DENVER (CBS4) â€• CBS4 News has learned if mass arrests happen at the Democratic Convention, those taken into custody will be jailed in a warehouse owned by the City of Denver. Investigator Rick Sallinger discovered the location and managed to get inside for a look.
The newly created lockup is on the northeast side of Denver. Protesters have already given this place a name: “Gitmo on the Platte.”
Inside are dozens are metal cages. They are made out of chain link fence material and topped by rolls of barbed wire.
“This is a secured environment,” Capt. Frank Gale of the Denver Sheriff’s Department told CBS4. “We’re concerned about how that’s going to be utilized by people who will be potentially disruptive.”
In past conventions, mass arrests have taken place.
With Denver’s jails already overflowing, new space had to be created and officers trained.
Each of the fenced areas is about 5 yards by 5 yards and there is a lock on the door. A sign on the wall reads “Warning! Electric stun devices used in this facility.”
CBS4 showed its video to leaders of groups that plan to demonstrate during the convention.
“Very bare bones and very reminiscent of a political prisoner camp or a concentration camp,” said Zoe Williams of Code Pink.
Williams was one of those arrested at the Republican Convention in New York in 2004.
“That’s how you treat cattle,” said Adam Jung of the group Tent State University. “You showed the sign where it said stun gun in use and you just change the word gun for bolt and it’s a meat processing plant.”
Gale would not discuss the facility at this time.
“We want to make sure we got our game plan set,” he said, “We want to make sure the entire procedure is laid out all the personnel know what they are supposed to do.”
The plans were to keep this lockup a secret, at least for now. The sheriff’s department said late Tuesday the mayor’s office would be releasing a statement about it early next week.
The American Civil Liberties Union is asking the City of Denver how prisoners will get access to food and water, bathrooms, telephones, plus medical care, and if there will be a place to meet with attorneys.
Mayor’s Office News Release
On Wednesday afternoon Mayor John Hickenlooper’s office sent a news release to CBS4 and other media explaining the purpose of the holding facility. It says there will be a community outreach program this week to explain the facility’s function.