They could not, and will never, take us all.

17 Jul

Fists and hearts burn in the streets as Denver marks the one year anniversary of the murder of Marvin Booker.

Saturday, July 9th marked the year anniversary of the murder of Marvin Booker, a homeless street preacher booked on minor charges and killed by Denver Sheriff’s Deputies for attempting to retrieve his shoes. A fifth round of demonstrations was called for by West Denver CopWatch to mark the anniversary amidst a backdrop of local repression against the burgeoning anti-police movement.

 In May, a demonstration ended with the flashing and banging of a firework during the rowdy crowd’s dispersal. Police arrested a twenty year old woman and charged her with two counts of attempted murder of a police officer and a slew of other charges. The Denver Anarchist Black Cross, a revolutionary legal support organization operating in the area for a few years now, mobilized court support and other actions demanding her release without charges. The attempted murder charges and most others were dropped, but she is still fighting felony possession of an explosive and misdemeanor resisting arrest charges.

 With this in mind, more than 150  demonstrators converged around the Denver skate park shortly before noon on the 9th. Like many recent mobilizations against the police, cops were waiting to flank participants and keep a tight reign on the event. An officer approaching the crowd was rebuked by several people when he condescendingly offered “help.” After a short speech by a member of West Denver CopWatch, the march took Little Raven St. to make its way to the Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center where Booker was killed. Ideally, the march was to swell a rally held by the ACLU and Marvin Booker’s family set to take place once the demonstration arrived.

 Fleets of police on bicycles as well as two squad cars and two police vans trailed the march from its onset. Loudly chanting slogans that have quickly become standards for the roaming crowds confronting cops over the last year, some officers reacted to “Oink, oink, bang, bang, every day’s the same old thing” with smiles while others were visibly upset by “from Denver to Greece, fuck the police!” and spirited cries of Marvin Booker’s name.

 As has been the precedent for the last three demonstrations, protesters hung stickers of Marvin’s likeness and gave out fliers to passerby. Approaching a pedestrian bridge that leads to the commercial center of the city and the arena of many other confrontations with law enforcement, cops were en masse picking up their bikes and hustling up the stairs. Smart people in the crowd took advantage of this and rerouted the march towards 15th Street, while the demonstration loudly began laughing at the police waiting at the top of the bridge.

 15th Street was quickly shut down by the crowd, who used an overpass to amplify chants, drums and general shouts and taunts towards the police in tow. Stickers hit construction equipment and a few people began throwing construction barrels into the road to block police. Hanging a left towards the 1100 block of 16th, the march made its way towards the gawking shoppers on the 16th Street Mall, the commercial center of downtown Denver. Greeted with raised fists and applause towards protesters, many police officers were looking overheated and demoralized.

 As the demonstration approached Lawrence St., two cops jumped off of their bikes and tackled a demonstrator to the ground after chasing him through the crowd. A scuffle broke out as folks from the march moved in to attempt to unarrest the comrade. Shoving, punching, and pushing erupted as police hurried to defend the officers making the arrest.

 More police quickly arrived to back them up and seal off the irate protesters responding to the arrest. Another scuffle broke out, and shortly thereafter, black clad march participants linked arms and began berating the cops. Screams and challenges to fistfights met the police, as did debris thrown towards the line of police. One cop was observed taking his gun (not taser) out of its holster and the crowd grew visibly angrier, chanting “let him go!” and screaming about the officer with a gun. As the police led the arrested protester back to the van in handcuffs, the police attempted to regroup themselves as a tactical decision was made by he crowd to keep marching.

 Within minutes of the initial confrontation a sticker was plastered on the windshield of an unoccupied police motorcycle and the police attempted to grab a demonstrator they accused of the action. March participants rushed to the defense of the comrade. Another masked demonstrator wrapped their arms around the protester and police surrounded the duo. Fistfights and shoving matches between officers and other demonstrators broke out, and in the end of the fracas two more protesters were in handcuffs and a few police were observed limping and wiping blood from their lips. Many police were wielding pepperspray and tasers, ready to attempt to subdue the scuffling protesters, though these weapons were not used.

