Four persons were arrested and a two-year-old child was hit by a bicycle-riding cop yesterday during Denver's May Day March. According to witnesses, the behavior of one or more of the parade marshalls contributed to the problems, rather than mitigating them, and marchers abandoned their arrested comrades, rather than assisting them or otherwise showing solidarity.
The problems commenced after one marcher began dancing in the street. A marshall came up behind the marcher, seized him, and attempted to push him along, instead of approaching him face-to-face, and using verbal communication. The dancer, taken by surprise and unable to see who was pushing him, began resisting what must have seemed like an attack. Cops then closed in and arrested the dancing marcher, though they did not arrest the marshall. The original charge was jaywalking, which is not an arrestable offense. This charge was later changed to obstructing traffic.
During the incident, a cop, apparently unable to control his zeal at the prospect of participating in an arrest, ran his bicycle into a little two-year-old girl. The child's father then began speaking out very strongly in defense of his daughter, only to be rebuked by the same marshall who had caused the original problem.
Later in the march, another person was arrested, also for jaywalking, changed during booking to obstructing traffic. This person had been slated to perform later that day in the General Strike activities at Civic Center Park.
This interview with Carlo Garcia, an activist who protested at the DNC, was recorded shortly after his arrest. It has been embargoed until it could be reviewed by his attorney.
Excerpt: "One of the trustees who's an inmate who gets to clean up said that there was a riot, and I was like, no, there hasn't been no riot, it turned out that the police, when everybody got there, had thought that they'd come in to riot. So they all went down there in riot gear. They shut the jail down momentarily, which is crazy. There's a picture of it too, you see all the cops lined up outside the police station-- for Alicia and I. Which is crazy."
Amy Goodman, popular host of the DemocracyNow! program that airs on satellite, cable and other network feeds, including Channel 12 television in Denver, has been arrested at the Republican National Convention in Minnesota. The DemocracyNow! team was filming tear gassing, pepper spraying, and firing of rubber bullets. The DemocracyNow! team was tear gassed and pepper sprayed, then arrested.
Twin Cities Indymedia reports: Amy Goodman has now been released. Many others, including journalists, are still being held.
"There is clearly an intent on the part of law enforcement authorities here to engage in extreme and highly intimidating raids against those who are planning to protest the Convention... Targeting people with automatic-weapons-carrying SWAT teams and mass raids in their homes, who are suspected of nothing more than planning dissident political protests at a political convention and who have engaged in no illegal activity whatsoever, is about as redolent of the worst tactics of a police state as can be imagined..."
Federal government involved in raids on protesters
More extraordinary than these extreme raids is the fact that they are generating so little attention and even less outcry.
Houses raided, 5 arrested; critics decry crackdown
Police raids enrage activists, alarm others
5 arrested, dozens detained in pre-RNC raids
Police crackdown: Rolling out the raid carpet
City inspectors board up raided home for ‘code violations’
Police seize ‘propaganda literature,’ staples, curtain rods, and caltrops from raided home on 17th Avenue
Police raid headquarters of RNC protesters
Police target protesters at RNC convention
LiveWire - Breaking news from the streets
On August 27, the Denver Post reported that a protester was arrested "for dropping [a] bottle of feces." The Post's readers wondered how the fellow could possibly get that stuff into a bottle. The next day the Rocky Mountain News almost brought itself to the point of actually reporting that the substance was probably coffee with soy milk, as the arrestee had claimed. (Presumably the police were too embarrassed to actually admit this...) The News did report that Zachary Patrick Grey was not charged under Denver's absurd possession-of-noxious-substances ordinance.
If you'll pardon the pun, it appears that this dedicated and sincere Food Not Bombs fellow has had his reputation "soiled" by the charge. Having associated with a number of Food Not Bombs folks (and having subscribed to their global email list for several years), i know very well that they spend a considerable amount of effort understanding issues such as hygiene and contamination, so that the food they serve is as safe as possible. The idea that an FNB person would ever consider stuffing a bottle with such an unhealthy substance boggles the mind.
