Back to previous post: Gustav Landfall

Go to Making Light's front page.

Forward to next post: Why RMS Titanic Didn’t Have Enough Lifeboats

Subscribe (via RSS) to this post's comment thread. (What does this mean? Here's a quick introduction.)

September 1, 2008

Police at the RNC
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 11:07 PM *

A Particle reads Massive, warrantless raids on peace protesters in Minneapolis, in advance of RNC, which links over to a story at Boing Boing.

From August 30, 2008: Something Very Bad is Happening in the Twin Cities

Early reports are flooding in of what sound - at first blush - as police state tactics designed to disrupt and intimidate anyone who authorities think might be protesting — peacefully — at the Republican National Convention.

From August 31, 2008: More On Twin Cities - Developing

Bruce Nestor, chapter President of the Minnesota National Lawyers Guild, was present at both locations during the execution of the search warrants. “Police seized political literature, cellphones, computers, cameras, personal diaries, and many common household items such as paint, rope, and roofing nails. These items are present in almost any home in south Minneapolis and are not evidence of a crime,” said Nestor. “Seizing boxes of political literature shows the motive of these raids was political. Sheriff Fletcher has staged a publicity stunt, violated constitutional rights, and misrepresented what was seized during the raids,” he said. Another raid was carried out the evening before on a political meeting hall in St. Paul. Inventory sheets for that raid show that no contraband items were taken. Literature, computers, maps of St. Paul, and banners were the vast majority of the items seized.

Today: Amy Goodman Arrested - UpTake Team Avoids Arrest, Tear Gas Being Used On Children (Hat tip to Terry Karney in Open Thread 113).

Update 4:07 pacific: Lindsay has just called in about an arrest near the bridge - somebody being arrested here - cops are making racist remarks to the guy they are arresting using fake spanish to him and knocking off a hat he was wearing. Lindsay didn’t see a cause for the arrest - just turned around and he was on the ground. As we were talking, she could see them dragging him across the road and a nearby motorcycle cop started taunting Lindsay to “take more pictures - Greetings from the great southwest!” while pointing to his badge.

Just confirmed - Amy Goodman of Democracy Now and two reporters have been arrested in St Paul. (Audio - both raw from the arrest and then a report on it available here.)

Which leads to: Amy Goodman Detained

Getting word as it plays — Amy Goodman and two other crew from DemocracyNow! are being detained by police for “probable cause for riot (?).” Happening now — just got word. Phoned in to other DN! crew to see what we can do. Waiting to hear if it’s an arrest or “detained.” Should have a report on the live broadcast later today. Police scene here over the top. We chased the raids all day Saturday and I’ll blog about some of that later. Meanwhile, in phone contact with DN! and if any help is needed behind the scenes, we’re there.

Paging Martin Niemöller….

Comments on Police at the RNC:
#1 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 11:16 PM:

The police there seem to be very fond of 'conspiracy to riot' as a charge, even when there's no riot and no evidence of conspiracy. Apparently it's the FBI running that show. (Bets that someone 'in an undisclosed location' has given the orders to teh guys at the top?)

Pardon me while I go scream; I'm tired of the police being thugs and then telling us they're 'protecting' us.

#2 ::: Dan ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 11:23 PM:

I almost want to be embarrassed for the poor people of Minnesota. This is just insane, and it isn't the America I wish to be a part of.

#3 ::: Jeremy Hornik ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 11:34 PM:

Last week I was being appalled by the police response in Denver, and the treatment of protesters by the Democratic party. Well, it's ideologically reassuring to know that the Republicans can always be more repressive. That's the pressure of going second, I guess... you always have to do more.

#4 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 11:40 PM:

It's interesting -- I was thinking today (as I waved down a police car to mention that somebody had a ladder reaching up 3 stories in the middle of the alleyway, not to mention an additional ladder somehow dangling down from said rooftop) that there are huge swaths of the world where you wouldn't even consider doing something that risky... one of them being the United States.

#5 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 11:59 PM:

I don't think I've watched a piece of video that's given me the creeps as badly as that in ... a long time.

#6 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 12:16 AM:

This reminds me unpleasantly of the shadow government plans for "continuity" to be activated in case of civil unrest.

What constitutes civil unrest? Really? Conspiracy by anarchists to commit riot?

They know they can't win at this point. McCain has really shot himself in the foot with Palin -- much as I like Palin, actually; she sounds like somebody I'd (erkkk) like to have a beer with. If I drank beer... Damn, they really do choose'em on this basis, don't they? But a really, really likely heartbeat away from the Presidency? Damn. Just when I thought this election couldn't get any freakier...

#7 ::: Carrie V. ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 12:55 AM:

So, a friend and I hung out for a while in downtown Denver last week because I thought it would be fun. And it totally was. My friend (who is much more gregarious than I) had conversations with several of the scary riot cop guys who were swarming around the Pepsi center. One of them went like this:

My friend: "So, would you let us take a picture of one of us sticking a daisy in your gun?"

Scary Riot Cop: "Um, no. That's a bad idea. But do you want to take your picture with us anyway? Because that's cool. Look, Joe over here does Captain Morgan." (Joe proceeded to demonstrate his Captain Morgan impression.)

Granted, I wasn't involved in any protests or anything, but for the most part the riot cops seemed to be, you know, posing for pictures more than anything else. Intimidating but not scary.

I can't recall any kind of crackdown of this magnitude happening in Denver. What's different? Is it just Republicans are more paranoid?

#8 ::: pedantic peasant ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 01:06 AM:

I seem to recall the same (or similar) stories happening four years ago with the last Repub Convention.

I am neither a lawyer, nor a political activist, but shouldn't these groups by now -- or four years from now -- be (what's the right word) prepared (or similar to what someone said on another said, "preactive") enough to have a lawyer on retainer with documents drawn up in advance for "wrongful arrest" and some form of civil suit for harrassment, abuse of power, or equivalent? Something to guarantee that the legal action would start so quick and be so expensive they'd stop pulling this crap?

#9 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 01:11 AM:

Some links to info from someone in St. Paul.

