$2 Million for Activists a Wakeup Call for Denver
August 20, 2008


For immediate release, August 20, 2008

Contact: Rob Savoye, Colorado Legal Eagles

$2 Million Settlement for Activists a Wakeup Call for Denver

{Denver, CO}– On Tuesday, the city of New York agreed to pay $2 million to settle a lawsuit brought by 52 antiwar activists who were illegally arrested during a peaceful demonstration against the Iraq War in April 2003 in Midtown Manhattan. The activists were protesting the U.S. invasion of Iraq outside the offices of the Carlyle Group, a military contractor. The police conducted a mass arrest, where they encircled the crowd and arrested everybody at the demonstration. Of the 52 people arrested, charges against 50 were dismissed and two were tried and acquitted.

In addition to the $2 million settlement, the city of New York has spent tens of thousands of dollars on attorney's fees and investigations, as they tried to drag the lawsuit out as long as possible. According to the Center for Constitutional Rights, which helped represent the protesters, NYPD officials are now consulting with police departments in Denver and Minneapolis on their plans for the 2008 Democratic and Republican

Colorado Legal Eagles, a local civil rights group, hope that the city of Denver will learn from New York's mistakes and try better to protect protesters' First Amendment rights.

Colorado Legal Eagles have been calling for zero tolerance for poorly-trained and rogue federal law enforcement officers who will be providing security at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Denver.
Based on incidents in July in Wyoming, which showed federal agents opening fire into crowds of women and children without warning, the Legal Eagles believe that similar incidents may occur at the DNC. The incident was documented in several videos and photos:

"The police need to learn that they can't do these things with impunity," says Rob Savoye, Colorado Legal Eagles. "Peace activists will be coming to the DNC to be peaceful. They just want to exercise their First Amendment rights."

Savoye continues, "It only takes one officer that is out of control to cause an incident, so we really hope the police can police themselves."

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