did. But a half-hour of speeches proved too much for the officers to bear and so they interjected again, this time to discuss the problem they had with what had happened earlier. We told those officers they were of course free to discuss such matters individually with whoever they considered a person of interest, BUT AFTERWARD, because they were otherwise interrupting our legal assembly. But the officers persisted in their interruption, deciding after the fact what charges to bring, regardless that they’d forgotten to provide the evidence to back them up. “See you in court” they laughed! We’ve heard that before.

On a serious note. What happened Sunday could have a chilling effect on the nascent kick-ass Colorado Springs Socialists. Unwarranted police attention is an unhappy tradition for socialist organizers, from anarchists to trade unions. Sunday’s denouement confirms all their parents’ worst worries, the folly of declaring yourself to be a socialist in a regressive backwater like Colorado Springs. People were arrested? Handcuffed?! Now you’re on a police watch list! I remember my father’s alarm when he learned his college sophmore had a subscription to Mother Jones Magazine.

Fun as it was, Sunday’s event was essentially uneventful: no altercations, no property damage, not even rhetoric to threaten infrastructure. Minus any media attention, or much of an audience at all on a sleepy Sunday evening, these socialists were determined to parade their dissent where and how those around could see, and reaped more law enforcement than the circumstances required.

While you might say the outcome was predictable, it needn’t have been. Students from the wealthier Colorado College have free range on downtown streets, protesting racism or election outcomes on the street without arrests or citations. Every full moon CC students ride the length of downtown’s main street on bike, skate or skateboard, without even police escort. Sunday’s fledgeling socialist organization is a student club of the UCCS campus. UCCS is more working class, for many a commuter campus, and obviously isn’t shown any deference by city administrators.

Compared to the liberal arts curriculum of Colorado College. UCCS is considered more conservative. UCCS hosts business and military related classes. It even has a Brazil-esque Department of Homeland Security -um- Department. So I think it’s all the more admirable that UCCS has spawned a bonafide socialist group that dwarfs even their school’s Young Republican franchise. I’ve no doubt those socialists I met on Sunday will not be cowed by CSPD’s preemptive aggressions. Hopefully their more timid members will take heart.

Public protests are regularly given use of the streets, which like parks are considered traditional free speech zones. The Tea Party and Occupy took to the streets of Colorado Springs without incurring arrests. More recently people have marched for Black Lives Matter and for solidarity with Native Americans fighting oil pipelines. These have produced zero arrests.

In the meantime it will be important to debrief on what happened and unify the legal strategies. All defendants face the traffic offense of being a pedestrian on the highway [sic] and the misdemeanor of failure to disperse, no doubt tacked on to be a droppable charge as fodder for plea bargains. The recalcitrant videographer faces an added charge of misdemeanor interference for failing to produce her ID. They give her no extra credit for providing a pretext for interrogation because she wouldn’t say zilch without a lawyer present, except to explain where and when they were violating her rights. It used to be that cops had to read us our rights.

Police can issue all the tickets they want when there’s probable cause. They can’t threaten to issue tickets for the solitary purpose of disbanding a legal assembly. In the end, the only socialists who got citations were punished not for being in the street but for standing their ground in front of City Hall.

Dear Trump: the arc of moral history does not bend toward your man-cave

Donald Trump’s inauguration presents a timely opportunity to hammer at his crass misogyny. Slogan-wise, THE ARC OF HISTORY BENDS TOWARD EQUALITY gets my vote for spot-on feminist rejoinder. I also like HELL HATH NO FURY, YOU SORRY ILLITERATE! The latter has a better chance of becoming true. The women’s march planned on Day One of Trump’s presidency already confirms Shakespeare’s adage. So what about MLK’s truism, about the arc of the moral universe being long but bending towards justice? That’s the consolation that keeps liberals from despairing as they encounter endless setbacks. Is it true? The inevitability of progress is inexcusibly Western-centric. If you measure your arc with indigenous cultures at the baseline, the moral universe trips at monotheism and never recovers. Measured from the customary Dawn of Civ, Trump’s election as mankind’s exemplar ideal, now leader of the free world, is surely the most abrupt signpost to the contrary. We’re tracing the arc of a handbasket.

March on DC with your own protest message, not one dictated by NGOs. Yes, you’ll need a banner and poles.

Denver Womens March 2012Organizers of the post-inaugural WOMEN’S MARCH in Washington DC this weekend are telling participants not to bring poles for signs or flags, or even knapsacks. Ha ha ha. As you travel across the country to march, remember who’s making the real sacrifice. The march coordinators are paid. You are spending the time and expense because you have something to express. Bring it. The only reason organizers want you unequipped is so your [rogue] message won’t stray from theirs. Does that sound democratic? They also have a different goal than you. Their mission is to pull off a smooth event. Yours is to make history.

As a veteran of countless protest marches, national, regional and international, I encourage newcomers to stick to their nonconformist inclinations. Independent critical thinking is what led you to take action in the first place.

To begin, THIS IS YOUR MARCH.
Washington DC belongs to you. Inauguration Day and its aftermath belong to you. Just because someone squats a Facebook event on a day conducive to public gathering doesn’t give them dibs to call the shots. A stand-alone call to arms, such as MLK’s Million Man March or CodePink’s A Billion Rising, is another matter. Spontaneous uprisings against historic events are no one organization’s to control or temper. Especially if they begin with capitulations to the state.

