Roundup: 147 protesters arrested at Denver Columbus Day parade

Tuesday, October 10, 2000

American Indians and their supporters lined a Denver street Oct. 7 to
block the first Columbus Day parade in the city in nearly a decade. Police
arrested 147 protesters on charges of loitering and failure to obey a lawful
order. Protest organizers said that those arrested would meet today to figure
out a way to contest their tickets. Denver police spokeswoman Mary Thomas said
the city attorney would probably defer the cases, except for those in which the
defendants have criminal records. American Indians and other ethnic groups say
Christopher Columbus was a slave trader who committed genocide against their
ancestors. The protesters want the name of the holiday changed from “Columbus
Day” to “Italian Pride Day,” following in suit with cities like New York and
San Francisco. Protest organizers said they would fight to change the name
again next year. Protesters have also indicated they might hold a competing
parade next year. American Indian and Hispanic activists declined yesterday to
talk about their plans, but said they wouldn’t rule out any options, including
trying to pre-empt organizers of the traditional parade by filing for a permit
before they do. Italian-Americans said yesterday they would immediately apply
for a permit for the 2001 Columbus Day parade. City officials, though, said
they wouldn’t consider applications until 90 days before the event. The
Columbus Day parade was the first in the city since 1991, when American Indians
quarreled with Italian-Americans participating in the parade. An agreement
between the two sides to delete any references to Columbus during this year’s
parade in exchange for no protests collapsed late last month. Boulder
Daily Camera, Associated Press

California: Officers join retaliation lawsuit against

About 50 current and former Los Angeles police officers have joined 41
others in a lawsuit alleging they were subjected to harassment and retaliation
for reporting police misconduct. Attorney Bradley C. Gage, who announced the
additions to the lawsuit on yesterday, said misconduct occurred throughout the
9,300-officer department, not just in the scandal-ridden Rampart Division. A
corruption case in that division has led to criminal charges against five
officers accused of framing innocent people. The original lawsuit, filed in
August, named the department, Police Chief Bernard Parks, the city and several
high-ranking officials as defendants. It seeks $100 million in collective
damages, an injunction prohibiting police officials from mistreating officers
who report inappropriate behavior and the reinstatement of about 300 officers
who Gage claims were wrongly fired. The LAPD would not comment because the
lawsuit is pending, said Officer Don Cox, a department spokesman. A hearing is
scheduled for Nov. 28 in Los Angeles County Superior Court to determine if the
lawsuit should become a class action. Associated Press

Alabama: Protesters disrupt unveiling of Confederate

An atonal mix of “We Shall Overcome” and “Dixie” rang out in Selma
over the weekend as two sides argued over a memorial to a Civil War hero who
was a Ku Klux Klan leader. A dozen demonstrators Oct. 7 protested the unveiling
of a statue of Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, saying the monument
should not have been erected in a mostly black neighborhood in this landmark
city of the civil rights struggle. Forrest, who led Confederate forces
defending Selma in 1865, was also an early leader of the white-supremacist
group. The demonstrators, holding up a dummy in a replica of a Klan uniform,
heckled speakers at the ceremony and chanted “Nathan’s got to go!” Protest
leader Sam Walker said Forrest’s military exploits should be “offset by the
other side of the story.” Montgomery historian Bill Rambo, who said he had
taken part in Civil War re-enactments, said Forrest should be remembered more
for his military prowess than for his Klan membership. Associated Press

Texas: State settles lawsuit with environmentalists

State officials have agreed to pay $99,000 to settle a lawsuit against
Gov. George W. Bush and the Department of Public Safety by a group of
environmentalists who were arrested for protesting on the sidewalk around the
Governor’s Mansion. The lawsuit, filed last year and
alleging that Bush and DPS violated the protesters’ free-speech rights, accused
Bush of giving state troopers “unbridled discretion” to target them. Bush aides
have defended the arrests, saying protesters strayed from a designated area.
The arrests occurred four times in March, April and May of 1999 when the
environmentalists were protesting Bush’s ties to big business. Each time,
charges of blocking an entry were later dropped. The lawsuit also claims that
while environmentalists protesting Bush were arrested, his supporters were
allowed to continue their demonstrations. Associated Press

California: County supervisors weigh in on college mascot

A pair of county supervisors will ask their colleagues today to
support a letter urging San Diego State University to keep its Monty Montezuma
mascot. County Supervisors Dianne Jacob and Pam Slater plan to send the letter
to university President Stephen Weber. “We want to stand up and say, ‘We’re
Aztecs and we’re proud of it,’ ” Slater said. All five county supervisors are
SDSU graduates, and the item is expected to pass. Students are scheduled to
vote Oct. 23-25 on whether the school’s nickname, Aztecs, should be changed and
all Indian images, including Montezuma’s, banned at school sporting events.
Results will be given to Weber, who has the final decision. The campaign to
change the mascot came after the Native American Student Alliance complained
that the Aztec image is a caricature of indigenous cultures. The issue has
divided the campus, with some students defending Monty Montezuma’s image and
others criticizing it. Mascot supporters have delivered a petition with 3,200
signatures, about 10% of the school’s student enrollment. They also have
planned a rally for Oct. 13. Associated Press

Wyoming: Group asks legislators to keep concealed-weapons permits

A Gillette group dedicated to preserving the rights of hunters,
anglers and trappers is circulating a petition against releasing the names of
people who carry concealed-weapons permits. The petition by the Abundant
Wildlife Society of North America asks the state Legislature to specifically
exempt the names of permit holders from public disclosure, according to T.R.
Mader, research director for the organization. The group’s petition is in
response to attempts by the media to
obtain the names of permit holders. The Wyoming Division of Criminal
Investigation has refused to release the names, saying permit holders have a
right to privacy. Mader said his group supports the DCI stance. Disclosing the
names would reduce the effectiveness of the concealed-weapons law, he said.
Legislators never intended to make the names public in 1994 when they approved
a concealed-weapons law, he said. Those who want the names public argue that
withholding them violates the state’s open-records act. Cheyenne attorney Bruce
Moats, who handles open-records cases, said the names of others who have
government permits are public record. Releasing the names would allow the
public to monitor DCI’s performance in administering the statute governing
concealed weapons, Moats said. Associated Press

Kansas: Judge imposes gag order in lottery-theft case

A state judge imposed a gag order today in the case of Richard Lee
Knowlton, the former employee accused of stealing nearly $63,000 from the
Kansas Lottery. The attorneys and the parties in the case are not to discuss
the substance of the case with reporters. District Judge Thomas Conklin imposed
the gag order without prompting from the state or Knowlton’s defense attorney.
Conklin said he is bothered by the publicity the case is getting and that he
didn’t want to see the case “tried in the newspapers.” Knowlton, of Topeka,
faces 268 theft, computer crime and official misconduct charges in Shawnee
County District Court. The attorney general’s office accuses Knowlton of
altering 141 computer records to create bogus prizes for himself. He is accused
of claiming 126 prizes over 18 months. Knowlton acknowledges altering a dozen
tickets and cashing 11. He says he was conducting his own investigation into
problems at the lottery and wanted to show its officials flaws in their
security system. A preliminary hearing to determine whether he should be bound
over for trial is scheduled to start Dec. 18. Associated Press

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