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If you haven’t already, definitely jump on the Denver Action Network text loop! This is a user submitted, action alert text loop for the Denver metro area. Anyone can submit a radical, anti-capitalist, anti-authoritarian event to the loop, where moderators will make sure it isn’t spam or a cop/fascist troll, and your event will immediately be texted to a ever growing list of folks in the city!

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At around 6 PM, friends and family as well as concerned community members gathered in the 1300 block of Bannock Street outside the Denver Art Museum, just feet from where Dion Avila Damon was killed on April 12th, 2016. Dion was unarmed and sitting in a parked car when Denver Police Technician Jeff Motz shot him seven times through the windshield.

April 12, 2016 shooting of Dion Avila Damon

Profile on DPD Technician Jeff Motz

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Local organizers against police brutality in Denver spoke out about the legacy of murder and abuse by law enforcement in the region. Family members of other people murdered by law enforcement in Denver shared their own similar personal stories. Lynn Eagle Feather spoke about her son Paul Castaway who was killed by DPD last July. The gathering also heard from Natalia Marshall, whose uncle Michael Marshall was murdered by Sheriff’s Deputies in the Denver jail, as well as Vicki Trujillo, who lost her husband to a police killing, and was also a close friend of Jennifer Lobato who died in the Jefferson County, CO jail due to deliberate medical neglect. Dion Avila’s cousin, mother, brother and other family also spoke to the crowd.

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While the families spoke, a tribute to Dion was spray painted behind them by an anonymous artist on a canvas made of plastic wrap stretched between two trees.

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As the rally drew to a close the crowd moved into the streets behind banners and began to march.  The march went several blocks north and stopped at the Denver Police headquarters, the site of a police monument which has been vandalized with red paint by protesters for two consecutive years on February 14. A brief standoff ensued between police and protesters before the march resumed.

After leaving the Denver Police headquarters, the march moved into the streets and began heading towards the 16th street mall. In short order, police cars began making their way through the crowd, almost striking marchers, and officers on the ground led by District 6 Commander Tony Lopez began aggressively shoving protesters out of the street.  (Commander Lopez is currently facing a civil rights suit in federal court over allegations he stole a woman’s phone away from her while she was filming her husband’s violent arrest by Denver’s SWAT team at a protest in April 2015.)

The march proceeded to the 16th street mall and marched back to the site where Dion had been killed and a memorial raised. Within the hour during which the march took place, city employees had cut the memorial painting down off the trees where it had been hung.

Denver police followed and targeted individuals after they left the gathering, and made two separate arrests. This fits a long-established practice by DPD of opting not to make arrests during protests but instead to follow, snatch, and grab protesters as they head home or walk to their cars.

Unicorn Riot filed an open records request for any footage showing the killing of Dion Avila Damon on April 12 but our request was denied until the investigation into the shooting is completed by Denver Police, Aurora Police, and the Denver District Attorney. In his entire career Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey has never indicted a single law enforcement official for any act of murder or violence.

This past Friday and Saturday, a faction of Anonymous known as “New World Hackers” conducted a series Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks against the City of Denver website as well as the Bank of Denver, taking down both sites for a period of time in retaliation for the shooting death of Dion.

Justice for Dion Avila Damon! Demo Tomorrow!

Demo tomorrow for Dion Avila Damon! Bring your love and your rage:

Dion was unarmed when a Denver cop, Jeff Motz, shot him seven times in front of his wife and her child. The Denver Police have attempted to justify Dion’s killing by citing “noncompliance” with commands given to exit the vehicle and an alleged “threatening-type maneuver.”

Jeff Motz was one of several police named in a lawsuit filed by a man who was shot in the back by Denver Police while laying face down on the ground in 2013. In 2003, Motz was one of eight Denver cops who shot at Shaun Gilman, killing the 20-year-old mentally ill man whose family called the police for help when he was having an episode.

On the two-week anniversary of his murder, on the spot where he was gunned down, we will gather with friends and family to remember Dion and to demand justice for him and all victims of police terror.

We must come together to demand Officer Jeff Motz be charged with murder and fired before he kills again.

When: Tuesday, April 26th, 2016, 6pm

Where: The site of his murder, 14th and Bannock

View the event on Facebook

Report Back from the Rojava Revolution!

