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Code Pink protester still in jail after skirmish
By Paul A. Anthony, Rocky Mountain News
Originally published 04:13 p.m., August 26, 2008
Updated 05:18 p.m., August 26, 2008
Code Pink protester shown on video being shoved to the ground by a police officer’s baton and later hauled away remains in jail on a charge of interfering with an arrest but should be released tonight, Code Pink officials say.
Alicia Forrest was arrested outside Civic Center after confronting officers and asking them questions about another arrest they were making, said Sally Newman, legal liaison and spokeswoman for the group.
“She was one of a number of people trying to find out where this person was being taken,” Newman said. “They just arrested her along with him.”
The video shows an officer quickly shoving Forrest with the length of his baton, forcing her to the ground with a smack. Later, as she was speaking with reporters, the video shows police coming behind her and dragging her away.
Lt. Ron Saunier, a police spokesman, said the 30-second video is “kind of jumpy” on his computer and doesn’t give the full context of the situation.
“Just shown in that context, you don’t get what the whole dynamics or the full situation is,” he said.
Richard Rosenthal, Denver’s independent monitor, who saw the video online at the request of the Rocky, said the incident warrants additional review.
“Obviously, looking at that, I’d want to look at the use of force report. I’d want the department to look and evaluate,” he said.
Rosenthal declined to share his initial thoughts on the officer’s actions.
“I can’t do that,” he said. “My job is to maintain objectivity until the completion of an investigation. What I can say is I think that that warrants additional review … But I have to maintain objectivity on anything because you can’t rush to judgment.”
Code Pink posted a $500 bail for Forrest, and the group expects her to be released in four to six hours, Newman said.
“It’s really frustrating that we have this incident of violence now,” she said.
Forrest is consulting with an attorney from the People’s Law Project, which has been representing protesters arrested during this week’s Democratic National Convention.
Saunier said he recommends that the protester contact the department’s Internal Affairs Bureau or the Office of the Independent Monitor if she feels that the officer used unnecessary force.
During the DNC, officers have had many interactions with protesters and overall, police have reacted professionally, he said.
“There’s been hundreds of contacts with officers that have gone very well. We may have an isolated instance here and there and the department is committed to fully looking into those instances, and if it’s deemed inappropriate, we’ll take the appropriate actions,” he said.
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