Monday, December 10, 2007

Larry Hales, Denver Activist, Attacked by Police at His Home

Rights violated: Black activist attacked by police at his home

By John Parker
Published Dec 5, 2007 10:58 PM

At a Dec. 3 Denver news conference, more than 60 supporters of Fight Imperialism, Stand Together (FIST) organizers Larry Hales and Melissa Kleinman gathered in front of the Denver Police Station at night despite cold winds to protest the brutal beating, terror and arrest of Hales, who is African American, after police broke into their home Nov. 30.

Shareef Aleem, a Black Denver activist who was himself a victim of police brutality and helped organize the news conference, said, “In the last couple of years many of us involved in police accountability work have been attacked by the police and we know that when it happens we all have to stand up.”

Aleem noted that part of the motivation for this latest act of police brutality was to begin the process of neutralizing activists like Hales who will be involved in helping to organize the Democratic National Convention protests.

Hales also noted that the attack was aimed at both his activism around police brutality and the fact that he was helping a Black youth on parole who had filed a civil case against the Denver police. At the time of the Nov. 30 police raid that parolee was living at the home of Hales and Kleinman.

Since the police attack, this young man is no longer permitted to stay at that residence. He must also pay $100 for an electronic ankle bracelet to monitor his whereabouts.

After hearing this and the fact that a hefty bail was paid for Hales’ release, the attendees at the news conference immediately took up a collection for the youth, Hales and Kleinman.

In addition to Aleem, other supporters there had been victims of police brutality.

Loree Mcormick Rice and her daughter Cassidy bravely stood in solidarity despite the terror they have endured. Cassidy’s collar bone was broken during a police beating in June 2006 when she was 12 years old.

Julie Winby also stood strong in the crowd. Her son Allen Kerford faces a 30-year sentence after being framed by police to cover up a severe beating by them.

Community demands that were given out at the news conference are: “That all charges be dropped immediately and that an official apology to Hales and Kleinman be given; that the names of all officers and Parole Officers on the scene for the incident that happened Nov. 30 at approximately 10:30 p.m. be given; that the records of abuse any of the officers may have on file be made public; that Denver take steps to enforce the policy which requires all officers to carry business cards and surrender them upon request and that any records of abuse related to an officer’s refusal to surrender said card and subsequent retaliation upon the subject who may have requested a card be especially scrutinized; that the officers responsible for the act on Nov. 30 against Hales and Kleinman be suspended without pay pending an investigation; that a People’s Review Board, comprised of civilians from communities of color, be allowed to decide the fate of the officers involved; that a real Independent Monitor position, one with the power to prosecute and beholden to a People’s Review Board, be established; that the rights of parolees be respected and that they be allowed to enjoy their full rights without harassment from officials, this includes the ceasing of parole sweeps which are designed to harass and which violate the constitutional rights of and criminalizes not only the parolee but those she or he may be living with.”

If this news conference was any indication, it seems that the terror tactics of police brutality and fear are beginning to inspire less fear and more determination to fight back.
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1 comment:

Pan-African News Wire said...

Larry Hales and friend attacked by Denver cops

First, I'd like to assure everyone that I am fine. I was first
depressed on being relleased from jail. It has been a long and
difficult year. But, now I am only angry and ready to fight back.

Melissa and I had taken on a parolee. His was one of the police
brutality cases that we and others had worked on. The man, Joe Teague
had been shot in the back by Denver cops three years ago and he still has the bullet lodged in him.

The police broke into a home he was visiting and shot him because he "fit the description" of someone they claimed to have been looking for.

They then violated his parole
because someone that lived in the house was a convicted felon and the
cops had supposedly found drugs in the house, however, there were none
on Joe's person.

Joe and I stayed in constant contact. I was the only person locally that he could reach and so we talked several times a month and I stayed in contact with his mother as well. She lives in Illinois.

Joe was released and allowed to stay in our apartment. He was
released a few weeks ago. We had spoken with the parole officer
sparsely and a verbal agreement was made via the telephone, but
nothing written was ever presented to us and we never signed any

We were told that the parole officer would make unannounced visits and would search the home when Joe was around, but would search only Joe's things.

At 10:30pm on Friday we were watching basketball. We had just
returned home from a visit to Grand Junction to see Melissa's very ill 86 year old grandmother and to spend time with her 88 year old grandfather, because it was his birthday.

There was a very hard knock on the door. We asked who it was and was told that it was a parole visit. I told them Joe was not home and they said open the door.

I opened the door and there were many cops standing in the hallway.
I'd say at this time maybe about five or six. They said they wanted
to come in and I repeated that Joe was not home and that he was
probably at work.

Joe did not have a curfew and was only told that he must spend his nights in our home. I asked Melissa to get a pen and a piece of paper.

I told the cops I needed to see Identification and that I wanted their business cards. In Denver they have to carry them and surrender them upon request.

