Sunday, August 31, 2008

Denver police harrass journalists and protesters, revealing what their actual function is.

Denver Post - An ABC News producer was arrested outside the Brown Palace Hotel as he attempted to chronicle attendees at a private breakfast held by a Democratic Party campaign committee. ABC said in a statement that Asa Eslocker and a camera crew were "attempting to take pictures on a public sidewalk of Democratic senators and VIP donors leaving a private meeting."

"We're getting under their skin, I think," said Brian Ross, ABC News correspondent whose "Money Trail" reports are running every night this week and next from both nominating conventions.

Eslocker, a member of the investigative team, was charged with trespass, interference and failure to follow a lawful order. He was put in handcuffs and taken by police van to the downtown police station.

He was released after posting $500 bond.

On Tuesday, Ross and his crew were asked to leave Hotel Teatro when they tried to photograph a private function. On Monday, they shot pictures of a party at the Denver Art Museum through the glass.

ABC has video shot at the scene of the arrest, showing a hotel security guard, wearing the uniform of a Boulder County Sheriff's Office, ordering Eslocker off the sidewalk.

Denver Post - Denver police moved against a group of protesters, arresting two near the group's "convergence center" north of downtown. Police said they were drawn to the gathering place for the protest group Unconventional Denver at 4301 Brighton Blvd. after spotting what Lt. J. McDonald termed "suspicious activity." When police arrived, they determined there was no illegal activity "but they found some items that might be used as weapons," McDonald said.

Standing near the house, Michael Gonzalez, 20, of Seattle said he thinks the only suspicious activity was a man working on his mini bus in front of the house. The bus runs on vegetable oil.

Several officers approached the owner of the bus, who was working on the oil filter, Gonzalez said. The officers had Tasers in hand and ordered the van owner to put his hands above his head.

Seeing the police approaching, another person slowly walked toward the back end of the building, which has been rented by Unconventional Denver for the week, he said.

"The cops grabbed him and slammed him on his head," Gonzalez said.

The officers seemed suspicious of the bus, which has a giant drum in the back used to hold the vegetable oil, Gonzalez said.

The officers also said that bricks laying on the dusty ground could be used as weapons, Gonzalez said.

"The bricks were used to hold down banners that we were painting," he said. "They weren't weapons. They were paperweights."

The two men, whose names have not yet been released, were arrested for disobeying a lawful order. Police then discussed whether to seek a search warrant for the house but decided they did not have probable cause for further search.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for reporting on these two incidents.

    If you want to voice your concern, call or emali the Denver Mayor and the City council: