Denver’s Urban Camping Ban Overturned 

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Denver, Colorado vs. The Eighth Amendment

Cristal M Clark 

Citing the eighth amendment, last Friday a Denver County Court judge ruled that Denver’s urban camping ban is unconstitutional, the ban was put into effect in 2012. Judge Johnny C. Barajas ruled that the ban violated the eighth amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment because it criminalizes homeless individuals for trying to survive on the streets when they have nowhere else to go.

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Which is in fact, true. Because of the ruling the Denver police are now prohibited from arresting or harassing homeless people if they are not doing anything of criminal nature. 

That’s right folks, the Denver Police were allowed to harass homeless people before the ban was overturned. You or I can get arrested for harassing someone, but the police can do it and it’s okay? WTF?

Also it’s important to note that back in May, Denver residents voted to reject Initiative 300, which would have overturned the camping ban because when someone is living in his/her brand new million dollar studio they don’t want to see a homeless encampment outside on the sidewalk and it’s way, way, way to inconvenient to have to walk around or step over the homeless who might be passed out on the sidewalk, not to mention sometimes when the mood strikes the homeless might just hop on the goodfoot right out on a public walkway. 

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“The Eighth Amendment, or Amendment VIII of the United States Constitution is the section of the Bill of Rights that states that that punishments must be fair, cannot be cruel, and that fines that are extraordinarily large cannot be set.”

The ban being overturned has been celebrated by advocates for the homeless and has also left others quite upset and beating down the doors of local media to bitch, whine and complain. Case in point, Bishop Jerry Demmer has been leading Absolute Word Church at the corner of 24th and California for the past six years. He says there have always been homeless campers in the park across the street, but now the entire area has been overrun with homeless campers and he’s concerned that it’s going to chase away potential god fearing parishioners. That is according to what he told the local news outlets a day or so ago. “One of the hardest things in this homeless epidemic is that people decide I can urinate wherever and I can defecate wherever, man on the front of the church just dropped his pants and defecated.”

“When I came up this morning they were all the way down the street and sidewalk was taken over with bikes and everything on it, I could not park here this morning.” He actually had to park down the street and walk into the church rather than park right out front, can you imagine how grueling that must have been? 

“I have a great church. But a lot of people would never come to my church if they rode by and seen the situation on the side and sometimes in the front. They would never come to the church because it’s like, well I can’t even get into your church”

“I’ve been involved with feeding the homeless and clothing the homeless,” that’s been one of our ministries, so I have an appreciation for the homeless.” He was also careful to mention how he fears this attracting more homeless people now that you know the ban has been overturned. How brazenly hypocritical of the Bishop to say, he cares so long as he doesn’t have to fucking look at it, step over it or go around it. 

Let’s not leave out the Denver Rescue mission here, according to President and CEO of the Denver Rescue Mission Brad Meuli according to him this could make it more difficult for them to serve individuals experiencing homelessness.

“This ruling is a great concern to us, we don’t think people should stay on the streets. We think they should come into facilities like Denver Rescue Mission, Catholic Charities, Salvation Army, Volunteers of America where they can get the help that they need. I don’t think anyone should stay outside, I wouldn’t want to stay outside. I think folks should come in where it’s warm, where it’s safe, where you can go to the bathroom or you can take a shower.”

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Welp Brad, looks like you’re going to have to climb on down off of that high horse of yours and actually walk the pavement and see what you can do that way rather than force the homeless to some of the shelters you mentioned above, some of which the homeless tell me are full of bugs, theft, violence, and sex assault. It is no wonder many choose to sleep in tents along the sidewalk when some of the facilities offer absolutely no safety and are rife with criminal activity. 

Local businesses are not happy about the ruling but fear speaking to the local media will affect business as advocates of the homeless who never supported the ban are known to cause issues for businesses who get vocal in support of the ban. Actual residents in Denver, well walk around and converse with them and see how they feel, all I hear from them is a lot of whining about all the money they paid to live downtown like somehow that money should be utilized to remove the hideous homeless eyesores right? The mentality is more like just get rid of it so we don’t have to look at it. 

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Here’s the thing, the Judge is right, the ban is an absolute violation of the eight amendment, and those of you that support the ban should be ashamed of yourselves, you care more about illegal immigrant rights than the rights of those who were born here. You want to force them out of living off the streets yet you lack the wherewithal to actually understand or comprehend why some of these individuals are homeless and when you don’t get it, you are never going to be able to help resolve the issue. Maybe stop looking down your noses at these human beings and try to help address why they are on the street in the first place and that includes forking over your hard earned money to support ways off of the streets rather than demand the city just somehow magically write a law on the books punishing people for being homeless. 

Cristal M Clark

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Domestic Violence Hits Home

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October – National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Cristal M Clark

On Monday night I wrote an article and mentioned in it that I was currently dealing with a stalker type of situation. From that I received an overwhelming number of emails from individuals worldwide who are experiencing the same type of situation. For most the situation is stemming from a relationship that never made it to the one-year mark, shockingly many more are stemming from a relationship that never made it past the 2-6-month mark.

Two very clear messages jumped out at me as I spent last night reading each email that had been sent, 1. Everyone who had written to me feels helpless, 2. Everyone stated that the police were doing nothing to help them. 

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month, and this type of behavior is technically classified as a form of domestic violence. 

