Mass pressure forces charges dropped against Denver activist

All charges were dropped on April 22 against Denver political activist Larry Hales. Hales had been assaulted by 10 Denver cops last Nov 30. The cops had busted into Hales’s home without permission at 10:30 at night, handcuffed his partner to a chair, ripped out some of his hair and ripped his clothes, and charged Hales with interfering with the police.

Larry Hales
Larry Hales

Hales is a leading Denver activist against police brutality and war, Denver Fight Imperialism-Stand Together (FIST) and also leading organizing efforts for protests at the Democratic National Convention in Denver this August, and is well known to the Denver police. Hales had been providing housing for a parolee who had been a police brutality victim. A parole visit had been the pretext for the cops’ raid on Hales’ home, but the parolee was not at home at the time. The cops did not have permission to enter or search in the house when the parolee was not present.

A widespread support campaign grew around the case, demanding that all charges be dropped. The National Justice for Larry Hales campaign launched an online petition which generated over 160,000 email messages to the members of the Denver legislature, the mayor, city attorney and the judge in the case, the Colorado Congressional delegation, Congressional leaders, President George W. Bush, Attorney General Michael Mukasey, and members of the media. Public officials such as Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner, unions like USW 8751 Boston School Bus Union and many rank and file union leaders, religious leaders like Bishop Filipe Teixeira OFSJC, lawyers and other public figures faxed letters supporting Hales.

Commenting on the victory, Larry Hales said, “The City Attorney’s office decided to drop the charges against me because of the attack and the violation of my and Melissa Kleinman’s Fourth Amendment rights. But if there was no campaign and the case not made public, I believe they would have gone forward, wasting time, resources and possibly sending me to jail for an extended period of time, up to a year.

“I do not believe in luck or chance, but Melissa and myself did escape great bodily injury or death, and so our case was never as bad as many others. What happened to us is more indicative of what many people who try and house parolees and the parolees themselves face. Their homes are ransacked and the parolees are goaded into a response and if they respond are violated and sent back to prison.

“However, in our case there were a great many cops and parole officers and to some it may seem surreal, but what happened on November 30 is just more of the same, of the state using its forces to harass and intimidate. They were held off and defeated by a mass campaign of support and this is what made the difference.

“Melissa and I would like to thank the International Action Center, the Troops Out Now Coalition, the Recreate 68 Alliance, USW 8751, Bishop Teixeira, Boston City Councilperson Chuck Turner, the Partisan Defense Committee, the Pan-African Newswire and all organizations and individuals that came to our assistance.

“In the struggle, in solidarity, build a Workers World.”


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