But let us contemplate for a moment the brave new world in which elected officials -- the "ruling" class of our society -- obsess with excrement to the extent that police fly to the conclusion a common public substance like coffee is really a personal private substance such as feces. This sort of obsession isn't an idle neurosis, it is a weapon aimed at dissidents who dare to speak openly about the sickness of such a society -- a weapon as revolting and obscene as Malaysia's practice of charging political dissidents with sodomy in order to damage their credibility.
An "unusual" judicial strategy "peculiar to the protesters arrested during the DNC" that appears to have been designed to force them to miss the RNC has been revised.
Those pleading 'not guilty' avoid weekend stay
By Sue Lindsay, Rocky Mountain News (Contact)
Friday, August 29, 2008
[excerpts] Denver County Court changed its process in the middle of hearings Friday morning to accommodate protesters arrested during the Democratic National Convention.
Protesters had come to court intending to postpone their return court dates so they wouldn't have to stay in Denver until next week.
Judges at first remained adamant that they could not divert from a process set up to handle mass arrests during the convention. The process required people who were arrested to come to court Tuesday to get a trial date if they pleaded not guilty.
[excerpts] DENVER, Aug. 28 /Christian Newswire/ -- Police officers use excessive force and brutality in arresting two young women, aged 17 and 15 years old, at the Democratic National Convention in Denver for peacefully demonstrating yards away from where Senator Obama is staying.
Also arrested was the Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition of Washington, DC.
Jayne White, 17, and Julia Giacopuzzi, 15, both from Lake Arrowhead, California, were arrested in front of the Westin Hotel where Senator Barack Obama is staying while at the Democratic National Convention.
The two young women were arrested, without warning, while peacefully writing pro-life messages on the sidewalk in front of the Westin Hotel with sidewalk chalk where Senator Obama is staying.
Rev. Mahoney was arrested and threatened with a felony for leading the event.
After being arrested, the group was later released.
The group had received permission to sidewalk chalk from Denver City Attorney David Fine and Denver Deputy Chief Police John Lamb and had been "sidewalk chalking" for six days prior to the arrests.
Jayne White, age 17, was rushed from behind, physically forced to the ground, had a police officer dig his knee into the back of her neck, pulled her arms and cuffed her behind her back.
Julia Giacopuzzi, age 15, was rushed by a police officer, had her arms twisted behind her back, lifted up off the ground and then cuffed.
Video of the arrests:
The videographer inquires at the police line, "why are we being contained?"
The policeman gestures upward with his automatic weapon as he responds, "you're not, you can leave." *
But the detainees are surrounded by overwhelming force, and there is no escape. A similar question at a different point in the line will elicit a similar response. To any free spirit trapped behind the lines, the tone is mocking, dismissive. To the protesters, journalists, and legal observers, the message is clear: your government's intent to control ideology is every bit as absolute as is its monopoly on force. As minutes pass into hours, the lesson becomes its own form of punishment.
In the streets of Denver, we have witnessed the systematic criminalization of any ideology that is not mainstream. If you dare to exercise free speech in the streets, then your government will make that the battleground between mainstream and "corrupting" ideas.
Political speech may be free when restricted to the realm of thought, but in this society, political speech is not free in the dimension of cost. Your "aberrant" ideology comes with a price which you will pay, personally. Via police phalanxes administering pepper spray and batons, via random, unprovoked arrests and the humiliation of detainees, the police force becomes the instrument of instruction: you are slaves to the system, and if you rebel, your dissidence will be punished.
(with link to video)
ABC News staffer jailed in Denver amid convention
By DAN ELLIOTT – 16 hours ago
[excerpt] DENVER (AP) — An ABC News producer covering the Democratic convention was pushed into traffic by a sheriff's deputy on Wednesday and then arrested, the network said.
Asa Eslocker was arrested on charges of interference, trespass and failure to obey a lawful order.