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Baton-Bashed In Denver! Is This Really What Democracy Looks Like?!


by Linda Milazzo

IS THIS REALLY WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE?!

There are characteristics essential to being a member of the peace and social justice organization, CODEPINK. Chief among them is compassion. One can hardly dedicate one's life to improving the lives of others if there isn't an abiding drive to help those in need. Thus, it was no surprise to those who know her when 24 year old CODEPINK member, Alicia Forrest, in search of the truth, used her camera to document the arrest of a young man swarmed and overpowered by Denver sheriffs during a demonstration in Denver.

The sheriffs were NOT appreciative of Alicia's attempt to photograph the incident. Thus, in an over-the-top (some might even say unprofessional response), to Alicia's citizen journalism, the Denver sheriff (shown in the video), apparently bashed the diminutive young woman with his baton, knocked her to the ground, and left her sprawled across the pavement in pain.

After being helped to her feet by witnesses who were shocked at the officer's seemingly unprovoked aggression, Alicia was approached by on-site media who asked what precipitated the altercation with the sheriff. When Alicia began to recount her story, the sheriff, in still another questionable act, grabbed her, collared her gruffly, whisked her off the premises, and arrested her.

As I report this, young Alicia Forrest has just been released from jail where she has spent the greater part of the day. Her charge was "Interference." Her bail was in excess of five hundred dollars.

As Alicia explained to me this evening, the sheriff actually hit her TWICE with the baton - the first time off camera - the second time on. I personally witnessed the abrasions on Alicia's wrists from the tightly fastened plastic restraints. To the credit of the Denver Sheriff's Department, this incident is currently under investigation by their Internal Affairs Division.

So judge for yourselves!! You've seen the video evidence. IS THIS REALLY WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE?!

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We have got to stop expressing surprise at what is going on. We are in the present, a present we reached through decades of U.S. imperialism abroad and increasing concentration of corporate, anti-people power at home. Of course they batoned this young woman to the ground. Of course the police provoked, attacked and arrested 17 youth in the park in Spokane on July 4, 2007. Of course people have been tasered and gassed and beaten all over the country. There is a war going on. Get it. There is a war going on. The war in Iraq and the war at home. The government goes to war abroad and people of conscience mobilize against it. It is like a law of nature. And what does a government at war do? Same as it ever has...it spies on its citizens, it arrests people, it cracks heads, it acts like a fascist state. This IS what our fascist "democracy" looks like. Call it what it is, god damn it.

I've talked with her, I've walked the halls of Congress and the streets of DC with her, and I've even shared a fast with her. She's a sweet little girl whose only weapon is charm. When I watched this video, it was like I felt the blows myself. Be well, Alicia, and my thanks to the people who are supporting her.

I sent off my email to Rosenthal a few minutes ago. It wasn't much, but it beats stewing in impotence. I can't conjure up a legal defense fund nor can I summon battalions of lawyers. I do intend to find out if there is anything else I can do beyond moral support. This got personal.

I just got off the phone with some lady at his office.
She informed me that they need to receive complaints in writing to take action.
This seems like complete stone walling to me.
However, I will be subbmitting my complaint in writing very soon via fax.
The police officer invoved in this brutal attack should be removed from the public service.
Please take the time to send them complaints in writing over this.

Here's what you can do to complain about this abuse of police authority, and help protect others in Denver asserting their First Amendment rights:

Contact Richard Rosenthal, Independent Monitor, who has the responsibility to monitor police behavior in Denver and express your outrage at this apparent abuse of police authority.

Richard.Rosenthal@denvergov.org
1201 Denver, CO 80202. PHONE: (720) 913-3306. FAX: (720) 913-3305

The mission of the Independent Monitor is: The mission of the OIM is to provide fair and objective oversight of the Denver Police and Sheriff Departments and ensure transparency and accountability. The OIM is responsible for (1) monitoring and participating in investigations of sworn police and sheriff personnel; (2) making recommendations to the Manager of Safety, Chief of Police and Undersheriff/Director of Corrections regarding case findings and discipline; and (3) making broader policy recommendations.

Suggest to Mr. Rosenthal that the officer involved committed, at a minimum, "official oppression" a class 2 misdemeanor under Colorado law:

18-8-403. Official oppression.

(1) A public servant, while acting or purporting to act in an official capacity or taking advantage of such actual or purported capacity, commits official oppression if, with actual knowledge that his conduct is illegal, he:

(a) Subjects another to arrest, detention, search, seizure, mistreatment, dispossession, assessment, or lien; or

It might also be:

18-8-404. First degree official misconduct.

