Posts Tagged ‘Police State.’

Torture At RNC By Cops Kids Are Victims

Saturday, September 6th, 2008

You can see the video clip by linking to the RNC torture or Torture at RNC link on my blog roll. There is a description of what happened here. My friend Dean sent it to me this morning and it didn’t register, then someone else sent it again this afternoon and this time I got it.
This is what the beginnings of a police state looks like.

U.S. | Global Justice and Anti-Capitalism | Government & Elections | Police State and Prisons
VERY Disturbing Reports From Prisons In MN (Severe Torture being used)
by via Portland Indymedia
Friday Sep 5th, 2008 7:05 PM

Severe torture being used for the hell of it. Not even to get information, just to see people suffer. It’s very reminiscent of the torture used on International Workers of the World unionists and Anarchists in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Reports I’ve heard so far (there is sure to be more as people are released):

*Male beaten over the head with baton and then tazed for at least 15 min for participating in singing “Solidarity Forever” with other cell mates after being singled out and told to shut up. Cell mates had to suffer the screaming, knowing they couldn’t do anything to stop it.

*At least one report of a person being anally raped with a baton.

*Many reports of people clubbed and repeatedly peppersprayed in their cells.

*At least a couple reports of people being kicked repeatedly in the face.

*Excessive use of pain compliance maneuvers and pressure points on just about everyone.

*Water denied to most for at least 24 hrs.

*Male beaten by 12 cops in his cell and repeatedly peppersprayed.

*Male asked for food was then knocked out to the floor by a cop and then his head slammed into the ground, given a severe concussion. He was called a “fag” repeatedly and had a plastic bag put over his head with a gag. They used psychological torture and pain pressure techniques on his neck, including separating his jaw on both sides. They took his feet and bent them backwards at the ankle. He vomited and was left in the bag with his vomit for hours.
http://bravenewfilms.org/blog/51910-developing-detainee-alleges-torture-in-ramsey-county-jail

*Male denied toilet paper for at least 24 hours, asked politely for toilet paper, was drug out of cell and beaten severely in front of other cells as an example.

*Many, many reports of full body 1st & 2nd degree burns from pepperspray being denied decontamination/medical treatment.

*Male hand split apart by either tear gas canister or concussion grenade explosion denied medical for at least 36 hours.

*Male beaten until he couldn’t breath for screaming because his arm had been pulled out of his shoulder socket in pain compliance hold.

*Female Portland IMC journalist arm fractured in pain compliance hold
http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2008/09/3…
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Piwik

RNC Update, Notes On Police And Activists

Saturday, September 6th, 2008

First is this excerpt from Marjorie Cohn, it is interesting that the police picked vegan groups to infiltrate. Maybe we had better become omnivores or dumpster divers, I would like to see cops digging through dumpsters to fit in with activists they are attemting to infiltrate.
I think we should start a shit eaters club for them to infiltrate.

“Police State Methods: Preemptive Strikes Against Protest at the Republican National Convention

by Prof. Marjorie Cohn
Global Research, September 2, 2008

In the months leading up to the Republican National Convention, the FBI-led Minneapolis Joint Terrorist Task Force actively recruited people to infiltrate vegan groups and other leftist organizations and report back about their activities. On May 21, the Minneapolis City Pages ran a recruiting story called “Moles Wanted.” Law enforcement sought to preempt lawful protest against the policies of the Bush administration during the convention.

Since Friday, local police and sheriffs, working with the FBI, conducted preemptive searches, seizures and arrests. Glenn Greenwald described the targeting of protestors by “teams of 25-30 officers in riot gear, with semi-automatic weapons drawn, entering homes of those suspected of planning protests, handcuffing and forcing them to lay on the floor, while law enforcement officers searched the homes, seizing computers, journals, and political pamphlets.” Journalists were detained at gunpoint and lawyers representing detainees were handcuffed at the scene.