Here’s the usual pattern. After a FB event goes viral, nonprofit activist groups jump in to offer their expertise, resources and manpower. The nonprofits thus dominate the details and the event originators have little ground to object. Thrilled to see “their” event succeed, these new-to-the-spotlight activists don’t know that street protest is anathema to nonprofits whose existential foundation is not to disrupt politics as usual. Falling into the trap of coordinating ineffective demonstrations is often blamed on newbie error, but in Washington DC, newbies making the newbie mistakes are employees of nonprofits seeded to pretend the event had a grassroots origin. What the NGOs are really doing is setting a prescribed burn, or backfire.

Backfire: a fire set intentionally to arrest the progress of an approaching fire by creating a burned area in its path, thus depriving the fire of fuel.

Bastards! Fortunately backfire has a further meaning, probably not unrelated to the sketchy forestry strategem.

Backfire: rebound adversely on the originator; have the opposite effect to what was intended.

Just as DC lobbyists monopolize your representatives, professional activists have staked out the capitol and squatted on what is the public’s only access to speak to power. Accept their invitation to come to DC. Thank them for their legal support, their logistics and water bottles, but you’ll handle your messaging thank you.

NOTES FOR NEXT TIME
(If you’d prefer not to dwell on criticism, please skip to the section on RULES. For me, these counterproductive “mistakes” set us back every time we give them a pass.)

1. Telling participants they can’t bring stuff like food or chairs! The event’s duration is being throttled to what can be endured between meals, without a pause for rest. Do you go to meetings without chairs? In the cold outdoors one can’t even sit on the ground.

2. Hiring private security contractors, “some identifiable, some undercover”. WTF? DC’s cops, National Guard, Secret Service, and “Shadow Teams” aren’t enough?

3. Coordinating with police. What? What?! To whom Black Lives Can’t Even Matter? Sorry no.

4. Stifling expression with limits on how to carry signs. Without sticks. “Flags but without poles.” Restricting marchers to signs reinforced with only cardboard tubing. Viewed from a perspective to show the numbers, the march will bear no legible message at all.

5. Telling marchers they must handcarry small bags. You’d think they don’t want marchers’ hands free to carry signs at all.

6. Stooping to a permit, as an excuse to self-police and make participants feel honor bound to unecessary concessions (the permit terms). You don’t need a permit for First Amendment activities. NGOs use permits to effectively reserve public areas and restrict their concurrent use by others. It’s a means to control public space.

7. Scheduling the march on the day after the main event, in time to disrupt nothing. Diluting the inherent outcry, expending from everyone’s discretionary resources to converge on DC. As a result we’ll have two mobilizations. Both massive, hopefully, intead of one which could have TIPPED THE SCALE.

RULES ARE
Meant to be broken. Permit holders can enforce rules within the confines of their event area, with the assistance of authorities if needed, but not outside it. Organizer “rules” can’t be enforced on Metro, or on public streets, or along march route. DC police may pretend they have that authority but they don’t. Cops lie. Know your rights.

To hold a sign where it’s visible in a march, and big enough to where it can be seen among multitudes, you need poles.

BRING POLES.
There is no safety reason whatsoever, in Washington DC, for forbidding the use of sign poles. We’ve seen pole restrictions attempted at national conventions, in close-in urban areas with vulnerable storefront windows, but Washington’s boulevards and setbacked facades evolved with political marches. Demonstrations, parades and motorcades are everyday for DC. Your sign poles pose zero threat and you don’t have to relinquish them. Not Post-911, nor in the Age of Trump. If an NGO-deputized cop won’t allow your entry to their rally, their privatized-park, have someone wait with the contraband outside its bounds. Banners are best seen on the edges of rallies anyway. When attendance numbers reach overload, you’re golden. Move with the numbers. Otherwise wait and join in as the march departs from the rally.

What’s best for poles? Lengths of bamboo from garden nurseries. Bamboo is stiff, light, and utterly non-threatening. Eight footers will hold a banner above marchers’ heads while still allowing you to rest the poles on the ground when the march lags. Six foot lengths give you adequate leverage to keep the banner taut but are more work. Either are cheap and expendable. Bring extra. Bamboo are thin enough to hold reserve pieces bundled. You can grasp a bundle of three as readily as a single pole. Those extra poles can be allocated as you see other marchers in need.

Let’s rule out pipe, lumber and dowels for being too heavy. Broom handles are expensive. Wooden stakes are uncomfortable and too short, and apparently, too “pointy”.

Various widths of PVC are rigid enough to about eight feet. Steel electrical conduit can give you ten feet. Both are cheaply available at neighborhood hardware stores. The baggage holds of charter buses can’t accommodate pieces over eight feet.

Alternatives to fixed lengths poles would be telescoping poles such as hiking sticks or monopods. Usually these do not extend beyond five feet. Longer telescoping tool handles used for painting for example extend but won’t contract to shorter than five feet or so.

Sectional poles such as geodesic tent poles can be folded to different length permutations. Depending on the weight of your banner material, multiple tent poles may be required to provide sufficient stiffness.

