Legal Funds Call Out for Stop the Empire March

October 1, 2012 in Legal

A vital component of the preservation and success of social movements is prisoner support, as the state uses isolation and the violence of the prison system as a means of breaking the spirit of social movements and undermining their ability to affect fundamental change. It is for this reason that Occupy Denver would like to stress the urgent need for legal funds for the October 3rd Stop the Empire march in the vicinity of the first presidential debate at the University of Denver.

The purpose of this event is to demonstrate our dissatisfaction with the two-party system and their perpetuation of imperialistic wars and unjust domestic policies. This event is expected to be heavily policed at both the local and federal levels, with a Denver Police presence, and presence of various federal agencies, such as the Department of Homeland Security. The march has the potential to yield arrests, and past experience has shown that these arrests can be arbitrary, violent, and retaliatory for those who engage in their right to freedom of expression.

Arrests are expected, as is the potential for rather high bonds.

Please visit www.occupydenver.org/donate to donate. Whether you use Wepay or Paypal to donate, as you go through the donation process, you will be given the opportunity to specify what your donation is for. Please specify that your donation is for LEGAL.

Thanks for your support.
- Occupy Denver

Aug. 21: Anaheim Solidarity Recap & March Against Police Terror

August 8, 2012 in Legal, Media

 

(photo courtesy of Thomas Melchor)

On Sunday July 29, Occupy Denver marched to support the citizens of Anaheim, CA in their ongoing resistance against their city’s violent and racist police force.  This action brought attention to recent police atrocities in Anaheim, and served as a reminder that Denver’s own police department is essentially a taxpayer-funded street gang with a detailed history of murders, racist beatings, and political repression.  (See the links at the bottom for documented cases of Denver Police atrocities.)

Here is my personal account of my participation in the march and my false arrest by DPD:

I arrived at the march as it staged outside the skate park.  I had my bicycle with me, and rode my bicycle throughout the march, mostly because biking requires less energy than walking.  The march took the streets and went under the underpass by the Rockies stadium as we made our way downtown.  We unfurled our banner reading “Stop Police Oppression– Solidarity with Anaheim” and chanted phrases such as “Justice for Anaheim”,  “We want equality, stop police brutality” and “How do you spell injustice? DPD!”.  At least four DPD vehicles began following us at this point, and they blared their sirens in an unsuccessful attempt to keep the game day crowd from hearing our message.  The leading DPD vehicle was an SUV driven by one William J Andrejasich Jr, a Sergeant in DPD’s Special Events division.

We made our way to the downtown area of Denver, and Sergeant Andrejasich and his colleagues repeatedly attempted to use their voices and vehicles to discourage the march from keeping its message in the street.  DPD prefers to see political expression confined to the narrow sidewalk where it cannot affect business as usual.  This march had other ideas.  I myself chose to remain on my bicycle in the street, as riding my bicycle on the sidewalk would be a violation of traffic laws and DPD will use any excuse to harass and arrest known Occupy activists.

The march continued down the 16th street mall as we continued to agitate and inform the public about the police murders and subsequent attacks on residents in Anaheim.  Our police escort continued to ride very close to us until we arrived at Civic Center Park.  After the police caravan departed, we decided to resume marching.  We made our way through Lincoln Park and began marching past the Capitol on Colfax Ave.

