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Winter Rabbit posted this diary on Tuesday night. This is an important report and perhaps you'll do what I did and send some dough.

Longest Walk, Ohio, police brutality

Imagine beginning to walk from San Francisco in order to raise awareness about American Indian concerns in a good way and having walked over 2,400 miles since February; but then, you get to Ohio where eight police cars come swooping at you while one does the blocking. Suddenly, an officer comes and reaches into the window, grabbing the wheel.

Source

COLUMBUS Ohio – Unprovoked Columbus, Ohio police, attacked Long Walkers, by first pointing a taser at the head of Michael Lane and then forcing Luv the Mezenger to the ground and handcuffing him.

The Longest Walk Northern Route was walking this prayer through Columbus on Monday, June 2, when squad cars and arrest wagons arrived. Without discussion of the purpose of the prayer walk, or even verify that the Ohio Department of Transportation had been notified of the prayer walk, police attacked the walkers.

Crossposted at Native American Netroots

I suppose I can understand why, but not really.

Michael Lane, who arrived on the walk with his wife, Sharon Heta, Maori, and their children from New Zealand, was targeted by police with a taser.

As dozens of police came at the walkers, a police officer held a taser three feet away from Lane’s head.

It must be truly terrifying for some to have the truth about the suicides on reservations, the lack of justice on reservations, climate change, alcohol and drug addiction in the American Indian population, health concerns of American Indians, and the worries of the American Indian People in general becoming public knowledge. I suppose I can understand.

Anyone, anyone whosoever with a taser and a gun would just cuff 'em & stuff 'em too, wouldn’t they?

Luv the Mezenger from Los Angeles went to the aid of Lane. At that point, police officers threw Luv on the ground and handcuffed him.

WOULDN’T THEY???

(from a Myspace bulletin)

To the Editor:

Columbus, OH has once again distinguished itself. After walking more than 2,400 miles from San Francisco since February, a group of men, women and children experienced their first police problem on their journey in Columbus. The Longest Walk is a group of about forty mostly Native American people who are walking to Washington DC for the Seventh Generation for youth, peace, justice, the healing of Mother Earth, heart conditions, alcoholism, drug addiction and other diseases. It is a spiritual walk, a historical walk, and a walk for educational awareness for the American and world communities about the concerns of the American Indian People. And, as they go, they are picking up trash.

On Monday, June 2, as this peaceful group walked in the parking lane and on the sidewalk on the west side of Columbus on Main Street, eight police cars zoomed up, one blocking their way. A police officer came up to a van that follows the walkers and reached into the window and grabbed and yanked the steering wheel. He yelled at the young woman who was driving a carload of young children and threatened Your children would be taken away and given to Childrens Services! As the children began to cry, their mothers who were walking came to see what was wrong and to comfort them. A walker charged with security came up and was grabbed, kneed, thrown to the ground and handcuffed. A police officer pointed a taser gun at the head of a walker who was also an attorney as he spoke to the police. A grandmother spoke softly to an officer asking what the concern was and trying to calm a situation that was becoming increasingly frightening. She pointed out “We are like your mothers, your sisters, your children. Ultimately the walkers were allowed to continue, but were badly shaken by this unprovoked and frightening experience.

The walkers have walked though the snow, extreme rain, and the blazing sun. They are often tired, hungry, thirsty and sore. They will continue through Ohio on Route 40 to their destination of Washington DC, expecting to arrive next month.

I hope our leaders will ask questions about our Columbus Welcome to these peaceful people who were picking up our trash as they walked for health, justice and the environment.

If you are embarrassed for our city by our polices harassment, as I am, consider sending a message of support and a donation if you are able, to the Longest Walk at their website at www. longestwalk. org.

Click here for interviews

Update:

cacamp’s comments and request from Kos diary

1978 - - today

this walk is a commemoration of the "Longest Walk" in 1978. A spiritual walk that went across the nation to stop some vicious anti-Indian bills which were before Congress. That walk was successful and did stop those particular bills but the underlying problems have grown worse and worse. Two or three Indian reservations vie for the ugly statistic of being America's poorest county. During the great depression the US approached 25% unemployed and it was a national disaster for a decade. It threatened american democracy and scarred a generation of Americans. The unemployment on our reservations is 75% and more and it only gets worse. 75%! This has gone on for several generations with no end in sight. How would your society look with 75% unemployed? Ours is hurting through and through and stays on the verge of collapse.

The peaceful walk to commemorate a past triumph and bring attention to "America's Shame" existing on our homelands has struggled hard to defy the odds and WALK across America. If anyone here reads my words and can understand the rage I feel at this, please call the mayor of Columbus (the right name for Indian hating) and tell him to control those pigs. thanks

Here are the links again:

Click here for interviews
I listened to these interviews on Tuesday night and the third one with prayer and drumming reduced me to tears because you can hear the fatigue in their voices.  This is a long haul for them and I can't believe that our people had to experience this grief in Ohio. After everything that has happened to our people since 1492 stuff like this still continues today...today.

