Jury selection for the so-called St. Paddy’s Day Seven – peace activists who were arrested after they refused to disperse during this year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade in Colorado Springs – began this week.
And, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette, several potential jurors with strong ties to the military were dismissed. “We are not going to debate this war in this court,” Judge Robert Warren told the courtroom. “We’re not discussing the war. We’re discussing a municipal ordinance and whether it was violated.”
Rather, the charge at hand is determining whether the protesters were guilty of illegally blocking the street. In anticipation of the court case, one of the defendants, Eric Verlo, this week first called for a peace rally in front of the courthouse – but cancelled the demonstration the next day. Keep reading.This is the notification that Verlo sent on Tuesday:
This Thursday and Friday, August 23 and 24, at 8:00 a.m., the Bookman Bookmobile will be parked in front of the Municipal Court (Kiowa, between Nevada and Weber) for the trial of the St. Paddy’s Day Seven.
We’ll have coolers, camping chairs, umbrellas, banners and flags. Please bring anything helpful.
Attendees will be encouraged to stick around during the lunch hour to hold PEACE banners and have lunch there. All are welcome!
Peace symbol t-shirts encouraged for the gathering outside, but please bring something neutral to wear inside the courtroom if you plan to watch the trial.
We hope to see you on Thursday and Friday.
And here is Verlo’s Wednesday note:
After consultation with our lawyer it’s been decided that any form of demonstration outside of the Municipal Courthouse would be interpreted as jury intimidation and could jeopardize our case. As a result the Bookmobile will not be at the courthouse, nor will we bring banners or t-shirts.
I’m sorry for the confusion and hope that you will be satisfied to peaceably attend the trial. On an additional note, the morning of the first day will be occupied by jury selection, meaning the courtroom seats will be occupied by the many potential jurors. We appreciate your understanding if there is not enough room for you at that time. I have always believed that the Saint Patrick’s Day defendants were in very capable hands. Please do not worry and do not come to berate our accusers. There will be plenty of opportunity at a later date to express ourselves about the general infringement of civil liberties as well as to reiterate our universal call for peace.
Yours, Eric Verlo
Click here to read about the original arrests.
And here for a follow-up on the launch of a police investigation.
And here for the outcome of the internal investigation.
Cara DeGette is a senior fellow at Colorado Confidential and a columnist and contributing editor at the Colorado Springs Independent. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org