Assemble in Denver Only Under Certain Conditions

by Todd Wiese toddw@theroc.org

A recent rally planned by End the Politics of Cruelty (EPOC) that was to take place in the Greek Amphitheater in City Park on October 22 was recently met with a slight roadblock. According to Denver City Park Policy, any group or organization that wishes to rally or march anywhere in the City parks must meet a few "conditions" before any assembly permits are issued. These conditions state that said groups are required not only to purchase a $1 million insurance policy in case of damages, but they are also required to pay for off-duty police officers to provide security. In addition to this, other regulations include the prohibition of soliciting donations, passing out flyers, and selling items with expressive or communicative messages (t-shirts and bumper stickers).

In light of this ridiculous affront to simple free speech in a public place, in August the Colorado office of the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a suit against the City of Denver and its repressive policies. The lawsuit cites "unconstitutional infringement upon the right of free expression". We all know that most groups, unless sponsored by multi-national corporations, don't have that kind of cash laying around just to assemble in a City park. Luckily, the City acted properly and decided not to enforce these particular conditions and allowed the rally to go on as scheduled.

The EPOC's main goal of the rally was to bring attention to the problem of police misconduct. The recent reports from Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International brought to light many cases of alleged police brutality and violations of international human rights laws by police departments throughout the country. Two such incidents in the report from Amnesty International cite police departments in Denver. AI's group #60 was also among the rally's participants.

Although the City of Denver's retreat on this issue was indeed a victory for EPOC and Free Speech in general, the matter has not yet been settled. The suspension of the special conditions by the city are merely temporary and can still be reinstated. The ACLU says that after the polices have been reviewed by the City at the end of the year and they STILL require organizations to shell out ridiculous amounts of capital just to speak their minds, then "they will have a fight on their hands" according to Mark Silverstein, ACLU's Legal Director.

Join the fight! Tell the City of Denver that they can't sell a person's right to free speech to them in the form of outrageously expensive insurance policies and silly regulations! The clauses that forbid taking donations through shirts or stickers are an obvious attempt to limit the fund-raising capabilities of activist groups, in order to limit the impact that they might have on public opinion. How does the City of Denver expect organizations to raise the funds to cover the costs associated with the permit, if they forbid donations from being solicited at the event? The purpose is to limit the ability to hold rallies to groups that are well financed, and we at ROC feel that is clearly unconstitutional. Please send letters opposing this policy to the following individuals (letters from Denver citizens will be especially helpful):

CONTACT:

Mayor Wellington E. Webb
1437 Bannock
Suite #350
Denver, CO 80202
PH: 303-640-2721
FAX: 303-640-2329
http://ci.denver.co.us/~mayorden/index.html
mayorden@infodenver.denver.co.us

DENVER CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS

City Council President 1998-1999
Council District #11:
ALLEGRA "HAPPY" HAYNES
Res.: 3031 Dexter St., 80207
(303) 399-3718
Dist Office: 4611 E. 23rd Ave., 80207
(303)331-3872 Fax: (303)331-3874
Admin. Asst: Anne Butler, Bennie Milliner

City Council President Pro-tem, District #6:
SUSAN CASEY
Res.: 792 S. Gilpin St., 80209
(303) 722-3060
Dist Office: 2324 E. Exposition, 80209
(303)871-0601 Fax: (303)698-4908
scasey@infodenver.denver.co.us
Admin. Asst: Rita B. Aragon, Nora Kimball
Chair: Safety and Personnel Committee

Council District #1:
DENNIS GALLAGHER
Res.: 5097 Meade Street, 80221
(303) 477-7089
Dist Office: C&C Bldg., Rm 451, 80202
(303)640-2172 Fax: (303)640-2636
Community Ofc.:4404 Lowell Blvd, 80211
(303)458-4792 Fax: (303)458-4791
dencc@infodenver.denver.co.us
Admin. Asst: Dawn Sulley, Lisa Ferriera

