News

Justice Center campaign goes straight to video

In the battle over naming rights for Denver's new Justice Center, two clear favorites have emerged: Dale Tooley, the city's district attorney for much of the 1970s, and Philip Van Cise, the one-term DA of the 1920s who busted a sophisticated ring of con artists and took on the Ku Klux Klan. Tooley was the mentor of numerous Denver attorneys who are still around to promote his memory, so the Van Cise camp has had to work harder to bring attention to their candidate.

How do you get people interested in an old-fashioned crimebuster from Denver's Roaring Twenties? With newfangled technology, of course. So the Van Cise bunch have come up with this YouTube offering, a kind of History Channel Lite version of the Fighting DA's efforts to clean up this wild and woolly town. For a more detailed account, see my 2008 feature "Scourge of the Underworld."

Van Cise himself would probably give his stamp of approval to using cyberspace in this campaign. He sought every technological advantage he could in battling Lou Blonger's mob of con men and corrupt politicians. He even planted a Dictaphone in Blonger's office, an early effort at electronic surveillance that helped to bring down the entire den of thieves.

Check out the video below.

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Alan Prendergast has been writing for Westword for over thirty years. He teaches journalism at Colorado College; his stories about the justice system, historic crimes, high-security prisons and death by misadventure have won numerous awards and appeared in a wide range of magazines and anthologies.
Contact: Alan Prendergast