Press Conference Today at 3:00 p.m. 1600 Stout Street, Suite 1000, Denver
Issued by Daniel Recht and David Beller, ACLU cooperating attorneys for Code Pink Protestor Alicia Forrest
This morning, the Denver City Attorney dismissed criminal charges against DNC peace activist and Code Pink member, Alicia Forrest.
Ms. Forrest was charged with interfering with a police officer after a video captured Denver Police Officer Scott Stewart violently strike Ms. Forrest with his baton and yell, “back it up bitch.”The arrest occurred after Ms. Forrest was helped off the ground and began telling members of the media what had occurred. She faced up to one year in jail if convicted of the offense.
If the First Amendment stands for anything, it stands for the right to peacefully protest without being bashed violently with a baton by a police officer.
There is video of the officer striking Ms. Forrest with his baton and knocking her to the ground: Rocky Mountain News has a video without the photographer’s commentary, and you can hear the officer yell “back it up bitch”. A YouTube video has commentary from the Rocky Mountain News photographer.
The City Attorney is to be applauded for evaluating this case in a reasonable and fair manner and concluding that the charges never should have been filed.
It is sadly ironic that a peace activist was the victim of violence at the hands of the Denver Police.
In protecting their own, the Denver District Attorney’s Office declined to file charges against the officer. Yet Ms. Forrest, who did absolutely nothing wrong, was subjected to arrest, detainment, and eight months of legal limbo. Fortunately, and despite the humiliation, her First Amendment rights stood strong against a thuggish police officer.
Everyone’s precious First Amendment rights were compromised when this 5’2” protestor, wearing a pink tiara with the word “peace” glittered on it, was beaten and arrested. The public should be outraged and offended by the actions of this police officer. Such police misconduct should never be tolerated.
Ms. Forrest is seriously considering a lawsuit, but a final decision has not been made.
About the ACLU of Colorado
The ACLU is a nationwide, non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to defending and preserving the principles of the Bill of Rights through litigation, advocacy and public education. The ACLU Foundation of Colorado works to protect the rights of all Coloradans.