Sadly, it’s also a form of DV that is difficult to prosecute without having established a pattern of behavior. It’s really difficult for victims to figure out when unwanted contact turns into criminal contact when no physical violence has taken place and no threats are being made. 

Police get these types of calls all of the time, “the person I dated for just a short time is stalking/harassing me.” When it turns out they called three times wanting a second chance. 

Since it’s National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and I received so many messages from people going through the same thing I am currently going through, I thought I would put together some helpful tips, share tools and share my own personal story of what I am currently going through and let you know how I handle it, in the hopes that it helps many of you who wrote to me the last two days sharing the same stories asking for help.  

When you break it off with someone and you feel that they are stepping over that line from healthy just wanting a second chance to not letting go, becoming obsessive, harassing you, stalking you or staking out known places you go in the hopes of running into you, calling your friends or family trying to locate you, it’s important that you be your own hero and help the police and DA’s to establish a pattern of behavior. 

Keep a level head, one young man who wrote to me was stalking his ex who was stalking him in the hopes of catching her drinking and driving, using illegal drugs. I cannot stress this enough, refrain from doing that, not only could that potentially be dangerous for you, it can also be considered criminal behavior just from the stalking aspect.

Keep a level head no matter how worried, scared, nervous, afraid, or upset you are, even if you feel angry, keep a level head and stay calm. Trust me if your ex lover is that obsessed they will dig themselves a grave in due time. And sometimes it takes time and effort to establish a pattern of behavior. 

Help yourself and start to establish a pattern of behavior. 

A few things about that. 

Making this even more difficult is that one of the first things anyone is told is to block your ex lover on your phone and on all social media so that he/she cannot call/contact you. Hands down that is the worst advice. Case in point, mine. I blocked a man I dated for 2 months, of that 2 months I spent month 2, attempting to break things off with him. I ended up blocking him on my phone only to learn a couple of days ago that by doing that, my phone company has no record of his incoming calls or text messages unless he leaves a voicemail, on an iPhone voicemails still come over as blocked messages but my phone company phone records still have no record of those calls. 

Thankfully,  on an iPhone with the latest update, you can block all unknown numbers from ringing on your phone but they will show up as missed calls, and voicemails show up as just regular voicemails. Blocking someone is not always ideal on your phone because it makes it difficult to establish a pattern of behavior for police unless the person is leaving voicemails. 

The other part of that, if you block someone and they start to escalate in terms of asking for a second chance, to asking you to call to threats, through text message which seems to be a popular way of communicating, you are not going to see those messages and I don’t know about any of you here, I don’t like being blindsided. 

Most phones will give you an option to send some numbers directly to voicemail without having to block the individual, and as frustrating and unnerving as it might feel to keep seeing countless texts come through, I would ignore them after my own experience and just let them continue to come in. 

Be aware of all of your surroundings, home, work, even in the most populated area such as the grocery store, shopping center, coffee shop. I broke things off back in the middle of August with the person I had been seeing, the next weekend I spotted him in the parking lot of the grocery store I normally go to just sitting watching the area I normally park my motorized transport in. Initially when I broke it off with him, I had a feeling given his messages, the fact that he is mentally unwell and he medicates that with very heavy substance abuse that I was going to have some issues with him. All of those reasons by the way are what led me to end things so quickly.  

Anyway, I had purposely parked my vehicle closer to this salon in the area and hiked in, using a different door and ensuring that if he did spot me, I was in the most populated part of the entire area. He did not spot me thankfully, I jotted down the date time and location and decided I would do my shopping elsewhere and on a different day of the week moving forward. 

The weekend after that, he was sitting in the parking lot to the Starbucks I frequent on the weekends. I kept driving and he did not see me drive past, so, I now frequent a different Starbucks. 

I get my fuel at a different gas station, shop at a different Super Target. 

These things are not convenient in the least, but to keep myself safe, they are a must. When we date even briefly someone who is mentally unwell and who self medicates with substance abuse we never know if they will at some point completely lose it, when they might do that or what might happen if they become upset and frustrated by us refusing to speak to them, running away etc. I’ll get to that later here because last Friday things could have ended pretty badly. 

No matter how humiliated you feel, tell everyone you know what is going on, especially mutual friends and acquaintances, get the word out. The guy I had been seeing was calling my friends about three weeks ago trying to find out where I work. No one told him of course and naturally I was pretty unsettled about it. The last person this guy should have asked was my best friend and turns out that was the first person he asked. Not the smartest move. 

I have that documented. I was able to learn from multiple friends after that he has indeed been trying to track me down on a weekly basis, several times a week. When all this started back in August, I decided to lay low hoping it would eventually resolve itself. 

I noticed him driving up my street a few times early in the morning, I have the sounds of most of the vehicles on my street memorized, so at around 5:30-6:30 I’d hear a different sounding vehicle I would look out and it was him. 

Sadly, that makes me want to move sooner rather than later. Which is easier said than actually done. 

I thought by ignoring him it would stop eventually. It hasn’t. 

Weekly I have been receiving text messages to the number I use for this website from this man. I delete them and never responded to any of them, with the exception of twice. Sometimes multiple times a week I get a message.

The first time I responded, it was after a slew of rather ugly messages one night right after I ended things, they were directed at me, wild accusations. They started with him playing the part of the heart broken victim, attempting to manipulate me into texting feeling sorry for breaking things off, when I ignored them, he took it up a notch to accusing me of being with someone because it was a Saturday night, I couldn’t possibly be home alone (I was), then he became angry and said some ugly, terrible things to me. I responded just once, stating pretty clearly that if he continued to contact me that I would call the police and that I would file charges. I choose my words carefully which I will explain later.

