Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

WESTWORD - 16th St. Mall Cops Out of Control

You'd think after Evan Herzoff got his settlement for $8,500 from the city because of a cops bad behavior, the cops would think twice before manhandling citizens and refusing to give up their identity. A friend of my daughters was recently on the mall after work (he's 16, weighs about 140 lbs, and it was 1:00 in the afternoon) during that horrific cold snap in January. He had lost his bus money and asked someone for a quarter so that he could get home. Two mall cops threw him up against a wall and ticketed him for "aggressive panhandling." The case was dropped in court when his dad threw a fit, but that doesn't change the perception that this young man now has of what "to serve and protect" means.

Here's Luke Turf's story in Westword..

Angelina Hergenreder doesn't usually give money to the homeless men who call out to her as she leaves her hostess job at a restaurant on the 16th Street Mall. But the man who asked for spare change one Wednesday evening in early April was so polite — even after she'd denied his request — that when Hergenreder returned her movies to McDonald's, she bought him a cheeseburger. Then she took it over to the panhandler and gave him a dollar, too. The nineteen-year-old do-gooder was crossing the mall, ready to catch her bus, when suddenly someone grabbed her left arm from behind and pulled it up, yanking her in the opposite direction. Hergenreder screamed and tried to hit whoever had her arm in his grasp. "I thought I was being attacked," she says. But then the man caught her other arm, identified himself as an undercover police officer, and briefly flashed his badge.

By the time the undercover cop pulled Hergenreder back by the 7-Eleven, where she'd handed the buck and the burger to the homeless man, another undercover officer was arresting him. The cop who'd grabbed Hergenreder took the burger and tossed it in the trash, then threw the dollar at her. He said he could arrest her for giving something of value to a panhandler after dark, she remembers. When she questioned whether such a law existed, the cop told her to leave. She then asked for the officer's name and badge number, but he told her that he "didn't have time for that," she says. If she wanted to complain, he said, she could write to the mayor.

"And that's when I walked away," Hergenreder says. "I wasn't going to try anything after that."


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