 After the two arrestees were led to the van, the march continued up 16th Street. After realizing that the police have criminalized the act of putting up stickers to justify a violent crackdown on the march, aggressive protesters looking to defy the arrests and the authority of the police continued slapping the stickers on every surface that was available. Several hundred fliers were passed out, and dozens of stickers littered the downtown area.

 The march weaved its way to the jail, as Marvin Booker’s name echoed off the walls of the jail. The marching crowd was warmly welcomed by the waiting rally participants.  Several speeches were made and police brutality victim Alex Landau, who was just awarded more than $700,000 in settlement money, performed an anti-police rap to the crowd. Many participants at the rally were in the streets to march and confront the cops and the rally is pegged at up to 300 people by media estimates.

 Members of Marvin Booker’s family spoke and red, black, and green balloons were released into the air to commemorate the anniversary. The family also contributed to the growing bail fund for the recently arrested protesters, as did several members of the ACLU.

 Thanks to the legal support infrastructure of the Denver Anarchist Black Cross, it was learned that the first person arrested was a minor and released with a citation for defacing property with a sticker. The two other arrestees spent eight hours in custody before nearly $700 was raised for their release. Both were released before the night was over. Both face defacement of private or public property and will be arraigned on August 9th. Court support is being organized by DABC. For legal updates, please check denverabc.wordpress.com. Updates on these three arrests and Amelia Nicol’s case, will be posted as they become available.

 Once again, and not surprisingly, the media was mute on this action. Other than the local entertainment weekly Westword, which took pictures and featured a small write up, a CBS affiliate that had a small report on the rally, and the Colorado Independent, which reported on the rally, media blacked this demonstration out just as they have the last three marches.

 The local anti-police movement is undeterred by the arrests of its comrades and the heavy handed tactics of the police. Despite the three arrests, the movement has shown that it can defend itself in the streets and in the courtroom. There would have been many more arrests if the crowd hadn’t fought back the way it did, and the arrests that were made did not come easy to the police. With the city’s case closed on Marvin Booker’s death, the slogan has moved from “Justice for Marvin Booker” to “Avenge Marvin Booker.” The movement in Denver is making good on the promise of ‘No Justice, No Peace,’ and it is unlikely that repression will stop these demonstrations or similar anti-police activity.

 Video:

http://youtu.be/GywEkQLxhT0

http://youtu.be/PKf3SzxwBeQ

 Photos:

http://www.westword.com/slideshow/march-for-marvin-booker-who-died-in-police-custody-33735287/

 News, info, and updates:

Westdenvercopwatch.wordpress.com

Denverabc.wordpress.com

Queencityantifa.wordpress.com

Colorado.indymedia.org

Denverclasswar.wordpress.com (coming soon!)

New Zine on Anti-Cop Activity in Denver

30 May

Local Denver distro P&L Press published a nice zine collecting a lot of writings on anti-police activity in the city over the last year (including some issued through QCAF) and you can check it out here.

Update on May 6th Demonstration Prisoner Amelia Nicol

28 May

from the Denver Anarchist Black Cross:

Update on Amelia Nicol
Prisoner from Anti-Police Terror March
Denver, CO

Amelia Nicol had her first court date on Monday May 16th in Denver County Court. At this court date, her lawyer made a formal appearance. Amelia declined to have her charges publicly read in court. But as of the date of this writing, the charges she is being held under continue to include several major felonies, including two counts of attempted murder of a police officer, a single count of possession of an explosive device, a single count of arson, and criminal destruction of property.

The judge declined a any hearing on reducing her bond, instead scheduling bond arguments for June 9. Her bond remains at $50,000.

Denver Anarchist Black Cross has been in contact with Amelia. She has made it clear that she does not want to be bonded out, that she does not want the state or any associated body to profit from her imprisonment. She has but one clear demand: her immediate release without charge.

She has asked that any money being collected for support be directed to Denver ABC to help pay for phone calls and sending her stamps, envelopes, and paper. She does not want any more money placed in her commissary as she does not want to purchase any items from the jail. She does not want any more money being given to those that now hold her in a cage.

In the coming weeks leading up to her next court date, Denver ABC will be organizing a massive letter writing and phone call campaign directed at the Denver District Attorney, demanding that Amelia’s charges be immediately dropped.

Here are some concrete ways you can support Amelia and also support the ongoing struggle against police terror in Denver:

1) Write to Amelia! Send her letters, cards, photos, jokes, stories, etc…
Letters may be addressed to:
Amelia Nicole CD# 0000762401
Denver County Jail
PO Box 1108
Denver, CO 80201
Please see mail regulations here, and note that Denver ABC has already sent a package of envelopes, paper, and stamps. http://www.denvergov.org/Portals/327/documents/ALLOWABLE%20MAIL%20ITEMS.pdf

2) Write a letter to Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey and demand that the charges against Amelia be dropped immediately!
Denver DA Mitch Morrissey
201 W. Colfax #801
Denver, CO 80202
Or call him at: 720-913-9000

3) Donate to Amelia’s phone fund.
Send checks or money orders made out to P&L Printing to:
Denver ABC
2727 W. 27th Ave Unit D
Denver, CO 80211

4) Keep checking the Denver ABC blog at denverabc.wordpress.com for updates, or follow us at twitter, through our user name, DenverABC.

Case Background

On Friday May 6th, over one hundred people, mostly young, poor, and angry, took to the streets in defiance of the Denver Police Department. They participated in a march, called to confront “police terror” in the Denver Metro area. Specifically, they marched to remember the deaths of Marvin Booker and Oleg Gidenko, two people murdered by area police departments in the last year.

As the the march ended, a small firework was set off in the street. Police used this act as a justification to chase one alleged participant down an alley, where she was tackled and beaten by police. This person would later be identified as Amelia Nicol, a 20 year old Colorado resident. She now faces outlandish charges including attempted murder.

We call on all people to support Amelia as she fights these attempts at intimidation and repression, and the police’s broader attack on social movements in Denver.

Marvin Booker, a homeless street preacher, died at the hands of five sheriff’s deputies in the Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center in downtown Denver on July 9, 2010. He was tackled, beaten, placed into chokeholds, tazed, and kicked. He eventually succumbed to the officers’ brutal attack. He was murdered for refusing to leave his shoes in the booking area of the jail.

Oleg Gidenko was shot in the head by Aurora Police Officers. Oleg was in a truck with several friends. They had been hanging out, allegedly drinking in the truck while it was parked in a lonely industrial park in Aurora. Aurora Police Officers approached the truck, armed, supposedly because they suspected the occupants of breaking into cars in the area. As the police aimed their weapons at the truck, one officer shot Oleg in the head. Another occupant, Yevgeniy Straystar. was also shot, but would survive. With two occupants, including the driver, shot and a passenger trying to hide on the floor of the truck as it took repeated fire from police officers, the truck lurched forward, bumping into one of the officers. This action, though it took place after the firing had started, and after Oleg was dead, was used as the justification for the shooting.

Many other high profile cases of police terror have been documented in the metro area over the last year, including the beating of whole families, rape and child molestation, and mishandling of evidence. Few, if any, officers are ever punished.

On May 6th, the fourth in a series of marches was held to show direct opposition to the police terror plaguing the metro area. For several hours the crowd snaked through downtown and the arts district. The police response to this fourth march was much heavier than previous marches, and riot police flanked the march for a good portion of the route. Despite the heavy police presence and attempts at intimidation, Amelia would end up being the only arrest during the march.