The benefit of collapsible poles is that you can conceal them until you are ready. Provided you have a BAG.

BRING A BAG
There are plenty of ordinary reasons to need a bag. Lunch. Extra layers of clothing. Hat, sunglasses, bandana. Extra gloves, hand warmers, snacks, literature to share, stuff handed you at the rally.

As a banner holder you’ll need supplies like duct tape, markers and string to fix signs, and those aforementioned extra tent poles. Maybe a backup banner or gag props for an alternative photo op.

We bring bags to work, school and play. Who expects that a day traversing DC doesn’t call for a bag?

Don’t be fooled into believing that for safety reasons all bags must be clear plastic. DC surveillance can spot the excess heft of dangerous materials such as explosives or weapons, without having to see them. What they’re really looking for are items like ropes, carabiners, harnesses, goggles, which activists can use for nonviolent fun, to mix things up and entertain, provide media moments and get attention.

Besides which, clear bags will make for unsightly messy photos. Neither does your bag need to be restricted in size. Bring a backpack or knapsack. Leave your hands free to carry that sign!

The best reason for you to shoulder an ordinary opaque knapsack is to give cover for others to bring bags with necessities you overlooked. Cameras, accessories, extra socks, bullhorns, batteries, umbrellas etc.

There’s nothing so heartbreaking as a mass of people who’ve come from across the country to participate in a march that goes nowhere. An uneventful demonstration garners no press, wins no recruits, and only burns out those who thought they came to DC to effect change.

I watched half a million hispanic Americans assemble on the National Mall for Immigrant Rights. Many of those half million took a great risk marching in DC. It’s possible many as a result were deported. They could only follow the rules of course, received no media coverage, and accomplished fuck-all.

BRING CHAIRS
Come to DC with a demand, but bring more than the leverage of numbers. Carry with you the potential that you might LINGER. That’s the pressure the media can’t ignore.

Chairs, umbrellas, canopies, tents, enhance your stamina and protect you from the elements. The longer your protest runs, the more time there will be for latecomers to join in. That’s the momentum the state is worried about. Project that.

“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” – Frederick Douglass

Douglass also said: “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” Your march organizers have promised their DC colleagues a toothless beast. It’s not what they tell their donors, nor how they phrased their invitation to you. You brought your physical body to DC to support the cause. Is it theirs to squander?

North Dakota police are using grenades against Standing Rock DAPL protesters


STANDING ROCK, ND- Morton County sheriff deputies have admitted using STING GRENADES against the Standing Rock water protectors on Nov 22, which are suspected to have caused the serious injury which may result in 21-year-old activist Sophia Wilansky losing her arm. Protesters were fired on with rubber bullets, stun grenades, tear gas, pepper spray, and high pressure water cannons filled with chemical agents. Protesters were falling on the icy grass when deputies fired a sting-ball grenade into the group. Ms. Wilansky’s elbow was struck which severed her artery and all nerves in her left arm.


After denying responsibility for the many injuries they caused and accusing the protesters of attempting to detonate a propane cannister, the sheriffs department admitted to using “Stinger Bombs”, more exactly, the Sting-Ball grenade, described in police manuals as “an explosive anti-riot device which hurtles a large number of small “stinging” rubber balls at rioters when ignited. May or may not contain riot control agents. Also known as stingball or stinger grenade.”

Rubber bullets can be aimed away from eyes and faces, though an explosive which propels rubber pellets cannot. Any pretense that deputies are avoiding injuring the public is betrayed by the fact that they are aiming their bullets at the faces, groins and kneecaps of protesters. Though media reports state that police are “throwing” these projectiles, witnesses claim all of these are in fact being FIRED on them with launch weapons. Witnesses also report that the stun grenades being against them have their ventilation holes covered with duct-tape. It’s presumed that the tape causes the grenades to explode with greater pressure.

Enbridge Dakota Access Pipeline and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers stopped by who else but Standing Rock Sioux


Native American activists have been converging in North Dakota to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline which is encroaching without permission on tribal lands. They’ve delayed construction though the industry already secured an injunction against them. Their main complaint is that it threatens their water. Fittingly the first step authorities took against the growing protest was to take their water. Purportedly because some campers were allegedly endangering corporate surveillance planes with laser pointers.

Where to protest the 2016 Philly DNC

PHILADELPHIA, PA- Depending on what you’re here to accomplish at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, pro-Bernie, anti-war, reformist, or disruption, here’s our shortlist of the event sites according to theme.

1. WELLS FARGO CENTER– Main site of DNC, for delegates only, surrounded by four miles of 8ft tall modular steel crowd control barriers.
 
2. CITY HALL– Most rallies and demonstrations are scheduled to converge here before a 4-mile march to DNC site.
 
3. INDEPENDENCE HALL– Sunday’s “Clean Energy” march ended here. Its lawn of is the backdrop for MSNBC live convention coverage and was the 2011 site of Occupy Philly.

4. CLINTONVILLE– Located 8 miles due North of DNC at America & Somerset, “Clintonville” is an urban campsite for the people’s movement, economic justice issues, and Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

5. MARCONI PLAZA– Less than a half mile from the DNC, Marconi Plaza is an ideal launching point to rally demonstrators against the DNC. Shade is sparse but this plaza appears to be the daily epicenter for Bernie Sanders supporters.