“I was personally present and saw officers with riot gear and assault rifles, pump action shotguns,” said Bruce Nestor, the President of the Minnesota chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, who is representing several of the protestors. “The neighbor of one of the houses had a gun pointed in her face when she walked out on her back porch to see what was going on. There were children in all of these houses, and children were held at gunpoint.”

The raids targeted members of “Food Not Bombs,” an anti-war, anti-authoritarian protest group that provides free vegetarian meals every week in hundreds of cities all over the world. They served meals to rescue workers at the World Trade Center after 9/11 and to nearly 20 communities in the Gulf region following Hurricane Katrina.

Also targeted were members of I-Witness Video, a media watchdog group that monitors the police to protect civil liberties. The group worked with the National Lawyers Guild to gain the dismissal of charges or acquittals of about 400 of the 1,800 who were arrested during the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York . Preemptive policing was used at that time as well. Police infiltrated protest groups in advance of the convention.

Nestor said that no violence or illegality has taken place to justify the arrests. “Seizing boxes of political literature shows the motive of these raids was political,” he said.

Further evidence the political nature of the police action was the boarding up of the Convergence Center , where protestors had gathered, for unspecified code violations. St. Paul City Council member David Thune said, “Normally we only board up buildings that are vacant and ramshackle.” Thune and fellow City Council member Elizabeth Glidden decried “actions that appear excessive and create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation for those who wish to exercise their first amendment rights.”

“So here we have a massive assault led by Federal Government law enforcement agencies on left-wing dissidents and protestors who have committed no acts of violence or illegality whatsoever, preceded by months-long espionage efforts to track what they do,” Greenwald wrote on Salon.

Preventive detention violates the Fourth Amendment, which requires that warrants be supported by probable cause. Protestors were charged with “conspiracy to commit riot,” a rarely-used statute that is so vague, it is probably unconstitutional. Nestor said it “basically criminalizes political advocacy.”

On Sunday, the National Lawyers Guild and Communities United Against Police Brutality filed an emergency motion requesting an injunction to prevent police from seizing video equipment and cellular phones used to document their conduct.

Marjorie Cohn is president of the National Lawyers Guild and a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law.”

This next piece is from Ainfos an anarchist site on the internet from Canada.

Both the people who said they wanted to disrupt the Republican National Convention in St. Paul and the police who tried to stop them were well-organized and had military-like strategies from the start, with police strategies evolving as the week went on. —- Just as top police brass met each morning to discuss
new intelligence and their plans for the day, so did anarchist groups, St. Paul Police Chief John Harrington said Friday. —- The two sets of strategies played out during the four-day gathering, resulting in 818 RNC-related arrests and
groups decrying the police actions as overly aggressive and limiting free speech. Police have said they acted properly.

On Friday, the American Civil Liberties Union’s Minnesota chapter and Amnesty International issued statements criticizing law enforcement tactics, which included arrests of journalists covering the action.
“People were arrested and brutalized for standing on bridges and chanting,” said Meredith Aby, an organizer for the Anti-War Committee, which helped organize Monday and Thursday marches on the Xcel Energy Center convention site.
Protesters said numerous lawsuits against the city and law enforcement are likely.
Also Friday, representatives of several local and smaller national media organizations delivered a stack of petitions to St. Paul and Ramsey County officials demanding that charges be dropped, or never brought, against journalists covering the RNC protests.

“We recognize that media folks …
are there doing the job,” Harrington said Friday. But he also said police had told journalists that when officers declare there’s an unlawful assembly, “the media isn’t exempt from (a) legal order.”

Harrington said a policy decision would have to be made about journalists who “were simply caught up in the middle.”

Now that the convention is over, police will complete an “afteraction report” that will look at what worked well and what didn’t.
Here are the tactics used by both sides, based on observations by Pioneer Press reporters during numerous confrontations, as well as interviews with law enforcement officials and the most aggressive protesters who opposed the RNC:

PROTESTERS
Actions: The self-styled anarchist groups planned to use a strategy of “swarm, seize and stay” to stop the Republican delegates from holding their Monday-through-Thursday convention. They divided downtown into seven sectors,
asking anarchist groups arriving from around the country to adopt them.
On Monday, groups arrived en masse in an area, seemingly out of nowhere, to claim an intersection or strip of roadway, and then held it until pushed back by police officers in riot gear.