On Thursday May 12th, news agencies across the metro area reported that Amelia would be charged with a host of felonies and misdemeanors, including two counts of attempted murder of a police officer, criminal arson, possession and use of explosives, and inciting a riot. Police alleged she threw the firework, only now in the news reports the firework had become a “molotov cocktail”, or in some news reports, an “improvised explosive.” The small green firework now became a dangerous implement of attempted murder of two police officers. Amelia is now confined to a jail cell in the Denver County Jail, held on a $50,000 bond.

Just days previous, on Monday May 9th, Denver Mayor Guillermo Vidal announced that the deputies implicated in the death of Marvin Booker would face no discipline for their use of force. This announcement came after months of public outcry in response to a September 2010 decision by District Attorney Mitch Morrissey to not file any criminal charges in response to Marvin’s murder.

The charges now being filed against Amelia are a slap in the face to every person that struggles for justice. The City of Denver has made it clear that the life of a black street preacher is worth less than the relative comfort of several police officers that may have been scared by a small firework. Murderers with badges receive no criminal charges, while a young woman who allegedly attended a protest to hold those officers accountable now faces over 90 years in prison.

We must rally to support Amelia! The Denver Anarchist Black Cross calls on all justice and freedom loving people to mobilize for the defense of Amelia in the face of these atrocious criminal charges.

According to the formal charging document in Amelia Nicol’s case, these are the current charges against her:

– Two counts of attemped murder (Felony 2)
– Use of explosives (Felony 2)
– Possession of explosives (Felony 4)
– Second-degree arson (Felony 4)
– Criminal mischief (Felony 4)
– Inciting a riot (Felony 5)
– Two counts of attemped third-degree assault (Misdeamenor 2)
– Resisting arrest (Misdeamenor 2)

Support Info for Amelia Nicol (May 6th Arrestee)

16 May

from the Denver Anarchist Black Cross:

Support resistance to police terror!
Support Amelia Nicol!

On Friday May 6th, over one hundred people, mostly young, poor, and angry, took to the streets in defiance of the Denver Police Department. They participated in a march, called to confront “police terror” in the Denver Metro area. Specifically, they marched to remember the deaths of Marvin Booker and Oleg Gidenko, two people murdered by area police departments in the last year.

As the the march ended, a small firework was set off in the street. Police used this act as a justification to chase one alleged participant down an alley, where she was tackled and beaten by police. This person would later be identified as Amelia Nicol, a 20 year old Colorado resident. She now faces outlandish charges including attempted murder.

We call on all people to support Amelia as she fights these attempts at intimidation and repression, and the police’s broader attack on social movements in Denver.

Background
Marvin Booker, a homeless street preacher, died at the hands of five sheriff’s deputies in the Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center in downtown Denver on July 9, 2010. He was tackled, beaten, placed into chokeholds, tazed, and kicked. He eventually succumbed to the officers’ brutal attack. He was murdered for refusing to leave his shoes in the booking area of the jail.

Oleg Gidenko was shot in the head by Aurora Police Officers. Oleg was in a truck with several friends. They had been hanging out, allegedly drinking in the truck while it was parked in a lonely industrial park in Aurora. Aurora Police Officers approached the truck, armed, supposedly because they suspected the occupants of breaking into cars in the area. As the police aimed their weapons at the truck, one officer shot Oleg in the head. Another occupant, Yevgeniy Straystar. was also shot, but would survive. With two occupants, including the driver, shot and a passenger trying to hide on the floor of the truck as it took repeated fire from police officers, the truck lurched forward, bumping into one of the officers. This action, though it took place after the firing had started, and after Oleg was dead, was used as the justification for the shooting.

Many other high profile cases of police terror have been documented in the metro area over the last year, including the beating of whole families, rape and child molestation, and mishandling of evidence. Few, if any, officers are ever punished.

On May 6th, the fourth in a series of marches was held to show direct opposition to the police terror plaguing the metro area. For several hours the crowd snaked through downtown and the arts district. The police response to this fourth march was much heavier than previous marches, and riot police flanked the march for a good portion of the route. Despite the heavy police presence and attempts at intimidation, Amelia would end up being the only arrest during the march.