He backed off for a while. 

The messages still came though, once or twice a week to my website phone number, no ugliness but looking for info nonetheless, like what was I up to, with whom, pretending to be happy that my college football team won. Even though I found the messages annoying and I deleted them, I noted times, dates and what was said in them and refused to respond to them. 

I kept ignoring them, then suddenly last week starting on Thursday he began calling my cell and leaving me voicemails. First saying he just wanted to talk. I did not call back but I saved the message. 

Last Friday, the first time in over a month, my best friend insisted that I go out and stop hiding letting this guy dictate my ability to just enjoy life and time with my friends. I decided to go. My friends and I were not out to get drunk, we just wanted to enjoy our time off from work and catch up. None of us drink and drive we hail ride shares so I thought I’d be safe meeting up with my crew. The guy I was seeing enjoys drinking and driving and usually does it before 7pm, I wasn’t going to be out until after 7 so that further instilled the idea that all would be well.

After a short time, two women I know well walk in and sit next to all of us. They started to share their stories with me about the man I had briefly dated. Turns out, he has a long and documented history of harassing and stalking women. These women came out that night to show me some support after learning that I had been hiding, worried about what this guy may or may not be capable of. I also learnt that his behavior is in fact, escalating from what he had put them through. One of these women expressed that while she has never obtained an order of protection, she knows some officers at Denver PD and they are aware of this man’s behavior and look out for while on duty. 

Learning all of this is powerful, not only does it establish a history prior to mine, it also shows that he does this in an attempt to try to control and manipulate women, victimizing them. Me being me, well I am pretty stubborn and sort of already saw that already,  I just needed it validated. 

We are just chatting when suddenly, past his bedtime, who should walk drunkenly in the door. He sat a few seats down from me, my best friend leaned over and told me not to worry about it, the establishment already knew about the situation. They were ready to ask him to leave when we gave them the signal. None of us acknowledge him and continued our conversation about other things. You could feel him becoming angry. A member of the staff asked him to move to the other side of the bar, he complied but watched all of us becoming visibly more angry, loudly tapping the bar, fidgeting, drinking in gulps not sips. My best friend got up to use the restroom and this guy took the opportunity. He got within two inches of my face, I took exception. He yelled at me, again I took exception and started to reach for my bag after telling him to get the fuck away from me and leave me alone, he yelled “or what”, I said I’ll have you kicked out, he got in my fact again and that was it. 

Two things to know here are that one, if I had thought it through we should have called the police because this guy drove to the bar, he was completely drunk, stumbling, slurring his words and he would have been taken in the second he pulled away from the bar because either way I was not drunk they were not kicking me out, second, since learning he had been trying to find out where I work, I have been carrying a weapon in my bag. I was reaching for that weapon at the very moment my best friend was walking out of the bathroom.  

I will let all of you know, I was ready to use that in those moments because for the first time in years I actually felt threatened by another individual. I felt he was willing to cause me harm, he was that drunk and angry. My best friend showed up just in time and pulled the guy away and proceeded to ask him to leave the establishment before things get ugly. He complied, my best friend is a big guy who many don’t really like to mess with. 

He handled the situation rather beautifully. We all know why I ended things but this guy isn’t getting it, he continued to play the victim, he kept saying “I didn’t do anything, I want to know what I have done.” Michael, my BFF kept responding with “John, it doesn’t matter, she has it in her head you did something so now you need to leave her alone, it would be best if you just leave.” You can’t reason with these types of individuals, you have to reason with them enough to get them to go away sometimes. I do not need to prove shit to this guy at this juncture, his behavior says it all. 

I informed this guy clearly why I did not want to pursue a relationship with him. His behavior is classic textbook, he will play the victim, pretending nothing is wrong with him or imply he doesn’t recall being told. 

People who do this to us all want a long drawn out explanation, that is a ploy they use in the hopes to manipulate us back to allowing them to be a part of our lives. 

The best thing you can do is not get drawn into that, you owe no one an explanation past, you don’t feel the relationship can move forward. It’s not like it was a 25 year marriage. 

That being that when everyone’s night ended I made sure to ask my driver to wait to leave until I was in my home, explaining my situation. Most Lyft drivers are happy to do that for riders, I got home safe and sound and for the first time in over two months, actually slept the entire night until morning. 

The next day, things were quiet, except that he drove down my street early in the morning.  I expected a slew of calls from this guy, he did not call. 

Now, I have witnesses to his behavior, several of them. I again note time, date, names of witnesses and detailed what transpired the night before. 

Saturday I thought finally, he got the hint, for the first time since I ended things he has not tried to contact me and got it. 

I was wrong. 

The calls started coming in on Sunday, he was using his roommates phone though. Show of hands, who in the hell answers the phone from a caller you don’t know? Yeah me neither. 

I looked up the number up and learnt who the owner was, his roommate I am sure does not know he used his phone to call me. 

Here I could choose to call his roommate and show him the call details and enlist his help. The reality is this, if I call the police they are not going to lay in wait at the bar for this guy, that is absurd unless the guy is at the bar intent on driving home right? No they will arrest him at his home, a home he rents a room in, he does not own the place.
So I could call his roommate and trust me I keep thinking about it. But I know that guy, he’s a mutual friend, he’ll toss him out the door straight away, no questions asked.
If he does that, it could potentially cause this guy to snap and come after me, he knows where I live.
I will table this idea and utilize it as a last resort.

