U.S. Freedoms

I am sure that I will get some hate mail over this post, but here it goes. This article was sent to me by a former Fulbrighter who was here for one semester. She is a Ph.D. in Nursing, an R.N., and a J.D., an attorney.

She is also active with Frank Cordaro, the former Catholic Priest who marches and gets arrested for Social Justice issues, a Berrigan-like priest carry over from the 60s and 7os. You can read more about him here. http://no-nukes.org/frank/f-biography.html

This is the news story from The Gazette newspaper as it appeared online.

Parade turns into a clash with police By Brian Newsome and R. Scott Rappold The Gazette

March 18, 2007 – 12:56AM

Seven war protesters who tried to march in Saturday’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown Colorado Springs were accused of refusing to cooperate with police and arrested. One of them was injured as she was dragged off the road.

Police halted about 45 people with the Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission just steps into the parade where it began at Tejon and St. Vrain streets. They wore green shirts with peace signs and carried signs that read “Kids Not Bombs” and “End This War Now.”

The group had a permit to march under the name of The Bookman, a business owned by commission chairman Eric Verlo. But when parade organizers saw their anti-war signs, they asked police to prevent them from proceeding. Although most cooperated, some in the group sat in the road, police and bystanders said. “We asked them to move from the parade route, they refused and we escorted (them) off,” said Colorado Springs police Sgt. Bob Weber.

Political candidates are allowed to take part, but the parade has never allowed “social issues,” said parade organizer John O’Donnell, a condition to which participants agree. “It is our goal not to turn this into a confrontational political atmosphere,” O’Donnell said. “It really is to come and have fun. “A political message, ‘vote for me, vote Republican, vote Democratic,’ is OK.”

Elizabeth Fineron, 65, suffered a leg injury from being dragged off the road. She requested to be taken to the hospital, said Sgt. David Whitlock, a public information officer. Fineron was treated and released, a hospital spokeswoman said. Fineron could not be reached for comment Saturday night. The anti-war group began circulating photos Saturday afternoon showing Fineron being dragged away with her pants ripping and a bruised welt showing. Other photos showed a police officer pointing a Taser gun — no target was visible in the picture — and an officer with his arm around a man’s neck.

Whitlock, who saw the photos, said there will be a thorough review of the incident, and he urged witnesses and those involved to contact internal affairs if they thought excessive force or inappropriate police action had occurred. He said they show just an instant in time, however, and until police can conduct their review he could not comment.

Paradegoer Rachel Eggleston said the group was confronted shortly after it began to march. She said five group members sat down in the road and three others ran down the parade route. A police officer drove the Bookman bus off the route onto St. Vrain. One officer broke one of the protester’s signs on his knee, she said. People began taking pictures, she said, and some were yelling in support of and against the protesters and the police.

One woman, Eggleston said, called the police Nazis, and another paradegoer yelled a profanity at the woman in response. Many were yelling at the protesters. Verlo, who was one of those arrested, said the group wasn’t advocating a social issue, but peace. “We did this last year,” Verlo said. “We thought we were fairly innocuous. We were walking about peace and ending the war.” O’Donnell said he didn’t recall seeing anti-war signs in the parade last year. The protesters are due in court April 10.

To the best of my knowledge, these photos were privately taken.