May 01, 2008

Denver Headed For A "Very Disastrous And Catastrophic Situation" At DNC Warns ACLU

"We think there is a strong possibility that Denver is headed for a very disastrous and catastrophic situation"--Mark Silverstein, director of the Colorado American Civil Liberties Union

More preemptive hysteria from the moonbats and their enablers at the Democratic National Convention--a "disastrous and catastrophic situation" if police arrest protestors in August:
Civil-rights activists say a Denver police policy could result in mass arrests and a clogged jail during the 2008 Democratic National Convention, and they have filed a claim seeking monetary damages over its use last Columbus Day parade.

"We think there is a strong possibility that Denver is headed for a very disastrous and catastrophic situation," said Mark Silverstein, who directs the Colorado American Civil Liberties Union.

The policy regards police handling of misdemeanor offenses committed by protesters.

Previous police/protestor encounters at the annual Columbus Day Parade/Columbuspalooza prompted the change in policy:
Until last year, Denver's policy for minor offenses was to give the accused a summons to appear in court. But before October's Columbus Day parade, the police changed the policy to arrest and detain protesters, even for minor offenses. More than 80 protesters were arrested for trying to block the parade route, leading to the ACLU complaint early last month. The claim marks the precursor to a formal lawsuit, although Silverstein said the intent of the filing is to "nudge" the city into rethinking the policy change.

Silverstein says he first learned of the change during a meeting with city officials in July. During that meeting, he says, he brought up the example of New York City's much-criticized — and litigated — policy of arresting and holding protesters during the 2004 Republican convention. More than 1,800 were arrested, and many were held longer than 24 hours, though charges were largely dropped later.

According to notes that Silverstein kept of the meeting, Denver Deputy Police Chief Michael Battista said that for arrests made during protests, Denver "doesn't cite and release."

Battista said the change followed the mass citations in 2004 during the city's Columbus Day parade, in which 230 people were given a summons after they linked arms and stopped the parade. Protesters claimed the event celebrated the genocide of American Indians.

The 230 were cleared, and Battista said a review of the matter found that had they been taken in for a formal booking and bonding out, the city's case against them in court would have been stronger.
And yes, protestors are concerned about the "chilling effect" of the policy due to the charges stemming from the Columbus Day protest--including suspended sentences that will trigger automatic jail time if they are re-arrested at the DNC:
Instead of issuing a summons to the 83 charged with blocking the parade route, the protesters were taken to jail. At least 40 of them were held several hours before they were allowed to post bond, and then they were held several more hours before being released. The claim was made on their behalf.

Paul Bame said he was arrested about 10:30 a.m. on the day of the Columbus Day parade, kept in a cell and not allowed to post bond until midnight. He wasn't released until 3:30 a.m. the next day.

"Some of the marshals in the jail were harassing us, saying, 'Well, you feel pretty smart about what you did now, huh?' That kind of thing," Bame said. "They were communicating to us: 'You've been punished.' "

Bame, who faces three minor charges, worries there will be a chilling effect on his ability to protest during the Democratic convention since some of his peers have received year-long suspended sentences for their Columbus Day activities.

"You can pretty much count on going to jail if there is another instance," Bame said.
Poor, poor thing.

It's hard out there for a moonbat.

Post poll on protests and violence at the DNC--at least 53% believe that there will be major protests and worse:

**Update--more changing headlines:

Original story headline

Updated headline

A little Post "editing."

Drunkablog offers his usual humorous take on the protestors' situation and the ACLU's veiled threats.

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