Sunday, June 12, 2011

Update #4 on Amelia Nicol, anti-police terror prisoner: Most charges thrown out!!

June 10, 2011 Denver Anarchist Black Cross

There have been some major developments within Amelia’s case. Amelia had a
pretrial hearing today, on June 9. A pretrial hearing allows for a judge
to hear the evidence, and decide whether there is sufficient evidence for
a defendant to stand trial for the charges that have been filed. In this
case, as detailed below, the judge made some pretty strong rulings in
favor of Amelia.

As of the writing of this reportback, the judge in the case, Judge Andrew
S. Armatas, has thrown out nearly all of the felonies that Amelia was
facing, including both charges of attempted first degree murder, the
charge of arson, the charge of inciting a riot, an amended charge of
participating in a riot, and a charge of felony criminal mischief. Amelia
is left facing a single felony charge of possession of an explosive, and
three misdemeanor charges: one count of resisting arrest and two counts of
attempted assault on a police officer.

These developments are amazingly good news for Amelia, but the fight is
far from over. Amelia has made a decision to accept being bonded out at
this point, as her bond has been reduced to $5,000. We hope to be able to
raise the whole amount and avoid a bondsmen, and hope to have her out by
next week. We really need donations to make this possible, as we may be
taking out some loans or calling in some favors to make this happen.
Furthermore, since Amelia was homeless when she was arrested, she will be
needing a place to stay and money for food, clothing and other needs. The
local movement here will surely help her out to any degree we can, but any
additional funds would be extremely helpful. Please send any monetary
donations to:

Denver ABC
2727 W. 27th Ave Unit D
Denver, CO 80211
Checks should be made payable to P&L Printing with “Amelia” written in the
memo line.

Thus far, nearly all donations that have been raised have gone to pay for
phone calls (averaging $15 per call), stamps, envelopes and paper. A big
thanks to everyone who has donated to us so far!

Amelia is going to be in court again for an arraignment on the four
charges that remain on June 27th at 8:30 am in courtroom 2T. She still
faces one felony, and we will work tirelessly until she can beat this

Denver ABC held a press conference for Amelia yesterday, June 8th, outside
the Denver District Attorney’s office. Though that news is far
overshadowed by the importance of the charges being dropped, the press
conference was eventful, to say the least. Video provided by West Denver
Copwatch can be found at this link:

A particularly entertaining moment was when Denver ABC members and some
allies attempted to meet with the District Attorney. Watch the video,
you’ll see what we mean.

In the end, however, it wasn’t the District Attorney who ensured that the
most serious of charges would not stick, it was the judge. We’re including
a detailed report from the pretrial hearing written by a member of Denver
ABC. It was a very dramatic hearing, and concluded with a majority of the
people present in the courtroom clapping and banging on the court benches
to show support for Amelia, including other prisoners.

Pretrial Hearing Report, June 9 2011

Court convened at 8:47 am in Courtroom 2100, presided over by Judge Andrew
S. Armatas. The pretrial hearing involved the testimony of two Denver
police officers, and the presentation of a compilation of written reports
and statements from other Denver police officers.

The first witness called to the stand was Officer Tritschler, who
identified himself as a member of the Denver Police Department’s Gang
Unit. Officer Tritschler was assigned to an RDV, one of the riot trucks
carrying riot gear clad police officers. There were three RDV vehicles
present that night.

Tritschler has been a member of the Denver Police Department for 16 years.
He has been assigned to the Gang Unit for 3. On the night of May 6, as the
March Against Police Terror was underway, Officer Tritschler was and the
other officers assigned to his RDV were assigned to “shadow” the march.
They used the parking lot of the Denver Health hospital as a staging area
and followed the march as it entered the streets at 8th and Speer. They
were told to be on alert in case of the need for “mass arrests” or “riot
control” arose.

There were 8 other officers assigned to Tritschler’s RDV, a driver and a
commander inside the vehicle, and 7 officers including Tritschler hanging
onto the outside of the vehicle, ready for deploy “at a moment’s notice.”

The rest of Officer Tritschler’s comments were in reference to what
happened after the march attempted to head back to the Santa Fe Arts
District to disperse. Tritschler described that the march had ended and
participants had dispersed starting at 12th and Kalamath. His unit was
ordered to stay at 11th and Kalamath and await orders. It was at this
intersection that Officer Tritschler claims that he saw three individuals
outside of the Greeley Elementary School. He said his attention was fixed
on them because they were all dressed in black hooded sweatshirts.

Officer Tritschler claims that as he was observing the individuals, one of
them, a taller person with what appeared to be a “mohawk haircut” could be
seen pulling out and lighting a 6 inch long white tube. He then was asked
if the suspect was present in the courtroom, and he responded
affirmatively, identifying Amelia as the suspect.

