Activists at the DNC have noticed an unmistakable characteristic of police action relating to protests: a level of brutality and humiliation that appears so widespread, it must result from policy. For example, some arrestees have been tied to each other throughout their incarceration, and (according to the KGNU radio station) have not been allowed privacy even when using the bathroom. The Rocky Mountain News reported that protesters attending their court hearings were “zip-tied” together in pairs, even when one of them had to go forward to the microphone.
It is fairly common knowledge that when the authorities treat prisoners who are not a risk for violence as if they are dangerous, such visual cues can prejudice the court against them. When judges tolerate such practices in their courtrooms, it suggests that the prosecution is maliciously political rather than criminal.
But as anyone protesting on the streets in Denver can tell you, the attacks on protesters haven’t been limited to their treatment during and after arrest. A number of protesters have described circumstances in which they were detained by police, even as the police denied there was detention.