Public Defenders, Attorneys, Civil Rights Groups and Public Protest Through Streets

Public defenders and other attorneys gathered outside the Lindsey-Flannigan Courthouse on June 8, shutting down streets throughout downtown Denver and marching straight up the State Capitol steps.

Their signs all held statements like, “Silence Is Violence,” “Defend Black Lives,” and “Defund the Police.” Minute by minute, or so it seemed, the sidewalks were filled with more and more people joining together at the courthouse.

Several people without megaphones tried to address the crowd. When some tried to speak, the sound of honking horns and cheers from passing cars drowned out their words. The speakers talked of George Floyd, of harassment and thanking the protestors for showing up.

One speaker, Elisabeth Epps, program manager for the Colorado Freedom Fund, referred to jail cells of the jail as being “cages,” and that she came to Colorado to try to work as a public defender, but didn’t not receive an interview. She talked of her organization providing bail for those incarcerated.

After she finished speaking, the march began, starting around the courthouse. Chants of “clear the cage” and “no justice, no peace” were shouted over the sound of dress shoes clopping and an orchestra of different conversations.

One marcher, Nicole Duncan, a juvenile public defender at the Denver office, said The National Association for Public Defenders wanted to set up a nationwide public defender protest at a designated time. She added that was difficult for many, as they had court cases, hearings and other work to do throughout the day. “So, a lot of us are out here on our lunch breaks or in between dockets or cases,” Duncan said. “And that’s how much we really care about our fight.”

By the time the group had flooded the front of the Wellington Webb Memorial Building, the chants were loud and pointed, “Hey-Hey, Ho-Ho, This Racist D.A.’s Got To Go.”

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