Roadblocks: As protesters arrived in an area or fled police Monday, some anarchists built roadblocks out of objects at hand — newspaper boxes, trash bins, bike racks and unsecured street signs — to slow pursuing officers. In one instance Monday, a group of them rolled a large trash bin toward an advancing squad car.
Offensive equipment: Officials have said anarchists planned to use urine to douse officers and marbles to trip them up. The tools seen on the streets by reporters included caltrops (nail-like devices) to pop delegate bus tires and ball-peen hammers to break windows.
Some delegates also reported protesters doused them Monday with a water-and-bleach solution outside the Xcel Energy Center. Others were spat on.
Defensive equipment: Some protesters carried gas masks, goggles or vinegar-soaked bandanas to protect themselves from tear gas and pepper spray.
Those hit with chemical irritants used water or a 50/50 mix of water and liquid antacid to wash out their eyes and clean their skin. Their own crew of ” street medics” was always close to the action.
Anonymity: On Monday, protesters fled police and stopped to shed layers of clothing — likely to keep them from being identified by their outfits, or to remove articles stained by police paintballs.
Anarchists also wore similar outfits — black shirt and pants, dark bandana over the face and attorney phone numbers written on their arms. The uniformity was supposed to make it harder for law enforcement to single out an individual.
Communication: Protesters and their supporters largely organized their efforts via the Internet. Twitter, an online service for mass-broadcasting in the form of short text snippets, was particularly important.
They used shared Twitter accounts to post frantic updates from the field. This allowed everyone involved to know what was happening and attempt to coordinate by using cell phones and other hand-held devices.
Counterintelligence: Protest groups, specifically the RNC Welcoming Committee, said they were constantly vigilant about infiltrators. The reason was clear: The house raids by the Ramsey County sheriff’s office last weekend were predicated
on information from an undercover investigator and two informants.
The group first used its close-knit nature to keep out strangers, and then fell back to surveillance and profiling to keep out the rest.
On Tuesday, at a Mears Park rally, anarchists outed three people dressed like them who then drove off in a vehicle registered to the Hennepin County sheriff’s office detectives division.

