Denver to House Mass Arrestees in Cages in Warehouse

Welcome to Gitmo of the Rockies, or as Denver locals are calling it, Gitmo on the Platte (for the nearby Platte River.)

Denver's CBS4 News reporter Rick Salinger scores an exclusive on Denver's plans for arrested protesters in the event of mass arrests -- as proof, he and his camera people got inside and shot this video before being asked to leave.

The facility is a city owned warehouse.

Inside are dozens are metal cages. They are made out of chain link fence material and topped by rolls of barbed wire.

"This is a secured environment," Capt. Frank Gale of the Denver Sheriff's Department told CBS4. "We're concerned about how that's going to be utilized by people who will be potentially disruptive."


Each of the fenced areas is about 5 yards by 5 yards and there is a lock on the door. A sign on the wall reads "Warning! Electric stun devices used in this facility."

Denver is expected to make an announcement about the facility next week. The ACLU of Colorado has concerns now:

The American Civil Liberties Union says it will ask the City of Denver how prisoners will get access to food and water, bathrooms, telephones, plus medical care, and if there will be a place to meet with attorneys.

As I wrote on 5280 yesterday, Denver courts will be open during the convention, " with lighter dockets to handle convention-related matter."

This is reminiscent of Manhattan's Pier 57 dubbed Guantanamo on the Hudson, during the 2004 Republican convention. It was a fiasco that ended with a judge ordering the release of 470 protesters or face fines of $1,000. per prisoner per day. Here's one detained protester's story. More details of the grimy conditions are in this AP article.

Will Denver make the same mistakes? Hopefully not, but Salinger's discovery is not promising news. There are ways to avoid this, I recapped several from the ACLU report on Pier 57 here.

On a related note, here are my pictures of the Fleet Center in Boston when the Swat Team came out to play.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Lovely..... (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by kdog on Wed Aug 13, 2008 at 01:09:20 PM EST
    I was thinking one of the stooges running for pres. should seize the opportunity to denounce this type of authoritarian embarassment.

    Then I remembered your average American voter doesn't give a rat's arse about liberty.

    Jeralyn, are you available (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Ben Masel on Wed Aug 13, 2008 at 01:16:17 PM EST
    for a Habeus action?

    Bathrooms (5.00 / 4) (#3)
    by waldenpond on Wed Aug 13, 2008 at 01:16:39 PM EST
    were the first thing I thought of.  There is no way a storage warehouse is equipped to be used as an animal warehouse.    The barbed wire was a nice touch.  I followed the links and didn't see the photos of the Repub facility.  Is barbed wire the standard?

    If the local jails are full, won't a small demonstration be defined as 'mass' as their current facilities are full?  Sorry, but asking these questions makes me view my country as mock worthy.

    2000 Philadelphia (none / 0) (#12)
    by Ben Masel on Wed Aug 13, 2008 at 02:05:03 PM EST
    they re-opened the ancient Haverford prison to hold RNC protesters.

    Other than that and 2004 GOP, we've always been detained in the regular lockups, but there've never been more than a couple hundred held.


    Me too! (none / 0) (#30)
    by splashy on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 03:14:58 AM EST
    I'm thinking about the older people that may have problems that would be made worse by holding them like this. I assume that most of those that will be arrested are likely to be Clinton supporters, but I may be wrong.

    Thanks, Dems (5.00 / 8) (#4)
    by Athena on Wed Aug 13, 2008 at 01:24:08 PM EST
    Chains We Can Believe In.

    Aren't there minimum standards (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by nycstray on Wed Aug 13, 2008 at 01:29:25 PM EST
    that have to be met? And are there any time frame limits as to how long they can keep you in sub-par conditions?

    Usually (5.00 / 0) (#7)
    by CoralGables on Wed Aug 13, 2008 at 01:48:58 PM EST
    until they go before a judge the following morning which has been the standard method to shutdown problems for sometime in most large cities. Charges are usually dropped, or the suspect is released on their own recognizance or minimal bail the next morning. Unless something worse than disturbing the peace or trespassing, the plan is generally just to get them off the street until events are over for the day.

