Occupy Denver

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The Occupy Denver demonstration is a part of the Occupy Movement which began on Sept. 17, 2011 with the original Occupy Wall Street demonstration in New York City.


DSA Involvement

Democratic Socialists of America member and president of the National Lawyers Guild of Chicago Charles Nadler has supported the demonstration by coordinating legal support for the protestors. He writes of his involvement,[1]

"On September 28th, just before getting into my car to drive to Boulder, Colorado, from my home in Denver, for the monthly DSA Colorado meeting, I received a telephone call from the newly formed Occupy Denver, asking for legal help. As President of the National Lawyers Guild of Colorado, I learned that Occupy Denver was concerned about the police reaction to their demonstrating. I put out a call for Legal Observers, and was able to rally some to go to the scene at Lincoln/Veteran's Park in the heart of the Colorado-Denver governmental complex. We kept up a steady flow of Legal Observers, but things were relatively quiet from the police until Thursday, October 13th. By that time the park was filled with more than 40 tents and the Thunderdome–a portable restaurant and social center. Occupy Denver had a library and other features of a growing community.
But on October 13th the Governor made public statements that the demonstrators had to leave due to health and safety concerns, which was a pretext, given that there had been no citations on those grounds. He announced that he was closing the park indefinitely. Throughout the day and into the evening there was a constant din in the press threatening arrests. NLG Colorado's Steering Committee decided to put together an ad hoc pro bono "law firm." I kept putting out email calls for Legal Observers to stay through the night to observe the State Police and Denver Police Department operations, and for lawyers to sign up to take cases.
Law enforcement began to take apart Occupy Denver's tent city at 3:15 a.m., on Friday the 14th. Arrests for camping began after 5 a.m., when the park would normally be open. On waking, I ramped up efforts to sign up attorneys to represent the 24 or 25 arrestees. At this point the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar, of which I am also a member, joined the effort to sign up attorneys. By the 1:30 p.m. initial appearances (Advisements in Colorado), we had enough attorneys on hand to make sure no one went without representation. During this period we hooked up with Denver Anarchist Black Cross, who had set up a legal hotline to collect names of arrestees and to raise bail for the arrestees. They made sure that no one fell through the cracks. On Saturday, October 15th, Occupy Denver, had moved their activities to Civic Center Park, a City park, across the street. I kept up the emails to grow the "firm."
We eventually had 45 attorneys signed up to take cases, an investigator and an appellate attorney. Later on Saturday, another 24 or so demonstrators were arrested and needed attorneys for their initial appearances at 8am on Sunday. I went to the court and was joined by two other attorneys to provide representation. On October 19th, NLG trained another 10 or 15 Legal Observers. More arrests took place on Sunday October 23rd, including the severe beating by the police of one demonstrator, who earlier in the year was arrested for demonstrating against police violence, and whose charges had been dismissed. They all were supplied with attorneys. Two attorney strategy meetings have been held with more to come. While I acted as President of NLG Colorado, I was doing something that fits my commitment to the goals and spirit of DSA."

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