#10 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 01:18 AM:

Well, if you want to show your strong belief in the constitution and American values, there's really no better way than to round up some political dissidents, and then arrest their lawyers and any reporters fool enough to report on what's going on.

#11 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 01:30 AM:

It's weird, the thought of flinging poo at Republicans had never even crossed my mind...until now.

This is what they don't get: trying to scare people into compliance only works some of the time on some of the people. The rest, you just rile up.

#12 ::: Doctor Science ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 01:45 AM:

These tactics are War on [Some People's] Drugs tactics.

I used to think progressives who talked about the War on Drugs as police state repression were paranoid, over-stating it, etc. No more: I was wrong, you were right.

Once you let the government have a War on some part of your own population, that's what you get: the apparatus for domestic war is there, and it *will* be used.

#13 ::: JimR ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 01:46 AM:

I understand that America has become crazy-topsy-turvey Amurka in recent years, but aren't there still laws? I mean, legally, the police aren't allowed to do that, right?
Or has the President's law-is-what-I-do thing trickled down that far?

And MINNESOTA? Those guys are usually so nice they're practically Canadian! What's going on here!?

#14 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 02:02 AM:

What is this, pre-emptive police raids? It sounds like some of the protesters got stupid and violent, yes, but this reaction seems a bit over the top.

BTW, I think the McCain folks have gone officially insane. According to Johh Marshall, McCain has just hired Tucker Eskew, the guy who who ran George Bush's dirty tricks campaign against McCain in 2000, the guy who came up with the ugly comments about Bridget, McCain's adopted daughter. Eskew's job is going to be to "prep" Sarah Palin to be a good running mate, whatever that means.

#15 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 02:02 AM:

JimR @ 13 - The police will do pretty much what they're told to do, and will allow the courts to figure out what's legal post-facto. (Honestly, I don't think this has ever been any different.)

The real question is, exactly who is giving the orders? And will anyone care? The media is too busy with Hurricane Gustav and the amazing disintegrating Sarah Palin to care too much about this - especially when it's mostly internet-types who are getting roughed up.

#16 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 02:12 AM:

Amy Goodman has been released. I wonder if someone ordered her arrest by name, and if so, who that was.

#17 ::: Harry Payne ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 02:19 AM:

And elsewhere, there are lots of officials and delegates talking about sandbags being dropped from a bridge onto a bus on its way to the convention center. However, there's no pictures or footage of any actual damage. Yet. Fascinating...

#19 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 03:17 AM:

Carrie V. @7. that reminds me of some of the things I heard from British cops in the '80s. when we had riots, and a lot of training was done.

Of course, things are different in a gun-scarce society.

The basic strategy is to keep the riot-equipped police out of sight until they're needed. But the idea was to appear before a protest became a full riot, and, through military discipline, intimidate potential rioters.

Imagine yourself in a group that's on the verge of becoming a mob, and the Police appear: fireproof clothing, protective helmets, riot shields, long batons. Moving in unison, like soldiers on parade. Or the Roman Army.

You can suddenly feel rather lonely. Many people will decide to go somewhere else. And if you time it right the crowd is still fluid enough that the people in the front can withdraw.

That's a sort of tactical intimidation. I was told that it could involve Zulu-style shield-drumming. And the British Police had deviced procedures to process arrests quickly. which meant Officers had to be identifiable. Their numbers had to be visible.

I also heard stories of senior officers skipping the training, because they "had more important things to do".

I'm pretty sure great-uncle George Bell would not have approved of that skiving off, nor of what's happening in Minnesota. Neither would great-uncle Albert. It's a tough act to follow, the Bell family.

#20 ::: alexander ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 04:06 AM:

If I were to take a snapshot of moderate, sophisticated opinion in this part of the world, it's moved from being mildly interested in the show but not really thinking the outcome will change anything to being scornful of the democracy and values of the society that is doing so much to make life unbearable for so many people in this part of the world.

That's the problem when you evangelise democracy but then show it to be a flawed and corrupt system that's as immoral and debased as the systems you attack.

From Huckerbee in Israel suggesting the Palestinians find somewhere else to live, through the selection of an inexperienced nobody with too much baggage as potentially the Vice President to the constant roar of 'God Bless America' while riot police mash free people, this is not really turning out so well, is it?

#21 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 04:53 AM:

carrie V. @7

I can't recall any kind of crackdown of this magnitude happening in Denver. What's different? Is it just Republicans are more paranoid?

Even if they are, I'd like to know that can affect the behaviour of any uniformed folks who aren't privat security guards hired by the conventions. How can two privat groups organising events cause such differences betweeen the behaviour of the cops at these events? What kind of different instructions were given, by whom, and with what authority?

alexander @20:

That's the problem when you evangelise democracy but then show it to be a flawed and corrupt system that's as immoral and debased as the systems you attack.

Nonsense. Half a loaf is not the same as no bread.

#22 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 05:17 AM:

Alexander #20 : Well put. I think that expresses the majority grass-roots view in Europe too.

Raphael #21 Half a loaf is not the same as no bread : Yes, being arrested unlawfully is not as bad as, for example, a year's forced labour ("re-education") for applying to hold a protest in a zone designated for the purpose. But to many onlookers it seems like hypocrisy when US politicians boast about freedom and democracy while the actions of the US government (as represented by TSA, police, FBI, CIA, Guantanamo, Patriot Act, etc.) repeatedly show that the words are empty.

#23 ::: rm ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 06:38 AM:

In prison, "inciting a riot" can mean having a quiet talk about how the cafeteria food sucks.

So . . . nothing to worry about. The police are merely applying prison semantics to the world outside of prison. Move along.

#24 ::: Elusis ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 07:12 AM:

I don't know that Denver did much better:

#25 ::: Connie H. ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 07:25 AM:

Okay, so we're coming down on leftist protestors with avowedly peaceful plans like a ton of fascist bricks... which, really, I'm not surprised given the way NYC was treated in 2004.

MEANWHILE, during the Denver convention, police caught a carload of rightwing thugs armed with scoped rifles, ammunition, bulletproof vests, etc. etc. who admitted to plans to kill Obama under questioning.

(Question for all: when is the last time the national press even MENTIONED this incident?)

Which do you think is the more serious threat deserving of the highest amount of 'preventative' policing?