6. F.D.R. PARK– This park is immediately adjacent to the DNC and at the last minute was made available for overnight protest camping. There is ample shade but the many trees will prevent large centralized assemblies. It’s the place to be Monday afternoon and evening.

Police State Appreciation Day protested for obvious reasons #BlueLivesMurder


DENVER, COLORADO- The July 17 Law Enforcement Appreciation Day festivities could barely be heard above the din of bullhorns blasting Denver police for being the second most murderous in the nation. TV reporters hoped to record Occupy Denver’s enthousiasm for that morning’s killing of three police officers in Baton Rouge by disturbed Marine Corps veteran Gavin Long. Law enforcement claimed to be investigating what drew the Micah Johnson second act to Baton Rouge, though their public execution of African American Alton Sterling might be the place to start. Denver attendees didn’t have a clue why ordinary citizens would want to be so disrespectful of their relatives in blue. Blue lives matter, they shouted. Yeah? Blue Lives Murder was the response.

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 Brown’s 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 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.”

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: plaintiff’s order to show cause was filed on 8/26 before that evening’s 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 can’t 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 evening’s 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 Sodaro’s 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

Denver charges against plaza occupier so bogus even court recorder objected.


DENVER, COLORADO- Denver County Court Judge Beth Faragher says she’s never seen such a thing happen. Her courtroom audio recording device STOPPED RECORDING, at mid day, but it didn’t let on, and it was hours before somebody noticed. It was the defendant who noticed the machine’s erratic digital readout. An emergency IT specialist was sent to the courtroom. He confirmed that none of the trial had been recorded. The options were to repeat the testimony or declare a mistrial.
 
Eric Brandt is accused of interfering with the arrest of two fellow protesters who were being apprehended for felony menacy and assault on September 24, during the occupy encampment of the Lindsey Flanigan Courthouse Plaza last year. Judge Faragher has never seen such an electronic malfunction, but she probably can’t say the same for prosecutorial frame-ups. Denver’s machinations are so obvious and they’re not backing down from an arrest they engineered. Will the Denver goons be smart enough to pull it off? They can’t even fool their own RECORDING DEVICE. Unfortunately the human components of Denver’s injustice team are yet showing no embarassment for being party to this sham. Here’s how the city schemers are failing so far:

The trial today began with a defense motion to declare a mistrial, based on a DPD officer testifying that the plaza occupiers had a history of necessitating large police turnouts, implying protesters were violent where there was no record to support the inference. With the recording mishap, Judge Faragher has indicated she cannot but grant a mistrial if the defense motions for it. However Brandt and his attorney Sherry Deatch may not. Why? Because the prosecutors have not even finished with their first witness and he’s already destroyed the city’s case. Why start from scratch when the cat’s already out of the bag?

The city asserts that police were already on the scene, behind it actually, investigating a potential drug violation in progress on the plaza when they witnessed an altercation which necessitated their intervention. A lone visitor woke the sleeping protesters and they in turn ganged up on him. Though the police were outnumbered, they struggled to arrest two assailants and Eric “Fuck Cops” Brandt got in their way, vilating a Denver ordinance that forbids interfering with police.

The trouble is, the city’s first witness, arresting officer Sgt. Connover, testified to much more, and his cross-examination is not even complete. Already Connover described how officers were visiting the courthouse “control room” in the middle of the night, 2:30am, to study video evidence of illegal narcotics use. Lo and behold, a rukus errupts as campers wake to expel an intruder caught pilfering from people’s bags. Officer Conniver reported that officers eavesdropped on the live audio of the plaza being monitored by the security staff. They heard the activists confront the intruder about the thefts, ask for the return of their things and insist that the intruder leave. He would not leave and several attempts were made to drag him away, or to dissuade him from staying. Officers understood what was going on but watched until the expulsion efforts escalated.

According to Connover there were too few officers to act immediately, his team of six plus that many courthouse deputies were not enough for 15 sleepyhead activists. Connover relied on HALO cam footage to show the midnight’s events. It was an ackward angle unlike the camera feed he’d monitored that night, which showed much more. Connover admitted that DPD had collected the tape but couldn’t explain why it wasn’t produced in evidence, nor revealed to the defense under the rules of discovery. Because that angle would have showed the details of the scene, how many more officers there were in reality and how little violence the officers pretended to be apprehending. So little evidence in fact that the charges were dropped against the two original arrestees. Eric Brandt it turns out was right to berate the officers for arresting the wrong parties.


Brandt witnesses arrest of Matthew Lentz


Brandt protests the arrest of Matthew Lentz


Brandt informs officers they are arresting the wrong party


Brandt arrested, charged with interference


Lentz, Brandt and Brown arrested, provocateur released

Denver homeless kids are reclaiming their RIGHT to SIT on 16th Street Mall


DENVER, COLORADO- Denver street kids are standing up against DPD harrassment, SITTING DOWN. It isn’t orchestrated, it’s barely organized, a CBS affiliate covered the first arrests, but since last Wednesday, these homeless activists have been defying riot cops and orders to disperse, suffering several citations and arrests every day. As of Tuesday AM, two arrestees remain jailed, one of them bonded with a condition of area restriction preventing him from rejoining the protest.