As the march approached the intersection of Colfax and Pennsylvania, several DPD vehicles pulled into the middle of the street and officers stepped out of the vehicles.  Sensing that DPD was looking for a fight, the march diverted onto the sidewalk.  At this point, three officers charged our “Stop Police Oppression” banner, one of them striking it so as to break the wooden support pole holding it together.  After breaking the banner (which appeared to be the primary target), the officers proceeded to grab and arrest the protester who had been using the megaphone to decry police violence throughout the march.  They led him away into a car, and Sergeant Andrejasich barked at us that “if you go in the street again, we will arrest you.”  This threat seemed absurd given that whenever we march, DPD’s vehicles that follow us essentially shut down traffic anyway.   Sergeant Andrejasich was clearly hoping that by threatening arrest and possible violence, he could frighten our solidarity march into giving up and going home.   He should know by now that Occupy Denver doesn’t play like that.  Having seen DPD use violence or the threat of violence countless times to attempt to silence dissent, I figured someone should resolve Sergeant Andrejasich’s confusion about the relationship between his department and our subversive assembly.  Using the megaphone dropped during the recent arrest, I told him that “Occupy Denver does not negotiate with terrorists, and the Denver Police Department is a terrorist organization.”   Upon hearing this, Sergeant Andrejasich instantly went red in the face and grabbed my wrist, at which point he and another officer pulled me into the street, and while holding my wrists attempted to twist my arms into a painful position (I have a sprained wrist and was wearing a splint).  I was handcuffed, and when I asked Sergeant Andrejasich why I was being arrested, he replied “for obstructing the street.”  I told him that I was legally on my bicycle for the entire march route and he said nothing in reply to this.  He then handed me off to two other officers who placed me in a car and took me to DPD’s offices in the Downtown Denver Detention Center.  Interestingly,  Sergeant Andrejasich is not listed as my arresting officer, and none of my arrest paperwork contains any of his information.  We only know it was him due to his past interactions with our group.  Before I was processed into the jail, I sat in a DPD District 6 cell while I listened to three officers outside the cell flip through the book deciding what to charge me with, highlighting the fact that this was a false, politically-motivated arrest.  Upon being booked into the jail, I was informed that the megaphone I used had been confiscated by the police, presumably as “evidence” of my obstructing the street.

Two more arbitrary arrests of protesters were made after my own; during one of these arrests a ten-year-old child was forcefully knocked to the ground by one of the arresting officers.  The march continued well after my arrest, culminating in a heated standoff between the remaining protesters and a heavily armed line of officers outside DPD’s District 6 headquarters as the march chanted “free our friends” and continued to hurl passionate criticism at Denver’s corrupt, racist, and violent police force.

After the march subsided, a group of occupiers gathered outside the jail awaiting the release of myself and my arrested comrades.   Sergeant Andrejasich again approached this group, and told them that they were creating a disturbance (even though they were being quiet) and that as a warning had already been issued to the group, he could arrest any of them at any time with no further warning.   Sergeant Andrejasich seems to believe that he can operate with impunity, arresting activists simply because they irritate him or offend his political views even when no laws are broken.

Sergeant Andrejasich’s comic arrogance represents DPD’s belief that they have the sole power to decide who is breaking the law and have the right to choose when to selectively enforce these laws.  Everybody knows that jaywalking is common practice in Denver; one can jaywalk in front of a police officer without any fear of reprisal.   However, when one is walking in the street as part of a radical political march, DPD suddenly decides these laws are worth enforcing with great zeal and armed force.  Occupy Denver rejects the Denver Police Department’s twisted, politically selective interpretation of municipal codes, and we reject their claim that they protect and serve the citizens of this city.  Their long record of murders, racist beatings, and politically-motivated violence makes their moral depravity obvious to anyone who is paying attention.  We call on the City of Denver to condemn this corrupt and criminal police department, and to take their destinies and the safety of their communities into their own hands.

Our Anaheim Solidarity march was just one small part of the struggle against police oppression in Denver.  There is a long history of resistance against police oppression in Denver, and this resistance is ongoing.  We encourage everybody to attend the upcoming March Against Police Terror, which meets on August 21st at 6 PM in La Alma Park (13th & Mariposa).  More information on this important community event can be found here: 

Here is a short list of news stories related to Denver Police atrocities outside of their attacks on Occupy
Denver:

Recent murder by DPD 

DPD murdered an innocent man last summer, the murdering officers faced no consequences 

In 2009, DPD officers beat a man within an inch of his life while yelling racial slurs at him

DPD recently reinstated, with back pay, two officers involved in the infamous Denver Diner beating

In 2011, the City of Denver had to pay $1.34 million to resolve police brutality lawsuits

In 2010, Denver Sheriffs tased a man to death in the Denver jail simply because he would not take off
his shoes. All officers involved were cleared of wrongdoing.

In 2006, a 24-year-old woman in the Denver jail bled to death as officers ignored her pleas for medical
attention.

Solidarity with Anaheim!
Down with killer cops everywhere!