#27 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 08:17 AM:

Connie H #25- you need some sort of link to evidence for that. It sounds like exactly the sort of thing we like to hear, but we need evidence, otherwise its just scaremongering.

Here in the UK, they arrested (last year I think) a right wing racist who had one of the largest hauls of chemicals and bomb making stuff they'd ever seen. It barely made the national news but was covered by the local news, so that enough word got out about it that you could see it wasn't made up. Of course the story got much less coverage than the possible moslem terrorist plots, but that is what we expect.

#28 ::: Connie H. ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 08:31 AM:

Guthrie -- glad to, here's the link to Crooks & Liars that links to news stories, et cetera:

C&L story

I seriously thought this story would be commoner knowledge here.

#29 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 08:54 AM:

Thanks Connie.
So does taking meth make you so incapable of rational thought that you take a rifle, ammo and bulletproof vests to a conference, and talk about shooting the presidential runner?
I don't know, I'm in the UK, and I've not knowingly met a user of methamphetamine.

#30 ::: Melody ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 09:17 AM:

My sister-in-law, who works in St Paul, was called up by one of the security people at her building when she was in yesterday because there were 2 squads and 5 officers surrounding her car, a plain white sedan, where it was parked in the handicapped zone outside their building (and outside the RNC security zone). Her car was not the only one in the lot, but there were only a couple others, as it was LD. One of the squads was positioned to block the car. She is handicapped, has a placard, the whole thing.

She got a bit spooked, so she decided to work the rest of the day from home. She goes out to her car, all of the officers watch her get in, say nothing. She looks at them all, raises her hands like WTF?, and rolls down her window. One of them asks if she would like to leave. Uh, yeah, that's kinda why I got in and started it. They move the squad, and she drives off, all of them watching her leave; an overweight nicely-dressed mid-fifties woman with a cane.

Apparently even normal activity is suspect. Maybe all of us that actually live in the Twins are supposed to stay completely out of St Paul? We're dangerous folk, us and our hotdishes.

#31 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 09:31 AM:

Crystal Meth is pretty dang hardcore, in the "drugs that will fuck you up" department. It's physically and psychologically addictive, and the effects and side-effects list is like a smorgasbord of "that's not good... that's not good at all."

Combine this with the fact that, well, folks in an interrogation chamber who aren't trained to deal with a hostile interview tend to be, ummmm... pretty damn stupid to begin with*, and I can see these three spinning all sorts of dumbass stories while being interviewed by the police - and the cops recognizing them for what they are, delusional ravings

This is not to say that these three aren't racist idiots, or that they might not, in fact, have had some sort of fantastic A-Teamesque plan in their heads (one news story I read mentioned a seven-hundred fifty meter shot. While there are folks who can reliably hit a target from that far away - and even plenty who can do so who aren't military snipers** - I really doubt these meth-heads were the dudes), it's also still entirely possible that the police investigated, figured out they were just a trio of morons with a rifle, and decided that the weapon and drug charges, on top of their outstanding warrants, was sufficient to throw them in jail for enough years that by the time they get out, Senator Obama will be "Former President" Obama.

(There are problems with these guys not getting more severe charges, but they are not in "these guys should be charged" - they are in "that other guy over there - the guy in prison with the letter - should not be" - in both cases, it looks like a (bunch of) idiot(s) with more mouth than brains, or coherent plan. IMO - and understanding I don't have all the facts, neither incident should result in conspiracy or assassination charges).

*There is a video on Google video - I think it has been mentioned here - with a police investigator whose opinion is "just shut up, or I will get you" - and that corroborates with what I've heard over the years from police and lawyers.

**Police snipers are rarely shooting from those kinds of distances - most police sniper engagements are, from what I can tell, at ranges of 300m or less.

#32 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 09:55 AM:

ISTM that there are three interesting questions here, in increasing order of generality:

a. Why are the authorities behaving as they are in these two cases (the guys threatening to assassinate Obama and the protesters in MN)? Is there some partisan decisionmaking going on here to make this happen? Is there some odd set of incentives which explains the behavior? With the full facts, would these actions seem reasonable somehow?

b. Why is the press de-emphasizing/minimizing these stories? Why is the pre-emptive arrest of political protesters (and their lawyers, and folks who take video of cops during protests to encourage lawful behavior, and journalists reporting on the event) not big news? Why is the existence of this scary-sounding plot against Obama not big news? Is this something someone is doing (calling in favors or threatening reprisals if the stories are widely reported)? Is it something about the relationships between the journalists covering the campaigns and the campaign PR people?

c. More broadly, WTF is up with the media's choices of stories to emphasize and de-emphasize? Every day, you see examples of burying important stories, writing misleading headlines to spin the stories in ways that contradict the story's text, elevating trivial stories to the front page (sometimes the whole media seem to do this at once), not applying even minimal critical thinking to claims by their sources, obvious hatchet jobs, etc. What explains this? Is it effective spin control? Corporate media ownership? Groupthink by journalists who mostly think alike and face the same incentives? Something else?

#33 ::: CJ ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 10:05 AM:

Hello from Minneapolis! Just about everyone I know is avoiding our twin this week, unless they're lucky enough to be able to take time off to protest -- if you're going to be harassed anyway, you might as well be doing something to earn it! Why the GOP holds their convention in historically Blue states if they don't want protest is a bit beyond me. This is really not the kind of publicity that helps them win "battleground" states.

And JimR @ 13 -- we're not all that nice here, especially our cops. I could tell you some stories from my own family that would make your blood boil.

#34 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 10:23 AM:

Albatross @32:

a) It's a gradual erosion of our rights, IMO. We've now got preemptive searches and seizures, "free speech zones" (thought the whole COUNTRY was a free speech zone!), arrests on trumped up (and later dropped) charges until a meeting/convention is over, etc, etc. Every time one of these happens, it gets a little bit of newsplay (see C below) and then forgotten in favor of what Hollywood celebrity is banging who this week.