Third Guy Fawkes Day case dismissed as Denver continues to arrest marchers

DENVER, COLO.- Last night Denver police mobbed a demonstration protesting the officer-involved execution of unarmed suspect Dion Avila Damon in front of his wife and child. At the end of Tuesday’s march, Robin Hamm and Nathan Stickel were arrested for obstruction, failure to obey, and destruction of private property. They were still in custody when fellow activist, Joaquin dela Torre-McNeil, arrested at an identically uneventful march last November, showed up for his court date today only to hear the city motion to dismiss his case. Joaquin was charged with interference and resisting arrest, both accusations without merit. This morning the city admitted as much.

This marks the third of nine arrests made November 5, 2015 which have been dismissed. Peter Lewis, 31, was snagged as an obstructee, then detained on a possessions charge until all charges were dropped November 20. Brandon Deaton, 24, was charged with obstruction. He was represented by attorney Frank Ingham and his case was dismissed March 23.

Joaquin’s dismissal bodes well for the remaining six cases, which are equally unfounded.

Four are charged with interference and obstruction, plus the odd sundry misdemeanor: David Croisant, 29, is represented by attorney Birk Baumgardner; Selayna Bechtold, 19, is represented by Venkatesh Iyer; Mark Iannicelli, 58, is represented by Katayoun Donnelly; and Justin Berding, 25, is represented by Cheri Deatsch.

Two are charged with felonies: Damian Stasek, 25, represented by attorney Lon Heymann; and Jake Pauly, 25. Both are charged with assault of a peace officer, which happens whenever physical contact is not initiated by the police, although in both cases this was a technicality.

Bumping into police officers is going to happen if they get in your way, especially when they have no right to get in your way, given that your first amendment right was the reason they were supposed to stay out of your way. If there’s no obstruction, there’s no interference, and your collision with their obstruction of your civil liberties is not assault.

The November 5th march was uneventful except for the arrests. There was neither property damaged, traffic impeded, nor lives endangered. The police acted purely to intimidate and squelch protest. They succeeded but now the courts are not supporting their actions. As charges fall, the accusations lose veracity. Certainly the crowd’s anger at their demonstration being curtailed with such heavy-handedness is being shown to having been legitimate. You can’t arrest people for objecting to your unlawful conduct.

But DPD hasn’t been taught that lesson yet. Last night’s march for DPD victim Dion Avila Damon was equally harmless. Arrests were made for the usual show of force. Two activists remain in custody. The bureaucratic delay is now excused as a 24-hour processing requirement for fingerprints to clear the system. Only then will bonds be calculated and allowed to be posted. Detainees will then wait a minimum of five further hours to be released. When last night’s charges are dismissed, Denver will have to account for two more wrongful imprisonment cases.

U.S. protest photo of the millennium: post 9/11 Neodemocracy in American


MEDIA BLACKOUT ON 400+ ARRESTS AT WASHINGTON DC #DEMOCRACYSPRING –You don’t have to be there to support the work of these activists. You can help by making others aware of their action. Add your voice and share. They are standing up for us. It’s time we stand with them and spread the word of their action.

The History of Violent Protest in Colorado Springs, in a Nutshell.

JesusGET THIS. I heard a reverend-person yesterday lecturing newish activists about their need for nonviolence training, which she was volunteering to lead. She was also offering rubber wristbands for her graduates to wear at demonstrations, so that police could differentiate between protesters. She told us she’d ask officers to scrutinize those not wearing bands as being the potential troublemakers. This, she assured everyone, would make it more difficult for outside groups to waylay the action. I kid you not. And she’s a church leader praised locally as something of an activist! HA! That’s a RAT!
 
I recognized the Springs “outsider” buggaboo so I thought I’d relate where it came from in a little piece I’ll call The History of Violent Protest in Colorado Springs. Ready? It won’t take long.

So what violence have I seen in my fairly full-time participation over a dozen years, multiple wars and as many elections? ZERO. That’s right. I’ve seen a lot of brutal handling by police, but by the hands of protesters? Nothing.

Yep. The History of Violent Protest in Colorado Springs. The End.

For as much as local church leaders harp on nonviolence training, which includes, by the way, nonviolence bounderies that forbid even confrontational speech, you’d think they’d seen a need for it. They haven’t. For EVERY preacher and or disciple regurgitating nonviolence edicts, I’ve never seen ONE counterpart advocate for, nor commit, violence. It’s almost a laugh, if the practice wasn’t so damaging to public demonstrations. Colorado Springs street protests have been defanged to nothing, police needn’t bother to show up and they don’t. As a result, neither do protesters.

And it isn’t just that nonviolence dogma declaws the public beast. Religifying activism alienates intellectuals and atheists who woud prefer not to suffer the foolish god-justified claptrap. Monotheism is the engine which has always perpetuated privilege, enslavement, colonization and capitalism. Wtf.

Not satisfied to deputize citizens with the equivalent of TSA pre-boarding approval, clergy want to deprive their charges of the element of surprise. The Springs antiwar community keeps direct contact with law enforcement. I’m guessing protestations, if any, are now simply phoned in.

