Occupy Denver and their lawyers, led by prominent civil rights attorney David Lane, squared off against the City of Denver in court Monday, 9News reports. Occupy Denver alleges that the city illegally suppressed protesters from exercising their First Amendment rights and ticketed motorists who honked in support of the protests while driving by Civic Center Park.
By Associated Press
DENVER (AP) -- A group of Occupy Wall Street protesters in Denver have lost the first round in their lawsuit accusing police of violating their First Amendment rights by harassing and ticketing them.
A federal judge on Wednesday denied the protesters' request for a temporary restraining order against the city to halt the alleged tactics.
Seven protesters and supporters filed a lawsuit claiming police and other officials are trying to silence them because they don't like their anti-Wall Street message.
The judge hasn't ruled on the lawsuit itself, only the protesters' request for the restraining order.
City lawyers say police aren't targeting the protesters and have been careful to respect the First Amendment. The city says police have closed downtown streets for marches even though protesters had no permit.
Attorneys defending the city say that the officers treated the protesters fairly and were simply enforcing city ordinances, not trying to harass Occupy Denver protesters, according to The Denver Post. The protesters and Occupy supporters admit that they technically violated the city ordinances, but say that Denver police are selectively enforcing the ordinances on Occupy Denver in an effort to quash the movement.
According to Westword, who obtained copies of Lane's exhibits he intends to show in court, it looks like Lane will attempt to show the hypocrisy of ticketing drivers for honking in support of the protesters when the honking in support of politicians running for office, like Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, is a common practice and not ticketed.
Click here to view Westword's photos of Mayor Hancock participating in his "Honk 'n' Wave" and other photo evidence from the case.
Seven protesters and Occupy Denver supporters have filed the suit -- three of which were ticketed for honking in support of the protesters. One woman was ticketed for blowing an air horn out of a car window, a man was ticketed for honking his car horn and a third supporter was ticketed for riding his bike on the sidewalk as he tried to film a ticketing of a honker, according to KKTV.
7News reports that city lawyers said that all three tickets have since been dismissed and the three have returned to the protests. However, since being ticked, the three say that they have not been to the protests as much as before.