My local news station had a mention of the RNC protest arrests this morning; they said that some self-labeled "anarchists" were arrested trying to demonstrate (isn't that a right on some document somewhere?) and that's all they said. They've sent a representative to the RNC (they did to the DNC too) but he said nothing about any of this.

b) The media in nearly every national story they report gets the info from some other group, whether it is Reuters, AP, whatever. Unless it's a natural disaster like Gustav (the local news outlets sent reporters down there for some stupid reason), it's a canned article they just read off the teleprompter.

c)Oh, that's easy; nearly every news outlet in the nation is now a member of one of several huge media conglomerates, and they're just as interested in not rocking the boat as any other corporation would be. Our ABC news outlet is owned by Disney; the newspaper is owned by the McClatchey company, etc, etc.

#35 ::: Nina Katarina ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 10:57 AM:

Donna Brazile got pepper sprayed, too.

What is this country turning into?

#36 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 11:34 AM:

Nina Katarina @ 35 - WHAT? At the RNC? Link please? I can't seem to find this.

#38 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 11:40 AM:

It seems the raid which got the play (the "Anarchists" of the RNC Welcoming Committee), and which reported plans, and weapons (like caltrops, which I never really bought into. Could be, but a lot harder to deal with than peple think), wasn't all that much.

They are reporting the actual charges presented, are infractions of the Fire Code.

Make a lot of claims, get a lot of press; and when the smear is done, quietly back down.

Bastards. I want a way to hold them accountable for that sort of nonsense.

#39 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 11:48 AM:

Jim - Thanks for the link.

OMG! Maybe, just maybe they pepper-sprayed the wrong bigwig and the police abuses will actually get some press attention.

More likely, if anyone notices at all, we'll see GOP-approved headlines like "Liberal Minneapolis Police Assault Dem Leader."

#40 ::: A.R.Yngve ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 11:57 AM:

#35, Nina Katarina wrote:
"What is this country turning into?"

Russia, but with some other guy in Vladimir Putin's place.

I'm kidding. It couldn't happen.


#41 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 12:16 PM:

The first thing I saw this morning was that a seventeen-year-old-boy was assested and heldincommunicado for five hours for the crime of... walking to his car.

#42 ::: George Smiley ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 12:17 PM:

Donna Brazile Hit by Pepper Spray: Washington Post.

#43 ::: George Smiley ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 12:18 PM:

Oops. Should update faster; beaten to the punch by JMcD.

#44 ::: Laramie Sasseville ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 12:45 PM:

Slide show of photos taken at the demonstration in St Paul. (I appear in one of these, but it's an unflattering shot so I won't tell you which one.)

In my case the raids did more to exacerbate (peaceful) action than deter it. They convinced me of the need to express my disapproval in more than words.

#45 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 12:47 PM:

It was like this here in NYC during the 2004 RNC. Cops arrested illegally enormous numbers of people.

The lawsuits against the NYC police dept. and the city were just finally settled early this summer, with the city having to pay costs and compensation of a very small order, like 2 million dollars.

Four years it dragged through the courts.

We'd moved to New Orleans that August, so we weren't here, but the reports that came to us from our friends who were trying to protest the Iraq war, or -- um, yes, just go to work, buy groceries, go to their own homes -- just like this.

Though the anarchists in St. Paul seem to be more out of control and crazy there than they were here.

The people in the peaceful march yesterday, along the designated route, didn't even know about all this other stuff, according to one St. Paul Marxist friend of mine. He only learned of what happened when he finally went home and turned on the television.

Love, C.

#46 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 12:54 PM:

I keep meaning to compare the two cases which arose in Colorado that week.

The three guys who plotted to kill Obama (the case was made when someone heard them talking about shooting him, and went to the cops) who were deemed, "not a credible threat", and charged only with drug offenses (even though the reports say one of the rifles was stolen), and the guy who sent a letter to McCain's Colorado office, ranting about agent orange and how McCain was shafting vets and telling him the letter was poisoned and he was going to die.

That guy, because death threats aren't the sort of political speech tolerated in Colo. is facing federal time and a huge fine.

He was in jail when he wrote it.

The kicker... it was the same Federal prosecutor in both cases.

#47 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 12:57 PM:

Terry Karney @46, is it cynical of me to wonder if that Federal Prosecutor is one who went through the political tests of the current administration?

#48 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 01:29 PM:

JESR: Not in the least.

#49 ::: Patrick Weekes ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 01:31 PM:

What's unnerving is that I read this here, and then I read SFGate, my old hometown newspaper and a usual bastion of liberality, and the story they tell is that the police cracked down on people who had urine jars and were lighting cars on fire. If I'd read nothing but my usually hugely liberal paper, all I would have seen is that there were some troublemakers, but the police done took care of it.

#50 ::: R. Emrys ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 01:51 PM:

Patrick Weekes @ 49: Ditto for the Chicago Tribune (Obama's hometown paper, yet!). All the reporting was about "violent anarchist protests" and marchers pepper-spraying 80-year-old delegates. The article mentioned the Goodman arrest, so it was ostensibly referencing the same set of events as above.

Can anyone in St. Paul confirm whether there was actual violence on the part of actual protesters? And am I the only person who wonders if that violence might have been incited, or perpetrated, by plants? I'm not usually paranoid, but...

#51 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 02:00 PM:

Yeah, the contrast between official media sources and the blogosphere (including some official media sources that are blogging) is really striking here. I'd like to understand what's going on with this....

#52 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 02:09 PM:

pedantic peasant @#8 - The police are arresting the lawyers, and the independent groups that videotape protests. These videotapes have been used to prove police misconduct in the past.

Boingboing has a link to Cold Snap Legal Collective, which has a Twitter feed. I believe the National Lawyer's Guild people have been handcuffed a few times but I haven't yet heard of one being arrested. That leaves them free to post stories like this.

#53 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 02:18 PM:

Oddly, this whole scene with the media reminds me of scenes from a couple Vernor Vinge books.

In _The Peace War_, Jvyv unq unpxrq gur Nhgubevgl'f fngryyvgr fheirvyynapr naq jnf srrqvat gurz yvrf. Gurer jnf pbafgnagyl guvf grafvba va hfvat gung cbjre, orpnhfr bapr gur Nhgubevgl ena vagb gurve svefg pbagenqvpgvba, gurl'q fgbc gehfgvat gur fngryyvgrf.