I JUST WANT TO PUNCH these nonviolence religion freaks for mutilating the impetus of budding activists. A newcomer’s anger is what drew them to protest in the first place. Of course as ministers that is their function. Social injustice is job security to church employees. They are about as likely to remedy inequity as the Pope. Sermons aim to temper their sheep’s natural anger at injustice. But enough about those assholes.

No matter the issue, antiwar, the environment, racism, homelessness, in Colorado Springs I’ve seen absolutely no public demonstration escalate to violence. Why then the ready queue of spiritual nuts so eager to innoculate every next wave of concerned citizen before they can even take to the street? It goes back to something that happened at an antiwar demonstration in 2003, although the lesson being drawn is not based on what really happened. That’s the bugaboo.

Palmer Park, 2003
In 2003 George W. Bush was about to initiate an illegal war against Iraq and public demonstrations were coordinated across the globe. In Colorado Springs nearly 2,000 people assembled in Palmer Park along Academy Boulevard. The Springs rally looked to eclipse the antiwar events planned in Denver, so some people came from Denver, or so it’s believed. In reality, the Springs antiwar community had an average age of 75 and hadn’t seen new faces for decades. The sight of younger participants led many to believe they were from elsewhere. Plus some of the younger protesters wore black, so word spread they were Anarchists. Scary.

For the usual reasons, the CSPD decided to close Academy Boulevard. When rally-goers realized their protest wasn’t being seen because motorists were no longer driving by, some decided to lead the crowds southward toward an intersection where traffic was still passing. Being that Academy Boulevard was cleared of cars, the most obvious route was on the street. There was no sidewalk and the park was congested with the parked cars of the attendees. No matter. The police formed a line and ordered the marchers back.

The police began to spray tear gas as the protesters retreated. Clouds of gas enveloped the crowds as they dispersed and struggled to get in their cars. The cars were gased with families and small children inside them, unable to drive away.

Across the globe that day, only two cities used tear gas against their antiwar protests: Athens and Colorado Springs. That’s how old timers like to tell the story. They’ll add that the police crackdown was prompted by unruly outsiders being violent with police. By which they mean, refusing to get off the street. Being assertive of one’s rights somehow became translated to mean impermissively violent.

Had these Emily Posts ever seen the footage of Selma?! These nonviolence sticklers are MLK idolators, yet just like Selma’s whites, they blame the victim.


Palmer Park, 2003

Protests in Colorado Springs immediately diminished in popularity and never again drew large numbers. Apparently when organizers called their members the apprehension was always “will it be safe?”

And so from that day, nuns and other clergy met regularly with Colorado Springs police to talk to them about protest plans, lest CSPD be surprised and overreact. That hasn’t stopped police from dragging us across streets or assaulting us in parking lots or on sidewalks. Oh to have merited it even once!

NOTE: I have omitted a couple of insider details about the 2003 rally because I wanted to relate the experience of the average participant. Yes, the event was advertized statewide and drew opponents of Bush’s war from along the Front Range. And yes, there was a strategy among frontline protesters to try to block an intersection. Most attendees didn’t know either of these facts. The local peace community was so insular that all new faces were looked upon as interlopers. But my point remains, there was no violence. Our freedom to assemble, wherever two thousand people need to go, is not abriged by congress nor by traffic laws. Rebuffing law enforcement’s attempt to disrespect civil liberties by standing, walking, sitting, or shouting, is not violence.

St Patricks Day, 2007

Nonviolently submitting to state violence is supposed to move onlookers to empathy. In 2007, was the Colorado Springs public moved by the police brutalization of nonviolent 70-yr-old Elizabeth Fineron, who later died of complications of her injuries? No, they cheered the police.

Sacrificing yourself may work in democracies with an empowered populace, but against fascism, as against the Mongols or Manifest Destiny, it’s abrogation of responsibility and suicide.

Nonviolence
Incorporating the dogma of “nonviolence” into what would otherwise be straightforward protest becomes problematic when nonviolence folks want to differentiate themselves. Those who are “othered” are then presumed to be planning violence. That’s a very serious charge. Inciting a riot is a crime. Plotting to overthrow a democracy is sedition.

Non-nonviolence does not equal intending-violence. For example, I do not advocate violence, I advocate solidarity.

I do not oppose people asking for NV training, or undertaking it, though I would prefer that nonviolence wasn’t marketed to newcomers who wouldn’t have thought to have needed it.

Why should “nonviolence” even have to come up, for example, at a discussion about a SIT-IN? Agreeing to sit is already a gesture which has capitulated the option to resist. A crowd can’t charge from the seated position. You can’t even defend yourself. The nonviolence is inherent.

Religious NV training is really about nonviolent communication, a whole other can of rotten worms. There is no evidence that Gandhi, MLK or the Flint factory sit-ins practiced that aberration.

If the challenge is to show public opposition to the sit-lie ordinance because it further oppresses the homeless, public energies need not be exhausted by habitually passive religious leaders and their idea of what direct action needs to be.

Yes, the anticipation of the supremacy of nonviolence over state violence is a religious expectation. Against fascism you’re asking for a miracle.

If preachers were activists they would lead their flocks into the street. Circulating among activists, those church leaders are opportunistic missionaries, looking for recruits among the disenchanted.

To be earnestly inclusive of faiths and non-faiths, leave you diety at home. Show respect for the “others” who don’t need the voodoo rationalizations you require to muster moral courage.

