Archive | February, 2011

Walter Bond sentenced to 5 years for arson

14 Feb
See also:
Support Walter
Walter’s Final Statement to the Court
Defiance in the Face of Adversity

Denver Post article:

An animal-rights activist who burned down the Sheepskin Factory in Glendale unleashed a vitriolic and unapologetic speech in federal court today prior to being sentenced to five years in prison.

Walter Edmund Bond told Judge Christine Arguello that he has no remorse for the fire, which he has said he lit under the banner of the radical Animal Liberation Front, or ALF. The fire destroyed the store, which sells items such as sheepskin seat covers and blankets.

“In a society that honors money over life, I am honored to be a prisoner of war,” Bond said.

As Bond raged in the heavily guarded courtroom — at one point saying he wanted Livaditis to “choke on everything you earned” — a member of Livaditis’ family cried in the audience.

Bond, 34, admitted in November that he set the April 2010 fire and pleaded guilty to two felonies. He was arrested July 22.

Going along with the plea deal, Arguello sentenced Bond to five years in federal prison with three years of supervised release afterward. She also ordered Bond to pay nearly $1.2 million in restitution and said he would face additional prison time if he didn’t keep up with restitution payments.

Bond told Arguello he would not willingly make the payments.

Bond is also facing federal charges in Utah for allegedly lighting two arson fires there as part of his animal-rights campaign.

In handing down the sentence, Arguello noted she had received 50 letters, many from people supporting Bond and arguing that the fire harmed no one.

Bond was convicted in Iowa in 1996 for lighting a pentagram on fire inside a church and convicted again in 1997 in Iowa for setting fire to a building [of a meth producer/dealer].

Bond’s speech today stood in contrast to statements his lawyer made on his behalf last month in a court filing seeking to get Bond a reduced sentence of less than four years. In that filing, attorney Edward Harris wrote that Bond had renounced “burning the businesses of those who offend his principles.”

“Mr. Bond … now believes that the better course of action is to limit his advocacy to speech and writing,” Harris wrote.

That sentiment was not evident during Bond’s speech, as he called affiliating with the ALF, “the proudest and most powerful thing I have ever done.” Bond, who has identified himself at times in online writings as “ALF Lone Wolf,” addressed part of his speech to “my vegan sisters and brothers” and encouraged them to keep up their campaign.

About a dozen of Bond’s supporters sat in the courtroom for the sentencing hearing, and they were joined by numerous uniformed and plain-clothed security officers, as well as a bomb-sniffing dog.

After the hearing, many of the activists, some of whom traveled from across the country to attend, said they supported Bond’s statement. Elizabeth Tobier, who has said she has been corresponding with Bond and who flew from New York to attend, said the Sheepskin Factory sold the hides of “enslaved beings.”

“Personally, I think he was extremely effective,” she said of the arson.

Write Bond letters of prisoner support at:

Walter Bond  # P01051760
PO Box 16700
Golden, CO 80402-6700

Blue-light phones in Boulder used exclusively for prank calls

6 Feb

City officials say they will be removing five emergency phone stations from University Hill because over the past two years the devices have only been used to prank call police.

In 2009 and 2010, police received 351 phone calls from the emergency phones, all of which were false, according to a memo sent today to City Council members from City Manager Jane Brautigam.

“In each case, police responded, diverting them from other responsibilities and actual calls for help,” she wrote in the letter.

The aged “blue light” phones need to be repaired or replaced, and the city has decided against making that investment.

$30K Jewelry heist in Edwards

6 Feb

Eagle County authorities think the same four people who robbed jewelry stores in Vail last year are responsible for a similar heist at Portofino Jewelry in the Riverwalk shopping center in Edwards recently.

Investigators say two couples came in together and then separated. While one couple distracted the store employee, the other couple snatched $30,000 worth of jewelry from a display case.

Never is your voice so lovely as when it harmonizes with history

2 Feb

Some words from a friend in the wake of Saturday’s events…

Excellent! What delightful news! Pity that 16th and 17th St are paned in space-glass, or something.

It brings a particular joy to our troubled lives to hear of the constellations of events taking place in the US and across the world. Keep listening comrades, there is a call that is reverberated. The spirits of Marvin Booker, Paul Childs, Frank Lobato, and Ishmael Mena still yearn for redemption. They incarnate all those who will listen to the song of the vanquished. The Queen City has been terrorized by those miserable blue-clad soldiers of fortune for far too long. Let every avenue shake uncontrollably, and expose the enemy to its paradoxical vocation.

Denver is a city with a long history of struggle—a city deeply entrenched in the story which will not come to end until the whole of life is emancipated from Capital and its police. The shame of so many defeats and betrayals haunts that city, filling the streets of Santa Fe, Colfax, and Broadway with sad ghosts. The movements of the oppressed, alienated, and exploited that have been repressed boil beneath that pathetic structure on the corner of 13th St and Cherokee. The labor of the exploited permeates all those disgusting cartographies of neo-ubranism that make Denver such a desert of smiling faces filled with cocaine. We still hold on to the memories that weakened all potency before Obama shook hands with Hickenlooper, and before DPD got up early to beat the crowds.