On Thursday May 12th, news agencies across the metro area reported that Amelia would be charged with a host of felonies and misdemeanors, including two counts of attempted murder of a police officer, criminal arson, possession and use of explosives, and inciting a riot. Police alleged she threw the firework, only now in the news reports the firework had become a “molotov cocktail”, or in some news reports, an “improvised explosive.” The small green firework now became a dangerous implement of attempted murder of two police officers. Amelia is now confined to a jail cell in the Denver County Jail, held on a $50,000 bond.

Just days previous, on Monday May 9th, Denver Mayor Guillermo Vidal announced that the deputies implicated in the death of Marvin Booker would face no discipline for their use of force. This announcement came after months of public outcry in response to a September 2010 decision by District Attorney Mitch Morrissey to not file any criminal charges in response to Marvin’s murder.

The charges now being filed against Amelia are a slap in the face to every person that struggles for justice. The City of Denver has made it clear that the life of a black street preacher is worth less than the relative comfort of several police officers that may have been scared by a small firework. Murderers with badges receive no criminal charges, while a young woman who allegedly attended a protest to hold those officers accountable now faces over 90 years in prison.

We must rally to support Amelia! The Denver Anarchist Black Cross calls on all justice and freedom loving people to mobilize for the defense of Amelia in the face of these atrocious criminal charges!

There are many ways to show support:

1)Attend Amelia’s public hearing on Monday May 16th at 9:30 am in Courtroom 2100 of the Denver County Courthouse at 490 West Colfax in downtown Denver.
2)Donate to Amelia’s legal defense. Denver ABC will be accepting donations on behalf of Amelia’s family and friends. You can mail donations to Denver ABC, 2727 W. 27th Ave Unit D, Denver CO 80211. Checks should be made payable to P&L Printing. A paypal account where donations can be made is available through the username plpress@riseup.net
3)Sign up for updates on Denver ABC’s twitter account. Our username is DenverABC.
4)Send a letter to the Denver DA demanding that the charges against Amelia be immediately dropped. All letters or postcards can be mailed to: Denver DA Mitch Morrissey, 201 W. Colfax Ave #801, Denver CO 80202-5328
5)Keep checking the Denver ABC blog at denverabc.wordpress.com for all news, announcements, and other ways to show support for Amelia and other political prisoners.

We must clearly view these charges as an attack on our movement as a whole. Amelia’s fate determines the fate of our social movements active across the metro area, and even the rest of this country and the world. This type of repressive act, if successful, will only work to embolden and strengthen a police force that has openly been waging a war of brutal terror against the people of the Denver metro area. If they can put Amelia in prison for what would amount to the rest of her life for attending a demonstration, then any of us who organize for justice and against oppression could be next.

If you have any questions, offers of support or resources, or want to get involved with the support work, please contact us at denverabc@rocketmail.com

Until Amelia is free, and all cages are emptied!

Denver Anarchist Black Cross
May 15, 2011

Burying the hatchet to defend against the gun

13 May

In light of the recent and atrocious attack that has been leveled against our movement by the Denver Police Department, the authors of Queen City Antifa’s “Even with our backs against the wall” communique would like to offer some thoughts in an effort to move forward and be able to create a united defense against the police and their attacks.

In our previous communique, we raised critiques that we feel are still valid regarding ideas of solidarity and action. In response, various discussions, articles, and responses have circulated around the internet. The discussions that have come out of this have at times been helpful, and at others been harmful. But overall, the critiques, analysis, and discussions have started to bring to the surface many important ideas and dialogues that have not seen much light before this time.