POLICE
Numbers: Police wanted to keep the anarchists from spawning chaos in the Twin Cities.
With more than 3,700 officers on hand for the convention, police might not have been able to outnumber peaceful marchers.
But they didn’t have to.
Violent protesters were often in groups of a dozen or so, even within a larger group of peaceful demonstrators. As swarms of officers in riot gear zoomed into an area, peaceful demonstrators often backed off. It was apparent that officers far outnumbered those who wished to stand their ground.
Communications: All the cops in the world are worthless if they’re one step behind the action, so instant and accurate commmunications was a linchpin of law enforcement’s tactics.
Inside fairly cramped and stuffy quarters in what is normally a training room of the Ramsey County Emergency Communications Center near the county jail, a crew of about 30 directed the largest police force ever assembled in the state. St. Paul Assistant Police Chief Matt Bostrom described it as “lean and mean,” consistent with his general strategy of securing everything outside the Xcel Center.
Practice sessions last weekend showed that traditional law enforcement command structure was too cumbersome; directives often got distorted as they passed from one person to another. So officials went with a NASA Mission Control-style arrangement: one man, Senior Cmdr. Joe Neuberger, essentially dispatched
everyone for the east metro, including St. Paul.
The room was equipped with TV screens showing live video from street cameras. An overhead electronic map of downtown updated automatically as dispatchers typed in information on where units were and where they were going.
It was still too slow. Neuberger said that Monday, when chaos broke out in several areas downtown, dispatchers “upgraded to whiteboard 3.0″ on the fly. A felt marker-drawn map of the city was updated by one dispatcher who slid around pieces of cardboard representing various forces.
“It’s not high-tech,” said Neuberger. “That’s the way they did it in World War II.” It worked so well, they stuck with it throughout the week.
Mobile field force officers: Police mobile field forces moved around downtown St. Paul in unmarked minivans throughout the convention. They traveled in caravans, with four minivans in a platoon and three to four officers inside each one. A marked squad car led each platoon.
Mobile field force officers wore riot gear and stood at the front lines. The body armor and helmets with shields weren’t for intimidation, but for officers’ protection, police said.
Although mobile field force officers were in the most intense action, there was also a lot of sitting around and waiting, or monitoring of situations.
Discipline: It was rare to see officers break formation from a police line and pursue suspects, even those who threw objects at police or vandalized property.
That’s because it often didn’t work. In one instance Monday, militant demonstrators quickly overwhelmed an officer. He backed off and they scattered.
On Thursday, in a chaotic scuffle in the Sears parking lot, individual officers broke away and chased individual protesters.
Divide and conquer: Throughout the week, lines of advancing officers — yelling “Move! Move!” — forced demonstrators who assembled in streets without permits to move from areas closest to the Xcel. Sometimes, the police were on horseback.
Bicycle officers also used their bikes, held out in front of them as shields, to reinforce lines.
Advancing lines of police often took advantage of moments when gaps formed within a large group of two dozen demonstrators, creating new lines between them. Then they drove the groups in opposite directions. They parked heavy equipment, such as snowplows, at key intersections.
For example, on Monday, police drove a group massing at Kellogg Boulevard and Wabasha Street up Wabasha and split the group, eventually forcing one to Seventh and Jackson streets, and the other across the Robert Street Bridge.
Adaptation: On Monday, police chased people who were shattering windows, throwing rocks, slashing tires and blocking traffic and arrested nearly 300 people. But police discovered the protesters “liked having us chase them around” and “that wasn’t terribly effective for us,” Harrington said.
So, when police had information Thursday that protesters wanted to “use arson to disrupt the convention, to take out parts of downtown St. Paul,” officers kept them from getting close enough to try, Harrington said.
Less-lethal weapons and buffers: When a police line advanced on a group, it was slow and deliberate. In cases where police gave a warning, anyone who didn’t retreat at least 10 feet from the line often became the target of pepper spray.
Police effectively increased this buffer zone by deploying tear gas, shooting pepper-spray projectiles, and lobbing smoke grenades and flash-bangs.
Officials steadfastly denied shooting rubber bullets, and the Pioneer Press was unable to verify alternative media reports and demonstrator claims that they had been used.
With gusty winds on some days, tear gas occasionally caused burning nostrils and eyes, and irritated skin for bystanders a block away. Pioneer Press reporters also witnessed anarchists cheering and taunting police when officers announced a
“final warning” that they were about to use their less-lethal weapons.
Jason Hoppin, Frederick Melo, Julio Ojeda-Zapata, Tad Vezner and Michael Marchio
contributed to this report.
DISCLOSURE
Editor’s note: Among the group of media representatives delivering petitions to St. Paul and Ramsey County officials Friday was Mike Bucsko, executive director of the Newspaper Guild of the Twin Cities. The union represents journalists at the Pioneer Press, including photographer/videographer Ben Garvin, who was
arrested Thursday evening and cited with a misdemeanor for unlawful assembly.
http://www.twincities.com/rnc/ci_10394203
———————
Copied from infoshop.org
_________________________________________
A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
By, For, and About Anarchists
Send news reports to A-infos-en mailing list
A-infos-en@ainfos.ca

That is a pretty comprehensive report from the Pioneer Press as reproduced by A-infos. Now for some news from a freind of mine on the ground. Dean a long time Yippie and activist.