Come celebrate May Day with a story from Syria you likely haven’t heard …


Anarchist author, Paul Z. Simons, will share reflections and inspirations from the scene. After the fall of the Syrian Government and in the midst of the current crisis, Kurdish organizations have been setting up regions free from domination by capitalism and state authority, attempting to put to rest feuds between different religious and ethnic groups, and challenging patriarchal domination over women and relating communally to the land.

Join the Denver Anarchist Black Cross for this exciting event!

Where: Whittier Community Center, 2900 Downing St, Unit 1

When: May 1st, 6:30pm

 

Dion Avila Murdered by DPD with 7 Shots into Windshield

Dion Avila Murdered by DPD With 7 Shots Into Windshield

UPDATE (4/13/16) – In a press conference (streamed over Periscope) earlier today Denver Police stated that they did not recover any weapon from Dion Avila’s body or from the car in which they shot & killed him.  Dion Avila was shot by an officer within roughly a minute of the police exiting their vehicles.  The officers involved in the incident were from DPD Metro/SWAT and were acting in coordination with federal agents to follow Dion Avila throughout the day leading up to the murder.  Commander Ron Saunier of the Major Crimes Division cited “noncompliance” with commands given to exit the vehicle, as well as an alleged “threatening type maneuver” as justification for the shooting.

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The man who fired the seven shots was identified as Technician Jeff Motz (pictured), an 8-year veteran of the police department who has spent years in Denver’s infamously brutal SWAT unit.  Jeff Motz was one of several officers named in a lawsuit filed last year by a man who was shot in the back by Denver Police while laying face down on the ground.

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Early in the afternoon of April 12, 2016, Denver Police working with several agencies as part of a “Safe Streets Task Force” shot and killed Dion Avila inside his parked car near the Denver Art Museum at the intersection of 14th & Bannock. Unicorn Riot reporters arrived shortly after the shooting.

During a press conference, Denver Police Chief Robert White claimed the man killed was a suspect in a robbery that had occurred some time prior to the day of the shooting, and that officers were attempting to serve a warrant. Chief White did not mention whether or not the man was armed, and eyewitnesses we spoke with on scene said they did not see any evidence of a weapon and that even if a weapon was present in the vehicle, it was not used. At 14th & Bannock we observed two black SUVs pinned against the vehicle.  It appears the parked car was pushed into the curb after being rammed by law enforcement vehicles and based on observing the scene for many hours we surmise that shots were fired as soon as officers exited their vehicles.  More evidence will likely emerge clarifying exactly what happened.

Dion Avila’s wife and young child were present at the time of the shooting, having just exited the car.

“I was coming here to pay a fine and we parked. I asked my husband if he wanted to come in and he said no he’ll wait in the car. Then I see a truck come up and hit my car and it startled me so I hugged my son and grabbed him,” Dion Avila’s wife told FOX31. “I’m telling them please don’t shoot, I’m not armed my husband’s not armed.”

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For many hours the scene of the shooting was cordoned off with police tape and a tent blocked any view of the murder scene.

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Witnesses reported hearing many shots, and as of yet there is no evidence suggesting any shots were fired by Dion Avila. After waiting for about four hours, we were able to get an unobstructed view of the vehicle when some of the police tape was finally pulled back.  We counted seven bullet holes in the windshield of the car, and the placement of the holes appear to suggest that they were fired at a downward angle, by a shooter directly in front of the car.  Members of the media and public who saw the bullet holes in the windshield expressed shock & disbelief.  One press photographer was heard to remark “this was murder.”

Denver Police have been involved in 3 shootings in 2016, all of which were fatal.

rest in power

Vigil for Dion Avila

Attempting to support families directly effected by police violence can be a weird thing. You are forming a relationship with new people in the throws of a horrible grief. On top of that, your major basis for any formation of that relationship is reaching out as a total stranger, no idea if you will even have anything in common or how they will receive a stranger’s feeble attempts at giving comfort and offering aid. Your reaching out into a situation that fundamentally has no comfort. There is no aid anyone can give, no words anyone can say, that will take the pain of losing a loved one so violently and so publicly. A community in grief then gets to hear their loved one’s name smeared and their character attacked in an attempt to render their death justified and legitimate. To assure the public they were kept safe from yet another criminal that needed to be put down.