Remember how they put down striking workers only a few hours south, and transformed the weakest among them over time into allies in their long march of progress. Remember how they reduced the power of brown and black liberation to cowering politicians and NGOs. Remember how they exposed the anarchists of an earlier age to their sad position and neutralized any intensity within their collective form of life. So many defeats, betrayals, frightened passivity yearning—like every city paved in the dead labor and of the past to be avenged—for redemption.

Denver, Queen City of the Plains, your task is not easy, but it’s so lovely, for one who knows intimately what trauma you’ve suffered, to see you fight. Throw off the weight of those scared little puppies, treat the snitches appropriately and refuse to governed by the activist-politicians. Expose the police to their paranoid nightmare, and reduce the facade that covers your beautiful flesh to ashes. Never is your voice so lovely as when it harmonizes with history.

Love and solidarity from the South.

kisses,
-Liam

We ain’t takin this no mo’: The streets fill with rage against the Denver cops

1 Feb

from Queen City Antifa:

Denver, Colorado. January 29, 2011.
We ain’t takin this no mo’!

The Action

In a third round of street demonstrations against police terror in the Denver metro area in the last six months, hundreds took to the streets of downtown Denver on the night of January 29th. A crowd that started as 150 and at times fluctuated to almost twice that number stormed the 16th Street Mall, a commercial epicenter of downtown Denver in a display of rage that hasn’t been seen in Denver in quite some time.

The actions come on the heels of an endless series of police misconduct incidents, including the killing of a prisoner named Marvin Booker by Denver County Sheriffs at the Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center in July 2010. A laundry list of beatings, rapes, child pornography and drug charges has marked police activity in the metro area. Lawsuit after lawsuit has been filed, with the city of Denver paying out millions of dollars over the last several years.

The crowd gathered at the Denver Skatepark at 19th and Little Raven Streets at 6pm. Because of its proximity to downtown and the locations of several high profile police misconduct cases, the Skatepark has been the launching site of two of the three street actions that have happened since the murder of Marvin.

The crowd assembled for several short speeches, and stormed off into the night, filling the streets. Banners accompanying the crowd included messages such as “Marvin Booker was murdered” and “6 months later, we have not forgotten”. Several more pointed banners also illustrated the anger seething within the crowd. One banner displayed a picture of a Glock pistol with the words “They have left us no other option” printed below the weapon. Another depicted twin unicorns impaling stereotypical renderings of a businessman and a police officer.

As the crowd moved toward downtown, united chants filled the air: “From Denver to Greece, Fuck the Police!”; “Cops, Pigs, Murderers!”; and “Oink, oink, bang, bang, every day the same old thang” were among the crowd’s favorites. Marvin Booker’s name was also chanted excitedly and for long periods of time, to remind the cops and other passerby of one of the many victims at the hands of Denver metro law enforcement agencies.

The march passed over the pedestrian bridge into the 16th Street Mall district, taking both lanes of the street, shutting down all bus traffic on the mall. As with the demonstration on October 22nd, hundreds of stickers of Marvin’s face were placed on storefronts, street poles, and other targets.

Although no permit existed, police worked to direct traffic away from the march, and kept their distance while the march worked its way toward the capitol and the detention center.

After an unexpected turn toward the jail, the march took over Colfax Ave, one of the busiest streets in Denver, blocking all traffic on the street. Several blocks later, and the march was at the steps of the Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center, the new jail where Marvin was murdered by guards just six months ago, and where so many other victims of police terror end up on a daily basis.

The crowd surged toward the doors of the center, covering the large glass entrance with stickers. The whole entrance shook as marchers pounded and kicked on the doors and windows, while the crowd loudly screamed Marvin’s name. A deputy that came out to try to intimidate the crowd found himself momentarily pinned in between the frame and the door he attempted to exit from. After the door being slammed on his arm several times, he retreated back inside the building. The crowd had demonstrated its militancy and willingness to engage the deputies. No other jail guards attempted to confront the crowd.

The march proceeded to 14th Ave, and took a turn back toward downtown. At this point, construction barrels and security fencing from a large event that had taken place earlier in Civic Center Park were pulled into the street behind the marchers. A series of low level barricades were erected.

The march turned yet again, this time onto Broadway, another of the busiest streets in Denver. The march proceeded the wrong way down the one way street, and police frantically tried to clear traffic out of the path of the march.

As the crowd passed through the intersection of Colfax and Broadway, the police cars stationed there became targets for stickers and graffiti. Officers hurried out of their cars to try to arrest demonstrators. Their attempts failed, and the crowd continued back toward the 16th Street Mall.

By the time the crowd reached the mall, the march had been in control of the streets for well over an hour. A sense of power and rage seemed to be emanating from the crowd. The second pass through downtown would not be as peaceful as the first.

Trash cans, benches, chairs, and anything else not bolted down filled the streets behind the marchers. Christmas decorations, pay phones, and displays were destroyed by the crowd. Even more trashcans and chairs were thrown at bank windows, though few, if any of the windows seemed to break.

