Josiah M. Hesse interviewed Amelia Nicol by phone on June 6, when she was still in solitary confinement, being held for — among other things — the attempted murder of two police officers during the May 6 March Against Police Terror. Since then, most of the felony charges have ben dropped, and Nicol is now out on bail. She will return to court for an arraignment later this month.
JH: Tell me a little bit about your life before you moved to Denver.
AN: I grew up in Grand County, up in the mountains; I started living in Denver last February. My grandfather, unfortunately, had made his fortune in natural gas and slaughtering cattle. But we grew up relatively poor because my mom was the black sheep of the family and didn't get any money. I've been rebelling against that for a long time.
JH: Were you involved in any political marches before the March Against Police Terror?
AN: No, not before that. I'd gone to the 420 [Marijuana] Rally, but I just sat in the park and lit dollar bills on fire. And then after that, I didn't really do much until this rally.
JH: How did you hear about it?
AN: A bunch of my friends were going to it; they mentioned to it to me a few weeks before, and I was definitely interested. I've always been very political...or, I guess I can't say political, but I've always been very interested in where the world is heading. [The March] sounded right up my alley, so I gathered up some more friends and we all headed down together.
JH: How had the march been going before you were arrested?
AN: It really surprised me. We were being completely peaceful — we were shouting, of course — but it was just amazing to me that we were being peaceful and they had police officers just lining the streets. Before the march even started! I was like, "If that's not indicative of the problem, I don't know what is."
JH: Did it seem like they were antagonizing you, looking to start something?
AN: Not really. But there was one that grabbed me when I was walking down the street and then pushed me back into line. But it was nothing like...well, of course, they were being a bit antagonizing because we were telling them to fuck off. They had this huge circle all the way around us; we were just this small group of people demonstrating against the hatefulness of their rule. And here they were showing how tyrant-like they are.
JH: I know this is still an open case and you probably don't want to incriminate yourself, but can you — to the extent that you are willing or able — tell me what happened during your arrest?
AN: I'm being charged with throwing a firework. I was running away and I heard the firework go off. I was running down an alley and I heard [the police] yell behind me, "Mohawk! Mohawk!" There was a [police] car parked at the end of the alley, and I was like, "Oh, fuck." So I turned and there was this huge fucker, like over six feet, came up and shoved me in the chest. I landed flat on my back and scraped my elbows really bad. He picked me up and put me onto my stomach — of course I'm shouting at him, "Fuck you!" He picked me up and put me onto the trunk of the car, and he spent a solid — I don't know, it felt like an eternity — putting on riot cuffs. And I still have scars from where they put them on; my wrists were bleeding for days. I was on the trunk of the police car, bent over, there was a cop behind me and a cop beside me, and he picked up my leg at the knee and bent my fucking foot in toward my body — which was pretty fucking painful. I mean, I've never even been in a fistfight before. That was probably the most painful thing I've ever been through in my life. The whole time, I was like "Fuck you, fuck you! Do your worst!" And they definitely did. It was horrible. One of them said to me about five minutes into it, "Smile, you're on camera!" So there's definitely footage of that somewhere. After that, they put the "spit hood" on me because I kept spitting on them. I didn't know what else to do. They were pretty fucking intimidating.
JH: So, even if it was just a firework, you weren't responsible for it? Are you going to plead not guilty?
AN: I'm not sure. I need to figure out a few things first. My family got me a lawyer, but I'm looking to get a different one, because the one they got me is kind of a corporate fuck — he hasn't even called me yet. My mom is working against me on this.
JH: Is your family opposed to your political views? Are they wanting to take your case in a different direction than you'd like?
AN: That's exactly right. I've been rebelling against them my entire life. That's why I'm so sure-footed during this sort of thing. I've been doing this a long time.
JH: Are they coming down here from Grand County for all the court dates?
AN: Um, yeah. I visited them once.
JH: How have things been in jail? I understand you were moved to solitary?
AN: Yeah, I was moved to solitary because I don't shower every day. I don't like to shower every day. The girls in my dorm, I guess, got sick of it and had me moved to solitary. It was just kind of a dumb-girl moment. [laughs].
JH: Do you have any books or writing material?
AN: Yeah, I'm allowed it, but I'm kind of in a black hole because my mail has been so weird. It will have a due date of, like, a week before I actually get it in my hand. I mean, I know they have to look through a lot, but come on. Even stuff coming from Denver takes a week and a half. They have books here, but the only ones they have are crappy romance novels. But I found a copy of Dune that I was pretty happy about. And a J.D. Salinger book that I haven't read. It was awesome: Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour. I was like, oh, my God, I've never heard of this.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
JH: I've heard you've gotten a lot of support from anarchists around the country.
AN: Yeah, I've gotten quite a few letters. From California, Washington, Colorado, all over. It's been really nice to see that people are supporting me.
JH: I understand that you don't want to buy any stamps or envelopes from the jail?
AN: I've had money on commissary for the last few weeks, but I refuse to spend it because it's all part of their moneymaking scheme. I mean, that's how the rich man funds his army. Put people in jail, charge them for food, etc. I don't want to be adding to their system. I don't want to be any part of it.