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  •  Of all the arrests this week (4.00)
    90% will have charges dismissed before trial.  The point of the arrests isn't prosecution, it's intimidation and punishment.  NYPD are generally not assholes, but they do follow orders from assholes with great efficiency.  There will be a break in the chain (plausable deniability) going up to Bloomberg, and most folks won't sue - and if they do, the city will settle **NOTE - under Giulliani the greatest increase in any budgetary item was for legal settlements paid out against the city...Standard Operating Procedure from Republican thugs, whack 'em on the nose and then say oops!

    The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously. - Hubert H. Humphrey

    by PBJ Diddy on Thu Sep 02, 2004 at 04:46:12 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Were police arresting rule-following protesters? (none)
      • If the police were arresting many protesters who were abiding by the protest permitting rules and other rules, then that's terrible. Was that really happening to any great extent?

      • If the police were just arresting protesters who were intentionally being at least somewhat civilly disobedient -- it seems as if that's part of the bargain. You intentionally violate non-essential rules for a good cause, and you go in knowing that you could at least be held in jail for a couple of days, if not actually arrested.

      • My overall impression of the police was that there were huge numbers of them, but that they were being a lot more polite, in general, than they were at a Halloween parade I got stuck in in Greenwich Village in October 2001. Even Wednesday, when the police started getting excited, it seemed as if they were mostly telling each other over the scanners (in so many words), "My group here is fine. Do you need help with your protesters?"
      •  That's exactly what happened. (none)
        The vast majority of arrests on Wednesday were similar to the one described above at the library: there are peaceful, non-obstructive protests that don't rise to the level of civil disobedience, the police ask them to go somewhere or make some deal with the organizers, then barricade and arrest en masse.
        •  But did the protesters have permits? (none)
          If the protesters had permits or were doing something that clearly didn't require a permit, then the police were being jerks.

          If the protesters were violating the permit rules at some fairly sensitive location, like the steps of the library, then I think that's an ambiguous situation. On the one hand, it's bad for the police to trick peaceful people into getting arrested. On the other hand, the people were breaking the rules, and maybe you could argue that the arrests actually amplify the power of the protest message. It's one thing to demand action on Darfur, and it's another thing to get arrested for demanding action on Darfur.

          •  What is wrong with you people?! (4.00)
            You don't have to have a permit to walk on a sidewalk with a sign.  When did we have to get a permit to excercise any First Amendment rights?

            The NYPD aren't getting permits to stand outside the Mayor's house every night and yell, sometimes at 1:30 AM.

            See:

            http://bloggy.com/mt/archives/004280.html

            •  I think you're oversimplifying (3.50)
              a) I'm not trying to be a troll. I support peaceful, intelligent civil obedience, and I'm going to a non-permitted protest in Union Square tonight and could get arrested myself. Better write that legal aid number on my arm again . . .

              b) My understanding is that the police have arrested some people who weren't even involved in demonstrations, let alone breaking any rules.

              It also sounds as if the Pier 57 detention conditions were pretty awful.

              But it also sounds as if folks are complaining about arrests at protests that really were illegal.

              Example: if you were peacefully protesting in Union Square and got arrested, f the police, or Bloomberg, or whoever.

              If you were peacefully, quietly protesting on the steps of the New York Public Library without a permit, and you were supposed to have a permit, then, under normal circumstances, I'd say the police ought to leave you alone. Under current conditions, when the police sincerely believe that a huge riot could break out or a backpack nuclear bomb could explode anywhere, at any time, then I think it's understandable that the police might enforce the rules more vigorously than normal.

              From our point of view, they're limiting important dissent against a looming dictatorship.

              From Bloomberg's point of view, he's protecting the Republicans, the city and the protesters against a serious breakdown in public order.

              Also: for all I know, you live near Ground Zero and have nerves of steel. But a lot of people in and around New York still have some WTC post-traumatic syndrome and are freaked out by any threat of breakdown in public order. I lived within smelling distance of the WTC ruins. I remember watching a documentary about IMF protesters right after the WTC attacks and, despite sympathizing with some of their arguments, really hating them for being disorderly. Maybe some politicians and police officers in New York still carry that reaction around with them, and that's affecting how the enforce the law.

          •  Library (none)
            What makes the PUBLIC library a "sensitive" location though? The access was not being blocked, if not for the intervention of an inordinant number of police - and there are several other entrances to boot.  As for the conduct - holding a sign - I don't see the civil disobedience in that. I am an attorney, a special olympics head coach (not an anarchist) and I can tell you that the conduct of the police was reprehensible and illegal.  
        •  Sounds like the beginning of Nazi Germany to me (none)
          but maybe I'm just sensitive from all the "it could happen again, it could happen here" stuff I heard growing up in a classically Jewish family that had lost members in the Camps.
          •  aoeu (none)
            You're not being over sensitive.  It can happen anywhere, we are all humans.

            The turtle sees some
            "Dim Witted Veterans for Bush"
            He don't believe them.

            by TealVeal on Thu Sep 02, 2004 at 10:33:05 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  More like Argentina in the 1980s (none)
            So far, with some obvious exceptions, I think that Bloomberg and the New York police have handled the convention protests reasonably well. At least New York hasn't tried to pen protesters in a "free speech zone." (Other than maybe Pier 57.)

            But I think the Bush administration is using the orange alerts to create an atmosphere of fear that fosters a slide toward the kind of authoritarian rule that Argentina imposed on its people in an effort to fight terrorism (and political opposition) in the 1980s.

            Bloomberg and the NYC police are probably going further than they would have if they were in the same situation 4 years ago because they are terrified of a WMD incident. If anyone reading this sincerely thought a fellow protester were going to explode a backpack nuke in New York, chances are you too would do a lot of things you wouldn't normally do to try to find that bomb.

            The real problem, in this case, is that Bloomberg  knows that, under circumstances, even if he hates Bush, Bush is his president. He has to act as if Bush has come up with a reasonably accurate, apolitical threat level estimate. What else can Bloomberg do? If the terrorists do attack, then Bloomberg really needs Bush. Bloomberg does not have an air force.

            But, of course, it looks as if Bush is just raising the threat level willy nilly to rally the troops and support efforts to squash threats to his rule. He's abusing Bloomberg's dependence on federal military protection.

    •  sue (none)
      you're right about the intimidation, which is why everyone that can should sue. any of the lawyers know about a class action on this? is there a group (NLG) already working on this?

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