On Friday May 6th, over one hundred people, mostly young, poor, and angry, took to the streets in defiance of the Denver Police Department. They participated in a march, called to confront “police terror” in the Denver Metro area. Specifically, they marched to remember the deaths of Marvin Booker and Oleg Gidenko, two people murdered by area police departments in the last year.
As the the march ended, a small firework was set off in the street. Police used this act as a justification to chase one alleged participant down an alley, where she was tackled and beaten by police. This person would later be identified as Amelia Nicol, a 20 year old Colorado resident. She now faces outlandish charges including attempted murder.
We call on all people to support Amelia as she fights these attempts at intimidation and repression, and the police’s broader attack on social movements in Denver.
Marvin Booker, a homeless street preacher, died at the hands of five sheriff’s deputies in the Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center in downtown Denver on July 9, 2010. He was tackled, beaten, placed into chokeholds, tazed, and kicked. He eventually succumbed to the officers’ brutal attack. He was murdered for refusing to leave his shoes in the booking area of the jail.
Oleg Gidenko was shot in the head by Aurora Police Officers. Oleg was in a truck with several friends. They had been hanging out, allegedly drinking in the truck while it was parked in a lonely industrial park in Aurora. Aurora Police Officers approached the truck, armed, supposedly because they suspected the occupants of breaking into cars in the area. As the police aimed their weapons at the truck, one officer shot Oleg in the head. Another occupant, Yevgeniy Straystar. was also shot, but would survive. With two occupants, including the driver, shot and a passenger trying to hide on the floor of the truck as it took repeated fire from police officers, the truck lurched forward, bumping into one of the officers. This action, though it took place after the firing had started, and after Oleg was dead, was used as the justification for the shooting.
Many other high profile cases of police terror have been documented in the metro area over the last year, including the beating of whole families, rape and child molestation, and mishandling of evidence. Few, if any, officers are ever punished.
On May 6th, the fourth in a series of marches was held to show direct opposition to the police terror plaguing the metro area. For several hours the crowd snaked through downtown and the arts district. The police response to this fourth march was much heavier than previous marches, and riot police flanked the march for a good portion of the route. Despite the heavy police presence and attempts at intimidation, Amelia would end up being the only arrest during the march.
On Thursday May 12th, news agencies across the metro area reported that Amelia would be charged with a host of felonies and misdemeanors, including two counts of attempted murder of a police officer, criminal arson, possession and use of explosives, and inciting a riot. Police alleged she threw the firework, only now in the news reports the firework had become a “molotov cocktail”, or in some news reports, an “improvised explosive.” The small green firework now became a dangerous implement of attempted murder of two police officers. Amelia is now confined to a jail cell in the Denver County Jail, held on a $50,000 bon