In _A Deepness in The Sky_, fvzhygnarbhfyl, Cunz'f onpxqbbe-ranoyrq ybpnyvmre argjbex naq gur Rzretrag/Drat Ub'f gubebhtu fhoirefvba bs gur fcvqre pbzchgre argjbexf ernpurq gur fnzr cbvag--hfvat gur fhoiregrq frafbef/pbzchgref gb pneel ba gur qrprcgvba yrsg gur ivpgvzf bs gur qrprcgvba jvgu n pbagenqvpgvba, juvpu jbhyq pnhfr gurz gb fgbc gehfgvat gur pbzcebzvfrq uneqjner.

There's something about this situation that seems similar, somehow, in a very uncomfortable way. It's not as all-or-nothing, since different people have different levels of trust in the media. It's more like the way a person destroys his own reputation by continual misbehavior/failure to perform/effing up--over time, fewer and fewer people trust him, and he's in less and less demand.

#54 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 02:47 PM:

guthrie, #27: Here you go. Googling "Denver Obama plot arrest" brings up a ton of links, from the NY Times on down.

And @29: Bluntly, being a right-wing loony is what does that. Emphasis on "loony", of course, but for the past 15 or 20 years there's been a sentiment in certain American subcultures that the law doesn't apply to you if you're "following a higher law". And that can mean anything from casual vandalism to murder and acts of terrorism.

#55 ::: Ken Brown ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 02:50 PM:

If they have any political tactical sense the Republicans ought to *want* a riot & the nastier the better.

It attracts media attention to their boring convention. It makes their opponents look like dodgy weirdoes. It pushes buttons about nasty inner city types who do drugs and are politically suspect and not really very American and maybe, even, gosh, sort of black... you know, just like that fellow who we don't know where he's coming from. It makes decent upstanding ordinary voters want to order a big side-order of order with their next helping of politics.

#56 ::: Leva Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 02:59 PM:

Re: meth and the assassination plot -- honestly, the fact that they were apparently tweakers makes me MORE likely to give credence to the plot. Meth very rapidly destroys any conscience the person may have, makes them paranoid and hostile, and does not (at least in the early stages of use) make them incapable of the level of planning needed to pull it off.

Meth, unfortunately, is very common in my part of rural America. Meth users scare me quite simply BECAUSE they're capable of violence.

Nasty stuff. Combine it with right-wing idiocy and the results are not unexpected. (Question -- are the idiots still in jail, or did they bail out?)

#57 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 03:21 PM:

R. Emrys asks in #50:

Can anyone in St. Paul confirm whether there was actual violence on the part of actual protesters? And am I the only person who wonders if that violence might have been incited, or perpetrated, by plants? I'm not usually paranoid, but...

This account from what appears to be the student paper at the U. of Minnesota, the Minnesota Daily, accompanied by a rather spectacular photo of someone smashing a store window:

RNC protests turn violent; hundreds arrested

#58 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 03:38 PM:

Terry Karney @ 38

Well, this is not a new tactic. Consider what happened to Steve Jackson in 1990, the reason the EFF was founded. I'm wondering if the Minneapolis police will try to retain custody of (or maybe just sort of accidentally "forget about") the computers and other tools of the trade they seized, as the Secret Service tried to do with Jackson.

I wouldn't be surprised if the source of the orders for the police activity was not someone in the Republican Party, but just the local sheriff or police chief grabbing the chance to bust some people that piss him off (like, were photographing his cops in the normal course of their corruptionduty. It would be interesting to see what that sheriff did on the way up the pole: the worst police chief (later mayor) in my experience in Philadelphia started as the officer in charge of the "Civil Disobedience Squad". If he'd started a decade or two earlier I'm sure it would have been called the "Red Squad".

#59 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 03:48 PM:

"Probable cause for riot" -- that'd be the police crackdowns on peaceful groups, right?

Reminds me of a TV show on sharks I saw part of. "We're going to show you just how vicious a shark can be. Ron's down in the cage now. The sharks... well, they're just swimming around, so we'll throw some chum in the water. Okay, now all they're doing is eating, so let's bang some pots and pans. Nothing. Well, now we'll put some cow blood in the water. Hm. Try a wounded fish. Okay, now we're giving the sharks electric shocks up the... There we go. Now watch these vicious bastards earn their reputation as the psychos of the sea!

#60 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 04:13 PM:

A copy of the warrant may be found here. (via St. Paul Pioneer Press, which has been on top of this from early on)

#61 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 04:32 PM:

I'm amazed by a conversation I had last night with a friend about the preemptive attacks on freedom of speech that appear to have become an omnipresent thread in the fabric of our American society. I mentioned the "freedom cage" issue from the DNC in Denver and how bothered I was by that. My friend - a staunch Democrat and as far as I've ever known, vehemently opposed to restrictions on our civil liberties - said, "Well, yes, but I can see their [the authorities] point, because they wanted to avoid a riot." She then immediately turned the conversation to the raids in Minneapolis and how terribly, awfully wrong those were. And all the while in my head, I was thinking, well, the point there was given as "riot prevention" as well, so exactly what does she think is the difference?

My mind is still boggling, and I am disgusted by developments in my country.

#62 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 05:14 PM:

Summer Storms #61:

I suspect the kind of thinking you encountered is largely to blame for the police state crap. If the cops are busting the heads of them, well, I'm sure it was necessary. It's just when the cops bust the heads of some of us that it's oppressive and nasty. Similar statements apply to torture, wiretapping, infiltrating groups, installing keyloggers on computers, entrapment of suspects, no-knock raids, etc. For a hell of a lot of folks, similar statements apply to lying, manipulating media coverage, abusing the legal system, and any number of similarly unprincipled things. You need look no further than a few threads away for many examples of this, but it's as common as breathing, so you hardly need examples.

The only way out of this is for all of us to recognize each others' rights. That means Democrats getting p-ssed off when a Republican gets screwed over by abuse of power by a Democrat, just as much as Republicans getting p-ssed off when a Democrat is the one getting shafted. That means Christians caring about the rights of Muslims, whites caring about the rights of blacks, etc., and vice-versa.