Free Caryn Sodaro – An Occupy Prisoner of Conscience

July 18, 2012 in Event, Legal

Join us as we help one of Occupy Denver’s original and highly visible members. Caryn was part of the original security team for the 24/7 occupiers, marshaled at early marches and always stood up for her first amendment rights. For these reasons, she has been targeted by the Denver Police Department and has been in jail since early March. She is currently being abused both psychologically and physically while in jail. Most of Caryn’s charges have been dropped and her bond has been reduced to $10,000. Caryn does not deserve to be treated this way, especially as she always courageously spoke up and would stand up for the rights of the most vulnerable members of our community.

Why we care

Caryn was targeted during a spring crackdown of the Occupy Movement here in Denver. In the late winter of 2012, the Denver Police Department began a targeted crackdown against longstanding occupiers. Although the physical structures of the security booth and the Thunderdome went down in the fall of 2011, the Denver Police Department arrested 24/7 occupiers who had manned these spaces or carried out similar tasks over the winter. Highly visible occupiers who led marches were likewise targeted by late spring of 2012. Most arrests occurred after actions were over and protestors had dispersed. This snatch-and-grab tactic averts media attention and accountability. The result is a pattern seen during crackdowns around the world – trumped up charges, an increase in political prisoners and an epidemic of police abuse.

How you can help

Denver! Come to our Movie night fundraiser, which will be a double-feature of the movies COINTELPRO and Inside Job. There will be refreshments! and a chance to meet other members of your community.

When: Friday, July 20th at 6:30pm
Where: 27 Social Center. 2727 W 27th Avenue
Donate: $5 suggested donation
RSVP on Facebook

Everywhere! You can make an online donation via paypal or wepay. No donation is too small, or too big!

You can also share this page with friends, or follow the hashtag #FreeCaryn for updates on Twitter @OWSDenverLegal.
Or keep up with Caryn’s and other occupiers’ court cases by visiting our Courtwatch Calendar on OD Legal Committee’s home page.

Caryn will not go to jury trial before October 31st, and her trial date will most likely be pushed into November or later. Help us get her out of jail!
FREE MAMA

Movies:

COINTELPRO
It may not be a well-understood acronym but its meaning and continuing impact are absolutely central to understanding the government’s wars and repression against progressive movements. COINTELPRO 101 is a 56-minute educational film that will open the door to understanding this history. This documentary will introduce viewers new to this history to the basics and direct them to other resources where they can learn more. The intended audiences are the generations that did not experience the social justice movements of the sixties and seventies.

Inside Job
Producer/director Charles Ferguson (No End in Sight) speaks at length with journalists, politicians, and financial insiders in order to offer a clearer picture of the economic meltdown that hit America starting in 2008. Academy Award winner Matt Damon narrates this unflinching look at the deep-rooted corruption that has left millions of middle-class Americans jobless and homeless as the major corporations get bailed out while paying millions in bonuses.

LAST-MINUTE ONLINE FUNDRAISER FOR BRUTALIZED POLITICAL PRISONER

May 29, 2012 in Event, Legal

Homeless Occupy Denver Protester Brutally Beaten by Police or Sheriffs

On March 24th 2012, the evening after the Occupy Denver March Against Police Brutality, Josh Pearson holds up the arm injured in his first brutal arrest.

Josh Pearson, a homeless Occupy Denver protester, suffered multiple injuries inflicted by either the Denver Police Department or the Denver Sheriff’s Department during or after his arrest on the 17th of May. The abuse has been severe enough to require surgery, stitches and three days of hospitalization while in custody. This is the second time Josh has been injured by Denver law enforcement in the past three months alone.

Josh holds up a wounded hand for a photographer during a welfare visit on May 18th, 2012. He was transferred to the hospital the following day.

Josh and other homeless occupiers have been victims of highly disproportionate rates of police misconduct. Since Occupy Denver began, those of the most limited means within our occupation have suffered the most police violence, civil rights violations and incarceration rates. Occupy Denver has documented the Denver Police Department targeting the currently homeless and poor who politically dissent against the status quo.

Josh holds up one of his wounds for a photographer during a welfare visit on May 24th, 2012.

This pattern can be seen within the context of the unaccountable and violent misconduct that the Denver law enforcement routinely wage within more vulnerable populations across Denver, including the homeless, the low-income, minority communities and youth. The most shocking cases in the recent past were Marvin Booker, a homeless preacher who was murdered by Denver Sheriffs inside the Denver jail for attempting to retrieve his shoes, and Alexander Landau, whose police beating was so severe after an illegal left turn that it left him with brain damage and trauma.