Understanding that debate, criticism, and challenges are all important parts of an effective social movement praxis, QCAF would like to take this time to “bury the hatchet” of the internal divisons that have been a topic of discussion for the last week. Let’s be honest. Though we still stand by our critiques, our methods were not the best. We accept responsibility for an irresponsible method of communication. We were wrong to have publicly aired the frustrations the way we did. Whatever feelings we were processing, publicly announcing those frustrations in the way we did created even more animosity and distrust. We helped widen a schism that we feel has formed within our movement. We acted “holier than thou”. We pretended to have all the answers, when in fact, we definitely do not. We ended up erasing the important work and contributions to struggle that have been forth by comrades that we cherish and respect a lot. We came off as smug assholes.

So yeah. We fucked up with the way we addressed the wider Denver based movement(s) that exist. No matter how strongly we may feel about certain critiques, our methodology did nothing to actually solve the issues we were hoping to address.

We say this in an attempt to move forward and directly address the very serious attack that has been leveled against us today by the Denver Police Department and Denver District Attorney Mitchell Morissey.

Today, Thursday, May 12th , the Denver District Attorney announced formal charges against Amelia Nicol, an alleged participant in the May 6th March Against Police Terror, that include two charges of Attempted Murder of a Law Enforcement Officer. She is currently facing 90 years in prison for allegedly throwing “an improvised explosive” at police officers during the end of the march on Friday night with the intent to kill them.

The truth of the matter is that no one who was present at that march saw “an improvised explosive” or as some media outlets have reported, “a molotov cocktail”. At the end of the march some participants witnessed a small firework explode in the street as the march was dispersing. Later, someone alleged to have participated in the march was tackled and arrested in a downtown alley. That person has been identified as Amelia Nicol.

These charges are a clear attack not only against Amelia, but against the growing movements that have been challenging police terror in Denver, and to all people who are struggling against oppression and state sponsored terrorism. If we allow the DA to peg these charges against Amelia, if we allow the local capitalist media to paint a completely and alarmingly false picture of what happened that night, these same tactics can and will be used against anyone that struggles for freedom in Denver.

QCAF openly calls for all people active within local liberatory social movements to set aside our differences and come together to defend Amelia and our movement against these attacks. As the old IWW motto goes “An injury to one is an injury to all.” This attack must be treated as an attack against every single one of us.

No matter what our differences, as members and participants of liberatory social movements of all stripes, we are not enemies. The enemies are those in power that would use police and the prison industrial complex to intimidate those of us struggling for freedom.

Our differences are real. And they are important to discuss. And we must keep the discussion and dialogue alive. But attacking each other, trying to appear better than each other, and all other tactics that weaken our movement must stop. Our enemies are taking advantage of this situation, and we must respond, in a united effort.

In closing, we ask that no matter what hard feelings you may harbor toward QCAF, that you do not let these feelings affect the much needed support for Amelia and the struggle against these charges. Our support work must be principled. Our personal grudges should not weaken and threaten those of us that are vulnerable and under attack by the state and other repressive forces. Even if you do not want to support QCAF, please support Ameila and our joint struggle against this repression.

Our comrades at Denver ABC will most likely be offering updates on supporting Amelia. We in QCAF ask that we all do everything in our collective power to support her and repel this attack. We look forward to working with you and burying the hatchet to defend against the state’s guns.

In defense, solidarity, and mutual respect,

QCAF

Person Arrested at May 6th March Facing Serious Charges

12 May

The identity of the person arrested at the protest last week has been released and they are facing extremely ugly charges. Here is corporate news identifying them as Amelia Nicol, 20, and they are faced with two counts of attempted murder, use of explosives, possession of explosives, second-degree arson, criminal mischief, inciting a riot, two counts of attempted third-degree assault and resisting arrest.

More information on support coming soon.

Info on gathering tonight

9 May

The text being sent out right now has these details:

“Mayor announces no discipline for cops who murdered Marvin Booker. Converge on the jail tonight at 6pm. Bring signs, banners, friends and rage. Forward widely!”

You know what to do. In the meantime go read our report on last Friday’s action here. The picture left is demonstrators redecorating the front windows of the jail with stickers featuring Marvin Booker.