That's hard to do. It means calling your own side on its excesses, when every instinct is crying for you to pay those b-stards back for their previous excesses. It means recognizing the rights to exist and speak out of people you despise. It doesn't really align well with the way political organizing seems to happen in the US, which is disturbingly often along identity lines rather than along lines of ideas.

If we can't manage this, as a country, we're liable to get four or eight years of unified Democratic government with widespread abuses of power against Republicans, and then a few years of payback, on and on.

#63 ::: gurnemanz ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 05:22 PM:

albatross #62:

You mean, like, in a commonwealth? With civility and mutual defense?

You radical. Pretty soon you'll start quoting Voltaire.

I do, however, wonder if this isn't some odd echo from Paul Wellstone's funeral - when the MSM screamed abuse at the family and their supporters for daring to have feelings of grief and resentment about Wellstone's death.

#64 ::: deathbird ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 06:08 PM:

Yet another sad reminder that democracy is often only a thin veneer over fascism.

#65 ::: Carrie V. ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 06:29 PM:

Summer Storms #61: A story that may have gotten more local coverage than national coverage is how protesters pretty much ignored the "freedom cage," which stood empty for most of the convention. Story via Christian Science Monitor.

There's hope, I think.

#66 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 06:33 PM:

The anarchists though, they aren't there for any cause other than smashing property and hopefully heads. They are the ones who keep giving leftist, progressive and liberal protesters our bad name.

And they are there in St. Paul. People who have gotten caught before they were aware such things were going on have videos and photos and accounts on LJ.

My friends who are marxists, and have had a carefully, long-time planned out agenda for their days of protest during RNC -- today, for instance is another day focusing on legal issues -- aren't having anything to do with these guys.

These are happening on side streets.

But the number of cops everywhere are harassing all kinds of people everywhere for no reason -- just when they leave THEIR HOMES to get into THEIR CARS to drive to THEIR JOBS. You are a dissident, a terrorist, just by existing in this atmosphere that has become the U.S.A.

Gee, it used to be only black citizens could expect this to happen to them.

Love, C.

#67 ::: Ambar ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 08:35 PM:

Another first hand account of a raid on the peaceful.

#68 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 10:58 PM:

Just wanted to remind people that before the Powers That Be persecuted people for being "communists", they used the label "anarchist" to dehumanize and persecute. Google "Sacco and Vanzetti" for an example. Yes, that was in the 1920's; it seems the word is having a comeback among the press. There are people calling themselves anarchists, of course, always have been. But I bet most of the people involved with destructive behavior are police or FBI plants, like they were during Vietnam era anti-war protests. I know there are a few people who actually advocate violence and perform violent acts, but they are a tiny, tiny fraction - and it sounds like none of the people arrested before the fact were actually planning violence, just free speech, or in a few cases civil disobedience.

Just my $.02.

#69 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 11:19 PM:

rm, #23, in high school, "inciting to riot" can mean leading your school's contingent in the March on the Pentagon against the Viet Nam War.

#71 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 12:53 AM:

Combine the agent provacateur question to the scope of the warrant...

We have to watch the watchmen

#72 ::: Bruce Purcell ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 02:08 AM:

I'm from Illinois. All our meth towns used to be sundown towns. Anyone know how universal that is?

I mean, if your town used to have a sign out front: 'african-american, don't let the sun go down on you here,' how likely are you to be snorting meth?

Never saw statistics, but I have my suspicions. And, yes, I'm thinking of that arrest.

#73 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 02:28 AM:

Magenta Griffith, #68: I'm not sure that provocatuers are necessary, when there are plenty of petty criminals who will do the job for free. One thing which MLK knew, and needs to be reemphasized: when trying to run a non-violent protest, be prepared to train people, and control potentially violent people in the protest group. It doesn't matter if these are opportunistic criminals or true provocatuers; either way it's necessary to restrain them. Odd how similar the discipline of non-violence turns out to be to the discipline of military action.

#74 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 05:54 AM:

Constance @66:
The anarchists though, they aren't there for any cause other than smashing property and hopefully heads.
Odd that they call themselves anarchists then- if someone smashes my head, isn't he excercising rule over me?

Terry Karney @71- not specific to this issue, but in general, I think it's best to have a setup where the watchers get watched by other people, who are watched by yet other people, who are watched by the people who get watched by the original watchers. Circular watching, so to say. Of course, some things shouldn't be watched by anyone- though I'm all in favor of targetting cops on duty with the whole surveillance state package.

#75 ::: mjfgates ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 12:54 PM:

Marna @70: Having been a sundown town isn't predictive of much, because all of the towns in the US used to be sundown towns. Well, okay, I exaggerate, but not by very much. David Neiwert covered the issue very well in his blog a while back. I believe it was as part of the "Eliminationism in America" arc; he's got links to those posts down on the left sidebar.

#76 ::: Ambar ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 01:51 PM:

Don't believe anything CNN tells you

Police taser protester who is lying on the ground. That is my friend Jason. Jason is committed to nonviolent activism. He did bioremediation in NO after Katrina. I can barely type this, let alone believe what I'm seeing.

He managed to make a call out this morning. He doesn't know where he's being held, but he's been beaten pretty badly, and his friends are concerned that he's not getting the medical attention he needs.

#77 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 02:42 PM:

Oh, Gods. Ambar, your friend is in my thoughts. I'd like to do more than just think--what would be of most help?

#78 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 02:49 PM:

mfjgates: I think you meant Bruce Purcell @72.

#79 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 03:10 PM:

This is the same experience I had in the late '70s, 30 years ago. Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.

A violent charge on a peaceful march, by mounted police clubbing peaceful protestors from horseback and riot police on foot spraying pepper gas, actually shocked the local reporters enough for the local TV news to describe it honestly (with live footage) for the first hour or two after the event. By the ten o'clock news, or by the time it got to even the regional stations, it had been edited down to make the protesters the aggressors.

By the time it got to the NY Times the next day, it was one picture with the caption "Police used tear gas to disperse rock-throwing rioters." The media cover up, cover up, and cover up some more, and most of us automatically believe what they say. After all, there are pictures!