Monday, I got back to back to back voicemails, all odd, sounded like he was whimpering, he would say things like, “welp,” then this odd whimpering, 3 to 5 second voicemails. The guy has an iPhone, you don’t arse dial on those so So, I know it was not a mistake. 

At this, because I want him to lose my cell number, I attempt to direct the calls and texts back to my website number. 

I send out a text message that makes it abundantly clear again, that he is to stop attempting to call me, find me, approach me, it’s over, we are not friends, I want no further contact with him and he needs to stop, only this time I end it with, if you continue, I will call the police and “they” will file charges for harassment and stalking. 

Earlier when I initially stated that I had asked him to stop trying to contact me, right after I ended things, I informed him that if he continued, I would call the police and that “I” would file charges. That translates to something like an empty threat, we both know that early on I probably do not have enough to warrant criminal charges. 

When you tell someone that you are going to call the police and that the police will file charges you are sending a message to that individual that you are confident you have enough proof to establish criminal behavior. 

Now if he were truly mentally insane, he would proceed with contact, even temporary insanity. I know this one firsthand, when someone is truly suffering some mental trauma that could be considered insanity, they do not have a magic shut off they do not truly understand the line between unwanted contact and criminal. 

Individuals like many of us are currently dealing with tend to know when to back off then carefully try to venture back in. They want it to look like you or I are overreacting, like we are having mental issues. 

In my case because I shared what was going on with so many of our mutual friends, it enabled word to travel around to two other people who have been dealing with this guy, dealing with the same situation. 

Him walking in and seeing all of us sitting together had to have freaked him out because at that moment he most likely realized we had shared war stories. 

So what happens now? 

I don’t know, since my last message he has not attempted contact but he is a drunk in that he generally drinks 8 or more beers a day, gets up still drunk and goes to work, he may snap at some point or he may decide finally that it’s not worth it. That I am not worth him going to jail for, which isn’t such a bad thing. 

I have been documenting, choosing my timing when I respond, how I respond, when I respond I have a reason for why I did that, I decide what I say so as to maintain control over my own well being and the situation to the best of my ability. The police would need to know after all that I am not antagonizing or exacerbating the situation. 

Above all I continue when I choose to respond to let this individual know, we are over the contact is unwanted. 

On the subject of getting a weapon. 

Every cop I have ever spoken to has told me that if you feel that someone could potentially cause harm to you, that you should consider getting a weapon for your own protection. Response times of police can very and you need to think about protecting yourself. 

Normally, I would balk at the idea but with this guy I took some time to think it over. I did not come to the decision easily or lightly. I opted not to get a gun, my granddaughters dig through my purse, I am good with hand to hand combat and went for something that allows for up close and personal damage. 

I practice using it every day, I have for years anyway but not consistently until more recently.

Do what you need to do in order to feel safe. If you do not want to get a weapon, have another plan so as to save yourself. I live in Colorado, sometimes in the winter the police simply cannot get to me fast enough when I need them. Those are facts. 

Document, document and document some more. Everything. Be aware enough to notice the tiniest of things out of order. When you go somewhere, make a note of it’s layout especially the exits, not just in and out of a door but on and off of a property. Make an escape plan the second you memorize the layout and carry that plan through over and over again in your mind until it feels like an old habit. Create alternate plans just in case. 

Reach out to your local victims advocates too, let them know what is going on and ask for help. Usually they can help you better determine when unwanted contact starts to turn to criminal contact. 

Ask police (not 911 folks), ask the DA, ask victims advocates. They would much rather help you navigate that legal system than see you harmed in anyway shape or form. And what’s more is that they will tell you upfront whether you have enough to warrant criminal charges at whatever stage you are at. These guys tend to back off, then fuck up fast, short and quick but then back off right before it becomes a crime. 

Establish a pattern of behavior that you can prove.  Say it as many times as you need to, rise above being afraid and start to establish that pattern. 

Each of you control this outcome. Make choices based off of that.   

I cannot stress enough after reading thousands of accounts of my readers who are experiencing this right now, this is not normal behavior. Well adjusted adults as I said might try a few times to make it work but past that, it is not normal. Many of you, like myself are dealing with someone who has something mentally going on but who self medicate. 

Readers, that is akin to dealing with the unpredictable. I’d like to say I have the situation under control, but the truth is, I only have me under control. 

I am doing everything that I can to protect myself and to document every interaction, attempt at contact or situation so as to enable the police when/if the time comes to place this individual under arrest. 

Which makes me, not this guys victim. 

If you feel helpless after reading this shoot me a message here or text me. I will help you navigate or point you in the right direction. 

Remember this, anyone going through this, you are not alone, reach out for help, trust me, it will reach back.

Cristal M Clark

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Denver Police to Encrypt Scanner Traffic

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Denver, Colorado

Cristal M Clark

For years people have been able to listen to scanner traffic using police scanners and now mobile app’s, likewise for many years, the individuals who listened in did not mis-use the privilege, these days that is much different story however.

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Now, the Denver Police Department could encrypt its radio traffic at any time which in turn has caused quite a bit of controversy. In today’s world one really does need to play devils advocate on this one. Some in the community feel that should the Denver Police Department go through with encrypting scanner traffic; they will become less transparent and therefor less accountable.

