Charges against publisher dropped by Colorado Rockies
COLORADO–Trespassing charges were dropped by a professional baseball team in late October against an independent publisher for distributing a sports publication outside the Coors Field Stadium in Denver.
Robert Lewis, publisher of “The Game Program,” a two-year-old free sports newspaper supported by advertising, which Lewis describes as “The Program for Serious Rockies and Bronco Fans,” was arrested for trespassing three times in 1995. Twice, he said, he spent time in a holding cell in Coors Field, the home playing field of the Colorado Rockies baseball team.
Michael O’Malley, the Denver attorney representing Lewis and another sports paper publisher said, “Basically they are being harassed because they compete with the official program which doesn’t have a newspaper-type content.”
Lewis said that in June he was detained at the stadium for trespassing by off-duty police working as security guards for the Rockies. He explained that he was distributing the paper on a sidewalk outside of the stadium’s Gate A and a guard told him he could not stand on the sidewalk because that area was leased by the privately- owned baseball club. The guard told Lewis he could go up a set of stairs and distribute the paper. Lewis said he would not go up the stairs and he was then arrested.
Although Lewis said no one has shown him a map identifying the areas where he can distribute the paper, “we know what’s legally the taxpayers’,” he said. “The sidewalk was built to be a public forum.” Lewis added that the sidewalk was an important place for him to stand because it is one of the most heavily-trafficked area before games.
An attorney for the Colorado Rockies declined to comment except to say that Lewis filed a lawsuit against them over which they will appear in court in late January. But Lewis said that while he plans to sue the organization for false imprisonment, he has not yet filed the suit.