Denver Jail Brutality: Auditor Wonders if Sheriff's Office Has Something to Hide
Jamal Hunter, seen in this post-beating photo, received a $3.25 million settlement from the City of Denver. Additional images, plus a video and more below.
This could get ugly. Hot on the heels of huge City of Denver payouts in cases involving Jamal Hunter and Marvin Booker, Denver Auditor Dennis Gallagher blasted the Denver Sheriff's Department for a lack of transparency regarding his office's efforts to audit jail operations overseen by the DSD. A key quote from a letter sent to Mayor Michael Hancock that's on view below: "This kind of behavior and the refusal to provide needed information to my auditors makes me wonder what some people want to hide."

See also: $3.25 Million Settlement in Jamal Hunter Suit Latest Blemish on Denver Sheriff's Department

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Marijuana: Will Boulder Allow Dispensaries to Sell Branded T-Shirts and Other Merch?
Staffers at the defunct Denver dispensary Cherry Top Farms wearing branded T-shirts.
At 5:30 p.m. tonight, the Boulder City Council will consider a pair of measures to extend the time for medical marijuana businesses to convert to recreational sales from year's end to early 2015. Additionally, two versions of the ordinances include a provision that would allow dispensaries to begin selling branded merchandise, including clothing and more -- and both Colorado's branch of NORML and the organization's executive director, Allen St. Pierre, strongly endorse such a change. Details and more below.

See also: DIA Banning Sales of Marijuana-Themed Socks and Flip-Flops, Entrepreneur Says

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Denver District Attorney: Staffers Can't Live Where Marijuana Is an Income Source

Although the Denver District Attorney's Office only has the power to prosecute local and state laws, its employees are held to a higher standard when it comes to marijuana.

Specifically, they aren't allowed to possess, grow or sell pot, since all of those things are illegal under federal law. But the office has taken its prohibitions a step further than that. In February, it updated its conduct policy to include a provision that prevents employees from benefiting from "income derived from a household member's ownership or financial interest in, or employment by" a marijuana business.

See also: Update: Marijuana-Hating Town Officials to Vote on Plan to Block Pot Shop

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Mark Udall's Last Senate Campaign: Save Browns Canyon

Jeffry Mitton
Browns Canyon is one of Colorado's most popular whitewater destinations.
He lost a tough, key race to rising Republican media darling Cory Gardner, but Mark Udall still has some unfinished business before giving up his U.S. Senate seat in a few weeks. And at the top of the list is Udall's push for passage of S. 1794, his bill to designate Browns Canyon as a national monument -- or finagle some executive action in its stead.

A rugged mix of granite cliffs, forests and meadows flanking the Arkansas River between Buena Vista and Salida, Browns Canyon is rich in wildlife, including bighorn sheep, black bears and mountain lions -- and a place of solace, recreation and opportunity for hikers, anglers, outfitters, hunters and local tourism. Udall's bill would preserve historic uses while protecting the area from new roads and the incursion of mining interests.

See also: Video: Save Browns Canyon Campaign Launches With Civic Center Light Show

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The $6 Million Narc: What Trinidad Could Learn From Botched Texas Drug Stings
This week's Westword cover story, "The Snitch Who Stole Christmas," examines the aftermath of a 2013 police investigation that led to the arrests of forty people in Trinidad for allegedly selling heroin, meth, and other drugs to two undercover informants. The cases were so riddled with legal and procedural problems -- having to do with lax police work, fake drugs and informants with multiple motives for staging buys that may not have happened -- that all of them were eventually thrown out of court, but not before several of the accused had lost jobs and suffered other damage from the operation.

See also: The Snitch Who Stole Christmas: How Trinidad's War on Drugs Attacked the Innocent

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The Snitch Who Stole Christmas: How Trinidad's War on Drugs Attacked the Innocent

Categories: News, Politics

Danika Gonzales was driving to work when she saw the police car in her rearview mirror, swooping down on her. She couldn't think of any moving violation she'd committed, but she quickly pulled over, figuring she was about to get a lecture for not wearing her seat belt.

Except for her college years, Gonzales had lived in Trinidad all of her life. She was 38 years old and had worked for the past seven years as a probation officer for the state courts, so she knew many of the members of the Trinidad Police Department -- including the woman who got out of the patrol car, Officer Lauren Riddle. Gonzales asked her what was going on. Riddle informed her that she was being arrested for selling heroin and methamphetamine.

"I thought she was joking," Gonzales recalls. "I kept telling her, 'You're kidding.' Finally, she got upset with me and said, 'I'm not kidding. Get out of the car.'"

See also: Bloody Ludlow -- Long Buried in Myth and Neglect, the Story of Colorado's Deadly Coal War Is Worth Remembering

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Denver Showed It Had the Light Stuff a Century Ago, With the First Christmas Tree

This has been a tough year for Colorado history, with the state marking the 150th anniversary of the Sand Creek Massacre on November 29 and the hundredth anniversary of the Ludlow Massacre back in April. But not all anniversaries are dark: A century ago, Denver was the first spot in the world to feature outdoor Christmas lights. Or so the story goes -- and this is just the time of year for prettily tied-up tales.

See also: Nativity Scene Protests Are a Denver Tradition -- Jesus, Mary and Joseph!

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Roan Plateau Compromise Hailed as "The Colorado Way"

Six years after the drill-baby-drill crusaders of the Bush administration targeted one of Colorado's most ecologically unique places for widespread energy leases, a surprisingly reasonable compromise has been hammered out over the fate of the Roan Plateau. The deal is being praised by state and federal officials as well as environmental and sportsmen groups -- and at least tolerated by oil-and-gas interests as a viable alternative to what had become a protracted and seemingly hopeless legal deadlock.

The lesson here? Fiats from Washington that fail to take into account community concerns about long-term economic and environmental impacts are bound to breed lawsuits and impasse. It takes some local buy-in to get to what Governor John Hickenlooper describes as "a productive path forward.... It really is the Colorado way."

See also: Roan Plateau Rethinking: Drilling Delay Prompts Pouting, Applause

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Transgender Day of Remembrance Event Aims to Stop the Violence

Categories: Politics

Courtesy of CAVP
Colorado Anti-Violence Program and TransAction are co-hosting the Colorado Transgender Day of Remembrance.
In June, Eleanor Dewey learned about the murder of Zoraida Reyes. For many, Reyes was a statistic, just another name on a growing list of transgender women killed in the United States -- at least eleven in 2014. But Dewey remembers Reyes as a friend, a fierce immigrant-rights organizer who had volunteered at the Denver-based organization Rights for All People and worked on the Undocuqueer campaign in California.

See also: Queer Undocumented Artist Julio Salgado Speaks Out

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Pinon Canyon: Army Slates Public Comment on Ramp-Up at Not-So-Public Time and Place

The PiƱon Canyon region contains one of the richest deposits of prehistoric sites in the West. Coming soon: Explosions.
After years of battling the Pentagon's plans to expand the 367-square-mile Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site, ranchers and other residents of southeastern Colorado thought they'd finally achieved peace with honor last fall, when a top Army official formally announced that the military was abandoning any land acquisition plans for PCMS. But the latest proposal for increased use of the site in training Fort Carson troops -- an intense ramp-up of operations, heavy on the use of electronic warfare technologies, lasers, explosives, drones, restrictions on public air space, and more -- doesn't strike the expansion opponents as too neighborly.

See also: Leaked Documents Show Army's Bold Plan to Acquire 10,000 Square Miles of Colorado

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