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Then you have others like myself, who feel that this should have been done a couple of years ago. Around a year or so ago, some of us were listening to the Denver Police attempt to find an armed robbery suspect on the scanner, what we learned from that was, we were not the only 5 listening to the scanner chatter, that armed suspect was possibly also listening in and skipped off happily away because he or she would have been able to know precisely where the police were looking for them.

The police later found a ditched phone that had a police scanner app on it.

In today’s world, individuals do abuse the ability to listen in on police radio traffic in an effort to commit crimes and/or elude the police. I am not really a fan of that personally.

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By not encrypting the radio traffic, our officers and public are put at greater risk of being in harm’s way as well, I am even less of a fan of that.

Because some are abusing the privilege, I don’t really believe we have a right to listen in on the police scanners anymore. Does anyone recall being a kid in class, when little Johnny broke the rules, the entire class lost a privilege over it? This is the exact same concept someone breaks the rules the whole lot loses the privilege.

In short, the Denver Police Department has the Crime Shops support on this one, the world has changed and even they need to become more vigilant and aware of what is happening, and clearly, they are.

This move will better our officer’s ability to catch criminals rather than better the criminal’s ability to get away.

Cristal M Clark

IOS users can find The Crime Shop on Apple News

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Denver Cop runs over K9 Partner – manages to keep job

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Denver Police Department

 

The K9 German Shepherd lost a piece of her ear and also recovered from other non-life threatening injuries and has since returned to duty.

The individual responsible for her injuries as it turns out happened to be her partner, one Thomas J. McKibben.

Thomas says that he inadvertently threw one of her toys underneath his vehicle, he ordered the dog into her kennel inside of the car, pulled forward not realizing that he did not secure the latch on her kennel so the dog happily jumped out to retrieve her beloved toy, thus getting hit by the vehicle, which happened back in December. 

Thomas lost an entire vacation day and has subsequently been reassigned.

Thomas by the way happens to be the second officer to be disciplined this year for the mistreatment of an animal.

While it sounds as if he was negligent, I doubt that he purposely or negligently caused harm to his K9 partner, it seems as if this was purely an accident and not negligent at all.

That accident is one that anyone could have had, at anytime.

I am all for disciplining an officer who did something so as to cause blatant harm to another including his or her K9 partner, however, this was not blatant and was in fact, a complete accident.

I say this a lot but police are just like the rest of us. They make mistakes and sometimes they even make horrible mistakes.

We too often mistakenly put them upon a pedestal and our expectation is that they are better than we are in that, they are superior, mistake free and absolutely perfect compared to the rest of us.  

Because of how we view the police, when an officer makes a mistake, they never seem to be able to escape it or live it down.

It really is all about perception, which sometimes needs a little tweaking when it comes to how society views police.

Cristal M Clark

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Denver Police to Fight Violent Extremism

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Denver Police Department – Colorado

So, last week I read somewhere that the Denver Police Department was given a grant of $240K in an effort to fight violent extremism.

Extremism is defined as – the holding of extreme political or religious views; fanaticism.

And it is not always easy to see at first glance.

I like many others started thinking what the justification is behind the grant?

Well here’s your answer, the funding was provided by the Department of Homeland Security in an effort to help officers “root” out extremists and to combat terrorism.

Something Denver has yet to have had any major type of issue with what so ever, right? At least on the surface right because when applying for the grant the Denver Police Department stated that in the year 2016 they had to investigate 5 cases of “potential” homegrown terrorists.

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I could not find the specifics for those 5 cases and that might be due to ongoing investigations still or it could be that they were unfounded or that the department had to turn intel over to the FBI or another agency.

The application also just so happened cite previous domestic terrorism cases, which were the Columbine High School shooting, the Aurora movie theater shooting, and the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooting.

With a grand finale of 2, 2014 cases of local girls being recruited by ISIS in an effort to support this grant request.

To be completely honest, those were acts of extremism, most of which were violent. Not to mention that the reality is simply that violent extremists are more often than not, home grown for one reason or another. 

The issue that many take with the department being awarded the grant however is that many in the community fear more militarization of police. I completely understand the fear yet, on the other hand in today’s world I am not sure police departments have much choice.

It’s buck up or potentially get slaughtered.

At some point personally, I would expect police to be properly trained in an effort to spot and handle any potential of violent extremism, not stand on the sidelines helpless to help people like you and I.

I am excited to learn how the Denver Police Department plans to use the funds and what the training will look like.

What’s more is that I am curious to see if it will be of any help to thwart acts of violent extremism.

Violent extremism seems to be moving in an upward direction these days and it’s anyone’s guess, not if, but when the next violent mass event will take place in America.

Cristal M Clark

IOS users can find The Crime Shop on Apple News

@thecrimeshop on twitter

And https://gab.ai/thecrimeshop

Denver, Colorado – Where its a crime to be homeless

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Denver, Colorado

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So, in Denver in case you haven’t heard, the City outlawed “Urban Camping” which resulted in multiple sweeps to remove the homeless camps throughout the city.

Meaning, the police would swoop in and confiscate things like, tents, tarps, blankets, clothing, sleeping bags, etc from the homeless in an effort to force them to…stop being homeless of course.   

According to the Urban Dictionary, Urban Camping is defined as: “camping in an urban setting by sleeping on rooftops, under bushes, and in public parks.”

According to a Medical Dictionary Urban Camping is defined as (and I truly love this one): “A flippant term for homelessness.”

