Occupy Denver: Police start ticketing drivers who stop to donate in front of Civic Center Park

cop tiny occupy.jpg
To give to Occupy Denver, a movement that depends considerably upon large and frequent donations, you have several options. The easiest is simply to drive by the occupation between 14th and Colfax on Broadway and put on your hazard lights for about two minutes while protesters help you remove whatever it is you're donating from your vehicle. At least, it was easy until roughly this morning, when donations began to earn both gratitude and a ticket.

Although Denver Police have not previously targeted Occupy Denver donors, Denver PD public information officer Sonny Jackson stresses that stopping illegally on the right side of the road in front of Civic Center Park is a ticketable offense. No matter how long drivers remained parked, he notes that they are doing so illegally.

occupy police cars 3.jpg
Kelsey Whipple
Police cars block Broadway during the demonstration held two weeks ago.
"It's easy to follow," Jackson says. "If you're stopped illegally there, you will receive a ticket for breaking the law. There's no place to stop between that space. You can stop by the library by 14th Street or in any number of metered parking spaces away from that area, but if you stop in front of it, you will get a ticket."

In the meantime, Occupy Denver's 24/7 committee, a group of protesters dedicated to serving the needs of the occupiers, are volunteering to walk to the cars of donors and take donations back to the campsite. Since Saturday's demonstration and a weekend that ended with 23 new arrests, the police presence lodged at Civic Center Park and Lincoln Park has noticeably increased, though Jackson opts not to disclose a specific number of officers. The department doesn't release resource allotments, he says.

The main focus here is not that of legality, though: It's of timing. Why did police begin ticketing in the area immediately after two days of altercations when it was previously more lax about the same offense?

"I can't speak to that," Jackson says. "Any time they stop illegally, they are violating the law and risking a ticket. I don't know what they think they'd be dropping off anyway. I don't know what they'd need to drop off."

The last part, here, is the answer. This weekend's altercation came immediately after police officers delivered a warning to occupiers Friday morning to remove any belongings in the area that could be considered encumbrances to the sidewalk -- anything that unnecessarily blocks the passageway and could prove hazardous to pedestrians. This weekend's crackdown was again a question of timing: With so many cities evicting their occupations on the same night, was the coordination a coincidence? Why choose this weekend to come down hard on a rule regarding sidewalk encumbrances? Why not earlier? Why not wait?

"I was not aware that any other cities were going to be doing the same thing on that day," Jackson says. "Honestly, I don't believe there was any kind of coordinated effort nationally. We asked the group to take down some tents, and some people did. But when we came back later, there were more tents."

The DPD monitors the area regularly and constantly assesses it. This weekend, says Jackson, the potential for problems was simply too large to ignore. "It had grown considerably and was becoming more of a hazard in the area," Jackson says. "Why this weekend versus any other weekend, I have no idea. It was just tons of lounge chairs and office furniture, and our concern is always public safety. They were becoming a hazard."

More from our Occupy Denver archive: "Occupy Denver: Highest bond rate yet, photojournalist among 20 arrested."

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58 comments
Mark Duwe
Mark Duwe

I want to live in a world where the government is afraid of going out in public. 

I used to live at 1671 Xenia, in 1974. 

Denver resident1
Denver resident1

I for one, would like to hear how visible, stationary items on the sidewalk that have some importance in protesting peacefully, are a health hazard? This seems to be a lame charge by all practical reasoning. Police, court authorities, protesters, lawyers - thoughts?

Pauly Suk Soukup
Pauly Suk Soukup

3 weeks ago I have a situation,on a Saturday night,in front of a bar  that a tend and manage,on Broadway,that i could use some DPD officers.It would actually be first time in my 15 years living in US that they will serve and protect me.Well they didn't show up for 2 hours,and the long brawl that was going on for 2 hours in the middle of Broadway and Ellsworth ended up in shots being fired.Two people god hurt,shot...and DPD showed up about 12 minutes after the shots got fired.They where probably busy of molesting some Occupy Denver supporter or protester, rather than stopping people from chugin' booze straight from bottles in public,kickin' each other in the head,drivin' their lowriders on sidewalk,and drawing Beretta's in a crowded weekend neighborhood...I have NO respect for our politicians and members of DPD !!