    Past Conventions (none / 0) (#10)
    by Ben Masel on Wed Aug 13, 2008 at 01:57:49 PM EST
    we've been held until all the Delegates and national press had gone home, with either charges dropped, or minimal fines.

    Do they have "care" requirements? (none / 0) (#17)
    by nycstray on Wed Aug 13, 2008 at 02:43:08 PM EST
    Like how many to a hold area, bed/blanket? chair? food? water? facilities? Anything under "humane" treatment requirements?

    ACLU is concerned-I'm concerned (5.00 / 3) (#6)
    by BarnBabe on Wed Aug 13, 2008 at 01:41:17 PM EST
    The ACLU of Colorado has concerns now
    Putting people in dog pens with barbed wire sounds barbaric to me. I assume more than one per pen. This is not right. I hope there are a lot of video cameras there.

    If it were a dog pen, it would have (none / 0) (#18)
    by nycstray on Wed Aug 13, 2008 at 02:45:17 PM EST
    food and water. Required under humane laws. Not sure about the bed part, but we generally try and give them a soft spot here :)

    Yes, and a place to eliminate (none / 0) (#31)
    by splashy on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 03:17:24 AM EST
    Waste. What are they going to do with people that need to use the restroom? All that tension is bound to cause problems.

    I wouldn't last long in a place like that.


    Nice (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Aug 13, 2008 at 01:57:22 PM EST
    And the more you tell people they are going to shut up or else the louder and more physically pressing forward they get.  Let the people speak and just F-ing deal with it.  Come on DNC and friends......this is getting ridiculous as all get out!  Nobody is saying that anyone should be allowed to harm anyone else but being inconvenienced is NOT being harmed and if the people involved in this little Denver get together really think they are going to have problems this big why aren't they addressing WHY they could be about to have problems THIS BIG and remember that we live in a frickin democracy until they demonstrate to us like Bush and friends have that we don't?

    Nothing indicates the Party is behind this, BUT (5.00 / 0) (#11)
    by Ben Masel on Wed Aug 13, 2008 at 02:00:38 PM EST
    letting the City/County make the calls has the potential to be a huge political embarassment.

    While 1968's the more famous example, the Police riot in LA 2000 was a non-trivial driver of the Nader vote.


    It could be very politically destructive (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Aug 13, 2008 at 02:08:27 PM EST
    if someone makes a call in that they are being "inconvenienced" and people end up locked up here in mass arrests. I don't believe for a minute though that the DNC hasn't been reassured as to how the Denver police can handle a "situation" if one arises.  Somebody has been feeding the machine to over amp the "horror" of the protests too........I wonder who is behind that?  Local businesses nearby have been sort of overly freaking out.  Making protesters feel threatened will lead to threatening protesters.....been there, done that.  Protesters only want to be seen and heard....given that much relevancy.  They show up and do so because they believe that by being there and speaking their truth they enable others who feel the way they do to be empowered to speak their truth too and in the end the power shifts.  So I'm holding the party partially responsible for this RIGHT NOW and would really like to know who is behind and programming all this FREAK OUT.

    FBI's been pumping the St. Paul cops (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Ben Masel on Wed Aug 13, 2008 at 02:16:29 PM EST
    with fictions about protesters planning to bombard them with sacks of excrement.

    Any riots, if they can instigate them, would protect the Bureau from budget cuts and oversight in an Obama administration.

    When we had the National Conference pof Mayors here in 2002, the FBI played the same fear game with the locals, complete with Excrement tossing. They screwed up by adding a fiction about hijackig of City busses at the previous Mayors' Conf, prompting Madison Metro to institute silly rules for drivers. I got the memo leaked, passed it to the Capital Tyimes, who factchecked that there had been no busjackings, and, in fact, only one tiny housing protest at the previous Mayors' get-together.

