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Marvin Booker protest rally and march on the 16th Street Mall: A photo gallery

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Marvin Booker.
Earlier this month, we reported that a rally for Marvin Booker, who died in Denver jail this past summer, would take place Saturday on the 16th Street Mall. That evening, a crowd of approximately 200-300 people -- some sporting bandannas, some waving signs -- turned minimally violent as trash cans were overturned and public property was violent, prompting the arrival of the Denver Police Department gang unit. See a photo gallery of the rally below.

The gang unit arrived just as the protesters were passing Champa Street, and amid flashing lights, the crowd disbanded. The officers on duty declined to offer any insight into their response to the protest, even threatening me when I continued to pry. I asked for business cards and additional information but was turned down -- so I called 911. The dispatcher could not tell me the names of officers, but she was able to provide call numbers for the police cars. The call numbers can then be traced back to the precinct, which can then determine the names of officers on duty.

The following photo gallery begins with shots taken shortly before the protest broke up, leading to images of officers suiting up in riot gear. Despite highly publicized stories of brutality involving the likes of Michael DeHerrera and Alexander Landau, the officers were not particularly cooperative.

Local media offered very little coverage of the march. On the last page below, see a video of the rally courtesy of Denver Cop Watch:

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Photo by Britt Chester
A vandalized shoe-polishing hut on 16th Street Mall.

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Photo by Britt Chester
Some of the overturned trash cans were cleaned up by patrons and employees of surrounding businesses.

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Photo by Britt Chester
Marvin Booker, whose death was allegedly caused by brute force, is remembered.

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Photo by Britt Chester
The size of the protesting crowd grew as it traveled down 16th -- until the police arrived.

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Photo by Britt Chester
Officers closed streets momentarily to allow safe passage for the protestors and to protect civilians.


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14 comments
Robert
Robert

We had half the police force racing around closing streets (including Colfax) a block or more away from the march. Unlike the mass false arrest of 115 on 15th St. during protests of the DNC, protesters were given free reign of the streets wherever they wanted to march. I demanded the surrender of the murderers of Marvin Booker at the Jail (where all may have been on duty inside at the time).

I do not condone destruction of property, but that may have been the intent of some anarchist participants all along. Not much physical damage was done, but a few business owners and tourists heard an interesting message: "Boycott Denver! Boycott police abuse!". The anarchists might find that they could achieve more by honing their rhetoric than by aspiring to commit petty acts of destruction (although I suppose that's why we had half the police force waiting to see what a few-dozen kids would do next). I do not want to ruin business in Denver at all, but it is only just that a little of the pain suffered by the victims of our City's bad policies and mismanagement be communicated to the Chamber of Commerce. Rather than clucking about the way the anarchists delivered their message, the good burghers of Denver should consider the justice of their complaint.

We all need to take responsibility for having allowed people like Hickenlooper, Morrissey, and the Denver City Council to perpetuate bad policing. It is the responsibility of the citizenry to elect true representatives -- either Denver is peopled by the same dim fascists who presently govern it, or it simply has failed to elect true representatives; I prefer to believe the latter.

P.S. Note that this protest (which shut down the Mall Ride for its duration, entrained very many police to watch it, closed major streets, including Colfax on Saturday evening, and upset many Midwestern sensibilities in the Downtown shopping district) was watched from above as it passed directly by the Denver Post building twice -- the Denver Post published not one single word about it! I hope that Greg Moore and Dean Singleton are wrong in assuming that their remaining readers are ruminantly complacent that the Post fails to cover (or, in this case, that it actively censors) local news. Even though reporters look down on the centers of power in Colorado (the State Capitol, Denver City Hall, and the Supreme and Appellate Courts), the Post exists in some sort of space-time warp, and it dispatches reporters out to these venues only occasionally and with apparent difficulty. The juxtaposition of reporters' curiosity about what was taking place right outside their own building with their masters' determination to ignore it is delicious (for those few of us able to appreciate it), but I hope that more (self-respecting) readers of the Post will drop their subscriptions as the extremity of its abdication of journalistic responsibility becomes ever more apparent.

P.P.S. "Officers closed streets momentarily to allow safe passage for the protestors [sic] and to protect civilians." -- I take exception to that; civilians (many tourists among them) on the 16th Street Mall encountered the march directly, and though many undoubtedly were surprised to hear sentiments such as "From Denver to Greece, F___ the Police!" loudly expressed, no one panicked, or was made to fear for his or her safety.