Council District #2:
T.J. "TED" HACKWORTH
Res.: 3955 W. Linvale Pl., 80236
(303) 934-8226
Dist Office: 3110 S. Wadsworth Blvd. Suite #304, 80227
(303)763-8562 Fax: (303)763-8564
Admin. Asst: Sue Mitchell
Chair: Finance and Government Committee

Council District #3:
RAMONA MARTINEZ
Res.: 202 Raleigh St., 80219
(303) 922-0509
Dist Office: 150 Sheridan Blvd Suite 220, 80226
(303)922-7755 Fax: (303)937-4651
Admin. Asst: Jo Ann Phillips, Bernadette Salazar
Chair: Human Services Committee

Council District #4:
JOYCE FOSTER
Res.: 3344 S. Niagara Way, 80224
(303) 759-1647
Dist Office: C&C Bldg., Rm 463, 80202
(303)640-8074 Fax: (303)640-3399
Admin. Asst: Sharon Elfenbein, Ken Smith
Chair: Intergovernmental Relations

Council District #5:
POLLY FLOBECK
Res.: 3 Ivy Lane, 80224
(303) 322-2091
Dist Office: 6825 E. Tennessee Ave. Bldg 1, #100, 80224
(303)370-8121 Fax: (303)370-8101
Admin. Asst: Jeanne Robb, Phil Workman

Council District #7:
WILLIAM "BILL" HIMMELMANN
Res.: 571 S. Emerson, 80209
(303) 778-6707
Dist Office: 1177 S. Huron St. 80223
(303)765-2231 Fax: (303)698-4982
bhimmelmann@infodenver.denver.co.us
Admin. Asst: Peggy Lehmann, Jeanne Winder

Council District #8:
HIAWATHA DAVIS, JR.
Dist Office: 3542 York St., 80205
(303)298-7641 Fax: (303)298-9716
Admin. Asst: Caletha Lampkins, Donna Stewart
Chair: Public Works and Amenities Committee

Council District #9:
DEBORAH L. "DEBBIE" ORTEGA
Dist Office: 2511 17th ST. 80211
(303)458-8960 Fax: (303)458-4789
dortega@infodenver.denver.co.us
Admin. Asst: Jeff Dorschner, Rose Aguirre

Council District #10:
EDWARD P. THOMAS
Dist Office: 3570 E. 12th Avenue, 80206
(303)377-1807 Fax: (303)377-1902
ethomas@infodenver.denver.co.us
Admin. Asst: Kathi Anderson, Adrienna diAmico

Councilmember at Large:
SUSAN BARNES-GELT
Res.: 700 Franklin, 80218
(303) 321-7141
Dist Office: C&C Bldg., Rm 451, 80202
(303)640-2888 Fax: (303)640-2636
Admin. Asst: Alana Smart, Jan Folsom
Chair: Land Use Committee

Councilmember at Large:
CATHY REYNOLDS
Res.: 1606 Locust St., 80220
(303) 399-8392
Dist Office: C&C Bldg., Rm 451, 80202
(303)640-3613 Fax: (303)640-2636
creynolds@infodenver.denver.co.us
Admin. Asst: Geri Castellano, Mitzie Martinez

Manager Of Denver Parks & Recreation:
MS. B.J. BROOKS
Department of Parks & Recreation
2300 15th St.
Denver, CO 80202
PH: 303-964-2500

Also contact the following and show your support:

ACLU of Colorado
James Jay, Executive Director
400 Corona St.
Denver, CO 80218
PH: 303-777-5482

To learn more about the struggle for Human Rights and the recent reports from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, contact the following:

Amnesty International:
322 8th Ave.
New York, NY 10001
PH: 212-807-8400
FAX: 212-463-9193 / 627-1451
http://www.amnesty.org
admin-us@aiusa.org

Human Rights Watch
350 Fifth Ave.
34th fl.
New York, NY 10118-3299
PH: 212-290-4700
FAX: 212-736-1300
http://www.hrw.org
hrwnyc@hrw.org

Source: ACLU: http://www.aclu.org

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