I had badges stuck in my face but
that they didn't have to give me their cards. I told them that this
would go know further, that Joe was not home and that I wanted their cards. One of them scoffed and pushed the door open and me out of the way.

The cops rushed into the apartment and started rifiling through our
things and went into our bedroom and asked where Joe's bedroom was.
We told him he slept on the futon and that his things were in two
boxes on the floor.

They then walked through our bedroom, looked through our clothes, walked into our bathroom, our kitchen where they looked in cupboards and the refridgerator and then started dumping the contents out of our suitcases.

We told them to shut the door because our cats might get out. More cops come in and they constantly come in and out.

They dumped one of my suitacses out and find bullets that I have had for 8 to 10years. They had been packed away in a box.

We still have yet to move into our place and many things are still packed and the bullets had been put into a suitcase with clothes that were packed away and had yet to be unpacked.

I told them that they were mine and that it was not against the law to possess them and that there was no gun, because there isn't. I don't keep any weapons in the apartment.

The cops then continue searching, leaving in and out of the apartment
and tell us we have to sit on the futon. The cats hover near the door and so Melissa and I agrred that they should be put in the bedroom.

I stand up and then one of the cops shoves me and I tell her that I'm going to get the cats out of the way and that she doesn't have the right to touch me and that they have violated our rights up to this point.

She says sit down and shut up and I repeat that the cats have to be
put away so they don't run our because the cops won't shut the door when they come in and out and that they can watch me.

She shoves me again, then another cop grabs my arm and twists it and tells me to put it behind my back, which it is at this point.

He then throws me down and jumps on top of me. I'm pinned between the futon and the wall and my other arm is pinned underneath me. More cops jump on top of me and they keep repeating stop resisting, stop resisting.

These are big cops. I'm a small person, though strong, It would be difficult for me to resist when there are three to four cops pushing and pulling at me.

One cop grabs the back of my neck and begins pushing my head down and
someone is twisting my arm. Then someone starts ripping my hair out
and the whole time they are yelling.

I hear Melissa in the background crying and telling them to stop and
that I hadn't done anything. She says over and over please don't hurt him.

I'm pulled over and my shirt is ripped half off of me, I'm tossed
around some more and on to the floor then handcuffed. At this time I'm wearing only socks, a ripped up t-shirt and a pair of sweat pants.

I'm pulled on to my feet. My arms are forced up in the air behind my back and I'm pushed down the stairs, stumbling the whole time and shoved against the walls and railings when I stumble.

It is maybe thirty degrees outside and I see more cops as I'm focred
to walk on the cold pavement with only socks. I get to the cop car,
the door is opened and I'm standing facing the door. Another cop comes up behind me and starts squeezing my cuffs with both his hands.

I tell him that it is not necessary, that I'm just standing there and not resisting. My hands go numb.

He looks in my face and smirks and
says that they can do a lot more to me and that I could end up face
down on the cement. I told him he was a pig. He then turns me
around, hits me in the stomach and pushes me by the top of my head
into the car. I'm made to sit in the car with the windows down.

The cops tell me that they are going to book me as John Doe and that I'd spend at least 72 hours in jail before I'm processed, then told that I'd be put on a pysche hold because it seemed like I wanted to hurt myself. I asked if this was a threat.

I was taken to one facility and handcuffed to a metal bench and told I could not make a phone call and that my rights did not entitle me to one.

I was not even allowed to use the restroom. I may have been
there about one hour to and hour and a half and had to hold my urine.

I placed in a police van with five other men, all Black and Latino.
Two Latino women and one white women were placed in another section later on. I was cold and shivering, so one of the Latino men gave me his sweatshirt.

We were all cuffed, but cuffed from the front and he had been holding sweatshirt in his hand. When he gave me the shirt he said, "Here you go family."

I was taken to Denver city jail and placed in a holding cell.
Eventually there were six Black men and six Latino men placed in
their, one other guy had his place raided in a similar way as mine and
he had a huge bump on his head where they had struck him several times with a flashlight.

Melissa bonded me out the next morning. She couldn't reach a
bailsbondman so she had to pay the whole 500, which was for rent.

When I got out, she told me they cuffed her to a chair for over an
hour in the apartment and that they ransacked our apartment and joked about letting our cats go.

This is why when I asked if she could bring me some shoes and another shirt, before I was driven away from the apartment, that she couldn't because they had her cuffed to the chair. She says there were 8 to 10 cops altogether.

I have bruises on my body--my back and chest, my shoulders--and my
wrists are swollen and bruised. I have a few scrapes and scratches
and my body is very sore. Other than this I am fine.

We are mobilizing and Shareef has contacted many people and some
families that have faced police brutality are saying that they will
stand with us as we go public. We are gonna fight. I am charged with

We have a press conference tomorrow afternoon. Comrade John Parker is coming tomorrow and Diane Matheowitz on Wednesday I

Denver Larry