    At that point, realizing they were being played by the Feds, the Police Union broke with the Chief, and supported my permit application  for a stage in front of the Convention Center,


    St. Paul (none / 0) (#29)
    by reslez on Thu Aug 14, 2008 at 12:26:52 PM EST
    I am not a govt employee but I can confirm the Feds are spreading the most vile rumors imaginable about the St. Paul protesters. I have no idea what evidence they have--if any. The clear intent is to scare the cops and paramedics, who will end up taking a more aggressive posture.

    Not going to look to good (5.00 / 5) (#20)
    by nycstray on Wed Aug 13, 2008 at 02:46:46 PM EST
    when they round up all those women. . . .

    maybe the protest should consist of (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by Jen M on Wed Aug 13, 2008 at 03:01:29 PM EST
    convincing as many people as is humanly possible to leave the city.

    See how the businesses like that.

    Infuriating, disgraceful, but no surprise (5.00 / 5) (#23)
    by Dadler on Wed Aug 13, 2008 at 03:20:11 PM EST
    Political dissent no longer really occurs in the U.S., merely mild disagreements over how to drown out any real opposition.  Sickening to think that this is what we've become.  What ever happened to the notion that standing on the streetcorner denoucning your gov't loudly and harshly is as American as you get.  We've become fat, lazy, stupid, apathetic, you name the perjorative.  And toast is what we are.  Gone.

    Cages with razor wire for arrested protesters.  Meanwhile, a rapist will get a room with a toilet in it.  We have destroyed something we will never get back, and not merely because of these cages.  Let's remember, people were arrested last campaign season for merely showing up at a rally with t-shirts that some people didn't like.


    We.  Are.  Doomed.

    I'll be out with a huge banner, (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Ben Masel on Wed Aug 13, 2008 at 03:52:49 PM EST

    Not a protest against the Convention, nor Obama.

    This is a test of the Emergency Free Speech System. This is only a test. If this had been an actual emergency, I'd already be locked up.

    Sun god bless you man... (none / 0) (#28)
    by kdog on Wed Aug 13, 2008 at 05:08:32 PM EST
    "...I'd already be locked up."



    That's horrendous.... (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Andy08 on Wed Aug 13, 2008 at 04:25:55 PM EST
    Did they think of cages having PUMAS in mind?(snark).

    Shame on whoever's idea was this.

    I guess those puma ladies area really dangerous (4.50 / 2) (#19)
    by DandyTIger on Wed Aug 13, 2008 at 02:46:13 PM EST
    and so need some seriously anti terrorism levels of military prison security. Makes sense. Oh wait, no, it doesn't. It's completely insane.

    Great... (none / 0) (#8)
    by trublueCO on Wed Aug 13, 2008 at 01:51:26 PM EST
    Considering the Denver/Colorado Springs PD surveillance of anti-war protestors in 2003, this doesn't surprise me one bit.

    Just wait until we hear stories of office workers downtown that happened to get caught in an area of violent protests and thrown into our mile high Gitmo.

    St. Paul is using their (none / 0) (#16)
    by eric on Wed Aug 13, 2008 at 02:34:39 PM EST
    regular jail.  It sure seems like Denver is gearing up for way more trouble than St. Paul is.

    America (none / 0) (#21)
    by wasabi on Wed Aug 13, 2008 at 02:52:13 PM EST
    Land of the Free and Home of the Brave...

    i'm curious, (none / 0) (#24)
    by cpinva on Wed Aug 13, 2008 at 03:29:52 PM EST
    what does the presumptive democratic nominee think of all this? is this the "change we've been waiting for"?

    just another reason for me to utilize that lovely "write-in" line on my ballot.

    dang if this isn't resembling the repub (none / 0) (#26)
    by hellothere on Wed Aug 13, 2008 at 04:20:08 PM EST
    conventions more and more. why bother?