Denver Bans the Carrying of Feces and Urine for Nefarious Purposes

Police in Denver are now authorized by the city council to arrest people who are found carrying feces or urine for nefarious purposes. Denver officials are expected protesters at the convention and have adopted an openly hostile attitude toward such demonstrations. Indeed, they might want to read today’s story on how the Chinese handle such nuisances at great events like the Olympics, here.

The new law, adopted unanimously by the City Council, was criticized by civil liberties groups as an effort to demonize and deter demonstrators. The law makes it illegal to carry certain items, such as chains, padlocks, carabiners and other locking devices. It also prohibits the possession of noxious substances –citing examples of a bucket of urine and a “feces bomb.”

The law is so broad that it raises serious constitutional questions since it would sweep lawful conduct within its scope. The police would still have to prove intent, but it is an invitation for arrests without cause. This is ironic given the fact that carrying around a bag of feces or a bucket of urine should already violate health laws unless it is a colostomy bag.

As counsel in the World Bank protest case in Washington, I can say from personal experience that such powers are easily abused. The fixation on these protests by city council members could encourage the type of trap and arrest techniques that we are challenging in the World Bank case, here, where hundreds were arrested without probable cause.

For the full story, click here.

24 thoughts on “Denver Bans the Carrying of Feces and Urine for Nefarious Purposes”

  1. Does Denver have a pooper-scooper law? Here in The City, if you walk your dog, you’re supposed to pick up any solid waste in a plastic bag for disposal. I would think the same is true in Denver.

    Can they ban people walking their dogs?

  2. Jill,

    Actually it’s just about like you’d imagine… assuming you included a large amount of Vodka, some fireworks, and a rainstorm.

  3. Jill,

    I have a great story from college about that too. It doesn’t involve cops in Riot gear though.

  4. Gyges,

    That’s it! Perhaps they are aware of the nefarious use of bikes for flinging pee and poo as well. Thank heavens for such an aware council!

  5. Jill,

    Back when I was in college (In Greeley CO) there was a riot across the street from my dorm. Or at least what the newspapers called a riot, I slept through it, and my friend walked her dog by it without being harassed at all. What really happened is there was a big block party that got crashed, and the Police arrived about a noise violation the same time the party ran out of beer. Somebody threw something that hit the police car, and next thing you know the Greeley police got to use their brand new Riot gear. Anyway, Some of the people involved thought it’d be a good idea to build a bonfire. Items that got thrown in included a charcoal BBQ grill and a bicycle.

    I’m assuming that Denver City Counsel remembers that incident and is trying to spare us from the horror of having to dig out the ash-covered mess that was our Bike.

  6. Gyges,

    They already banned bikes. I don’t know how this is legal, but they’ve done it.

    I would like to see Democrats stand up for the rule of law and speak out in favor of free speech and upholding the rule of law. It would go a long way in restoring faith in this party as a party of the Constitution and the people.

  7. I don’t know if anyone else thought about this, but by making it illegal to carry chains, padlocks, etc. they’ve pretty much opened the doors for the indiscriminate arresting of bicyclists. Or at least bicyclists who don’t want to get their bike stolen.

  8. I agree rafflaw. The Democratic party should demand cameras streaming in real time to the national and local press. No pens or interrogations should go untaped by the public. The police need to have cameras trained on them at all times. And certainly, the Democrats should be able to tolerate peaceful dissent that occurs closer than 2 miles from the action. The party and candidate of change needs to show they are serious about police brutality and open debate, ie: CHANGE.

    I would also suggest lawyers start lining up now to represent people who will be tased and probably die. There’s a lot of evidence on the dangere of tasers, and the police have them charged up, ready to go, even in the detention pens where they plan to cuff people up. Perhaps if the police realize they will get in trouble for tasing cuffed people they will think twice about doing that. Did you notice in the video the police said they had just trained new people for this job? That’s a recipe for disaster. They should put the calmest, most experienced, most dedicated to being a “peace officer” people on this job, not rookies they just trained.

    If Denver cannot afford cameras in the holding pens and interrogation booths I believe the Democratic party should provide them.

  9. This is just one more example of the erosion of our civil liberties under the regime of the war criminal George W. Bush. Obama should stand up and protest to the city of Denver. I am tired of restrictions being put on lawful protests. I am tired of free speech zones and the fact that there isn’t a bigger outcry over these tactics is an example of the dumbing down of America.

  10. Gino:

    “You can have my urine and feces when you pry them from my cold dead … body parts.”


    I stand in awe of your contribution to the “cold dead fingers” cavalcade of stars!

  11. rcampbell, I’d go with religious rituals for christ given the current pandering to the religious right by the candidates.

    palindrome, Good point. Children are known for the nefarious use of poo and pee-pee!

    Also. Where is the Democratic Party and Mr. Obama on this issue? Shouldn’t they be making strong public statements to the Denver police to avoid police brutality? Cheney and Bush can’t stand to see peaceful protestors because it harshes their worldview. Is this the stance of the Democratic party and its nominee now? I understand the need for crowd safety. but what the Denver police have planned goes way beyond that purpose. I think strong statements that this party and Mr. Obama will not tolerate abuse of protesters by police would help keep things civil and within the law. No party or president should isolate him/herself from people who disagree with them. Cheney and Bush are real proof of that disasterous idea.

  12. Jill

    I too was taken by the word “nefarious”. One assumes that after hard fought negotiations and the threat of a long legal battle the right to carry one’s own, or presumably anyone else’s feces and/or urine was maintained as long as it’s not done for a nefarious purpose. Scientific? Religious ritual? Fraternity party?

  13. I just love the whole idea of “nefarious use of” feces and urine. “Nefarious Feces and Urine” sounds like a grunge band name.


    Don’t you mean, Warm, Live…body parts?

  14. You can have my urine and feces when you pry them from my cold dead … body parts.

  15. I’d be pretty much ok with a general ban on carrying Urine or Feces in public, for pretty much any reason.

Comments are closed.