Josh Pearson is currently incarcerated in the Denver Detention Center, despite needing urgent medical attention and support. As you may know, the Denver Detention Center is not conducive to a healthy psychological or physical state if you are a political target of law enforcement. Josh needs to have his injuries treated more thoroughly and needs to meet with his lawyer as soon as possible. Unfortunately, he is being held on a $1,000 bond. Someone has committed to pay $450, which means that we need another $550 to get him out.

Occupy Denver is requesting online donations for Josh Pearson’s bail. Your support and contribution is greatly appreciated. You can donate online at www.occupydenver.org/donate . Be sure to SPECIFY that your donation is for POLICE ABUSE. On both the We Pay and Paypal donation processes, you will see a text box where you can type what your donation is for at some point during the process. Stay tuned for a possible additional in-person fundraiser later this week. Thanks for your support.

Legal Fundraiser on Friday, April 20th at the Denver Art Society

April 17, 2012 in Legal

Content on this page is provided by the Occupy Denver Legal Committee.
It may not reflect the approval of the General Assembly, unless otherwise noted.

Occupy Denver’s Legal Committee is hosting a fundraising event on Friday, April 20th from 6:00pm – 10:00pm at the Denver Art Society. It is located at 734 Santa Fe Drive, Denver, CO 80204. There is a suggested donation of $5 and music, food, drinks and entertainment will be provided.

You may also want to learn: How to Visit, Write, and Support our Jailed Occupy Friends

The flyer for this event is shown below, and you can also RSVP on Facebook.

How to Visit, Write, and Support our Jailed Occupy Friends

March 26, 2012 in Legal

By J.T. Colfax, March 30, 2012

VISITING

Below you will find all the specifics on supporting jailed comrades at least as it concerns them being in the Van Cise jail. At the time of this writing the COUNTY JAIL has not really entered into the picture (yet). The absolute main thing to learn, know, and spread to others about the process is that it is EASY. The Van Cise building is only a few blocks walk from Civic Center Park, The Capitol, The Library, etc. You walk in the building, and 20 feet in front of you are a few deputies behind glass. The line to talk to them forms to the left. You do not need the inmate’s booking number, charges, or to be related.

They want TWO THINGS from you:

  1. A valid ID (can be a passport)
  2. The name of the inmate you wish to visit.

You should also know that many of the Occupy inmates have been visited by people they are not very familiar with, and they very much appreciate it. For instance, I visited an inmate who I had only spoken with a few times, and I witnessed a fellow Occupier introduce himself to an inmate he had never met at all. The visits occur right there in the waiting room via Video Phone. You can actually see the inmates leave their cells as their door is buzzed open, and walk over to the corresponding video phone in their pod. Since this is the method of visit, a visitor is not searched, and if you are carrying cameras or a bag full of belongings it makes no difference. You have 25 minutes to chat with the inmate. I have heard visitors telling the jailed Occupiers jokes to pass the time. Some inmates are in isolated conditions and a visit can mean the only time they have been out of their cell all day. Like anything involving technology there can be glitches. It’s possible some of the video phones in the pods are not working well, and in this case you have to wait for other inmates to finish visits. I was lucky to breeze right through, and was sent to a video phone right after they ran my info, but the deputies are able to give you a general time frame if a wait is to be encountered. It’s certainly BEST to bring something to write with and on, in case they wish you to contact someone or send a general Facebook message to the community.

VAN CISE DOWNTOWN DETENTION CENTER
490 West Colfax Avenue between Elati and Delaware
(Across the courtyard from the Lindsey-Flanigan Court House.)

WALK-IN VISIT TIMES (for inmates within the first 10 days of booking):
7:00am – 9:00am, 12:00pm – 2:00pm, and 6:00pm – 8:00pm

You can’t walk in and get a visit when it’s say, 7:50 pm even though that is technically in the time covered. You must arrive at the very least 25 minutes before the close of your intended visit time. Only one person can visit at a time, unless it’s a group of family members. A friend can wait only a few feet away in the lobby. Bathrooms are available.

BE AWARE AT ALL TIMES that everything is recorded, so do not ask any specifics. Do not talk about the event that led to their arrest.
Often times you will see in social media, calls to support inmates at court appearances and this same address will get you there! If you want to learn if the inmate is still there call the Sheriff’s number at 720-913-3600.

