From “Freedom Cage” to “Gitmo on the Platte”

Well, as all of you are aware, the DNC is right around the corner. Denver is getting ready for the onslaught of delegates and protesters to hit this town. However, while the Delegates are watching the events at the Pepsi Center, protesters will be funneled into a 50,000-square-foot demonstration zone that will have two layers of chain-link fences wrapped around it during the Democratic National Convention. It has been deemed the “freedom cage” by a group planning on protesting during the convention.

The ACLU challenged the protesting restrictions in a recent lawsuit claiming that the security restrictions imposed during the Convention will violate [detainees] rights to freedom of speech and assembly under the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America

In that action, the Plaintiffs identified four facets of the security restrictions that they contend infringe upon their First Amendment rights:

• The location and configuration of the Public Demonstration Zone on the Pepsi Center grounds, being outside “sight and sound” of delegates and the Pepsi Center building itself, renders it an inadequate alternative to offset the closure of some public streets to First Amendment uses;

• The terminus of the approved route for parades scheduled during the Convention, on Monday, August 25, through Wednesday, August 27, is not within “sight and sound” of the Pepsi

• The route for parades scheduled before the Convention begins, on Sunday, August 24, does not travel over Chopper Circle; and

• The City of Denver denied a permit to Plaintiff Recreate 68 for an afternoon parade on Monday, August 25 through downtown Denver, citing traffic and staffing concerns.

Federal District Judge Kreiger upheld the restriction determining that although “the Plaintiffs have shown that the challenged restrictions affect their ability to engage in expressive activities in traditional public fora. However, the Defendants have shown that the restrictions are content-neutral, that they are narrowly tailored to serve important governmental interests, and that there are adequate alternative channels by which the Plaintiffs can communicate their messages. Thus, the Plaintiffs have not shown that their First Amendment rights will be infringed, nor that they are entitled to any injunctive relief. (ACLU v. City of Denver – Read the Order here).

For the protesters who will fall to the arbitrary enforcement procedures of the Denver police force over the week, they can look forward to visiting Denver’s temporary “jail” and holding facility which has been dubbed “Gitmo on the Platte” where detainees can be happy that their confinement will not include razor wire. But, anyone arrested during the Democratic National Convention will be held in locked chain-link cells in an old warehouse. The Denver County Sheriff’s Office unveiled the facility Wednesday, saying it was designed to mimic the functions of a real jail. Hey, at least the facility will have air conditioning. However, there will be 20 people to an 18 by 18 fenced “cell.” (Source)

Comments:

  1. While flipping through radio stations on the way to work this morning, I caught a story on Alice while they were interviewing a Detective from the DPD regarding a shirt that was made by the union that represents most of the officers:

    “A tongue-in-cheek t-shirt poking fun at Democratic National Convention protestors is selling fast and creating some minor controversy along the way. The shirts were created and distributed by the Denver Police Protective Association, the union that represents most of Denver’s 1,400 police officers. The front of the black shirt shows the number “68” with a slash through it. One of the primary protest groups at last month’s DNC in Denver called themselves “Recreate 68,” harkening back to the violent, 1968 political convention in Chicago. The back of the shirt features a menacing-looking police figure, wearing what looks like a Denver police badge and helmet and clutching a baton. He’s looming over the city of Denver along with the slogan, “WE GET UP EARLY, to BEAT the crowds.” Also written across the back of the shirt is “2008 DNC.’
    http://alice1059.com/pages/2631046.php

    Even though the callers that Alice chose to put on the air stated that they have no problem with the shirt, I feel that this is just another example showing the lack of class and ridiculousness that is the DPD.

    To read about laws and rights that DPD may have violated as to their handling and treatment of protestors and innocent bystanders during the DNC, go to: http://rawstory.com/news/2008/Protesters_denied_access_to_attorneys_forced_0828.html

    This article also contains a PDF format of the 10-page letter that the ACLU wrote to the Denver Director of Correction and the City Attorney’s Office, detailing the events and right violations stemming from the mass arrests on August 25, 2008.

    Though I feel that some of it is a bit whiney, Denver had long enough to come up with a better plan. Just because there is a mass influx of people, does not mean that protestors (who yes, some of which wanted to be thrown in to blow the whistle)and innocent bystanders who get thrown into the mix get to have their rights violated.

    Comment by Jenn Spencer on September 25, 2008 at 2:29 pm

  2. […] – bookmarked by 3 members originally found by b3ardman on 2008-11-03 From “Freedom Cage” to “Gitmo on the Platte” […]

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