Denver Post file

Denver to pay $25,000 settlement over pot petition gatherer’s arrest

Denver City Council on Monday approved the payment of $25,000 to settle a false arrest lawsuit brought by a woman who was collecting petition signatures.

In November 2011, Regina Ann Petkus was gathering signatures outside the Ogden Theatre on East Colfax Avenue for the Amendment 64, the 2012 ballot initiative that legalized the sale of recreational marijuana.

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Her lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, said Denver Police Department Sgt. Hubert Martin Vanover arrested her while he was working off-duty security for the Ogden. He ordered her to stop collecting signatures near the Ogden, the lawsuit says, even though Petkus was standing in a public alleyway, where such activity was allowed.

The suit says Petkus spent a night in jail and later won dismissal of charges of giving false information, trespassing and loitering under a deferred judgment.

The settlement, approved 12-0, provides $14,600 for Petkus and $10,400 for her attorneys at the law office of Killmer, Lane and Newman in Denver.

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