In advance of our Sold Out event at the Denver Press Club, the Denver Post’s arts writer John Wenzel did a piece about the project, including the first interview in which Julian Rubinstein talks about the danger both he and his brother, Mesa County DA Dan Rubinstein, has faced. (Dan is prosecuting Tina Peters.) The article also gets into the problems with the misuse of informants and the way that gentrifying communities are particularly vulnerable to undercover operations.
Full article here:
Q. “The Holly” explores the way police informants are used, and the troubling relationship some of Denver’s Black community leaders have with police leaders. How do you make sense of that for readers and viewers?
A. Through a historical lens, and that’s why the book is a multigenerational story. I couldn’t help but notice these cycles that kept continuing in this particular neighborhood and others like it, where there would be activism, pride, police operations, crackdowns and violence. What I found astonishing is the (role of) people who you think wouldn’t have anything to do with power structures in this city. You have street-gang members committing violence who are also connected to powerful people, and highly funded federal anti-gang programs that have people posing as anti-gang activists when they’re clearly not
Q. As you’ve said before, these same problems are going on in other cities, but they seem to be playing out more publicly in Denver.
A. Most of these things are happening in the shadows, and that’s purposeful. I knew this story was going to highlight historical and political themes, but it really, really illuminates the problems with institutional racism, the criminal justice-industrial complex, and how Denver has become highly tied to both developers and federally funded criminal justice efforts — which are sometimes closely connected. It’s a new way to see the city.