Officer Tritschler testified that he saw a fuse sparkling in the night
light, and that the suspect then proceeded to throw the object at a patrol
car nearby occupied by Officer Sherwood. Officer Tritschler claims that he
yelled “M-80!” at Officer Sherwood to warn him of the object.

Tritschler testified that the object exploded in front of the car, with “a
small report” and then bounced on top of the car’s hood “and detonated
with a loud concussion.” He described the explosion as having come from a
“low order explosive”. Tritschler then went on to describe his past
military training in explosives, and how he was trained to recognize
improvised explosives and other ordinance while in the Armed Forces. He
further detailed training that he has received since 9/11 from the Denver
Police Department including attending a police department explosives

Tritschler described the difference between low and high order explosives.
He stated that the explosion he witnessed was not made by a “firecracker”
but by a “larger, but low order, explosive”.

Tritschler testified that he was 30-35 feet away from the suspect who
threw the “explosive” and Officer Sherwood’s car was 15 feet away in the
#3 lane (right lane) while his vehicle was in the #2 lane (center). He
described the explosion as “very deep” and stated that he felt a
concussion. He stated that it reminded him of a grenade simulator. He saw
“sparks” and “smoke” come from the device as it detonated, and claimed
that the smoke and sparks traveled some 30 feet into the air.

Tritschler testified that he felt he “was in danger of injury or death”.
At this point there was an objection from Amelia’s counsel, Harvey
Steinberg, which was sustained by the judge, though it was unclear exactly
what the objection was to.

Tritschler next described the foot chase to apprehend the suspect, though
Tritschler admitted that he neither checked on the occupants of the
“targeted” car to see if there was any damage or if anyone was injured.
Tritschler also was not one of the arresting officers, and testified that
other officers had reached the suspect before he could.

During the cross examination of Officer Tritschler by Mr. Steinberg, a
dramatic back and forth unfolded. The first questions from Mr. Steinberg
were directed at Tritschler’s indifference to the “victims” of the “bomb”.
He asked Mr. Tritschler if he had observed any damage to the car or the
street from the “bomb”. Tritschler repeatedly stated that he was not
looking for damage. Finally Tritschler admitted that he had not seen any
damage to the vehicle or the street.

Tritschler then admitted that the explosion from the device hadn’t
noticeably knocked anyone to the ground or injured anyone around him,
though he repeatedly emphasized that he hadn’t checked to see if anyone
was injured.

A back and forth exchange then developed over Tritschler’s description of
the device, with particular attention paid to the term “M-80”. Tritschler
was asked to describe what an M-80 was for the court, and Tritschler
responded that he could only describe what a “military-grade M-80” looked
like, but could not describe a “commercial style M-80” as he had never
seen one. After some pressing from Mr. Steinberg, Tritschler admitted that
he was indeed familiar with the “commercial style M-80”.

An objection from the prosecution was sustained, and Mr. Steinberg turned
his focus to what Officer Tritschler and the other officers were wearing
and armed with that night. Tritschler testified that all of the officers
assigned to his RDV were wearing Kevlar helmets with face shields, and
other protective armor. He testified that he was assigned a 40mm pepper
ball gun and that all of the officers were equipped with their standard
sidearms (pistols and revolvers).

Tritschler then testified that the three suspicious people he had observed
earlier were not blocking traffic and were standing on the sidewalk. Mr.
Steinberg pressed this issue a bit, seemingly to draw attention to the
lack of a “riot” occurring.

When the assistant District Attorney was allowed a re-direct questioning,
she only focused on the M-80 issue. Mr. Steinberg declined to ask any
further questions and Officer Tritschler was dismissed.

The only other witness called by the prosecution was Denver Police
Detective Randy Parsons. Detective Parsons has been a police officer for
11 years and has been assigned to the Assaults Bureau for 4 years.

Detective Parsons was the lead police investigator covering the march of
May 6th, and the resulting criminal complaint. Parsons was responsible for
reviewing any and all reports and statements from officers present in the
streets and determining the course of action for charges and issuing a
comprehensive report of the incident that occurred.

The primary victim identified by Detective Parsons was Officer Thomas
Sherwood. Parsons described receiving a phone call from Officer Sherwood a
week or so after the incident.

Detective Parsons also described receiving a phone call from someone he
later identified as being Amelia’s mother, and that she had alerted him to
the presence of a YouTube video of the march, seemingly thinking that this
piece of evidence would help clear her daughter. The video did not offer
any new evidence that would help Amelia’s case, but did instead become a
piece of evidence that helped prosecutors describe the setting and the
“riotous” conditions surrounding the march.