Keith Allen
Keith Allen

Who's guarding the Guards?.......Can't just just let "Little Boy blue" go around bashing people in the head cause he doesn't like what comes out of his mouth...."Freedom of speech" remember!.....Those cops get paid to put up with crap...Thats part of their job....It doesn't matter that who ever they choose to abuse may not be a contributing member of society because maybe his mother or father is and thats who's paying taxes, thus that police officers salary......I tell you what, if thats the way we treat/bully people all over the world that does not immediatly comply to our wishes.....Well, thats why we got planes flying into our buildings....Nobody is going to put up with crap like that for too long....

Prole
Prole

THIS WAS ONLY THE BEGINNING.

We will be back soon, in larger numbers and more prepared. It will take a lot more than a gang unit and some riot gear to get rid of Denver's rebel problem.

Johnbrown
Johnbrown

The march lasted about and hour and a half before the riot squads showed up. The march went through downtown once, then to the Van Cise-Simont Detention Center, and then back downtown. On the second pass, folks in the march, feeling hyped, let the city know how angry they were about the local cops... that rage turned into some tagging and trash cans becoming barricades in the streets...

But I just wanted to clear up any confusion about how long the march lasted, as the short writeup on here makes it sound like the march just got a couple blocks before it disbanded.

Friend
Friend

There are more appropriate ways to make a stand other than destroying innocent people's property and acting like a group of ignorant gutter punks. Honor Mr. Booker. Don't create a negative association with his name. If you would like the city to hear you, then find a more constructive way to get your point across. All you are doing is creating a more negative representation of the situation. There are shop owners that work hard for what they have and they don’t deserve what you have done. The city that you have chosen to live in was hosting a large convention that weekend and the impression that you have left on your visitors was not that of glorious, but that of insult. Mr. Booker would be disappointed by your immature act.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Johnbrown, thanks for the additional information. As Britt mentioned, he arrived toward the end of the march, shortly before it broke up. Your details are very helpful.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Strong take, Friend. Thanks for reading and posting.

Johnbrown
Johnbrown

No offense, but this city should have no pride. This city should feel ashamed. This city should leave a bad impression on people.

The cops here murder, rape, and beat people without remorse or consequence. This isn't just about Mr. Booker. This is about all of us. Many of the people in the street on Saturday night were people who have survived police violence. There is justifiable anger here.

The "innocent" shopkeepers? Who the hell are you talking about? The same shopkeepers on 16th street who call the cops to harass homeless folks like Mr. Booker?

You are ignorant and privileged to talk from some high horse about what's appropriate and what isn't when the majority of the "appropriate" organizations in this city have done NOTHING to challenge the police in the last 6 months.

Where are the peaceful and "appropriate" protests? Where are the "appropriate" activists right now? Doing nothing! So, excuse us if there's some anger!

If you want to see something else happen, then organize it! Hell, we'd probably even attend, and even respect your "appropriate" event. But until then, stuff the self-righteous crap. At least several hundred people made it clear that police violence will not be tolerated.

If there was a riot every single time someone was hurt or killed by the police, I'd make a safe bet that the beatings and killings would stop.

I'm sure that the people of Egypt, Tunisia, Romania, Mexico, Greece, France, the United Kingdom, Iceland, Algeria, Nigeria, and countless other countries in revolt would love to hear about how property destruction and direct confrontation are immature.

As a certain song says... the whole world is waking outside my window. I think you just feel threatened that the false delusional social peace that you benefit from is finally being shattered by angry and poor people. Things are only going to intensify. People will only be more confrontational and seeking more vengeance as our lives continue to deteriorate. And I know that angers you. You wish that people could just sign petitions and pretend that everything is okay.

Well, it's not. And we have to shatter your delusional social peace before we achieve real peace.

Good luck with the cops if they ever attack you. Be sure to send them good vibes, and remember to turn the other cheek to their baton.

Friend
Friend

In reply to that last posting by "JohnBrown".

Thank you for your insight. I will definitely take your view into consideration when basing any future opinions on this subject.

Johnbrown
Johnbrown

Since there didn't seem to be a reply tab to Friend's newest comment, I'll have to post it here...

Whatever assumptions you think I made have nothing to do with your family or how you were brought up. I'm sorry to hear that at a young age you were also a casualty of capitalism.

However, the problem here is that we are coming at this issue from two distinct ways of viewing the social condition we find ourselves in. I view our social situation as a war that is being waged everyday, by people in power against the rest of us. You appear (not wanting to make assumptions!) to come from a viewpoint that there is some civility in this situation worth preserving, and that through some sort of moderate approach, we can achieve whatever our end goal is.

My end goal is a classless society without police officers. To you, this may sound crazy. For many people in the world now struggling against governments, austerity measures, and economic collapse, this seems logical. To me, it's more than logical. It is the only thing that makes sense.

Believe me when I say that there is no way that that kind of society can be built without direct confrontation with those that uphold this current model of society. Petitioning them, even with a million signatures, won't get them to disband centuries old predatory social, economic, and political systems.