I encourage everyone to rethink all the coverage of protest campaigns you've seen in the last 30 years in the light of what we know is actually happening here and how it's being reported by conventional media.

#80 ::: Ambar ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 03:42 PM:

Dear Nicole,

here is the most current request I have, 7 minutes old (I hope it's not too long for the comment box --)

Both Jason and Riyanna agreed that they wanted to practice jail solidarity, which means when we call we talk about all the protestors.

The following is the latest request from the pagan cluster:

The legal teams for the RNC-protests have requested that anyone willing to take a few moments to help support our comrades in police custody make the following 3 phone calls and inform these officials of our list of citizens demands. (Contacts and demands below.)

We also ask that anyone who is able, after making these calls, please join in with the solidarity group gathered outside of the jail. The location of the jail is 425 Grove St. (corner of Grove and Pine). As people are released it is good to remember that they may well have experienced extreme and various forms of trauma; physical, mental and psychological. Healers, care givers and energy workers are especially useful in supporting our community members as come out of incarceration. For more information on the jail solidarity or if you have any questions call Lindsey at 763-913-6849.
Every kind face and warm body makes a difference; lets show them that they are not alone!

The 3 people to call:

Mayor Chris Coleman

Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher

Ramsey County Chief Judge Gearin

The list of demands:

1. We demand the immediate medical attention for the arrestees (they have been lying to people saying that the arrestees have been treated, this is inaccurate, do not believe them as there is evidence to the contrary.)
2. We demand that arrestees be allowed to meet in groups with their lawyers.
3. We demand that all transgendered and queer identified arrestees be allowed immediate access to lawyers and be placed in safe, non-hostile areas. (There have been numerous and disturbing reports of torment and violence against arrestees perceived as queer or transgendered. The harassment must stop.)
4. We demand the release of all minors from the adult correctional facilities and that they be tried in juvenile court, as is required by law. (At least two known minors have been tried in adult court and sentenced to 30 days in an adult correctional facility.)
5. We demand a dismissal of all charges and that the arrestees be released from custody without paying bail.

Be once again reminded that lying has been a common tactic throughout the week. It is by persistence the peoples voice carries power in these matters. Please send this on to other members of our community so that we may all stand in solidarity with our caged and brutalized comrades.
Many, many thanks!

#81 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 03:50 PM:

Carrie @ 65: Yeah, I was aware of that, but what bothered me was the very idea and existence of the thing.

#82 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 03:55 PM:


Oh shit, just now scrolled down and saw about your friend. My heart goes out to him and the others, and I will light a candle for their safety and their speedy release. That's about all I can do from here right now, but it's something.

#83 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 04:18 PM:


I wish your friends good luck and a quick exit from the "justice" system. And I hope there are a lot of people standing in front of the jail; that's been known to spook the cops enough to let political prisoners go*. I'm sorry that I'm 2000 miles away and can't be standing there myself.

* There's even a case where a demonstration (the Rosenstrasse Protest) in Berlin, 1943, by wives and relatives, got something like 2,000 Jewish men released from arrest and transportation to a concentration camp. So it is possible for justice to triumph over even the worst evil.

#84 ::: Ambar ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 05:00 PM:

Thank you, Bruce. I too am thousands of miles away from the scene, and while there is a small mad part of me that wants to fly to St. Paul immediately (as if /my/ standing in the streets and telling the idiots to knock it off would, indeed, cause it to stop!), from here I can bake peach pie, light candles, make phone calls, donate money to the team feeding the Pagan cluster (and anyone else who wanders by), and mail figs from my back yard to MN.

"Call on God, but row away from the rocks" has been much on my mind, these last few days --

#85 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 05:23 PM:

The violent ones are the only ones the media is covering.

Again, I repeat, I am getting my information mostly from other protestors re these self-labeled 'anarchists.' If I'm wrong, of course, that's another thing.

But they are giving the cops and militia all the defense they need, to go around smashing peaceful, agenda-organized protestors. That was the point. If I didn't make that clear, I'm sorry.

Love, C.

#86 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 05:37 PM:

Here's the website of one of the organized protestors.

He's gathered together the e-mails he's been sending out and posted them on his blog today.

Love, C.

#87 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 05:45 PM:

Ambar, to find out if there are observers inside the detention place, I'd suggest contacting the National Lawyers Guild, who were training observers for the protest and may know what's what. Here's the contact info I have:

Gena Berglund

(651) 208-7964 / genab(at)

#88 ::: Ambar ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 05:54 PM:

Thank you, Elise. I'll give them a call. Meanwhile, here's another 7-minute old update from Jason via Starhawk:

Jason was tased seven times on the street, while completely unresisting. We just heard from him--he's still pulling copper out of his hip from the taser gun, has a long, deep laceration in his leg that is still untreated, was beaten up badly and has a black eye, a hurt mouth and many lacerations, but says he's doing great.

Elliot Hughes, a sweet, nineteen year old who came to our day camp, was badly beaten when the cops knocked him off his bicycle. They stepped on his chest, and he was coughing blood all night but received no medical treatment. The guards were calling him "Princess" and making homophobic remarks. We heard from Jason that last night, Elliot was making noises to protest not receiving any food for more than twelve hours. Twelve officers entered his cell. Screams were heard for over five minutes. He was tasered three times, maced, and beaten, then removed and the men were told he was being taken to a restraint chair. We have heard, now, that he is being released and are trying to confirm this.

Riyanna is still in jail--when last we heard, she was okay and with the other women. Many others have been arrested and are being badly treated and denied medical care, so please include them all in your prayers and energy. I'll keep
you updated, love Starhawk

#89 ::: Ambar ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 06:51 PM:

Followup: "Good news--Elliot is out and is being taken to the wellness center. He can walk, with support, and we'll make sure he gets good care and love, Starhawk"

#90 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 06:57 PM:

Dave Neiwert interviewing former FBI agent Michael German, ACLU National Security Counsel. (firedoglake)

To which I'll add that when the dust settles, I hope there is an investigation, preferably under the auspices of President Obama's attorney general. We can't let this kind of police conduct go unpunished, not if we want anything like justice in the USA.

