Vigil for Alonzo Ashley (July 18th)
On July 18th, 2011, Alonzo Ashley became ill with heat exhaustion while visiting the Denver Zoo. He attempted to cool himself off in a fountain. Zoo security and Denver Police responded. After being tackled and tazed by police, Alonzo died. Though the coroner ruled Alonzo's death a homicide, there were no repercussions for any of the officers involved.
Join Alonzo Ashley's family to commemorate the death of Alonzo Ashley and other victims of violence. The vigil starts at 7:30pm. We will also be distributing water bottles to people at the zoo earlier in the day and there will be a community potluck starting at 6pm. See below for details:
When: Wednesday, July 18, 2012, Vigil is from 7:30pm until 8:30pm
12-6pm: Memorial bottle distribution
6-7:30: Community Potluck
Where: Denver Zoo, 2300 Steele St., Denver, Colorado 80205
This vigil is organized by the family of Alonzo Ashley, with support from Colorado Progressive Coaltion
For more information: https://www.facebook.com/events/338899072854884/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org
How you can help:
- You can help by signing up for a shift to disbrute water bottles between noon and 6pm. Volunteers are being asked to sign up for two hour shifts.
- You can bring food to the community potluck
- You can bring candles and flowers for the candle light vigils
- You can contact Mu Son at email@example.com to get involved
This vigil is part of a series of around 40 actions, events, workshops, meetings, trainings, outreach efforts, etc. for the summer. The Community Protection Campaign is a comprehensive effort to build power across our communities. Check out the following page for more information:
About Alonzo Ashley's Incident with Denver Police
Research by Zoe Williams
On July 18, 2011, Denver Zoo security personnel responded to a call that a man was unconscious. Officers found Alonzo Ashley, a 29 year old African American man, with his head in a drinking fountain.
Security officers alleged that Ashley was aggressive and abusive toward officers. They also stated that Ashley was threatening toward his girlfriend, though she denied this claim. Ashley's girlfriend stated that she saw an officer emerge from behind a bush toward Ashley and he ran toward the officers. She also stated she was concerned that Ashley was "getting delirious because of the extreme heat."(1)
"There was first one bald police officer and you can see his arm going up and down hitting the guy," one witness reported to Fox 31 News. "They were tasering him."(2)
The Denver Police Department stated that they used a taser on Ashley and it was not effective. They restrained Ashley and then called Denver Paramedics. Officers claimed that Ashley was exhibiting "extraordinary strength" and alleged drug paraphernalia was found on Ashley, though his girlfriend also denies this.(1)
After being arrested, Ashley began convulsing and then stopped breathing. Ashley died while restrained on the ground awaiting emergency medical care.(2)
October 21, 2011 the Denver Coroner released a report stating that the official cause of Ashley's death was homicide. The report stated that the "stresses involved in subduing and restraining [Ashley] (together with his own ongoing resistance) were contributory to his death." The coroner report also showed that Ashley did not test positive for any drugs other than marijuana and that heat-related illness was a likely cause of his altered mental status. (3)
Addition (July 6th, 2012): As of the date of this post, no officers have been disciplined in this case.
1. Steffen, Jordan "Denver cops Tased man who died at zoo: Girlfriend says extreme heat, not drugs, caused delirium" The Denver Post. 7/20/2011 http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_18511091?source=pkg#ixzz1f2UI6gUd
2. Posey, Kim and Stokols, Eli "Witnesses describe deadly altercation at Denver Zoo" Fox 31 News. 7/19/2011 http://www.kdvr.com/news/kdvr-fight-breaks-out-at-denver-zoo-20110718,0,...
3. Ngan Nguyen, Kim "Coroner: Death Of Man At Zoo Was Homicide" The Denver Channel. 10/21/2011 http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/29553561/detail.html