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Victims of crimes that occur during DPD's bizarre displays of force against Occupy Denver should be able to sue the DPD for non-feasance -- no valid law enforcement objective is being served at all by pulling hundreds of officers from what they should be doing to try to intimidate OD.  In case people aren't getting it from the evening news, we do not tolerate police initimidation.

Sharpshooter
Sharpshooter

How do you know Sonny jackson is lying? He starts a sentence with , "Honestly, ....."

GFTW
GFTW

Let me be clear...

Christine D
Christine D

The amount of anger directed at the Occupy protesters on these boards just baffles me. I'm tired of the internal divisive hatred, tired of acrimonious discourse, tired of my civil rights being chipped away little by little.

I'm tired of my tax dollars going to fund oil wars and corporate bailouts, and that's why I support OWS. I want my tax dollars to help the indigent and education IN THIS COUNTRY.

I have a job, I pay taxes, I also commute to Denver. I'm middle-class, white, a homeowner, and paying a higher tax rate than any individual making over $100K. OWS is the best voice I have RIGHT NOW for voicing my discontent with the system. No one is representing my interests, except for these folks.

You're all supposed to be Americans, now act like it. If you don't like this movement, the type of people involved, or its method, or its message, then start your own.

Complaining about your fellow citizens who are passionately involved accomplishes nothing.

GFTW
GFTW

Wahhh! The occupiers are idiots. You've been brainwashed and you're all tools for exploiters like Michael Moore who don't give a shit about you. Sure bet you bashed the Tea Partiers.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Strong take, Christine. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Marla Louise
Marla Louise

One must ask, if local rules and regulations supersede the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, to what purpose is that document?   If regulations only allow protesters to protest where they don't bother anyone, again, what is the purpose of the 1st Amendment?

We have already lost the 7th Amendment because it annoyed the big banks and cost them money.  Other parts of the Bill of Rights are being chipped away daily.   At  what point does the Constitution itself become meaningless?

Marla Louise
Marla Louise

Bloomberg apparently was worried about donated Stinger missiles in NY and smuggled in, since he prohibited news helicopters from coming near Occupy Wall Street during the raid.   Shouldn't the Denver police also be on the lookout for Stingers?    The police must protect us from such potential dangers, we demand it.

William Asperi
William Asperi

"It was just tons of lounge chairs and office furniture, and our concern is always public safety."  Apparently he's worried about all the attack lawn chairs strewn about.  Clearly, extremely hazardous.

Albert
Albert

WAIT... The SCOTUS just said this summer, that  giving money by corporations was considered FREE SPEECH. I think that's complete B.S. So did the police just violate the drivers First Amendment Rights??After  that ruling.. I'd have to say yes!  This could get really expensive for these cities, possibly having to pay for Constitutional Violation suits.... Where are they finding the extra money?

Ryan
Ryan

What, you can't get out of your car, walk down there and donate?  I don't see them  ticketing people who are donating that aren't obstructing traffic.  Help!  Help!  The sky is falling!

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Which do you suppose is the greater threat to public safety, people stopping for less than a minute halfway down the block in the bus lane to donate, or two police cars parking in the bus lane almost at the intersection with Colfax for hours on end?  I watched buses veering around these cars at rush hour, and it is my firm belief (based on personal observation over the past six weeks) that the DPD has impeded traffic and endangered motorists more than all protesters combined, many times over.

Carl Lewis
Carl Lewis

When the police blocked the lane and caused more problems they were acting as children. They should have been treated as such. We need a citizens force to reprimand these officers. THE SOONER THEY AR UNDER OUR WATCH THE BETTER. Remember KEEP YOUR ENEMYS CLOSER.

GFTW
GFTW

Right on DPD!! Everybody's tired of the fleabaggers!

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Idiot, they're laughing at you, not with you.

GFTW
GFTW

Potheads like you laugh at everything.

NCalConservativ
NCalConservativ

Getting a little testy here.  Anyway, WHO's laughing at him/her?  That comment makes about as much sense as your movement.

Colforbin
Colforbin

a consevative who doesn't actually conserve anything. fucking brilliant!