The fact that 300 people did show up to be confrontational may seem like a "nothing" event to you. That number may seem small. But in the larger picture, when looking at how much of an abberration it seems to be to believe the things I believe, 300 people seems huge. It is a giant first step.

The unrest in Egypt started with several dozen people rioting. Now look at what it has become. Maybe this result is undesirable for you. But for me, seeing what is happening there is inspiring. The people have started to create neighborhood and workplace councils to make decisions and govern their lives. They police their own neighborhoods, together, as a community. They are carving out a new society that runs off direct democracy. That is what I want. Again, it's the only thing that makes sense to me, and I'd gamble to say a lot of other people in this country.

Whether the Egyptian experiment fails tomorrow means nothing to me today. What does mean something to me is that folks there and in thousands of places across the world are struggling everyday, breaking the precarious and mythical social peace that is actually social war, to resist oppression and exploitation. Resistance is never pretty or easily contained. These ideas of moderation are ideas that have been rejected by almost all radicals and revolutionaries throughout history... even MLK and others that followed in his footsteps understood and supported a plethora of tactical decisions and fought to help people make sense of riots and urban rebellions. Whether he personally chose to work in a non-violent way, he still supported others, like Malcolm X, and the Black Panthers, who chose other, more confrontational, methods.

The truth is, whether you want to admit it or not, if you want to uphold moderation and the mythical social peace that exists in this country, you are a benefactor of the privilege of that so-called peace. There is something you fear. There is a reason you want moderation to exist. There is a reason you don't want things to exist outside of your comfort zone. And it's because you have a comfort zone to begin with.

I'm also not meaning to nitpick, but just as so many others that think they have some moral imperative to pass judgements on those that would violently resist oppression, you started this off with name calling, and then got offended that I would respond in kind. That seems to make no sense to me. Cause and effect... you know?

Just like how when the cops kill someone folks are really shocked when folks want to respond violently. In this argument, because you think your opinions are superior, you want to control the argument. You want a monopoly on trying to make someone else feel small and powerless. You want to be the only one in this conversation to discredit someone. You want to be the only person to call someone names (ignorant gutterpunks?). Just as the police want a monopoly on violence. They want to control all the violent methods and means. They want to be the only party that can harm everyone else. They want that power. Just like you want it in this conversation.

And when someone tries to fight back, to de-monopolize that power, you, just like the cops, are surprised and insulted.

In the end, there is a war in this society. And in most instance, only one side seems to be able to employ "respectable" and "appropriate" violence. The militaries that occupy foreign countries, and the militaries that occupy our hoods. They are the only ones that are allowed to be violent. And they control the legitimacy of that violence.

But, those of us on the other side, we will fight back. We will not bow to calls for moderation or "respectability". We will fight. As if our lives depended on it. Because they do.

So choose a side. If you want to use non-violence, then I support you, as long as you are resisting this rotten predatory system. I won't try to control your tactics, as long as you don't try to control mine.

Friend
Friend

You definitely shouldn’t be so quick to make assumptions and generalizations about another person. Being that you know nothing about my background and accuse me of being “ignorant and privileged” compounds the obvious undue hate in your statements. I do not come from money. My father was homeless most of my childhood and he lived in a large homeless shelter in Kansas City for many years. I ate Saturday breakfast with him weekly and dined on day old coffee cake. I was never embarrassed of his misfortune, I was proud of his perseverance. My mother raised me on her own, worked 50 hours a week and still managed to put herself through college and graduate school with the little money that she earned. I would not consider that a privileged upbringing. I was surrounded with love, hard work and values. My family has worked very hard for every dollar we have earned. We did not sign petitions, like you so hatefully accused. Quit assuming that anyone with different ideas is a bad person or is against you. That is a horrible way to treat other people or respond to people’s statements.I’m not saying that what happens behind closed doors in our legal system is right or just. I know that horrible things happen to undeserving people. I have witnessed it myself with my own eyes. I am just stating that most battles, like the one you are fighting, are won with decency and not reciprocal violence. You have a right to speak you voice and be angry. If you organize a non-violent, non-riot event you may have a million local supporters of your cause and not a mere 300. You do not have the right to damage private property and act like imbeciles. You seem like a well read, intelligent person. Do something more constructive with your knowledge than making the page of a newspaper for one day. Don’t accidently alienate your supporters, like me, with such vicious “self righteous” words. It makes you no better than the people that you are trying to protest against. Open your eyes and maybe you’ll see more than what is right in front of you. You represent your cause and so do your word and you actions. Be smart and good things will come of it…and quit being so hateful and assumptive.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Johnbrown, thanks for including the link, and for reading and posting.

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