On August 19, 2009, the ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of a group of people who had been detained by police during a political demonstration during the Democratic National Convention. During the early evening hours of the first day of the DNC, a solid line of riot-equipped police shut down a ...
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On August 19, 2009, the ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of a group of people who had been detained by police during a political demonstration during the Democratic National Convention. During the early evening hours of the first day of the DNC, a solid line of riot-equipped police shut down a protest march as it proceeded on 15th Street and the adjoining sidewalks in downtown Denver. The lawsuit asserts that Denver carried out an arbitrary and groundless mass arrest, without probable cause, of 96 individuals, knowing that the group included numerous innocent persons, including the eight individual Plaintiffs in this case. Arrestees were locked into holding cells at a Denver warehouse converted into a detention facility for DNC-related arrests. At that detention facility, Denver refused to allow attorneys to meet with or speak with any of the arrestees.
The lawsuit seeks damages for the eight plaintiffs who were falsely arrested in violation of their rights under the First and Fourth Amendments. Pursuant to a Colorado statute that requires jailers to allow arrestees to meet with attorneys, C.R.S. § 16-3-404, the ACLU lawyers also sued on behalf of all individuals who were ensnared in the mass arrest on 15th Street and detained at Denver's detention facility.
On September 15, 2009, the lawsuit was removed to the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. On April 15, 2010, the defendants filed a motion to consolidate this suit and another lawsuit on the same issue, which was granted on May 19, 2010. On April 29, 2010, the plaintiffs filed a motion for class certification; Judge Richard P. Matsch granted the plaintiffs' motion for class certification on August 26, 2010.
On December 17, 2010, the defendants filed a motion for summary judgement based on qualified immunity. Two of the named defendants were dismissed before the hearing on the summary judgement motion; however, Judge Matsch denied the other defendants' motion for summary judgement on May 9, 2011.
The parties eventually reached an agreement, and on October 13, 2011, Judge Matsch released an order approving the class action settlement. This included $20 for each member of the class, and if the Denver Sheriff Department used a temporary processing facility for any reason, “that facility and its physical capabilities and available DSD resources and personnel will be analyzed to determine if attorney visits are feasible at the facility.”
This case is now closed. Kristen Sagar - 10/19/2009
Kat Brausch - 06/21/2016