Alpinecol12
Alpinecol12

Ok, for all those ref.'n 1st admend....how about reading some Supreme Court Case Law:Here's ONE of MANY sites you can google....http://www.freedomforum.org/pa...More Specifically..the 'TEST' for the 1st Admend. to apply:"Time, Place, and MannerThese regulations of expression are content-neutral. A question to ask: Did the expression occur at a time or place, or did the speaker use a method of communicating, that interferes with a legitimate government interest? For example, distribution of information should not impede the flow of traffic or create excessive noise levels at certain times and in certain places."It's called a PERMIT...too bad all the 'my rights are being violated' spouter's don't even know what the LAW is....

Albert
Albert

We all know they put restrictions/ limits on our rights,even though they are prohibited by the Constitution from doing so. I get tired of repeating the same crap over and over. There is nothing in the Constitution that allows for time, place manner, or any other thing the federal or state can come up with. So the use of these prongs are illegal, but the SCOTUS allows this to continue, when they "CONGRESS" and state lawmakers are PROHIBITED from doing so, by the CONSTITUTION. Case law should be used when it reaffirms the rights that are, and aren't stated. As guaranteed by the 9th & 10th Amendments.

Jtcolfax
Jtcolfax

Today at the 3:00 p.m. General Assembly in Gov. Hickenlooper's office an occupier modeled a jacket that turns into a sleeping bag. They were donated by JakPak of Seattle.  The Gov's secretary looked really amused and bemused.  I just have to wonder what the DPD will do with people wearing these...strip them, and then arrest them for public nudity?  Anyway, here is a pic of an occupier modeling the JakPak on the Gov's floor:http://i1089.photobucket.com/a...

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

I'm not sure that even our dog should meet with Governor Hypocrite.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

These latest outrages are Mayor Oreo's way of trying to get rid of Occupy Denver before Robert White becomes Chief of Police.

Copwatch11
Copwatch11

Clearly the Denver Police - under orders from the Mayor - are using any means to break the Occupy Protest.  Local ordinances are not supposed to impede the right to assemble.  The civil rights so many Americans fought and died for are being swept aside by the authorities.  It is a sorry and shameful sight.  Land of the Free, Home of the Brave? - not here, not now.

Jtcolfax
Jtcolfax

The pettiness never ends with the Denver legal system.  First, on Saturday they chased us all over town, and then on Sunday they ban PENS in the courtroom.  Later on Sunday, they LIE and say people were shaking a police car, and use the lie to hurt people.  And now this afternoon I saw the cops blocking what had been the donation area all day.  The donater's came and went quickly, but to enforce this TINY infraction, the police block the lane all day and hand out $130.00 tickets, not to mention roaring into heavy traffic on Broadway for this nonsense.  They are simply trying to cut off supplies and make the movement dry up, and they don't have the nerve to say so.  When Sonny Jackson, says he "doesn't know what they would be dropping off anyway," he is doing a tongue in cheek LIE.

(On the issue of not allowing PENS in court, I asked Channel 4's Rick Salinger at about 3:00 this afternoon if he'd heard of that.  And he said that he had only just heard of it from another occupier a few minutes before.  I can't believe that sort of media isn't bothering to read Westword where this was reported first.  I think this particular issue needs to have more light shown on it.)

TROOF
TROOF

It's time to wrap this shit up okay? You're inconveniencing everyone EXCEPT the people and institutions this was supposedly about. All you're doing is making it harder for me to get to my fucking job so I can afford to pay off Citibank's satanic ass.  No one even knows what your message is anymore. Go away.

Copwatch11
Copwatch11

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.     Sorry if the American way is getting in your way.

Starksgotejected
Starksgotejected

You guys have an awfully lofty assessment of this "protest." What are you trying to accomplish other than the draining the city's resources, which I pay taxes for?  The $ that you are costing this city could be going for all kinds of things to benefit people. Instead it's being wasted on trying to keep you assholes from completely disrupting the lives of normal people.

You have no coherent message outside of a vague committment to social unrest, which you hope will bring about what? So now it's a First Amendment thing? Or is it about banks? Or is it about rich people? Or is it about our political system? You have no clue. The only people you are hurting are regular people.