The National Health Care for The Homeless, defines homeless as: “an individual who lacks housing (without regard to whether the individual is a member of a family), including an individual whose primary residence during the night is a supervised public or private facility (e.g., shelters) that provides temporary living accommodations, and an individual who is a resident in transitional housing.”

“A homeless person is an individual without permanent housing who may live on the streets; stay in a shelter, mission, single room occupancy facilities, abandoned building or vehicle; or in any other unstable or non-permanent situation.”

So while the definition of Urban Camping is a play on words, the definition of homeless is not, it is the reality of the situation.

Being homeless and living on the streets is technically not the same thing as “urban camping,” yet cities across the nation have tried and failed to outlaw this thing called “Urban Camping” which is basically a passive-aggressive way to outlaw being homeless.

To get to that conclusion I just looked at the the definition of camping: “the activity spending a vacation living in a camp, tent, or camper.”

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The last time I checked, being homeless was not a vacation.

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On Saturday of last week Denver Mayor Michael Hancock announced that police should not take blankets and other items from the homeless after video surfaced across the web showing Denver Police taking blankets and other items from the homeless camped out on Denver sidewalks during last weeks cold and snowy weather.

Out of the kindness of the Mayor’s heart, he suggested that police allow the homeless to keep blankets, sleeping bags, tents, tarps and the like during the cold, wet months.

Well, we cannot rob the poor because the wealthy don’t want to look at them, because the wealthy don’t like what they see.

If we don’t like human suffering, we need to find a way to end it, without causing and inflicting shame, harm and mental trauma.

Start by asking some of the homeless if they want to be homeless, find productive ways to help those that don’t want to be homeless and find ways to better assist those that want to continue to be homeless because quite a few do want to be homeless like it or not.

9News in Denver did a story a few weeks ago about a homeless man who wanted to continue to be homeless, he liked it even though he got arrested a lot.

We cannot make the choice for this man to change his wayward ways if it’s not what he wants to do, it’s his choice.

http://www.9news.com/news/local/investigations/denvers-most-arrested-and-cited-man/355106517

We cannot force anyone who wants to be homeless to stop being homeless or into shelters that are unclean, filthy and unsafe.

Encampment enforcement

Build better shelters, ones that replace all bedding every night and day so they are cleaner and bedbug free.

Arm those shelters with police or armed guards so that they are safe and so as to ensure the personal belongings of each homeless person is not stolen by another.

Better yet, build outdoor shelters so that the homeless can take their own personal belongings with them, equip them with portable outdoor heaters for colder months and supply armed officers to keep those that utilize the space safe.

Employ the city cleaning crews to go clean the outdoor shelters daily.

Work with local business owners and encourage them to stop selling alcohol to the homeless in the area.

The point is, we cannot force someone off of the streets, we cannot bus them away, so it’s time to start to better address the issues of the homeless in Denver without causing them undue harm.

If the residents and business owners really want something done about the homeless in the area, make them pay for better ways to assist the homeless.

Something that is not a passive-aggressive way of outlawing being homeless.

I use this one a lot “The problem is not the problem; the problem is your attitude about the problem.”

And that perfectly sums up the City of Denver’s idea’s about addressing and then solving the city’s homeless problem.

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We cannot and should not punish the homeless for being homeless regardless of whether or not we try to dress it up by calling it “Urban Camping.”

Being homeless is not the same as as a vacation, living on the streets is not camping, urban or otherwise no matter how you try to dress it up.

It’s time that the City of Denver learn to address the homeless problem by addressing it as exactly what it is, instead of what it is not.

Cristal M Clark

IOS users can find The Crime Shop on Apple News

@thecrimeshop

Denver, Colorado Police Department – changing use force policy

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Denver, Colorado

In a move that I don’t often make, I am going to praise the efforts of the Denver, Colorado Police Department, in fact, I commend them for taking this very huge step forward.

They announced this week that they plan to rewrite the department’s use of force policy. I’ve said this so many times before, in all reality police departments across the US don’t really need the DOJ to step in and fix everything if a police department is willing and ready for change.

As it turns out, one of the departments that I often praise has paid attention to what has been happening with other police departments across the nation and has taken it upon themselves to change the way they react.

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Instead of telling officers what is legally allowed in terms of using force, they will now be encouraged and allowed to use the minimum amount of force necessary.
That translates to not shooting first and asking questions later, which DPD never really had an issue with but why wait until one surfaces?

They will be provided special training and models to help guide them on how to better react to different situations, according to DPD Chief Robert White.  

“I’m of the opinion it’s just not good enough for officers to take legal actions, but they also need to make sure those actions are absolutely necessary that’s where we are going.”

What citizens don’t often see or realize is that some police departments across the country have been watching the violence, the actions of both officers and citizens and they have listened to how citizens feel and they are now taking steps to change different aspects of policing.

That’s pretty important.

The Denver police department has already included a section to its operations manual that requires officers to de-escalate situations when reasonable and of course practical.

They included a section that says that officers now have a duty to render aid after they have shot a suspect or if they used physical force on a suspect if the situation is deemed safe to do so.

Chief White has also vowed to listen to input and idea’s which shows. What’s more is that the department did not take this process lightly. They consulted with something like 14 other departments, some of which were, Seattle, San Diego, Kansas City, Mo, a board of directors.

They even looked at input from from the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing and the Police Executive Research Forum.