#91 ::: Doctor Science ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 07:23 PM:

Dave Bell @19
things I heard from British cops in the '80s. when we had riots, and a lot of training was done.
The basic strategy is to keep the riot-equipped police out of sight until they're needed.

I put up a post at DailyKos this morning with pictures taken by someone who was more or less passing through. If you look at those pictures, you'll see that the police and military were very much in evidence even when nothing was going on.

The picture-taker reported:

it all seemed extremely excessive and just asking for trouble. There were military chants and formations, and the batons these guys were carrying were beyond scary. Luckily, the ones we came in contact with were nice and joking and seemed more annoyed at being out there than anything... But like I said, it seemed a recipe for disaster to have that kind of force out there with a bunch of college-age protesters and hard-core Republicans shouting and egging it all on.

Almost as though they wanted to start something, one might say.

#92 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 10:33 PM:

Ambar, I'm so sorry to hear about Jason! I hope he and the others get out quickly and safely.

#93 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 11:08 PM:

re riot control: My unit trained it's annual requirement to the LAPD standard. I'd wager we were the best trained CA-ARNG unit in the state when it comes to riot control.

First rule, stay back until needed. Second, go in fast, as a unit, disrupt the crowd, stabilise the perimeter. Ten to one is perfectly acceptable odds,and 100 to 1 is controllable, so long as one has at least 30 personell.

The only things we have are 3 ft lengths of oak, face shields, Pro-masks and helmets.

The secret is discipline. We move as a unit. If we have to go forward, we move in two lines, and then spread out to the sides. That sense of action/shock is why the crowd moves back.

When we trained, we trained hard. The LAPD actually made us stop because they were afraid we were going to hurt each other.

Apparently they don't get into it with the same level of fervor we do. They see it as a chore.

Then again, they have sidearms, pepper spray and tazers. We have each other, and batons.

The scenes from St. Paul... don't look the way we were trained.

#94 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 01:27 AM:

Terry, that training and equipment sounds a lot like what I recall being told of the British Police training.

It does depend on tactical intimidation.

It's nothing like what I've seen and heard about the RNC policing. That sounds more like the French CRS.

#95 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 05:14 AM:

Randolph @90
To which I'll add that when the dust settles, I hope there is an investigation, preferably under the auspices of President Obama's attorney general.

Given that Mayor Coleman hasn't done anything about this, I don't see a hypothetical President Obama doing anything about it, either. Don't get me wrong- I think Obama is the best choice, but I don't think he'd do something as far out of the overton window as giving any security force anything else than praise.

#96 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 07:41 AM:

It's nothing like what I've seen and heard about the RNC policing. That sounds more like the French CRS.

I've never seen them in action, but some years ago when visiting Paris, a football match was going on near where we were meeting someone. We turned off the main route to the stadium around a corner and came face to face with 40 or 50 CRS* and 3 or 4 vans. Anyway, the point is, they were out of sight to avoid provocation; even the CRS aren't always so blatant.

* Mostly standing around smoking.

#97 ::: Yarrow ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 09:19 AM:

Update on Jason and Ryanna.

elizabeth writes:

i spoke with Jason on his phone call yesterday around 3. he said, "i'm great, happy -- my body feels better every minute" he does have multiple lacerations to his head, face, torso and black eye. and a 4 inch long cut on his ankle that he said has just begun to stop bleeding. he is still pulling copper out of his hip himself. he was given alcohol wipes & antibiotic cream. he was tasered with four handheld & three protrusion guns.

he is fairly grounded and is trying to connect with us all. he knows we're with him there, and he's feeling ok.

we have Ryanna with us -- she was released yesterday around 7 and is feeling alright -- mostly worried about Jason -- listen for her on democracynow!!

we love you all. thankyouthankyouthankyou. elizabeth

here is some footage of the snatch & arrest:

#98 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 10:37 AM:

Terry @93:

The reason why the police with tasers, pepper spray, splat guns, whatever, tend to react differently from the way your group would is IMO because they've got all those neat high tech weapons.

Someone yelling in your face while you're standing there? Taser them.

The crowd's got both peaceful and violent protesters in it? Pepper spray them all.

Crowd doesn't move fast enough? Start firing everything at them.

There's no need to train to act intimidating; they've got the weaponry that makes them head and shoulders above the crowd, and besides, they're all --non lethal--, so why not use them indiscriminantly?

The video of the woman being peppersprayed for daring to hold a flower up to the approaching line of riot police chilled me to the bone.

#99 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 12:27 PM:

John L. That difference was part of my point. The LAPD does train to do this, and (from what I've seen, of the training, and in practice) they don't reach for the other tools they have when doing riot duty.

By, and large, reaching for/using a secondary weapong (the stick being primary at that point) breaks the integrity of the line. The cop who reached for that pepper spray was in trouble if she'd not peacful, because one handed that stick could be taken. If it was tied to his wrist, he was going down.

At which point it's kitty-bar-the-door.

#100 ::: Doctor Science ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 02:46 PM:

What we're seeing in St. Paul looks like the Miami model:

large scale pre-emptive arrests, heavily armed sometimes unidentifiable law enforcement, the collection of intelligence from protesters, and the "embedding" of corporate media with the police.
Why use the Miami Model (also seen at RNC 2004) instead of what you-all are citing as "best practices" from LA, UK, France? What advantage is there, and to whom?

#101 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 04:36 PM:

Human Rights Watch issued a report in 1998 called Shielded From Justice: Police Brutality and Accountability in the United States which I listed a while back on The Online Books Page. I haven't read it in detail, but it looks like it provides useful background on an ongoing problem.

The report references, among other things, the famous Kerner report on civil disorders that had its 40th anniversary this year (it was issued following the "long hot summers" of the 1960s). I would love to list this as well if I could find an online copy. (There are excerpts and summaries online, but I haven't been able to find the whole thing, which runs to over 400 pages in the original.)

#102 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 04:51 PM:

John Mark Ockerbloom: That might be usefully cross threaded to Getting the Questions Right (from which I am taking a brief hiatus, lest I really lose my cool).

Smaller type (our default)
Larger type
Even larger type, with serifs

Dire legal notice
Making Light copyright 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 by Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden. All rights reserved.