August 21 2009, 11:15 AM
A year after the Democratic National Convention roared through Denver, controversy over how police handled protesters lingers. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit yesterday on behalf of eight plaintiffs who allege that police illegally arrested them as they marched in a large group downtown (via United Press International). The lawsuit cites the detention center nicknamed "Gitmo on the Platte" and says the detained were denied visits with lawyers. Mark Silverstein, legal director for the ACLU in Colorado, calls Denver police "wrong, very wrong" in making the arrests: "Police failed to distinguish between street marchers and others who were participating or merely observing from the sidewalks, where they had a legal right to be." Silverstein tells Westword that 95 people were arrested: 54 of them didn't accept plea deals, and 38 won jury trials. Meanwhile, in a separate ACLU suit, the city of Denver is apt to settle complaints by a Sterling woman who spent five days in jail and a Denver man who says he was mistaken for a dead man. The two wrongful-arrest claims could cost the city $90,000, according to The Denver Post.