The Denver Police Department is proving that they can lead by example. They watch, listen and actually choose to hear what is said by citizens, not just in Denver but nationwide and step forward to make the changes that are needed.

I commend them for the dedication they have for the community that they serve.

Success is not about being the best. It’s about always getting better.

Clearly the Denver Police Department gets that.

Cristal M Clark

IOS users can find The Crime Shop on Apple News

@thecrimeshop

Police unions holding police reform hostage 

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At least that’s how it’s being sold

While they say they support reform, in many cities the police unions which represent the officers in those cities are holding reform hostage until they can gain monetarily from the reform.

This this month in Cincinnati, a local Police Union attorney sent a “cease and desist” letter to the city that said that officers should only use body cameras if the city was willing to pay them more.

Basically, unions are using the reform as a bargaining chip and are holding it hostage which is so very wrong. I can see something like, well the department needs more funds in order to purchase the body camera’s but, the unions are blatantly using reform as a way to increase police paychecks.

They are asking for money for officers from taxpayers to ensure officers are doing an effective and fair job.

According to a report at the Huffington Post, Daniel Hils, who is the president of one of Cincinnati’s Fraternal Order of Police lodges had this to say with regards to suggesting that police be paid more for the reforms:

“We recognize [body cameras are] the direction we’re going, but I believe this is a game changer, as far as complexity of the job. And this level of monitoring will result in positives and negatives about what it’s like to be a policeman. Because of that, I think it does require some additional compensation or at least bargaining for that.”

The argument is being presented in such a way by the unions that they are suggesting that adding the camera’s adds additional expectations, responsibilities and/or enhances the job of the officers.

Those have to be some of the weakest reason’s to be asking for an increase in police pay that I have ever seen.

Many police departments, not the unions that represent them are for the camera’s, from the top brass to the rookies. They want them, they support them and are willing to wear them. It’s the unions who are pushing back.

Boston just went down this road when the Patrolman’s Association fought the use of body cameras on a voluntary basis. The police in Boston are not being forced to wear them, so now the volunteers were selected by some third party, and the now forced volunteers are wearing the cameras for some time then an evaluation will be done by said third party who I assume is not associated with the department itself or the Patrolman’s Association.

Understanding

Who wants to be under constant surveillance while at work, anyone? The answer is that none of us want that, you may say you don’t care but when push comes to shove, no one really wants that. The idea is uncomfortable for most us, we don’t want it and don’t like the idea of it.

Some think that police have been granted this enormous, great power to be above and over us, they have authority over us, they can abuse us, use unnecessary force against us, be unfair, racist, biased, kill us without reason etc.

The assumption is that police have been give this great power over all of us little people and it needs to be monitored, seen and it has to have this check and balance process.

I agree with that to an extent however…

I personally do not believe that all police departments or police believe that they have been granted this great power over us.

Sure, the ones for instance that we see splashed all over the news have this power and control issue. Except for the Commerce City, Colorado Police Department, those guys are just playing Pokémon Go while on the job. By the way does anyone know how many Pokémon they captured before they were busted?

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I do know several police departments who don’t feel that way at all.

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Both the Denver, Colorado Police Department and the Arvada, Colorado Police Department just to name a couple feel a sense of responsibility to the communities they serve and protect.

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Sure they may have had at one time or another a bad apple or two, many of the officers that work for those departments do not truly feel that they have been handed this enormous power over the people.

I’ve had the privilege to work with many of them and to also know some on a personal level. They don’t feel over us in anyway, they feel a greater sense of responsibility the each citizen and the communities that they serve.

The sense of power over someone and the sense of responsibility to someone are two vastly different things.

All people are asking for are transparency and accountability, this requires nothing more out of police than what they should already be doing today.

Until the Fed’s can think of a way to prevent unions from holding reform hostage, this will continue to be a problem. I don’t know it feels like the unions are now pimping out the police.

The unions need to carefully consider that having the ability to see what it’s like being a cop just might clear up a lot of misconceptions the general public has about police and what they do while on duty… not all of them are playing Pokémon Go while on the clock.

Cristal M Clark

IOS users can find The Crime Shop on Apple News

@thecrimeshop

 

Denver bank robbery suspect

or victim of mistaken identity

 

Arrested for a crime he couldn’t have possibly committed not once but twice, his life now in ruin he faces an uncertain future in Denver, Colorado.  

Before September 2014 Steven Talley was living the American dream, he had a promising career in the financial services industry, was comfortably employed at Transamerica Capital, had a family, a home and his freedom.

All of that changed almost overnight for him, he was awakened by beating on his door and greeted by an FBI task force, Denver Police and its Swat team. He was being charged with aggravated robbery and assaulting an officer. Crimes he eventually successfully proved he couldn’t have possibly committed, yet not without having lost everything.

The last time I checked, he was still homeless and now still being charged with petty meaningless crimes that police really have to dig in order to find.

I bring his case to your attention because FBI director James Comey is actually trying really hard to help bring about a peace between the public and the police in this nation. He out of everyone truly wholeheartedly wants to bring about new ways of policing, he wants the public to trust it’s police again. He wants the police to understand the public they serve better and he wants the public to better understand police, what it takes to actually be a cop.

The problem is that while he is out walking the beat in an effort to create this change, for all of the good that he does, cases like Steven’s only destroy his every effort to bring about those changes.

While I do not always agree with James on things, I do respect his tireless efforts to bridge the gap between the public and police in this nation.

