Larry Hales of Fighting Imperialism Standing Together (FIST) was the victim of a police attack in Denver, Colorado.
Originally uploaded by Pan-African News Wire File Photos
On Nov. 30, 2007 African-American police brutality and anti-war activist Larry Hales was arrested after 10 cops illegally busted into his home without a warrant and without permission, physically attacked him and handcuffed his partner to a chair. He is facing frame-up charges of "interfering with the police" and faces extended jail time for being the victim of a police attack.
Hales has been a primary organizer of a number of anti-imperialist and anti-racist events in Denver. He is a leader of the youth group FIST--Fight Imperialism, Stand Together; a founder of Colorado United Communities Against Police Brutality; and an organizer with the International Action Center and the Troops Out Now Coalition.
Hales is also a principal organizer in the Recreate 68 Committee, which is planning protests to counter the Democratic National Convention to be held in Denver in August.
At the time of the police attack, Hales and his partner Melissa Kleinman were housing a survivor of police brutality who was on parole. The man had been shot in the back by police and had filed a civil case against the Aurora police department. Hales had previously agreed to house visits by the man's parole officer, but only when the man was home.
However, when Hales told the police officers at his door on Nov. 30 that the parolee wasn't home, and asked to see the business cards that because of a city ordinance Denver police must carry and surrender upon request, he had badges stuck in his face and told that they didn't have to give him their cards.
Hales told them that they didn't have permission to come in, that the parolee was not home and that he wanted their cards. One of them scoffed and pushed the door open and him out of the way.
The cops charged into his apartment and ransacked his house. When Hales expressed concern that his cats would escape, he was shoved. When he asserted his rights, the police told him to shut up and violently attacked him, twisting his arm, grabbing him by the back of the neck, ripping out several of his dreadlocks, throwing him against the wall, and tearing off his shirt.
He was pushed down the stairs of his apartment building, against the wall and railings and out into the cold night with a half-ripped shirt, socks and thin sweat pants.
One officer squeezed his cuffs and the two had an exchange, where the officer remarked that more could be done and that Hales could end up face down on the ground, then he was hit in the stomach and thrown into the car.
The officers rolled the front windows down, left Hales in the car, told him he looked like he might hurt himself and that he would be booked as a "John Doe" and have to spend 72 hours in jail before anyone could find him. He spent the night in a freezing jail cell.
Police brutality is rampant in Denver, and this attack is part of the ongoing attacks on Black youth, from the Jena 6 to Sean Bell and countless cases of police brutality and repression throughout the country.
In addition, the police violence against such a well-known activist can only be seen as part of a continuing attempt to stifle political dissent. At a press conference in the days following the attack, Denver police brutality activist and survivor Shareef Aleem noted that police were attempting to neutralize activists related to the DNC protests.
He stated: "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."
Hales now faces a pretrial hearing on February 29 and trial on March 12 on police "interference" charges. During the arraignment, the states' attorney suggested that more charges from the incident may be pending.
For the City Attorney to continue to prosecute these charges would constitute a serious miscarriage of justice and state harassment, standing jutice on its head by blaming the victim of police misconduct and brutality. It could be seen as an illegal, politically motivated abuse of process to chill political protest both against police brutality and at the upcoming DNC.
We demand that ALL charges be dropped immediately against Larry Hales, and that there be an immediate investigation into the police misconduct and violation of Larry Hales’ and Melissa Kleinman’s rights.
What you can do:
Add your name to the petition to drop the charges, available at http://www.troopsoutnow.org/larryhales/petition.html.
Contact City Attormey David R. Fine, Judge Larry Bohning and Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper and tell them you want the charges against Larry Hales to be dropped.
City Attorney David R. Fine Judge Larry Bohning Mayor John Hickenlooper
email: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org MileHighMayor@ci.denver.co.us
phone: (720) 865-8600 (720) 865-8610 (720) 865-9000
fax: (720) 865-8796 (720) 865-8250 (720) 865-8787
address: Office of the City Attorney
1437 Bannock, St., Room 353
Denver, CO 80202 Judge Larry Bohning
1437 Bannock Street
Denver, CO 80202 Mayor John W. Hickenlooper
City and County Building
1437 Bannock Street, Suite 350
Denver, CO 80202
Fax letters on your organization or union's stationery or on your official letterhead, and send a copy to the National Justice for Larry Hales Committee at the address below. If possible, scan the letter and email it to email@example.com.
We will post as many letters as possible on this site.
Solicit organizations and leaders in your community to do the same.
Send posts to contacts and listservs with links to http://troopsoutnow.org/larryhales/ urging action
If you are in the Denver area, pack the courthouse on February 29 and March 12. Come to courtroom 151P in the Denver County Court, 1437 Bannock St, Denver, CO 80202
Donate to the Justice for Larry Hales campaign, to help with legal defense and support campaign costs.
http://troopsoutnow.org/donate.shtml . Checks should be written to Justice for Larry Hales/IAC, and sent to the address below.
Sign the Online Petition
Send email to the Judge, the City Attorney and elected officials - http://www.troopsoutnow.org/larryhales/petition.html.
to help the Justice for Larry Hales campaign
Sign up for updates
from the Troops Out Now Coalition
National Justice for Larry Hales Committee
c/o Solidarity Center
55 W. 17th St. #5C
NY NY 10011