In the video, Parsons could identify Amelia as being present within the
march. He then described the march mood of the march and the slogans that
were present on banners and signs. He said that the march had “something
to do with an incident involving a gentleman named Marvin Booker”.
(editor’s note: Detective Parsons refused to state anything regarding the
incident where Denver Sheriff’s Deputies MURDERED Marvin Booker in the
jail, just downstairs from where this very hearing was taking place.)

Parsons then described reviewing a statement from Officer Denke, a member
of the SCAT Team who was monitoring the march. Denke was said to have
described an incident on the 16th Street Mall where a female suspect with
a mohawk and black hoodie and red bandana spit in the direction of Denke.
Parsons testified that Denke later identified the “bomb-thrower” as the
same person.

Denke was said to then describe another incident where the same suspect
pulled out a long white cylindrical object out of the backpack of an
unidentified person in the march, near 13th and Champa, which he described
as roughly 5 blocks away from 11th and Kalamath, where that suspect would
later through the object at police.

Parsons further testified about the actual incident, describing that
Sherwood had reported that he saw the device, but there was no mention of
who lit it in the statement that Parsons had reviewed. The device was
reported to have been thrown, and bounced off the “A-frame” of the car,
narrowly missing the open window. Parsons stated that the device was very
close to having landed inside the car through the open window.

Parsons testified that after a short foot chase that Sherwood took the
suspect into custody. They were able to identify the suspect based off the
recorded phone calls between the suspect and her mother. He affirmed that
Amelia was the only person arrested at the protest that night.

Parsons then testified that no HALO cameras exist at 11th and Kalamath.
(Editor’s note: there is indeed a HALO camera there, and it is in a
position that should have been able to record the whole incident in

During the cross examination, Parsons again confirmed that he was the lead
detective and had reviewed any and all documents that he knew existed.

Parsons admitted that not a single statement or report indicated that
there was any “reportable” damage to any vehicles, property, or the

Mr. Steinberg forced Parsons to admit that there was “zero damage” caused
by the detonation of the device.

Mr. Steinberg then directed Detective Parsons to review several of the
statements from officers that he had previously reviewed. Parsons
confirmed that they were indeed the statements he had reviewed. Mr.
Steinberg then directed Detective Parsons to a report written by Officer
Tobin, describing the device as a small “firecracker”. Parsons confirmed
that the statement from Tobin indeed used that description of the device.

Mr. Steinberg then asked Parsons to review the original statement from
Officer Sherwood. Parsons admitted that Sherwood’s statement never
mentioned the device hitting the car’s “A-frame” despite what Parsons had
earlier testified to. The statement also never mentioned that the device
nearly entered the car. Instead, the statement noted that the device
detonated in front of the vehicle. The statement didn’t even mention
Sherwood’s car window being rolled down. All of the statements Parsons
reviewed indicated that the device detonated in front of the car, and not
a single one mentioned the device nearly landing inside the car.

Parsons then again confirmed that there was no reportable damage to the
vehicle or anything else. Parsons also testified that there was no broken
glass or accelerant found at the scene, despite the claims in the media
that the device was a Molotov cocktail. He described that there were small
cardboard shards found, and that they were currently in the custody of the
lab, though no lab results were available or have been released.

Parsons testified that when Amelia was arrested, the only evidence found
on her person were two small spray-paint cans. There were no matches,
lighters, or any similar implement found on Amelia at the time of her
arrest, and no such items were found by officers during a search of the

Parsons stated that there were no reports made of Amelia “ditching,
throwing, or getting rid of” anything during the foot chase with officers.

During the re-direct questioning, the Assistant DA focused on the two
other people that officers had described as being with the suspect at the
time the device was thrown. Parsons stated that no contact was made with
any suspects other than Amelia.

There was some attention paid to the time at which Sherwood wrote his
statement. It was written at 2140, just minutes after Amelia’s arrest. It
would later be noted during a further cross examination by Mr. Steinberg
that it had taken Sherwood nearly 10 minutes (until 2150) to write a
statement that was less than a page long.

Parsons was then dismissed.

There was no more evidence presented by the prosecution. Mr. Steinberg
made a closing argument that all charges should be dropped, as there was
no evidence provided by the DA’s office that fulfilled any of the
necessary requirements of moving forward with these charges, and that
these charges were instead political in nature. “There is a message being
sent here that this is what happens when you challenge the authority of
the Denver Police Department.”

The judge then reviewed the written police statements and concluded that
there was no evidence for any charges other than charges 5, 8, 9, and 10.
Charge 5 is possession of an explosive. Charges 8,9, and 10 are
misdemeanor charges.

A brief argument occurred over setting a new bond, and the judge issued a
new bond amount set at $5,000, down significantly from the previous

This report is not complete, and there were some other exchanges during
the hearing, but this report represents the bulk of the testimony

For more support information, and news on this case as it becomes
available, please keep checking

In love and solidarity!

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