John McCain protester Carol Kreck files lawsuit over 2008 arrest

Back in 2008, librarian and former Denver Post reporter Carol Kreck was busted at a John McCain appearance for displaying a sign reading "McCain = Bush." Which was hardly a shocking statement then, let alone now.

Nearly two years later, Kreck has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the City of Denver over the arrest. And she's got lawyer David Lane in her corner.

Charges against Kreck were dropped in August 2009, in part because a judge had ruled that the Performing Arts Complex galleria, where the incident took place, didn't qualify as a public forum. Attorneys for the city presumably felt this ruling diminished the possibility of civil-rights lawsuit, but Lane said at the time he'd file one anyhow. And the better part of a year later, he's followed through.

The lawsuit -- to read it, click here -- maintains that the city and arresting officer Matthew Canino "violated [Kreck's] Fourth Amendment rights when, intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, and with deliberate indifference to her constitutional rights, subjected her to an intrusive, unjustified, and illegal arrest without any basis for believing she was engaged in criminal activity. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Denver failed to train and supervise Defendant Canino concerning the protection of the First Amendment rights of its citizens. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Canino arrested her on public property when she engaged in constitutionally protected conduct and speech."

For these alleged violations, the suit asks for "appropriate declaratory and other injunctive and/or equitable relief;" "compensatory and consequential damages, including damages for emotional distress, loss of reputation, humiliation, loss of enjoyment of life, and other pain and suffering on all claims allowed by law in an amount to be determined at trial;" "all economic losses on all claims allowed by law;" "punitive damages on all claims allowed by law and in an amount to be determined at trial;" "attorneys fees and the costs associated with this action, including those associated with having to defend against the false criminal charge as well as expert witness fees, on all claims allowed by law;" "pre- and post-judgment interest at the lawful rate;" and "any further relief that this court deems just and proper, and any other relief as allowed by law."

In addition, the suit requests a trial by jury -- hopefully before citizens who still remember McCain and Bush. Here's a video of Kreck's arrest:

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts