Douglas Bruce's Costco Arrest Was 2nd In Year

Police Called Last Year After Bruce Refused To Leave

Last weekend's run-in with police on property belong to Costco wasn't the first time Douglas Bruce has had trouble there.

Last year, Bruce was on the property and police were called. A lawyer for Costco even sent Bruce a letter afterward, outlining their policy against solicitors on their property, the Gazette reported Wednesday.

"Usually I can just ask them (solicitors) to leave and they’ll leave," Costco manager John Wynns said. "Since I’ve been here, we’ve only had to call police twice. Both times were on Mr. Bruce."

Bruce was cited for trespassing Saturday after ignoring employees' and officers' requests to leave the property, Wynns said.

Bruce claims he was cited because the city wanted to muzzle him and his efforts to collect signatures for a proposed ballot measure that would phase out fees for city enterprises, and bar the city from receiving payments in lieu of taxes from Colorado Springs Utilities. He said he would ask for a jury trial in the case.

“We were arrested because the city doesn’t want our petition to get on the ballot because it would impact city revenue and they have apparently created a new rule where the first Amendment doesn’t apply if you are petitioning to do something the government doesn’t want,” he said. “And they will use the police as their political muscle.”

Bruce told the Gazette he has a "dim recollection" of his run-in with police at the same Costco last year.

The city enacted a new policy on Aug. 3 that prohibited petitioners on private property only if they have the property owner's permission.

Bruce said the new policy unfairly targets him.

"I wasn’t going to let the B.S. policy deter me from my right to petition," he told the Gazette.

Bruce is a former El Paso County Commissioner and state legislator and author of the TABOR -- Taxpayer's Bill of Rights -- Amendment.