This is a response from my buddy Dean when I asked him about events in the Twin Cities last night. I taked it on to Skots mailing list. I hope you guys don’t mind.
I heard a rebroadcast on KFAI my old Minneapolis radio station on KPFK of the police riot on Thursday night. This is what Dean has to say about events on the ground as he saw them. as of Friday September 5th.
I was there only briefly on Thursday Aug. 28 and Friday 29 to drop some protestors who had been in Denver with me off in Minneapolis. I was impressed with the level of planning and wished I could have been able to stay for the action. - Gary Rumor.

Dean what is going on there? - Gary Rumor
A good question. And i only hsve a partial answer. Did i tell you my prediction beforehand. Denver would be a police state while St, Paul would resemble a war. I was hoping that if it was a war that it would be a two sided war. Well it was, for about 4 hours. From that point it became a police massacre and roundup, And this lasted til Thursday.

Now for specifics. Before the convention began, beginning on Friday night, the cops raided the convergence space, and organizers houses. They found common household materials and claimed they were weapon and bomb materials. They found bottles and rags, and claimed they were for Molotov cocktails. They found grey-water and piss and shit buckets and claimed this was fro dumping on delegates or cops, etc.

They justified these search and seizures on an affidavit and warrant of two alleged undercover cops who say they infiltrated the Welcoming Committee, and who said that people were planning amongst other things, going to kidnap delegates. These 6 (i believe) people are being charged under the state equivalent of the Patriot Act with “conspiracy to disrupt the convention with a terrorist enhancement”.

Forward to Monday, Everything is in flux. The Republicans have even suggested delaying the convention because of hurricane Gustav. The anti-war march and the Welcoming Committee both announced they weren’t cancelling their planned activities. The Republican announced they were having a limited session on Monday. The anti-war march was big–the largest event of the week. It was Labor Day.

The sectors of the welcoming coming’s strategy were gotten to by the people either going to them directly or going to the march and then organizing breakaways. There were several masked groups and as time went on, they all left the march. They blocked roads, dumped a lot of blockade materials, and broke windows on empty delegate busses, Fox News vehicles, cop cars, banks, and Macy’s. Because this was allegedly happening in many different directions around the Exell Center, i didn’t see all of what went on, and i’m still finding out about stuff that went on. The cops who were from all over the country, didn’t really start any major counter-attack until about 4pm.

At that point they and the National Guard came in and basically attempted to clear the streets using many different “less lethal” weapons including flashbangs, several varieties of teargasses, and rubber or plastic bullets,

They also arrested whole groups of people, including journalists, medics, by-standers and activists. For example, Amy Goodman was arrested and charged with riot. There were more felony charges than there were misdemeanors. Some were not charged but held the legal limit without charging and let go. Others are being still held on high bail.

Tuesday and wednesday were pretty slow. Tuesday had the poor people’s march with a few arrests, and Wednesday had concert-goers from Rage’s paid concert taking over street corners in Minneapolis downtown, but all in all except for petty police harassment and overwhelming numbers people, not that much happened.

On Thursday, the day McPain was to accept the nomination, people wanted to be there protest him and the Republican war criminals. A rally was called and after it people were going to march to the closest point they could get to by the Exell Center. The cops didn’t want any demonstrations in downtown St. Paul after 5pm. They blocked the bridges over the freeway to accomplish this, using amongst other things snowplows. After several long standoffs, people started to try to find other ways to get into the downtown area. At some point, no matter out why, the cops decided to use tear gas to clear the area, and arrest more people.
There are still people in jail on high bails.
–Dean
—– Original Message —–

And then we have this update from Skot from Austin who was there, another good friend and activist.

Sent: Saturday, September 06, 2008 12:32 PM
Subject: more bad news from the RNC……

“at least six houses raided (2 or 3 “condemned”, making it illegal for people to move back in, more than 800 arrests, people being tazed left and right, 3 cops infiltrated the organizing group, and undercover cops grabbing people off the streets. to add insult to injury, read the story below (the full story is on the papers website(address below)), where two Texans are being framed for supposedly having molotovs.
the power of the police state was in full swing this last week in St. Paul………….
……but somehow i stil managed to not get arrested.
and, once again, for more detailed info, check out www.democracynow.org
take care, skot!”

