From Darkness To Light

8 Jul 2023

Durango Arts Center Director and Prosecutor Connor Wills request removal of video

Posted by Adam Howell

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Durango Arts Center Executive Director Brenda Macon and La Plata County Deputy District Attorney Connor Wills are on a war path to have my video removed that I published on the internet about my last visit to the publicly-owned and funded community building.

Durango ArtsMost recently, DDA Wills is trying to get me to delete a video and agree not to publish any videos about the organization for a one-year period.

Specifically, both of their requests to have have the video removed stem from my last visit to Durango Arts Center on May 7, 2022, when I was trespassed from the building because I was video recording a rehearsal that was occurring in our publicly-accessible theater.

Wills’ request of me to take my video off the internet and to agree not to post any videos about Durango Arts Center for one year was his requirement of me before entering into a Diversion Agreement that my attorney proposed to him this week.

Although I never saw the proposed Diversion Agreement in writing, I was told that it was not an admission of guilt or innocence. Generally, I was told that the Diversion Agreement would cease the prosecution against me while requiring me to avoid getting cited or arrested for a crime for somewhere between a year and 18 months. This halting of the prosecution against me would occur in exchange for the trespassing charges against me being dismissed after that time had lapsed. If I were to get charged with something else during that time period, I would be prosecuted for the trespassing charges once again.

My response to this request of me to delete current and future videos will be no.

Earlier this year, DDA Wills offered me a plea agreement as a deferred judgement that would allegedly require me to remove from the internet a video featuring Brenda Macon. The video contained an accurate reflection of what happened during my last visit to DAC. The agreement would have dismissed the trespassing charges against me and would have eliminated Brenda Macon’s alleged restitution costs after one year in exchange for me removing my video.

In response, I rejected the plea deal offer and requested to proceed with the jury trial.

In addition to that ridiculous plea deal offer, at a different hearing DDA Connor Wills offered to dismiss the case against me if I agreed not to contest another Civil Protection Order against me. What Wills’ proposed scenario would mean is that Brenda Macon would file another frivolous Civil Protection Order against me for the same incident that was already litigated on January 6, 2023. In that hearing, the judge rejected her frivolous complaint that was based on the feelings, circumstantial evidence and speculation of Brenda Macon. If I were to agree to DDA Wills’ offer, I would basically have to agree not to object to being put through double jeopardy for the same allegation that was already litigated.

Durango Arts Center Director Brenda Macon requests censorship of video

Brenda Macon and Michael Scieszka–two bullies on the Board of Directors at Durango Arts Center–have attacked my 1st Amendment rights in court and on the internet since I was unlawfully trespassed from our publicly-owned-and-financed facility in May of 2022 that they help manage.

In January of 2023, Brenda Macon filed privacy complaints against two videos of mine where she’s featured as the instigating tyrant.

Here are two videos that Brenda Macon tried to have removed:

Fortunately for freedom, YouTube rejected those complaints saying that they reviewed the content and decided that they were excepted from removal based on their privacy guidelines.

“The content does not violate our policies and will remain on the site. We thank you for using YouTube.”

Brenda Macon’s Civil Trespass Order rejected by judge

Shortly after these videos and a print story about the incident were published, Brenda Macon and Michael Scieszka filed frivolous Civil Protection Orders against me.

In her “Verified Motion For Civil Protection Order” Macon falsely stated that I “left a voicemail of cryptic + intimidating nature. Concurrently, one of Mr. Howell’s videos was posted on the Durango Arts Center Facebook feed in two places. And publicly shared my phone number.”

Of course, Brenda’s claims that I left her a voicemail were false, and all she had was hearsay to present in the court room.

However, when Brenda Macon called 911 on May 7, 2022 to make her false report to authorities, she gave them her phone number, which basically was a public record that people could request.

“Partly because we had already filed a protection order against Mr. Howell. We’ve received a lot of comments on our social media feed. I’ve received several calls that are very harassing in nature,” Macon said in court.

Judge Settle: “So, he’s made recent calls to you?”

“I believe so your honor,” said Macon. “I received an anonymous phone call with someone that sounded exactly like Mr. Howell on the same day that he shared his video online with his YouTube channel. And it went to the DAC’s Facebook feed. And it was very cryptic and intimidating, suggesting that I should be sharing this all publicly. Why am I not sharing this. I shared the recording of the voicemail with the police department. They’re all familiar now with his video. Many of the officers I spoke with know him personally already. They confirmed that this was his voice. At any rate, we have spoken before, I did recognize it as his voice also. That all being said, I believe this is in violation of the original protection order that we filed back in May after the May 7 incident. Like I said, I just want to have personal protection for my personal property.”

Judge Settle: “When you say the Arts Center was tagged, does that mean that there was things spray painted on it or something?”

Brenda: “No, I’m sorry your honor, I meant that it was tagged online.”

“The bigger problem with that, as well, is that it was done in December during our major fundraising campaign online primarily. That kind of activity can be very damaging for us as far as optics,” said Macon.

Me: objection.

Judge Settle: Overruled.

“It’s damaging for the Arts Center and it’s also intimidating for me personally,” Macon said.

Judge Settle: “So you basically want a protection order against him because he disclosed your telephone number and address,” Judge Settle asked.

Brenda Macon:

“That’s part of it your honor, yes.

It was a maneuver to seemingly paint the DAC in some very strange light that wasn’t favorable. I didn’t appreciate him sharing my personal information in that way.

But also as Mr. Scieszka has pointed out. We don’t know what to expect next. This has all been out of left field.

Things that scare me the most in this world are irrational behaviors. I don’t know what to expect here. We don’t know what this is about, but we’d like it to stop,” said Macon.

In response, Judge Settle denied Brenda Macon’s Civil Protection Order. Settle said that her phone number became a public record when she gave it to the 911 dispatcher.

In response to Michael Scieszka’s Civil Protection Order, Settle granted it. Settle said that the pepper spray and surveillance of Scieszka’s license plate and VIN number amounted to threats.

Scieszka never produced any evidence at the court hearing to show that I had touched or reached for the can of pepper spray on my belt, as he had alleged to the court. My appeal of the case to District Court was rejected by Judge Anthony Baca.

Transcript of Protection Order Hearing

My jury trial is scheduled for Thursday, July 13th, 2023 at 8:00 a.m. in division 3 of La Plata County Courthouse.

To read the full story about how Durango Arts Center Executive Director Brenda Macon lied to the police about the ownership and funding status of our fractionally-owned public property in order to have me trespassed CLICK HERE.

Adam Howell is a writer who believes in free press and the importance of the constitution. He can be reached by clicking on this link to the contact page.

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