Housing Activist Arrested - Call In to Demand His Release!
Jacob Richards of Housing First! No More Deaths (above)
An organizer of the Housing First! No More Deaths! campaign was arrested 09/29/09 during the group's weekly meeting, in an act of politically targeted police abuse of power. Housing First! No More Deaths! is committed to empowering people to actively and collectively work to address root causes of houselessness and create grassroots solutions.
The arrest of Jacob Richards was an obvious act of retribution for his political activities. On 9/28/09, Richards assisted local houseless community members who were being harassed in a public park by two officers from the Grand Junction Police Department. The same two officers returned on 9/29/09 during the publicly advertised campaign meeting, asked Richards to identify himself, and arrested him on an unrelated petty matter.
Despite the fact that the GJPD has a working relationship with Richards and is in regular contact with him, they chose to arrest him in the public arena of a campaign meeting. In a phone conversation a few hours after the arrest, Deputy Chief of Police John Zen stated, “That makes it look like retribution for political activities.”
Richards has checked in with his community from jail, and has given us a further glimpse into the GJPD’s intentions. When he arrived at the booking area of the Mesa County Jail, the correctional officers at the jail commented that the GJPD officers shouldn’t be bringing someone in on a petty issue when the jail is already full to capacity. The arresting officers responded that Richards is a member of the “terrorist group” The Red Pill, and had to be taken off the streets. The Red Pill is Colorado’s longest running, volunteer run, alternative news publication covering news you won’t find in the mainstream media.
These actions are a blatant attempt by the GJPD to intimidate people involved with HF! and to disrupt successful community organizing. This comes after the GJPD was caught and admitted to sending two undercover police officers to multiple HF! meetings, and after a GJPD campaign of increased police harassment of the local houseless community in Grand Junction.
The intimidation of community organizers and the homeless community in Grand Junction is unacceptable and must stop now. Please call these following numbers to complain and help hold the police department and city accountable for their unacceptable actions. They regularly violate the human rights of the houseless and the community’s ability to provide safe and secure housing, and are now violating the rights of everyone participating HF!’s campaign to find safe and secure housing for houseless people this winter.
Call in on October 1st to demand Richards' release and voice your opposition to the GJPD's repression of dissent! Leave a message, ask for a supervisor, send a fax or email, be creative--but let them know that the whole world is watching! They will not silence our dissent!
DEPUTY CHIEF OF POLICE:
John Zen (970) 244-3560
Cal Atkinson (970) 244-3560
Myshell Bolton (970) 242-6707
MAYOR OF GRAND JUNCTION:
Bruce Hill (970) 244-1504
Pete Hautzinger (970) 244-1730
If you have been harassed or intimidated by any authority in Grand Junction, or denied services which you had a right to access, please contact Housing First! by sending an email with your contact information and brief description of what happened to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (970) 245-4442.