APPOINTMENT VISIT TIMES (beyond 10 days):
7:00 A.M., 8:00 A.M., 9:00 A.M., 6:00 P.M., 7:00 P.M., 8:00 P.M.

  1. Pick up a visit form at the jail and drop off in person
  2. Call 720-913-3791
  3. Online visit request form

A WORD ABOUT PUTTING MONEY ON THE BOOKS

Putting money on books (aka commissary) is money that inmates can use to buy extra food, stamps, paper and personal hygiene items. There are three ways to do this.

  1. You can add money by a machine located in the jail itself on the back left wall of the visiting room, which is at the very entrance to the jail. Simply follows the instructions. Punch in the inmates name and go from there. You are able to use credit/debit cards or even put in cash. You don’t even have to talk to anyone to walk in, do this, and leave.
  2. Online at https://www.accesscorrections.com/. You will need to create an account.
  3. You can also send the inmate a money order/cashier’s check. Do not send cash in the mail. Note that sending a money order though the mail takes longer and may be subject to additional delays.

ABOUT WRITING GOOD OLD FASHIONED LETTERS TO INMATES

Unlike with VISITING: for this you DO NEED the inmates CD number.
For CD’s numbers see names below, or call 720-913-3600 for anyone not listed.

Personally, as someone who has done over 3.5 years of time, I can’t stress how much I enjoyed LETTERS, even compared to visits. Letter Distribution time causes a certain Pavlovian salivating and hope which is often met with disappointment. I will give the address and other rules and info about all these subjects just below, but be very aware that the address is not the same of the Van Cise building’s Colfax Ave, address.

Obviously pure simple common sense is needed as far as what to say and send, and what not to say and send. Do NOT expect an answer, as they may not have the money to buy stamps. The best thing you could do would be to put in ENCLOSURES, and this is where pure common sense comes in. Do not send anything of a sexy nature. As I write this, I have a pile of Westwords and Onions I am going to clip up to send to the various detainees now. I will not be sending Dan Savage’s column for instance, no matter how funny it might be. Why risk nothing getting through because I would send that?

On the flip side, be aware that they have no reading materials, but in most cases they do have access to huge flat screen TV’s (which you can see from the video phones hung high on the walls in the pods), so it would not be of much use to send news clips about what might be the THING in the WORLD right now…say a huge celebrity death, earthquake etc, because they would likely be aware of that. It’s also not necessarily wise to send them Occupy Articles.

Do not send photographs, as in glossy developed pics. Many jails have an issue with this for various reasons…too many photos, photos being saturated with substances etc. This does not apply to a photo as part of a news clipping.

As for WHAT TO SAY personally, common sense being the key, there is nothing wrong with telling them some type of story which sounds so dull especially if you don’t know them well. For instance, if you went to see a movie last night, they will gladly read your babble about how that went, and the idiot on the cell phone in front of you etc,, the stuff of life.

The above concludes all the info I have on the subject, and it is hoped this info stays current if needed for a good long time. HOWEVER: in late March when this post is being made here are some cd numbers you can use to write letters to inmates right now. With any luck, this particular info will be out of date soon. Fit these names and CD numbers into the mailing template below and send them something to amuse them:

MAILINGS to VAN CISE and Denver County Jail:
Here is how your addressed envelope should look:
Inmates Name. CD number
PO BOX 1108
Denver Co, 80201

Caryn Sodaro – CD 0000768747
Daniel Newman – CD 0000770988
James Stacey – CD 0000735309 (please note for commissary you might need to use “Stacy” as they booked him with the incorrect spelling previously)

Kenneth White – CD 0000774150
Taylor Gordon – CD 0000769816

Amelia Nicol, CD 0000762401
Denver County Jail
P.O. Box 1108
Denver, CO 80201

MAILINGS TO Jefferson County Jail
Callie Sue Bohlen
PO Box 16700
Golden, CO 80402-6700

Callie can be visited every day between 9-10:30am, and between 1-4:00pm and 7-8:30pm. There appears to be a weekly visitation limit. Call 303-271-5444 to visit. She has no upcoming court dates and is not bondable. Projected release date is April 29, but this is subject to change.


Legal information is constantly changing. Please email any updated information to legal@occupydenver.org.