Gardner protesters released from jail
The protesters who held a sit-in at Sen. Cory Gardner’s Denver office, urging him to vote no on the proposed Senate health care bill, were all released from custody in the early hours of Saturday and were met by cheers from a waiting crowd.
Ten protesters with ADAPT, a national organization born in Colorado that works for the rights of people with disabilities, were arrested Thursday on charges of trespassing after starting a sit-in two days earlier. The protesters feared for their independence and health if Medicaid were to be cut.
After the arrests, a group immediately showed up at the downtown jail to hold a solidarity vigil until the protesters were released, which is common practice when ADAPT members are arrested. But the vigil turned long, extending two nights and into the early hours of Saturday.
Nine protesters were held in custody, while one who had a ventilator was taken to a hospital and then released.
The last protester was released by 2:10 a.m. Saturday, Denver Sheriff Department spokesman Simon Crittle said in an email. The courts issued the protesters a personal recognizance bond Friday afternoon.
When the protesters were received, there were already 42 people waiting to be processed, Crittle said. From the time protesters were received until they were released, 181 other people were processed and 130 released.
“We appreciate the patience of those offering support while awaiting the release of the individuals during a very busy time filled with both anticipated and unanticipated delays,” Crittle said.
Denver County Sheriff Patrick Firman and other sheriff’s office leadership went to the jail Friday night to meet with vigil holders, who included four local legislators.
At 3:50 a.m. Saturday, Kayln Heffernan, an MC for the rap group Wheelchair Sports Camp who was one of those arrested, tweeted that the protesters were out and eating at the Denver Diner. She thanks the vigil holders who greeted her, saying the number was in the hundreds.