Occupy Denver: Exhibits let you judge First Amendment case for yourself (PICS)
This week's federal court hearing between Occupy Denver and the city ended in a denied injunction but much food for thought. Lead plaintiffs attorney David Lane called the decision a civil rights tragedy and said Judge Robert Blackburn "ignored most of the evidence we put in front of him." In order to help you make up your own mind (if you haven't already), Westword is sharing some of the evidence behind the case.
One of the first exhibits presented in court involved plaintiff Daniel Garcia's citation for honking in front of Civic Center Park on November 12. The handwritten story backs up Garcia's own and confirms that the officer who cited him was aware of the driver's intention to support the movement when he wrote him a ticket.
"When stopped (Garcia) was asked if he observed an emergency situation or needed to give an audible warning with his horn. (Garcia) stated he was 'showing support for Occupy Denver.'"
In a later document provided by the city, the number of citations for the honking offense Garcia received (and later learned was dropped before the hearing) is laid out in a table (below). Since February 6 of this year, Garcia is the only person to receive a ticket for the action.
A summary of all citations for Garcia's honking offense.
A great deal of the plaintiff's case revolved around the suggestion that the city of Denver was enforcing a handful of municipal ordinances differently for the occupation than it would for anyone in a similar situation -- even city politicians. Although Westword has already shown the plaintiff's evidence that Mayor Hancock promoted public honking during his campaign for office, Governor John Hickenlooper did the same.
The plaintiff found this photo, originally from the Denver Post.
To provide background on the relationship between police and protesters at the very beginning of the hearing, the plaintiffs called protester and freelance photographer Tanner Spendley to the stand as a witness. Spendley walked through several of the photos he has taken on-site, some of which are presented below, for use as both evidence and a narrative guide.
Courtesy of Tanner Spendley Police clash with protesters on November 13. (The woman in the foreground was later arrested.) Courtesy of Tanner Spendley An officer points a weapon at Spendley's camera. Courtesy of Tanner Spendley Another officer strikes a protester with a baton in the back during a weekend altercation.
More exhibits below.