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Democratic National Convention 2008
Read all about the ACLU of Colorado's litigation and advocacy to protect civil rights and civil liberties before, during and after the Democratic National Convention (DNC) that was held in Denver on August 24-28, 2008.
Our efforts included litigation, advocacy, and public education regarding the first amendment rights to freedom of expression, the right to assemble, and the right to petition the government. The ACLU’s advocacy also focused on issues related to police practices and the treatment and processing of persons who might be arrested during the DNC.
- Acks v. City and County of Denver, Case No. 2009-CV-8007. Lawsuit against Denver for violating rights during DNC.
- ACLU v. LaCabe, Case No. 08-CV-4517, Denver District Court. Lawsuit under Colorado open records laws seeking an order that Denver disclose records related to budgeting for and purchase of police equipment intended for use at the DNC, such as “less lethal” weapons. Rocky Mt. News editorial sides w/ ACLU
- ACLU v. LaCabe, Case No. 08-CV-4231, Denver District Court. Lawsuit under Colorado open records laws seeking disclosure of policies and procedures for Denver’s city jail.
- ACLU v. City and County of Denver, Case No. 08-CV-00910, United States District Court, District of Colorado. Lawsuit filed against Denver and the United States Secret Service on behalf of twelve national and local advocacy organizations seeking to protect the First Amendment rights of individual and organizations that wish to express their views about issues of public concern during the time of DNC.
- Letter to Denver Office of the Independent Monitor, Feb. 5, 2009. Questions Denver’s decision to not open a formal investigation into the August 25, 2008, mass arrests. Also, read the Denver Post Article.
- Letter to Denver Office of the Independent Monitor, Nov. 6, 2008. Asks that the Internal Affairs investigation of Aug. 25 include the pepper spraying incident between uniformed and undercover officers. The exchange between the officers may have exacerbated following events, creating a more tense situation, instead of defusing the situation.
- Letter to Denver Office of the Independent Montior, Oct. 30, 2008. Asks for an Internal Affairs investigation into the conduct of Denver Police Officers during the mass detentions and arrests that took place on Aug. 25.
- Letter to Denver Director of Corrections and Manager of Safety, Aug. 27, 2008. Details concerns surrounding the mass arrests of protesters and bystanders that took place in downtown Devner on August 25.
- Letter to Denver Police Deputy Chief John Lamb, Aug. 25, 2008. Details concerns about obscured names and badge numbers on officers' uniforms.
- Letter to Denver Director of Corrections and Manager of Safety, Aug. 6, 2008. Inquires about the rights of detainees at the temporary detention facility for the DNC.
- Letter in response to Mayor Hickenlooper's "disappoinment" in the ACLU's three lawsuits, July of 2008.
- Letter to Denver County Court Judges Breese & Armatas, Apr. 28, 2008. Details potential risks to the health, safety, and constitutional rights of arrestees if mass custodial arrests overload the personnel and staffing infrastructure of the courts and the city jail during the DNC.
- Letter to Denver Deputy Chief Michael Battista & Mayoral Advisor Katherine Archuleta, Feb. 5, 2008. Asks City officials to disclose which normally public areas may be closed to the public during the Democratic Convention and explains the reasons why early disclosure is necessary.
- Denver Parks and Parade Permitting Ordinances. Months-long advocacy effort resulting in changes to Denver’s proposed revisions to its ordinances governing permits for assemblies in public parks and demonstrations on city streets
- Letter to Manager of Safety Al LaCabe, Denver Police Department Deputy Chief Michael Battista, and Mayoral Advisor Katherine Archuleta, October 23, 2007. Questioning whether Denver authorities are sufficiently prepared to respect the constitutional rights of protesters who may engage in peaceful civil disobedience during the DNC; urging the police department to reconsider its stated policy of making full custodial arrests for even minor protest-related violations; and asking the City to investigate why Sheriff’s deputies were unable to promptly release arrested Columbus Day protesters who had posted bail, and instead held them up to twelve additional hours.
- March 10, 2009: ACLU peace activist Alicia Forrest has all charges dismissed
- August 21, 2008: Rocky Mountain News: "ACLU objects to police memo"
- August 21, 2008: Denver Examiner: "ACLU counters police DNC protest alert"
- July 25, 2008: Rocky Mountain News Editorial criticizes Denver's lack of transparency on its security-related DNC spending
- July , 2008: Denver Post News Columnist Susan Greene: "Problems Piling Up For Mayor"
- May 2, 2008: New York Times article covering our press conference of the original lawsuit