With all this in mind, I approached the vigil with two friends around 8:15pm, just a little late. Its an all too familiar sight for us, living in a city in the throws of such sudden new urban development. Some call it gentrification, others call it the new colonialism. An indigenous friend of ours who grew up here recently coined the phrase “communicide”. Whatever the words, its undeniable to anyone paying attention that the police are the hard enforcers of this new colonial system.

A crowd of about 35 people were gathered at the spot that Dion Avila was shot and killed, unarmed, in his car, in front of his wife and child. The spot is covered in security cameras, right downtown between 13th and 14th on Bannock Street. No doubt we won’t be seeing that footage anytime soon. We were given candles to hold, as Dion’s family and close friends stood around his wife and a preacher at the center. Supporters stood on the outside, and as I scanned the crowd I caught the eye of many familiar faces. All with that familiar look we all give each other like, “How many times are we going to be here, just like this?” all knowing the answer is probably not something we want to think too much about. The preacher gave a prayer, and asked attendees to comfort the family. No one spoke, until one of Dion’s family members broke the silence. Looking to Dion’s wife:

“I’m sorry, I don’t want to take away from you tonight…”

He began to explain who he was, how he had been close with Dion and wanted to support his wife and child. Then his sorrow turned to rage, directed firmly at the police:

“They didn’t have to do it like this….”

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“Fuck the police!”

The night came to a somber close, after someone pulled their car up to the crowd to play some of Dion’s favorite songs. People mingled quietly, meeting each other, hugging, and writing messages of love and rage on the sidewalk in chalk. I talked to a friend off to the side, someone who I had met after his brother was killed by DPD. We talked about the only people to show up, besides Dion’s friends and family, yet again are the usual suspects. People representing other families who had loved ones taken by the Denver Police, a few independent journalists, and a sizable crew of anarchists and anti authoritarians. No where to be found were the paid organizers, the non profits, or any of the politicians that only pay lipservice to the communities that are being gunned down in the streets of Denver nearly every day. My friend isn’t a partisan. He has no strong belief in any political ideology. He has no stake in talking shit on some perceived opposing faction of activists. No opinion or critique to be validated by someone else’s failure.

“Not enough cameras here I guess”

He shrugs and smirks, shaking his head.

Fuck. This. Shit.

 

– just another posturing, arm chair militant

DPD Take Another Life

Originally posted to DAM’s Facebook page:

Yet again the judge, jury and executioner tactics of the denver police devastate another family and community.

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39 year old Dion Avila was murdered in front of his wife and young child Tuesday afternoon by denver police who were supposedly serving a warrant for the arrest of Dion. Now, even before the “official reports” are released to the public, a few points must be recognized in the execution patterns of the denver police. This murder scene, like others in Denver, share very disturbing similarities. First and maybe the most frightening fact about this case nearly mirrors the execution of Ryan Ronquillo where police made the conscious decision to ambush him in a heavily populated area. Both scenes had children close enough to be killed by police bullets and close enough to watch a loved one be murdered. The decision to apprehend Ryan at a heavily populated funeral came after police followed him around town for more a number of hours. Once again today while on scene I couldn’t help but notice the position of the police vehicles around Dion’s car, it looked very familiar. The dark windowed SUV’s were positioned around Dion’s car in what looked like an ambush. Later after getting home I find out that police had been following Dion around earlier in the day in hopes to serve a warrant on him. So this leads me to believe that police made the conscious decision once again, after following Dion around town for hours, to ambush him while children were present in the middle of downtown Denver. If police are going into a situation expecting violence, maybe the situation should be approached with a little more caution, planning, and willingness to protect all life. Are these types of deadly decisions being made by police becoming the standard of police work in this city?

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The second scary similarity is that to the case of Joseph Valverde, who was subsequently executed the same day as Ryan Ronquillo. Joeseph was executed by police during an undercover operation where he was shot 3 times by police while surrendering. Joseph was left handcuffed with no medical attention for nearly ten minutes while police stood over him and watched him die. After being at the scene of Dion’s execution for nearly 5 hours no ambulance had shown up and no medical response action was taken. So did police make NO attempt to save Dion’s life? Police are trained to take life with out question or due process of law but not trained and not willing to save the life of those who find themselves in the court room of the denver police being sentenced to death with out ever hearing their rights.

-A.Cruz