Monk Brown set up a tent on the plaza. It took a SWAT team to take it down. Now a Denver jury took them down.

Adrian Monk Brown
DENVER, COLORADO- Homeless Adrian “Monk” Brown was accused of “obstruction” for sitting in a protest tent last August 26th on the plaza of the Lindsey Flanigan Courthouse. Monk was also charged with “interference” with the riot police sent to evict him. A subsequent charge of “failure to obey” was added by prosecutors pressuring Monk to take a plea. After a two day trial which ended Wednesday, a Denver County jury found Monk Brown NOT GUILTY of either obstruction or failure to obey. Owing maybe to a crime scene video that highlighted the brutal irreverance shown by protesters toward DPD officers, the jury did convict Monk of interference. Except now it wasn’t a crime scene. Monk’s attorney Melissa Trollinger Annis is challenging the inconsistent verdict because it’s unlikely interference will stick without the police having a cause for arrest. Monk wasn’t obstructing.

This verdict marks the second time Monk has beaten the obstruction charge. The first was November 17 when Monk was acquitted of erecting a tent in the plaza on August 28, two days after the recent case. Monk put up that tent the moment he got out of jail for his August 26 arrest. He was fully acquitted in that case. Monk’s subsequent arrests in the plaza on September 18 and September 24 were dismissed and dropped, respectively.

Monk’s arrests numbered among the 19 arrests and two citations issued against the plaza demonstrators during a full time Occupy Denver protest which ran from August 26 to October 21, 2015, when DPD effected a final eviction and activist resources became terminally waterlogged. Just as the activists have now become tied up in court, Denver police headquarters are now overburdened with a hoard of tents, tarps, chairs, umbrellas, banners, and drums which must be kept in evidence.

The plaza protest was launched after the arrest of Mark Iannicelli and Eric Brandt for distributing jury nullification fliers at the Lindsey Flanigan Courthouse. Activists with Occupy Denver won a federal court injunction to prevent such further arrests. With an ongoing legal battle stipulating the plaza as not just a traditional free speech zone, but a designated free speech zone, the city’s backdoor methods of restricting First Amendment Rights could be isolated and exposed.

For too long, the city of Denver has been able to curb free speech through backdoor charges: Obstruction, disturbing the peace, jaywalking, and TRESPASS. Activists are even charged with resisting arrest, when subjects are actively objecting to their unlawful arrest. The days of halting political demonstrations by having riot cops enforce city ordinances such as obstruction may be drawing to a close.

December 19 the Billion People March


http://www.billionpeoplemarch.org/

Denver
https://www.facebook.com/events/1630747410519445/

New York FB
http://unify.org/peacemap/web/events/2765?affiliate=1000019

LA Macarthur Park
http://unify.org/peacemap/web/events/2775

Minneapois
http://unify.org/peacemap/web/events/2767

Vancouver FB
http://unify.org/peacemap/web/events/2768

Buenos Ayres
http://unify.org/peacemap/web/events/2773

Oslo FB
http://unify.org/peacemap/web/events/2781

Istanbul, Taksim Square FB
http://unify.org/peacemap/web/events/2771

Motion hearing for 4/29 protest arrest brings out affinity of cops and judges.

DENVER, COLORADO- A local activist flipped off a municipal court judge. Yes, it’s not done, but the consequence was more severe than even the judge intended. She was attending a motions hearing of a fellow protester accused of disobeying a cop. During DPD testimony an officer was narrating a surveillance video which the audience was unabe to see. She tried to shift seats but was told to sit down. After two admonishments, she complied in silence but made a disrespectful gesture where she sat behind the flat screen monitor, where she thought the judge wouldn’t see. But a clerk did see the gesture and told the judge. Judge Nicole Rodarte, no friend of political activists and facing a roomful of them, immediately had her held in contempt of court for the remainder of the hearing. Contrary to instructions, the unnamed activist was taken across to the jail to serve a sentence of ten days. We’re not sure yet who was complicit with the mixup. Here’s what happened:

It was a hearing no Denver street activist wanted to miss. Habitual free-speech offender Jesse Benn is accused of disobeying a lawful order, being on the street, failure to disperse, etc, etc, at the April 29 march solidarity march for the people of Baltimore upset about the in-custody murder of Freddy Gray. Jesse’s jury trial will follow shortly.

At this motions hearing, the unpopular motorcycle cop Michael Rispoli was testifying as to the evidence against Jesse. Officer Rispoli is uniformly reviled for his tendency to ram his motorcycle into peaceful marchers. At the April 29 march, Rispoli dropped his motorcycle, feigning having been pushed by bicyclist Michael Moore. A SWAT crew piled on Moore, protesters rushed to his defense, this precipitated more arrests and prompted the police to pepperspray the crowd which included a number of small children. Justified by the attack on Officer Rispoli. Jesse Benn recorded the video which proved Rispoli’s lie. All charges were dropped against Moore, but the rest of the arrestees are being prosecuted, including Benn.

Rispoli by the way has been reassigned to DIA. After six years on the downtown motorcycle crew, monitoring and herding political demonstrations, he’s been demoted to the airport.