I fucking hate the Denver police, but you are making me sympathetic to them. If you got up in the face of any normal man, not wearing a uniform, and taunted him like the protesters are doing to Denver police, you'd get your ass kicked. I find their restraint impressive and you annoying.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

You raise some valid questions, but you are operating under false assumptions.  Can you really imagine that a few dozen people on the sidewalk and the edge of two public parks have been "completely disrupting the lives of normal people"?  In what conceivable way have they been doing that?  It might occur to you to raise your complaint about the waste of money with your City Councilors (Ms. Ortega, Ms. Kniech, and your local Councilor), the Mayor, the Chief of Police, and the District Attorney -- these are the entities responsible.  You may find it easier to blame protesters than grapple with the concept that your elected representatives and their appointees should be responsible to the public and should spend tax revenue wisely; you may be one more Good German living in the Westliche Reich.  I am a Coloradan, and a citizen of the United States of America, so I am going to demand accountability of the incompetent and ethically bankrupt people who dominate local government and politics.

sojournerC
sojournerC

File bankrupcy and smoke a joint. 

The message is this and the hundreds of other news stories ran on the subject.

Police selectively enforce laws targeting whomever is rocking the boat. 

Keep rocking the boat!

Joseph
Joseph

I would like to see Matt Murray and that ridiculous mustache of his try to justify this one.

diesel-benz
diesel-benz

Thank you DPD for enforcing the law.

Copwatch11
Copwatch11

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.  So just what law is the DPD enforcing?

Alpineasso
Alpineasso

Ok, for all those ref.'n 1st admend....how about reading some Supreme Court Case Law:Here's ONE of MANY sites you can google....

http://www.freedomforum.org/pa...

More Specifically..the 'TEST' for the 1st Admend. to apply:

"Time, Place, and MannerThese regulations of expression are content-neutral. A question to ask: Did the expression occur at a time or place, or did the speaker use a method of communicating, that interferes with a legitimate government interest? For example, distribution of information should not impede the flow of traffic or create excessive noise levels at certain times and in certain places."

It's called a PERMIT...too bad all the 'my rights are being violated' spouter's don't even know what the LAW is....

Albert
Albert

I agree... But the section in the Second Amendment.. that says, the right of the People to keep and bear arms SHALL not be INFRINGED. Because it says SHALL... that is what courts claim is compulsory = 1 Required by law. INFRINGED= 1 Actively break the terms of (a law, agreement, etc.) 2 Act so as to limit or undermine (something); encroach on: "infringe on his privacy".     ......................................................................................................................................So how, and by what authority does Congress have to limit anyone's Constitutional Rights. Sorry... it's not in the Constitution. Those 2 words prohibit Congress from touching people's ARMS RIGHTS!!!!!  Federal statues are Unconstitutional if they violate, or diminish rights given to the American People by the Constitution.  I'm not making any of this up... It's what is written in the Constitution. And really there really isn't any need to interpret this. By taking that phrase, and incorporating the 2  definitions I gave, a person with basic understanding can figure out what the Second Amendment means. And US Code/Law  and State laws..that aren't consistant with the Constitution are NOT legal. I'm not a judge, and I can figure that one out.  14th Amendment -Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Mike
Mike

Just wait until they start talking about "Gun Control" laws. Then the majority of these redneck wannabe right wing assholes will be toting a copy of their constitution around in their gun case! "Only when you can pry it from my cold dead hands" Right???

Albert
Albert

Seriously.... what Constitution is he and the rest of the Government reading.... because I swear it's not the same as my copy... let's see what the last Amendment was??? Hmm. 27th Amendment... Yes, that's the last Amendment to be added. 

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

No -- we do not need a permit to protest, or to assemble, or to speak -- not in America (not so sure about here in the Westliche Reich).

There are many lawyers interested in the City's shenanigans in trying to suppress the Frist Amendment rights of protesters, some are helping us, and there are students of the Law among us as well.

Where will you defenders of the status quo be when the inevitable civil rights cases against Denver are settled or lost?  You will be paying for Governor Hypocrite and Mayor Oreo's folly just like the rest of us, but you will bear considerably greater responsibility.  You should at least put up a few million dollars up front to support Denver's little war on public protest, since the policies you support will end up costing us plenty.

sojournerC
sojournerC

What are they doing when they park their own cars in the middle of Broadway???

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

-- making a show of force.  Here in Cawleraduh, that's OK.

Joseph
Joseph

selectively enforcing the law.

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