Could be:

18-9-111. Harassment - stalking.

"(1) A person commits harassment if, with intent to harass, annoy, or alarm another person, he or she:

(a) Strikes, shoves, kicks, or otherwise touches a person or subjects him to physical contact; or..."

And then, there's this:

Most of the “pattern or practice” cases listed below stem from the police misconduct provision of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (42 U.S.C. 14141). See the Special Litigation Section, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice for a full description of this program.
Department of Justice Police Misconduct Pattern or Practice Program

About Mr. Rosenthal and his official capacity as an Independent Monitor:

Richard Rosenthal is the Independent Monitor (IM) for the City and County of Denver, Colorado. The IM monitors the Denver Police and Sheriff Department’s Internal Affairs Bureaus and monitors officer-involved shooting and in-custody death investigations. The Monitor makes recommendations regarding the imposition of discipline and conducts audits of police policy issues.

From 2001-2004, Mr. Rosenthal worked as the first Police Auditor for the City of Portland, Oregon. As the Director of the Independent Police Review Division (IPR) of the City Auditor’s Office, Mr. Rosenthal acted as an independent police auditor-monitor-ombudsman, reporting directly to the elected City Auditor.

From 1986-2001, Mr. Rosenthal was a Deputy District Attorney for the County of Los Angeles. Mr. Rosenthal specialized in the investigation and prosecution of financial crimes and public corruption. Mr. Rosenthal acted as the liaison between the Los Angeles Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division and the District Attorney’s Rampart Task Force during the investigation into the LAPD Rampart Scandal.

Mr. Rosenthal has been an Adjunct Professor, lecturer and facilitator for numerous organizations including: Portland State University, Loyola Law School, the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE), the National White Collar Crime Center, and the California District Attorney’s Association. Mr. Rosenthal has been on the Board of Directors for NACOLE since 2005.

and, once again, the whole world is watching.

...the U.S. population ISN'T because violent acts by the Fascist Pigs are not reported. Besides--and this should scare the hell out of you--the majority of the American people would put it in the category of "reality t.v." and do absolutely nothing! I believe the term is "Creeping Fascism" and we, My Friends, are smack in the middle of it. I was once arrested for "blocking a sidewalk" while yelling at pigs, er, police for beating a guy before getting popped myself.

"UNITED WE STAND"! Yeah, sure, whatever....

I have received a response from Mr. Rosenthal in which he gives me boilerplate reassurances and strongly disagrees with my assertion that a friendless indigent would get less consideration from his office than anyone else. So far left unsaid is the fact that he and I are having this conversation because a private citizen happened to have a camera going.

I am not in contact with Alicia's legal team, nor am I an attorney, and of course I have no standing at the Colorado Bar. I am merely a concerned citizen in all this, and I do not wish to do anything that would put her in jeapardy or damage her chances of redress. I have not yet relayed your legal points to Mr. Rosenthal because I assume others are in contact with him. However, if it will help to do so, I will send them along tomorrow.

Respectfully,

Larry Maxwell

My email address is maxwelk1@yahoo.com if you'd like to take this private.

The current administration has simply high jacked our system. The system itself is broken and has been for quite some time. Its pretty simple really. The president can choose his administration, and then many key posts in the W.H.

Congress is simply bought off. Corporate thugs meet with the congress folks and offer them millions of dollars in bribes which are hidden in offshore bank accounts.

Therefore there is no democracy, there is no acting body of government. The MSM is completely owned by the same corporate thugs that bribe the congressional folks.

Even if elections were not rigged, there is no functional government. And all the other stooges are just "doing their jobs".

I have repeated this many times before, and because I lack the knowledge, I do not know how to get it done. We need to pass laws at our lower levels of government. By this I mean we need to pass laws at the city, county, and state levels.

The new laws would force any elected official acting on behalf of the people to represent the people, or be removed from office.

This would include police, sheriff, judges, mayors, congressional constituents, hell even the dam city librarian.

It would be quite simple, each elected official represents a group of people. Those people would vote on actions that their elected officials had done. If the people vote against the action, the action would be corrected, changed, removed, reversed, or whatever you want to call it.

If a congressional constituent voted to fund more money for the war, and the represented body of people voted against it, that voted would then be reversed. If that elected official continued down that path, the people would perform a vote of no confidence on the acting official, and they would be removed from office.

Hands down, no more corporate lobbying, no more wars of aggression, no more funding illegal and immoral actions.

The power would be restored back to the people, as it should be.

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