Denver to House Mass Arrestees in Cages During the DNC

August 13 2008, 1:21 PM

Welcome to Gitmo of the Rockies, or as Denver locals are calling it, Gitmo on the Platte (for the nearby Platte River.) Denver's CBS4 News reporter Rick Salinger scores an exclusive on Denver's plans for arrested protesters in the event of mass arrests. As proof, he and his camera people got inside and shot this video before being asked to leave. The facility is a city owned warehouse. Salinger reports:

Inside are dozens are metal cages. They are made out of chain link fence material and topped by rolls of barbed wire. "This is a secured environment," Capt. Frank Gale of the Denver Sheriff's Department told CBS4. "We're concerned about how that's going to be utilized by people who will be potentially disruptive."
Each of the fenced areas is about 5 yards by 5 yards, and there is a lock on the door. A sign on the wall reads, "Warning! Electric stun devices used in this facility."

Denver is expected to make an announcement about the facility next week. The ACLU of Colorado has concerns now:

The American Civil Liberties Union says it will ask the City of Denver how prisoners will get access to food and water, bathrooms, telephones, plus medical care, and if there will be a place to meet with attorneys.

Denver courts will be open during the convention, " with lighter dockets to handle convention-related matter." This is reminiscent of Manhattan's Pier 57, dubbed Guantanamo on the Hudson, during the 2004 Republican convention. It was a fiasco that ended with a judge ordering the release of 470 protesters or face fines of $1,000 per prisoner per day. Here's one detained protester's story. More details of the grimy conditions are in this AP article. Will Denver make the same mistakes? Hopefully not, but Salinger's discovery is not promising news. There are ways to avoid this; I recapped several from the ACLU report on Pier 57 here. On a related note, here are my pictures of the Fleet Center in Boston when the swat team came out to play.

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