Gard­ner protesters re­leased from jail

The Denver Post - - DENVER & THE WEST - By Danika Wor­thing­ton

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.

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