If Gardner protesters remain jailed overnight, attorney David Lane threatens lawsuits

Asked if they’d be released before the end of the day, Lane said, “They damn well better, or this city will have itself yet another lawsuit on its hands.”

Supporters begin to protest as activists who were arrested for occupying Sen. Cory Gardner's office remain unreleased from the Denver Downtown Justice Center. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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Supporters begin to protest as activists who were arrested for occupying Sen. Cory Gardner's office remain unreleased from the Denver Downtown Justice Center. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) healthcare; trumpcare; protest; denver justice center; jail; kevinjbeaty; denverite; denver; colorado;
Supporters begin to protest as activists who were arrested for occupying Sen. Cory Gardner’s office remain unreleased late Friday from the Denver Downtown Detention Center. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Update: Protesters were released early Saturday morning.

Nine of the 10 people arrested at U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner’s office on Thursday night remained in Denver’s Downtown Detention Center as of late Friday even though they were all accused of low level municipal offenses for which City Attorney Kristin Bronson said she was unlikely to seek jail time.

Attorney David Lane, who is representing the protesters, said he believes all of the protesters have been granted release on personal recognizance early in the day, which means they don’t need to post a monetary bond. He blamed “incompetence” on the part of jail staff for the fact that they remained behind bars.

Asked if they would be released before the end of the day, Lane said, “They damn well better, or this city will have itself yet another lawsuit on its hands.”

If they spend Friday night in jail, it will be the second night they spend at the detention center after spending two nights camped out in Gardner’s office.

Supporters begin to protest as activists who were arrested for occupying Sen. Cory Gardner's office remain unreleased from the Denver Downtown Justice Center. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) healthcare; trumpcare; protest; denver justice center; jail; kevinjbeaty; denverite; denver; colorado;
Supporters begin to protest in front of the Downtown Denver Detention Center. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

A representative of the sheriff’s department told supporters and fellow activists gathered outside the jail that the booking system was down, and that was slowing the process of releasing people. The crowd outside included state Rep. Joe Salazar, a Democratic candidate for attorney general, as well as Speaker of the House Crisanta Duran, state Sen. Irene Aguilar,  and state Rep. Leslie Herod.

The protesters occupied Gardner’s office for 58 hours from Tuesday morning to Thursday evening before Denver police removed them. Ten people were issued summonses for trespassing and, in some cases, interference. Carrie Ann Lucas was not booked into the jail, though she was charged, because the jail didn’t feel it could meet her medical needs.

Colorado Senator Irene Aguilar and House Rep. Leslie Herod speak to the crowd. Supporters begin to protest as activists who were arrested for occupying Sen. Cory Gardner's office remain unreleased from the Denver Downtown Justice Center. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) healthcare; trumpcare; protest; denver justice center; jail; kevinjbeaty; denverite; denver; colorado;
Colorado state Sen. Irene Aguilar and state Rep. Leslie Herod, both Denver Democrats, speak to the crowd. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Lane said he has not had contact with his clients, and he does not know if all their medical needs are being met. The protesters are people with disabilities and their allies who wanted to draw attention to the impact of proposed changes to the Medicaid program.

Denverite visual journalist Kevin J. Beaty contributed reporting to this story.

Erica Meltzer

Author: Erica Meltzer

Erica Meltzer covers government and politics. She's worked for newspapers in Colorado, Arizona and Illinois and once won a First Amendment Award by showing up in the wrong place at the wrong time. She served in the Peace Corps in Paraguay and can swear fluently in Guarani. She gets emotional about public libraries. Contact Erica Meltzer at 303-502-2802, emeltzer@denverite.com or @meltzere.