Occupy Denver: Highest bond rate yet, photojournalist among 20 arrested
Last night's altercation between police and protesters at Occupy Denver ended with as many as twenty arrests, from the now-typical charges of disobeying a lawful order and obstructing a passageway to defacing public property and two investigations of felony assault on a police officer. Today's arraignment followed the strictest protocol yet, and bond rates were set at the highest the occupation has seen in Denver: They began at $750 across the board.
The courtroom protocol expanded from there to include several bonds set at more than $1,000, while those of the two felony cases were set at $2,000 and $5,000, respectively. No attendees were allowed to bring cell phones or bags of any sort into the courtroom or to record any information during the arraignment. This meant that both reporters and the group's internal legal team, who attend the arraignment to transcribe and triple-check arrestees' legal information, were forbidden from taking any notes in the courtroom.
Magistrate John Hoffman again refused to hear arguments about individual bail, and the standard bail, $750 per person, is significantly higher than even the previous total of $550 only two weeks ago. The arrests in question took place both at Civic Center Park during the initial riot and downtown on the 16th Street Mall as protesters left the scene. One protester was arrested at 800 16th St. for defacing public property, and the arrests include a photojournalist who does not identify as part of the occupation.
Kelsey Whipple Police arrest a protester outside of Civic Center Park during last night's demonstration.
"I was actually looking out my kitchen window last night down the mall, and they were moving right along and not obstructing traffic or the police," says Charles Nadler, president of the Colorado chapter of the National Lawyers Guild. Nadler made a special appearance on behalf of all arrestees at today's arraignment. "They weren't doing anything worse than a Broncos or a Rockies fan. In fact, the Broncos fans are probably worse: Their numbers are about 100 times larger, and they don't care about blocking anything at all."
Although the latest report as last night closed included sixteen arrests, Nadler says his list this morning included twenty names. Last night, Nadler and fellow members of Occupy Denver's sizable professional legal team made a decision to change their protocol in regard to representing the occupation. Because of disagreements over how police and city officials are treating the issue, the legal team will ask all arrestees to request public defenders from here on out. This will cause questions over conflicts of interest and send a message regarding a lack of tolerance, they believe. All lawyers who represent protesters in the future will be invited to join the National Lawyers Guild's regular strategy sessions.