Archive | October, 2010

Boulder cop gets beat down

26 Oct

Two men who bragged they knew the person who beat up a Boulder officer after slashing the tires of two police vehicles Saturday night are wanted for questioning in the matter, the city said today.

The men were in a Boulder restaurant, which was not named, and its management on Monday gave investigators security video and still photographs of the pair, neither of whom match the description of the assailant.

Sgt. Jim Byfield received a concussion, a broken elbow and a broken clavicle in the struggle about 9:40 p.m. near 11th and College streets.

“The two men were at the establishment in the early morning hours after the attack and bragged that they knew someone who had just beaten up an officer,” police stated.

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Denver anti-police demo trashes cop car

26 Oct

Cop carIn communities across North America October 22nd has become a day to commemorate victims of police repression and violence. For many communities, October 22, 2010 took on a more urgent meaning in the wake of severe police repression and violence that has plagued cities large and small. In Denver, this year’s October 22nd event saw a rise in hostility towards the cops and an increased militancy from years’ past.

Throughout 2010, police in the metro area have repeatedly made headlines with horrific acts of violence directed at community members. Ranging from allegations of sexual assault, rapes of children, murders, and beatings, news stories have painted a picture of a department that is clearly running amok and waging war on the residents of Colorado. Offending officers are rarely held accountable and department leadership deftly sweeps incidents under the rug to stave off an increasingly angry public.

One of the most violent and high profile incidents occurred in July. Denver Sheriff’s Deputies serving as guards at the new Denver Justice Center murdered 56 year old Marvin Booker, a homeless preacher being held as a prisoner at the jail. Marvin had asked for access to his shoes before he would comply with orders to return to his cell. In response, five deputies tackled him, placed him in repeated choke and pain compliance holds, tasered him, and beat him. Marvin died shortly after the attack. While the local coroner deemed the death a homicide, the DA announced in late September that no charges would be filed against any of the officers involved.

In response, an ad hoc coalition called for a demonstration in the city in observation of O22. A cluster of diverse participants, most hearing of the march through fliers and handbills diffused around town, began to amass in Confluence Park. Folks were given access to candles, stickers with Marvin Booker’s face, and a bilingual handout to give to passerby on the route of the march. A banner was unfurled, “When police attack, we will fight back” and quickly the group, numbering at about eighty, took the street and marched towards the 16th street mall, the commercial center of downtown Denver.

The makeup of the crowd is a particularly important and revealing factor in how this march went down. Few members of the local “left” were present. About two dozen Denver based anarchists, most of whom were involved in organizing the demonstration were on hand along with several members of RAIM and Comite Defensa Del Pueblo. Otherwise, the crowd was nearly entirely made up of street youth and other homeless people. The participation of liberals, non-profit organizers, radical collective house dwellers, and even other militant revolutionaries and most of Denver’s anarchists was visibly lacking from the event. The march was almost entirely comprised of people that have direct experience with the police on a daily basis, who were motivated more by hatred at their direct social conditions than any reading of political theory.

Because of this, the mood of the march was pretty clear at the onset. Chants of “No justice, no peace, fuck the police” and “Cops, Pigs, Murderers” were loud and spirited. Previous debates that have plagued local activist circles for the last several months, about violence and nonviolence, about whether every cop is our enemy or not, were non-existent. The crowd was united by rage and a militancy that is all too rare in political actions in Denver or elsewhere.

Masked demonstrators dashed to passerby handing out fliers and slapping the stickers of Marvin on every imaginable surface, including shop windows, higher-priced cars, buses, and posts. The crowd gained more participants from the street, screaming Marvin’s name and jeering at the cops beginning to follow.

Halfway along the route, a parked police car was redecorated by the demonstrators. Stickers of Marvin were put on the windows, tires were slashed, people took keys to the paint and various projectiles were thrown at it. This was all done directly in front of an unmarked police car coming to respond to the march, a real indicator of how fearless and angry the crowd was.

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