Anti-cop graffiti filled the walls and windows of businesses as the crowd continued to work its way back up the 16th Street Mall. The crowd wanted to make sure that people would not forget this night. The city and the police would not be able to ignore the anger and rage seething from this march.

Somewhere near Champa and 16th Street, a decision was made to disperse, as riot police were finally mobilizing nearby. With a quick group countdown, the marchers dispersed themselves into the night.

One arrest was confirmed during the dispersal, though the person arrested was later released without charges after the police failed to identify them in any photos they had taken of the acts of property destruction.

The Actors

Much has been already noted about the mood of those in attendance, and the actions they took. But what of those that took the streets?

Much like the crowds that assembled in October, the participants in the march were mostly youth. Many were homeless and poor street kids who are frequently targeted by police downtown. Anarchists and other radicals were much better represented in this march than the previous October action. However, many familiar faces from the various scenes that make up the Denver anarchist movement were yet again missing. More mainstream activists and progressives were also in attendance, but yet again, constituted a very small minority. Probably the biggest difference from October was that local graf crews and hiphop heads were well represented at this march.

Overall, the crowd was widely diverse, but was overwhelmingly comprised of poor or working class youth. Just as in October, this factor was one of the largest reasons that the march was as militant as it was.

Finale

In the several days that have passed since the march, very little media coverage has been aired of the events of January 29. Two small snippets appeared on the local ABC and FOX affiliate news channels. A photo-montage of the police response that took place at the end of the march appeared in the local entertainment weekly, the Westword. But these few examples represent all of the local mainstream coverage of the event. Several photo essays and videos have been released from participants or independent and movement journalists. These reports, as has become typical, are the best representations of the events of the night.

Even as the media and the police try to black out the events that transpired, the news has reached thousands of residents in Denver already. Of course, the visible reminders of the march still litter parts of downtown days later, spurring conversations and storytelling about the nighttime melee.

The Next Act

The future looks promising for a movement that is both anti-cop and anti-authoritarian to continue to strengthen in the Denver area. With each successive action organized by radicals in response to the growing police terror in our communities there has been an escalation of tactics. The participation level has also increased, but not merely in the area of numbers, but in the amount of participation a single person puts into each action. Instead of a march with just several people controlling all the messaging, and the tactical decisions, the vast majority of the crowd became an active part in shaping the demonstration. Whether through tagging, erecting barricades, confronting cops, constructing banners, or controlling the chants, the march participants nearly all left behind the role of spectator by engaging the in the actions of the night.

The reign of police terror does not seem poised to cease any time soon, and neither does the anger rising from our communities. As one march participant pointed out our mission is to “create crisis and break the peace.” The actions of January 29th definitely succeeded.

The police may still attempt to take actions against the participants, but as of yet we know of no charges having been filed against anyone involved in the march. This lack of immediate repression has also done much to embolden the participants of the march.

The next few months could be tumultuous indeed for the city of Denver. Even if elected officials fire a few of the officers involved with the endless list of misconduct cases, it doesn’t appear that the thirst for vengeance will be quenched.

People in Denver are starting to realize that they can become powerful. That can only spell trouble for the people that attempt to steal that power.

There are certainly challenges that face this movement. Questions of tactical efficacy need to be posed, especially as several march participants were almost hurt by others within the march wildly throwing objects. The general tactical decisions of the group seemed sound, but the relative inexperience of the participants could have injured fellow comrades.

Could the crowd have defended itself if directly attacked by the police? In case of mass arrest, were networks strong enough to deal with dozens of arrests, bail scenarios, and courtdates? How easily can various elements of the participants be turned against each other? Does solidarity only exist between social groupings during these marches, or is solidarity an everyday experience?

Education and training will certainly be needed, as well as much more practice in the streets. Most of these questions can only be answered if the needs themselves arise. Others, however, need to start to be answered now, before the situations they reference become reality.

January 29th was just the latest chapter!

The rest of the story is unwritten!

In solidarity and rage!
Queen City Antifa
January 31, 2011

Videos available here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PslrrbLMDQY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODGnv7kjp14

More from 1/29 anti-police march

1 Feb

More video from the anti-police march on Saturday in Denver, where about 150 to 300 people took the streets, threw some barricades and trash cans to block cop cars, painted anti-police slogans on 16th St Mall storefronts, and stickered the doors of the new Denver jail.

Also see this photo-essay at the Westword blog.

Naked Springs woman harasses pastor and attacks cop

1 Feb

A 34-year-old woman was Tased and arrested Saturday afternoon after she allegedly harassed a church pastor, took off her clothes and attacked a police officer.

According to the Colorado Springs police, Megan Cawiezell apparently went to the Evangelical Christian Academy and was pounding on the car of a man who identified himself as the pastor at the church. The report said she tried to take his cell phone, then took off all her clothes and began hitting other cars in the parking lot.

When police arrived Cawiezell had left and was later found coming out of a house nearby. She approached a police officer and started hitting him in the chest. That’s when he hit her with his Taser and arrested her.