Five Arrested at Idle No More Flash Mob Round Dance in Broomfield, CO
Last night, five people were arrested for participating in an Idle No More Flash Mob Round Dance at FlatIron Crossing Shopping Center in Broomfield, Colorado.
Lastrealindians spoke with one of those arrested, Cheyenne Birdshead, a 17 year old Lakewood High School senior who is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma.
Cheyenne helped organize the Idle No More Flash Mob Round Dance event, along with her cousin Taryn Waters and Tessa Maytwayashing. Cheyenne and Taryn were also involved in arranging the Cherry Creek Flash Idle No More Flash Mob Round Dance that took place in Denver on December 29, 2012.
“We were in front of Dick’s Sporting goods on the first level. There were about 8 or 9 singers, and I’m not sure exactly how many people but I would guess about 50-65 people. It was hard to tell because people were still arriving as they were taking me to the Police sub-station on the other side of the mall. We started at 6:30 pm and on my court date it says the approximate time of my arrest was 6:35 pm,” Cheyenne says. “We were round dancing. We went around and completed about a circle and a half when Jolynn Locust [another event organizer] begin to move us into the middle because the police started leading round dancers out of the doors.”
Cheyenne didn’t know that the police had grounds to arrest them. “When we were at Cherry Creek, we did the same exact thing…they had warned us that if we went to Cherry Creek they would have police there waiting for us, but they still didn’t arrest people. That is why I was so shocked that within minutes [at the FlatIron Crossing Idle No More Flash Mob Round Dance] they began shoving people out the door and arresting us,” she states. It was then that the police told those arrested that both malls were private property.
“An officer arrested me for asking him a question, so in my opinion they were very rude. After everything happened I heard they had batons and pepper spray out. Also, they kept calling in more police officers to sweep the entire mall and parking lots,” Cheyenne tells Lastrealindians.
“The rest of the participants were asked to leave because they were causing a disturbance and were escorted out of the mall forcefully. I talked to many people that said they saw other Natives who were asked to leave the mall that had no idea the Flash Mob Round Dance was going on or why they were asked to leave.”
Cheyenne reports that her mother had a hard time getting back into the mall to check on her. “A police officer had her [Cheyenne’s mother] cornered and was threatening to arrest her as well, just because she had wanted to make sure I was okay and she had wanted to stay with me,” she says. Cheyenne also has a 15 month old daughter, who was not present at the Idle No More Flash Mob Round Dance.
Cheyenne says she wasn’t detained for very long, but that the other four, Marian Wittenbone, Kelleigh Driscoll, Patrick Jay, and Eric Verlo, were not released from jail until around 11pm mountain time.
Cheyenne was charged with trespassing. Her court date is scheduled for February 21, 2013. Flat Iron Crossing officials could not be reached for comment.