‘A Sad Day In Our City’

The following statement was issued today by Jim White, Acting Director of the Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission, following the arrests of seven people who were marching in Colorado Springs’ St. Patrick’s Day parade last Saturday.

STATEMENT OF THE PIKES PEAK JUSTICE AND PEACE COMMISSION

Peace is not a protest and not “political.” Peace is a positive principle for which we at the Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission stand and march.

With a permit granted to our organization’s board chair, Eric Verlo, to be a unit in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, we marched for peace. With the experience of a peaceful march in last year’s parade under the same arrangement, we started down the street in our new green-for-the-day, peace-symbolized T-shirts. We were 45 happy, smiling children and adults, carrying banners for peace, glad in the spirit of the day. We were greeted with applause and words of encouragement.

There was never an intention on the part of any of our members and the other participants to interrupt the parade or in any way disturb the city’s celebration. Rather, we were stopped, by an unidentified individual and the police, and so began the confusion.

The incident in question, which ended in the arrest of seven participants was not instigated or initiated by us. We might say more, but we will not make any further comments about what happened until we obtain legal counsel. When we do, we will be happy to talk further with the media. Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission does not speak for the seven arrested people or any of the other marchers or bystanders.

Our observation at this time is that it is a sad day in our city when a peaceful band of citizens is shamefully abused, frightening children and horrifying bystanders.

Jim White,
Acting Director
Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission
March 19, 2007

Click here for additional photographs and to read the original Colorado Confidential story about the arrests.

Click here for additional photographs and to read the Colorado Confidential story about the internal investigation that has been launched by the Colorado Springs Police Department.

Photos by Mark Lewis and reprinted with permission. At top: Elizabeth Fineron being dragged across the street.

This page: An unidentified Colorado Springs Police officer, hoisting a Taser, in front of the Bookman bookmobile, which is owned by Eric Verlo, who had obtained a parade permit but was later arrested.

Cara DeGette is a senior fellow at Colorado Confidential, and a columnist and contributing editor at the Colorado Springs Independent. E-mail her at cdegette@coloradoconfidential.com.

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Cara Degette

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