Skot included this bit about a couple of heroic personages of the revolution.

This Article from StarTribune.com has been sent to you by .
*Please note, the sender’s identity has not been verified.

The full Article, with any associated images and links can be viewed here.

2 Texans charged with Molotov cocktail plot
HERON MARQUEZ ESTRADA, Star Tribune

Two Texans suspected of plotting to disrupt the Republican National Convention were charged Friday in federal court with illegally possessing Molotov cocktails.

David Guy McKay, 22, and Bradley Neil Crowder, 23, were each charged with possessing Molotov cocktails. Both remain in custody following initial court appearances in Minneapolis. They have a preliminary hearing on Tuesday.

McKay was arrested by St. Paul police during a search of a home Wednesday. Crowder was arrested Monday on suspicion of disorderly conduct.

According to an FBI affidavit:

The FBI in Texas began investigating a group, labeled by law enforcement as the Austin Affinity Group, in February 2007. Crowder is listed as the group’s leader, and McKay has been identified as a member.

On Aug. 28, members of the Austin, Texas, group traveled to Minnesota. The group brought a rental trailer with them that contained 35 shields made from stolen traffic barrels. The shields were constructed with protruding screw heads so that they could be used as offensive weapons. St. Paul police seized the shields Sunday.

McKay and Crowder bought supplies for making Molotov cocktails at a St. Paul Wal-Mart on Sunday. Authorities found that the supplies were stored at a St. Paul apartment and that McKay and Crowder had made eight Molotov cocktails and were storing them at a home on Dayton Street, the affidavit said.

In the search at the Dayton Street residence, where McKay was arrested, officers seized gas masks, slingshots, helmets, knee pads and containers of a gasoline and oil mixture.

In an unrelated incident, a 23-year-old man was charged Friday with assault and terroristic threats for allegedly dropping a 50-pound bag of sand onto Interstate 94 on the first day of the Republican National Convention.

David Terence Mahoney, no permanent address, was arrested Thursday in Minneapolis. He made his first appearance Friday, and his bail was set at $25,000 in Ramsey County District Court.

In a criminal complaint filed by the Ramsey County attorney’s office, authorities allege that Mahoney picked up the bag of sand holding down a traffic sign and tossed it off the John Ireland bridge over I-94 Monday afternoon while he and a group of about 50 protesters marched in the area.

Investigators were able to identify Mahoney through a tattoo on his back, noticeable on surveillance photographs that authorities took when the sandbag was tossed.

The bridge went over one of the primary routes that convention delegates and their buses used to get to the Xcel Energy Center.

hme@startribune.com • 612-673-4280 pwalsh@startribune.com • 612-673-4482

That is all I have to say today. Any comments will be welcome, Gary Rumor.

RNC FUN BY SKOT OH

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

This is what Skot posted, I thought it was all him, but it is mostly Amy Goodman and Democracy Now. Good to hear Skot is still on the streets, I missed him when I was there, but I had to go back to work. I guess even Amy got busted. Pretty bad but then she has been asking for it as far as the police are concerned.

“yep, this is typical of what’s been going on here in the twin cities during the RNC, for more detailed info kept out of the media, go to democracynow.org

and, yes, i’m not in jail…..in case you care….love ,skot!”

That is it for Skot, now the rest is Democracy Now as far as I can tell. perhaps Skot will sent me an email and add more info or update us.

