Wednesday, February 07, 2007


Activist Shareef Aleem was acquitted by a Colorado jury on Monday on charges of assaulting a police officer during a contentions contentious University of Colorado regents meeting last year. Aleem who was trying to make a public address (and who was also recording the event for Denver community television) was at the meeting showing support for students’ dissent against education cuts and fee hikes and their protest of attacks on Professor Ward Churchill.

The following report is from Denver CopWatch.

Shareef Aleem Found Not Guilty

A jury returned a verdict of not guilty for Shareef Aleem a local African- American activist. Mr. Aleem had been charged with a felony in an arrest that occurred just over two years ago at a CU Regents meeting. The verdict was read on Monday morning in court. This was the second trial in the matter, the first resulted in a hung jury. The Adams County District Attorney prosecuted both cases.

Mr. Aleem was arrested after he tried to speak at a CU Regents meeting about Professor Ward Churchill. The meeting was supposed to have a public comment period but the Regents decided not to allow public comment at the last minute. This provoked an outcry by members of the public that attended the meeting. A number of officers violently dragged Mr. Aleem from the meeting. The event was front page news and led tv news broadcasts.

During deliberations the jury closely reviewed video of the confrontation between police officers and Mr. Aleem. Defense witnesses included professors and students from CU. The prosecution relied on testimony of police officers, two of whom were at the back of the auditorium a considerable distance from the incident. Defense attorneys were able to poke holes in the officers testimony.

Notably absent from the proceedings was the heavy media presence that surrounded the arrest. Denver CopWatch found the reporting of the arrest to be sensational and biased against Mr. Aleem. The failure to cover or report on the results of the trial is a further indication of bias on the part of local media. Mr. Aleem, who has been very active around police accountability issues, has had two years of his life dominated by the charges against him.

Denver CopWatch is deeply concerned over the way the Adams County justice system operated in this case. The first trial did not appear to be fairly run, Judge DelGado appeared to be afraid of Mr. Aleem and appeared to be working in concert with the prosecution during the trial. She also sentenced Mr. Aleem to 45 days for contempt of court, a sentence that was later overturned. The decision by the Adams County District Attorney to try Mr. Aleem a second time was a waste of taxpayers money and very questionable.

Denver CopWatch believes that justice did finally prevail in this important free speech case.

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