So at this hearing Bad Cop Rispoli was proudly testifying about the crowd-control techniques of the motorcycle unit. Very, very informative. At one point the prosecution played a police surveilance video so that Rispoli could give the play by play, point out offenders, and share his strategy. Except the audience couldn’t see the video screen. The content wasn’t forbidden, the judge just saw no need to make a screen available to the public. This being a public hearing.

It was frustrating, and said audience member rose to move about to catch a glimpse of the video. Judge Rodarte told her to sit down. She explained the problem, the judge only repeated her warning. She returned to her seat and apparently formed a finger with her left hand, thrown down behind the large screen monitor, where we couldn’t see, nor even the judge. The courtroom clerk spotted it however and told the judge.

Judge Rodarte promptly asked the deputees to remove the activist to an adjacent room used for in-custody defendants. She informed us that the activist was being held in contempt and her case would be handled at the close of the hearing, hopefully before the lunch break. The hearing resumed without further incident, except more lies from Rispoli. One lie prompted defendant Benn to hold a notepad aloft, for the audience’s eyes only, on which he’d scribbled “perjury!”

The hearing ended before lunch. Judge Rodarte excused herself to review the activist’s criminal record. Rodarte emerged from her chambers to announce that the matter would be addressed after lunch.

When court resumed at 1:30pm, Offender X was brought back in from the side door. Judge Rodarte gave a brief lecture about how X’s act had insulted the integrity of her courtroom and the justice system, etc. She asked if X had anything to say in anticipation of sentencing.

X gave a similarly brief speech about what she’d witnessed in Rodarte’s courtroom and the affront it represented to the public. X closed by declaring she welcomed whatever consequence the judge wanted to throw at her.

“I sentence you to two hours, time served” said Judge Rodarte. She ordered the sheriffs to release X, when they were done with her, or words to that effect.

We went to the jail to await X’s release, anticipating the usual booking delay. We eventually learned that X was supposed to serve a ten day sentence for contempt of court. It took us 35 hours before the error was sorted out. The detention center staff had admitted X with absolutely no authority to do so, certainly no documents remain on file. There is no paper trail and the Office of the Independent Monitor and Internal Affairs are trying to sort it out. Stay tuned.

The case against activist Jesse Benn raises the penultimate question about the right to march in protest. Jesse Benn is charged with being in the street. Traffic laws favor cars over people in the use of public roads, but does a vehicle’s right of way always abridge the people’s right to assemble? Hundreds of demonstrators marching to seek redress of grievances need the road too. Very often authorities tolerate protesters taking the streets for that very reason. Or because authorities have already blocked the streets. It’s complicated, and Jesse Benn might be being punished here because he took the video that implicated a bad cop. The system wants to use Jesse Benn as an example. Activist need to use Benn as their example, to teach the city a lesson about wrongful arrest and our civil liberties.

350.ORG disowns Paris sans-culottes, opts for boot-counting passivist shtick, figures to storm the Bastille shoeless.


HOLY CRAP, Bill McKibben sells out the activists again, agreeing not only to cancel planned protests at the Paris Climate Conference, but distancing 350.ORG and its collaborator NGOs from real demonstrators upset at the protest ban. After leading hundreds of thousands in New York City on the World’s Largest Climate March TO NOWHERE, Bill McKibben flushes the Paris demonstrations and the climate they hoped to save with them. Nothing says silence like a streetful of shoes. Antiwar activists resorted to staging shoe die-ins at every surge of the Iraq War. The result? Crickets. We used army boots to represent mounting American war casualties. As pacifism lost popular traction, the disparing passivists cobbled larger and larger “demonstrations”. Activists came to call them exercises in BOOT-COUNTING. It’s a well-trod path, and as you might expect of shoes without wearers, they march nowhere.

WORSE BUT AS USUAL, the permit-carrying protest groups at the Paris summit immediately disowned demonstrators who threw bottles or in any manner protested the government’s edict to ban public protest in the wake of the November terrorist attacks. Activists who habitually support 350.ORG leadership were thrown under the bus as “not part of our movement”. Specifically they had violated a supposed pact which self-respecting nonprofits had signed to reject anything but impotent rule-following. While the media will continue to hand Bill McKibben a microphone, it’s time for street activists to raise their pitchforks against false grassroots leadership. There wouldn’t have been an Earth First if environmental nonprofits had put resistance before staged activism. The climate message doesn’t require their nuanced strategists. The struggle certainly doesn’t benefit from participants who think they can conscript shoes to take the streets for them.

AS TO A NONVIOLENCE PACT. Organizers of the Paris protests apparently swore an oath not to let protests escalate to resistance to police repression. It’s the same malarky nonviolence advocates demand of their adherants. AS IF Gandhi and MLK won their laurels without resorting to active resistance. Demonstrations against US national conventions have been hamstrung by simlar nonviolence pacts.

HOW ABOUT activists get a jump on the upcoming election year and propose an alternate oath for wannabe protesters, an elaboration on the St Paul Principles so to speak. At the DNC and RNC we swear to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to shut it down. Whoever can’t commit to WHATEVER IT TAKES can’t call themselves comrades. They have no business filling streets only to capitulate. They are the words of Malcolm X: “whatever it takes”. Whatever does not exclude nonviolent methods but it excludes expulsions, or you’re disowned.