Update: We've gotten our hands on a copy of the video shot by marijuana activist Kathleen Chippi of fellow advocate Corey Donahue's arrest at a Boulder library, allegedly for disrupting a volunteer meeting associated with the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2012. The only editing we've done is to remove the first fifty seconds or so of the clip, which showed Chippi swinging the camera from her arm as she walked into the library...
That footage was so Blair Witch-y that we were afraid people watching it might get sick. Chippi subsequently put the lens cap on for about a minute -- because, she says, she wanted to respect the privacy of the meeting organizers, who asked not to be filmed. But the audio is interesting, as is the video that follows.
At the beginning of the clip, Donahue is already speaking with volunteers, as well as the library security. He can be heard saying he was invited to the meeting through an e-mail and insists that he isn't being disruptive. You can also hear a voice, presumably that of a security guard, telling Donahue that the meeting is a "closed session."
Regulate Marijuana Like Alchol's Emmett Reistroffer can also be heard telling the security guard that Donahue isn't welcome at the meeting. "We invited folks to come who wanted to support our initiative, but we did not invite folks who came to destroy it," he says. "Because we have had some past situations with that individual and I know -- he is publicly on record, and challenging this in court. So I know he has no interest in what I'm talking about today, which is how to make our thing pass. Not how to make it lose."
Donahue subsequently refuses to leave the room and the security guard leaves to call the police -- and we're left with about ten minutes of awkwardly civil conversation between Donahue, Chippi, Reistroffer and a volunteer named Ryan. Most of the discussion centers on how Donahue disagrees with the language of the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act proposal, although a large part is hard to understand due to people talking over each other.
One of the funnier moments takes place just shy of the seven minute mark, when Reistroffer makes arguably the most polite attempt ever at expelling someone from a meeting.
Reistroffer: I didn't want to kick anybody out tonight, yourself included... Donahue: Oh, the police are gonna kick me out. Reistroffer: ...but I have to. [Garbled conversation] Donahue: I'm not going to leave. Reistroffer: You know and I know you that you are 100 percent opposed to this.
Around the fourteen minute mark, the officer shows up and asks Donahue to step outside -- and adds that if he refuses, he will be charged with obstruction of justice. The cop then says he was informed by library staff that this was a "closed door meeting," prompting Donahue to argue for a minute before telling the officer that he plans to return to the meeting. As he's being led out of the building in handcuffs, he loudly proclaims, "I'm being arrested for questioning a petition that goes in our constitution at a public library."
The security guard then makes a final cameo, informing Donahue that he is being ejected from the library for "misbehavior and causing a disturbance."
So was Donahue being disruptive? Watch the video above and decide for yourself. Our earlier coverage is below.
Original item, 12:28 p.m. July 26: Corey Donahue.Corey Donahue, a marijuana activist who calls his organization Crazy For Justice, was arrested in a Boulder library last Tuesday.
Why? For allegedly trespassing after he refused to leave a meeting of volunteers for the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2012, an initiative against which he has openly campaigned.
Donahue told the Daily Camera that he was invited to the meeting online. When we spoke, he said he was "politely questioning the initiative's language" and not causing a disruption when event organizers asked that security order him to leave.
He refused, citing his right to be in the public library. Library security called police officers, who also asked him several times to leave. He again refused, and officers arrested him on suspicion of trespassing. He admits to becoming verbally abusive to the cops, which accounts for a second allegation -- "using fighting words with a police officer."
Jennifer Bray, Boulder Library spokeswoman, confirmed that the meeting room has to remain open to the public, even when reserved for meetings. But Bray also said that the library has "pretty clear rules of behavior," which allow the institution to ban people anywhere from 24 hours to an entire year.
Bray wouldn't comment on this incident specifically, other than to say that security was called on a patron dispute and that the security guard "acted as he saw fit." She also cites an edict, posted online, that states: "No person may disturb other patrons or employees of the library so as to disrupt their use of the library."
That's exactly what Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol's Emmett Reistroffer says Donahue was doing -- even if he was doing it calmly. The publicized topic of the meeting, according to him, was briefing for volunteers collecting signatures, and not discussing the bill itself, which is what Donahue was attempting to do. Reistoffer admits Donahue told him that he was there to learn more and that might consider joining the campaign. But he believes this claim was a ploy to sideline the intent of the meeting, especially given Donahue's frequent public pronouncements against the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act.
"It is disheartening that we've got someone like him who is so problematic," Reistroffer maintains. "He just wants to fight us over anything."
Reistroffer says the incident in the library is merely a continuation of a confrontation Donahue had with Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol supporters the night before in Denver. According to Reistroffer and initiative proponent Mason Tvert, Donahue stationed himself outside a private volunteer meeting in Denver and harassed and intimidated people coming and going.
On Monday, Donahue posted the following on his Facebook page (under the name Charles Gleason): "The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Campaign is LYING to you come out and protest and inform the people of this lie. Not legalization and not like alcohol Mason Tvert and Brian Vicente are lying to your face."
Regardless of his opinion about the proposed initiative, Donahue says he had every right to stay at the meeting -- and he's declared in various online forums that he intends to sue the city of Boulder over the matter.
According to the Daily Camera, police are still investigating the incident, but we might not have to wait until they are done to at least see and hear what happened: Kathleen Chippi, who was also in attendance, claims to have video and audio evidence that Donahue only became disruptive when police arrived and threatened to arrest him for trespassing. According to her, the recordings show that organizers overreacted when they asked security to remove Donahue for being a disturbance.
More from our Marijuana archive: "Marijuana legalization: Crazy For Justice's draft initiative proposes making 4/20 a state holiday."
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.