“Amy Goodman Grills St. Paul Police Chief About Her Arrest and Two Democracy Now! Producers
On Tuesday morning, St. Paul Police Chief John Harrington held a news conference where he spoke about the nearly 300 people arrested in a police crackdown on protesters a day earlier. Among them were several journalists covering the protests in the streets, including three of us at Democracy Now!—Amy Goodman, Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar. Amy Goodman questions Harrington about the arrests. [includes rush transcript]

AMY GOODMAN: Outside the Xcel Center, the protests continued on the streets of St. Paul. In the largest demonstration of the day, thousands of people took part in an anti-poverty rally and march organized by the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign that ended near the Republican convention arena. Hundreds of police officers, many in riot gear and on horseback and bicycles, were on the streets, as well. Police fired teargas, rubber bullets and flash bombs into the crowd. At least ten people were arrested during the day.

On Monday, the opening day of the Republican convention, nearly 300 people were arrested in a police crackdown on protesters, among them several journalists covering the protests in the streets, including three of us at Democracy Now! I was arrested along with Democracy Now! producers Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar. We were all released on Monday night.

Yesterday morning, St. Paul Police Chief John Harrington held a news conference just blocks from the studio where we’re broadcasting from, Saint Paul Neighborhood Network. After our morning broadcast, we headed over to the news conference to hear what the police chief, Police Chief Harrington, had to say.

POLICE CHIEF JOHN HARRINGTON: Yesterday, there was a group of people, not the protesters, in my mind, not the group that was here to have their voices heard in protest, but a group of criminals who came here with a very expressed goal and intent. They came here to try and stop the convention, to crash the gates, to stop the buses and the delegates from being able to do their lawful duty. They failed. They made numerous attempts to crash the gates and never really got in. They made numerous attempts to stop the buses, and while they slowed our transportation down a little bit, every delegate that left for the convention got to the convention, and every delegate that left that was heading back to their hotels at the end of the night got back to their hotels. So, on all points of that, in my mind, that means that the criminals who came here to damage city property, damage private property, assault and intimidate the public were unsuccessful in completing their mission.

They tried very diligently to disturb the 10,000 estimated people that were there for a lawful protest at the State Capitol, who, despite that—and I really do give them great credit—despite the fact that the protesters were setting fires, slashing tires, throwing rocks and feces at people during their protest, the peaceful protesters maintained order, maintained their intent to get down to the public viewing area to protest, had their protest and moved on from there. And so, I give them also great credit for their perseverance in the face of what I’m sure must have seemed as a very scary sight as people ran in and out of their groups and tried to disrupt their peaceful protest and their ability to exercise their First Amendment rights.

I believe that, overall, while it was—there were moments of chaos yesterday, what you saw yesterday was control. We expected to have problems, we were prepared for those problems, and we responded to those problems in, I think, a very reasonable approach and a very reasonable manner.

Overnight, we had very few arrests; I believe nine arrests happened overnight. The total as of right now, we believe, is 283 arrests from the incidents yesterday, of which, of that 283, 120 of them are for felony—either felony riot, aggravated criminal damage to property or assault. There is fifty-one gross misdemeanor arrests, which are primarily lesser forms of aggravated criminal damage to property, and then there were 103 misdemeanor arrests, typically for participating in unlawful assembly or disorderly conduct.

AMY GOODMAN: I’m Amy Goodman from Democracy Now!, a daily public radio and television program. I was arrested yesterday by the police, along with my two producers. And I want to know what the policy is for reporters. We are fully credentialed, all of us, both from the convention and our own press credentials.

First, it was our two producers. It was over at 7th and Jackson. One of them, Nicole Salazar, had a camera. She was videotaping. The police moved in very quickly. She was stepping back behind the car. She was videotaping this whole thing. The police moved in at her. We have the videotape, played it on the show today. As she shouted “Press! Press!,” they said put your face in the ground. They pushed her to the ground. They put their boot in her back. Another one pulled on her leg, and they were telling her to keep her face down to pull along the gravel. Sharif Abdel Kouddous is our other producer. He was there. They threw him up against the wall. They bloodied his arm. They bloodied her face.