If anyone had the chance to watch the video of BLM co-founder from last Wednesday morning at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, going off on James you’ll see what I mean. James actually stopped and intently listened to this man who was just at times being belligerent. He took the time and made the effort to hear what this man was trying to say.

So while I do not always agree with him, I do stand by what Director James Comey is trying to accomplish and addressing situations like Steven Talley’s will only help to better understand what is broken and how to fix it. This is just one small piece of it.

So this is the story of Steven Talley

September 15, 2014

“They broke my third, fourth, fifth, sixth ribs,” said Talley. “The guy that stood on my face cracked all my teeth on my left side.”

Police zeroed in on Steven because of two individuals who saw surveillance video which showed a man who resembled him robbing a US Bank in Denver. Four months later, what appears to be the same suspect robbed another bank. The suspect walked in, armed with a .45 caliber handgun, had clear surgical gloves on and handed the teller a note demanding cash.

A maintenance worker in Steven’s office building and Steven’s ex-wife said she recognized him on the surveillance tapes.

Once arrested, Steven tried to tell the police they had the wrong guy, he plead not guilty. Now the physical description of the robber was not a match to Steven, wrong height, wrong body weight, it didn’t match.

No one would listen to him as he plead that he was innocent. He finally was able to prove after providing a rock solid alibi for the first robbery the he was in fact innocent of that robbery.

The issue here is, how solid of an investigation did law enforcement really do to not have been able to uncover that alibi prior to Steven’s arrest? That is a pretty significant thing to just miss during the course of an investigation.

Upon Steven’s release however, he claims that the lead detective on the case made a threat. Denver Police Detective Jeffrey A Hart, according to Steven said, “I’m going to throw your ass back in jail, we’re going to re-file.”

I actually do know this detective and the way Steven describes him is a bit inaccurate. Jeffrey would never threaten a suspect. My guess is that he did make a comment, not a threat that the case would be refiled. I know Jeff a little more deeply than most and I can tell you he isn’t the type of cop that could be considered a gun toting thug and being a complete dick is not his MO.

The case was actually refiled a year later, which is typical in a lot of cases like this, nothing out of the ordinary with that.

Steven’s attorney says that Steven has a distinctive mole on his right cheek, something that doesn’t show up on the bank’s surveillance video, even with FBI enhancements oddly enough. What’s really curious however is that according the teller at the second robbery the suspect who was wearing those clear surgical gloves…well he had scars, age spots or moles she couldn’t tell which, on his hands. Something Steven does not have.

Last but not least, the first teller could not positively identify Steven although initially she did, she later recanted that.

So what in the hell happened here?

How could this case have been so screwed up? Why was crucial evidence missed or blatantly ignored? Knowing Detective Hart like I do, it really is that hard for me personally to believe this investigation ended up so wrong.

I know that Steven has gone on to tell the media that the police are charging him with piddly shit as a form of retaliation, but I also know that when someone is desperate, they have lost everything, they can become irrational and they tend to get standoffish with people, in this case the enemy is the police. I am not saying that is necessarily the case here but I’ve seen it quite a bit.

Steven is homeless or was at least as of March of this year, it’s not hard to have a run in with DPD when you are homeless in Denver. 

I also know that, sometimes when police think they have the right suspect, they tend to only follow the evidence that will lead them to that suspect, they will easily discount any and all other evidence that leads them away from the guy they think is good for it.

It’s more subconscious than you think, most of the time they don’t even realize that they are doing it. To compare it, it’s sort of the like dealing with an individual who is really stubborn. No matter what proof you put in front of them, they still think they are right about something.

Sometimes, someone will believe in something so strongly that, that ends up being the only truth they know. They live it, breath it and know only that. I know that police don’t like being wrong but they are after all, human beings just like the rest of us. They can be wrong too, they are not immune to that.

The trick here is teaching law enforcement to catch themselves doing that. It’s harder than you think to do but it is not impossible. It is something that must be addressed. In today’s world, being wrong on this level can cost a cop his career and an entire department it’s credibility. It can cost the department its relationship with the very community it serves.

Police are also under a lot of pressure to apprehend a suspect, especially dangerous ones. They are sometimes encouraged to selectively look at evidence, rush through an investigation, go after one guy because he looks like the suspect. This pressure, it comes from the legal system, not other cops, the captain, a sergeant.

It encourages our officers to do what they are taught is the right thing…only to learn in the end when that cop ends up being the fall guy…it wasn’t the right thing.

To fix it, we have to fix it all. Not just a small part of it. The system as a whole has to stop pressuring cops to make an arrest. Let cops do their jobs so as to ensure they are done right. This entire case with Steven Talley, would not have gone so sideways if the cops were not so pressured in the first place.

Many years ago, more than I am willing to actually admit to, I did several ride alongs with detective Hart. The beat cop I know and spent quite a bit of time with, didn’t really like arresting people, He liked being able to make a difference in someone’s life. Making a bad situation better, helping someone, it was never about going after people and cuffing them. It was about protecting the public while at the same time, making a difference. That really mattered to him, believe it or not.

One thing he taught me was that he and his team only made an arrest if they had to, if they had another option, they took it. The last thing any of them wanted was being responsible for destroying an innocent person’s life.

Cristal M Clark

@thecrimeshop

IOS users can find The Crime Shop on Apple News

and of course I am still powered by Death Wish Coffee http://www.deathwishcoffee.com/?utm_expid=74315427-2.bzTc6iX1TJu-2T6xl0k2PA.0