And I was called. I was on the convention floor interviewing the delegation from Minnesota and Alaska. I got a call, the producers are being arrested. I raced down here by foot. I went up to the riot police line. I said, “I would like to talk to a commanding officer.” This is all videotaped. And they took me, handcuffed me immediately, said, “You’re under arrest.” They pushed me to the ground. I said, “You can clearly see I have all the proper credentials.” I have my security clearance for the floor, for example, of the convention. So Secret Service came over, and they pulled it off. “Now you don’t,” they said.

So, my question is, they have—they face PC riot, probable cause riot. I’ve already been charged with a misdemeanor. What is your policy with the press? How is the press to operate in this kind of environment? And a last question is, our producers were here, but the police only allow in two people from each press, but this is empty, and all the police are here. They far outnumber us in the press. Why our reporters can’t be here?

POLICE CHIEF JOHN HARRINGTON: I don’t—I can’t—the last part of that, I can’t answer.

In terms of the policy, reporters have rights, and what we have tried to do is try and create a balance of that. If we announce, if there is an unlawful assembly or we are in the midst of a riot, we will announce—and I believe we announced routinely and rather loudly that we needed people to step out of the area—and that if reporters fail to do that, if they are in the midst of the riot, we can’t protect them, and it will be very difficult for us in a moment of that kind of chaos to be able to make those kind of fine distinctions.

What we have attempted to do is to expedite—if reporters are taken into custody—to expedite making sure that they are taken out of the general population, try to review their cases, and try and get them released from custody, pending further investigations. The fact that a person is a reporter or has a credential doesn’t give them additional rights to commit any crimes, though. And I don’t—while I don’t know your case—I haven’t seen your video, so I really can’t respond to what you’re saying happened there in that particular case.

AMY GOODMAN: What is the crime that the reporters committed but reporting on what is happening?

POLICE CHIEF JOHN HARRINGTON: And I can’t answer that question, because I haven’t seen your video. And I can’t really address that, because I think those cases are going to be eventually completely investigated. They will then be moved to a court for hearing, and that evidence would be part of that. And I really am not in a position to be able to argue the merits of the criminal case either way. But what I would say is that if a reporter is committing a crime while they’re there under their credentials, I think they become regular citizens. And I—so I cannot answer your question about that.

But, in general, what we’re trying to do is give reporters access. We have tried to give them, in fact, I think extraordinary access by embedding reporters in our mobile field force, as we were trying to do everything we can to make our operation as transparent to the news media as we possibly can. If we have reporters that are caught up in the middle of a riotous situation, our intention is to try and, as quickly as possible, separate them out, and given a quick preliminary investigation, if it’s at all possible, to get them released from custody, which I believe was done in your case.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you [inaudible] how soon will they be dropping the charges against us?

POLICE CHIEF JOHN HARRINGTON: They’ll investigate them, and if there is no grounds for the charges, I would expect they would, sure.

AMY GOODMAN: And the preemptive raid on I-Witness Video, the reason for that?

POLICE CHIEF JOHN HARRINGTON: I don’t know anything about that.

AMY GOODMAN: [no audio]… against my producers, Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar, and me. You heard what he said: he’s investigating.

And the second thing that he said, I asked him about, was whether—why there was a preemptive raid on I-Witness Video on Saturday at their home, the group that monitors police, where they’re staying in St. Paul. They come from New York and from around the country. The police moved in with a warrant that did not list their address but the house next door. They came into the house. One of those in charge, one of the authorities who moved in, had an AR-15 automatic weapon. When the police came into the living room, where the group was huddled, he had a pistol that was targeted at them.

Well, as for our case, we have been charged, Democracy Now! producers and I, with—I have been charged with a misdemeanor, obstruction of legal process and interference with a peace officer. Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar still face a charge of probable cause felony riot. We have yet to hear whether those charges will be dropped. The video of my arrest was the most viewed video on YouTube yesterday. You can go to our website at democracynow.org, where you can see that video, as well as Nicole Salazar videotaping her own violent arrest. Of course, she and Sharif had not gone to the protest to do that. They had gone to video what was taking place on the streets of St. Paul.

Ah Amerikan Democracy in action…


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