Please consider donating money to this walk:

The Longest Walk 1978 - 2008

I also like the idea from the comments in the original diary about sending this to KO to vie for WORST PERSONS IN THE WORLD.

::::::::::::::::::::::::::

ACTION UPDATE:

Winter Rabbit found more:

Everyone should be outraged by this.

(More details on incident in e-mail string below. I will also be sending one more separate message with more info.)

The walkers did nothing, had the necessary permits and were completely within their rights of Freedom of Assembly (and Expression and Speech too, I'd imagine).

This attack is tantamount to walkin' up on someone genuflecting at the altar in their church or reflectively meditating in their temple and holding a taser to their head. These folks are walking for ALL of us, all nations, all directions, all faiths & backgrounds. This walk is a prayer for all of our relations.

I am so disgusted I can hardly stand it. I'm a proud, proud Buckeye and am sick at this behavior. 'Course having seen the ugly side of some entrusted to "protect & serve" firsthand, I'm not completely surprised.

I strongly encourage you all to re-post this widely (I received this as a bulletin on MySpace & re-posted it. I then created this e-mail using it). Please also call / e-mail the Columbus Police department, call / e-mail Ohio Governor Strickland's office and Mayor Coleman's office and tell them that you want repurcussions for this deplorable behavior.

Moreover, many governor's have issued a proclamation honoring the walk and its purpose. The least Gov. Strickland could do would be to issue a statement about this matter, an apology and a recognition of what the walk represents and means to all communities.

I have to give props to Colorado over Ohio for the first time ever here....not only did Colorado Governor Bill Ritter issue a proclamation of support but we held various events throughout the state welcoming and supporting the walkers. A good buddy of mine, Name removed, put in countless hours serving as coordinator for our area for the Longest Walk and we had a potluck for them when they came from Denver. I spoke with many of the walkers that night, including Name removed the Name removed a very committed and sweet man, and cannot imagine why they would be treated in this way.

So please TAKE ACTION!

Thanks,
Name removed

Here are the places to reach out to:

Columbus Police www. columbuspolice. org
Non-emergency? - Call (614) 645-4545

How do I complain about an officer?

To complain about the service provided by, or some specific action taken by, the Columbus Division of Police and/or a specific Division officer or employee, call the Internal Affairs Bureau at 645-4880. If you don't know the name or badge number of the officer, please be as specific about the time, location, and type of incident which occurred. That information will help the Division of Police identify the personnel involved and investigate your complaint further.

e-mail@columbuspolice.org

Governor's Office - Governor Ted Strickland
Riffe Center, 30th Floor
77 South High Street
Columbus, OH 43215-6108
General Info: (614) 466-3555
Fax: (614) 466-9354

Contact the Governor form page:
http://governor. ohio. gov/Default. aspx?tabid=448

Mayor's Office - Mayor Michael Coleman
City Hall 2nd Floor
90 West Broad Street
Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: (614) 645-7671
Fax: (614) 645-5818
mac@columbus.gov

City of Columbus - Columbus Community Relations Commission

Decribe themselves as "In 1990, Columbus Community Relations Commission was established to help bring civic leaders, business leaders, citizens and elected officials together on issues of ethnic, racial and cultural diversity. Mayor Michael B. Coleman and Community Relations Commission Executive Director James L. Stowe are committed to opening the doors and neighborhoods of Columbus to every family. Through the work of the Community Relations Commission our vision of Building a Community For All can be a reality.

"

1111 East Broad St.

Suite #302
Columbus, OH 43205
Phone: 614-645-1993
Fax: (614) 645-1862

And, Columbus held a special bus tour this past March honoring the 40th Anniversary of Dr. King's death.

And, this is how they receive communities of color peaceably gathering in prayer?

Let's truly honor the man by living by his words that "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere". And, let's not overlook the irony of a town named after Columbus brutalizing Indians. Perhaps there was more import to the choosing of the name, after all...

Here's hoping the city uses this as an occasion to do the right thing and speak out against such an atrocity. And, let's hold them accountable to doing just that.

En solidaridad para todo de nuestras familias / In solidarity for all of our relations,
Name removed

**********************************************************************************
Northern Longest Walkers attacked by police - Columbus, OH

Spread the word, contact below contacts, and beware... it seems cops have a long history of attacking groups of people of color for no apparent reason...

From: Name removed 2008
Date: Jun 3, 2008 5:53 PM

Please contact the following and let them know you are a witness to this:
Please send photos of the attack to the ACLU.

http://www. acluohio. org/

and

http://www. columbuspolice. org/

I think on the Police page there is an email for a "terrorist alert tip line" perhaps we email and let then know that THEY are the terrorists...

Listen to the latest interviews about the prayer walkers attacked by Ohio police:
http://www.
earthcycles.

net

police:
http://www. earthcycles. net

UPDATE ::

BEST COMMENT so far tonight and in part a response to the the 3 detractors of this diary.

From cacamp an original AIM leader:

(emphasis mine)

We appreciate your help

as an old AIM leader I appreciate all of you that joined us. That year was a major point in organizing our people to withstand the oppresion that had become so routine in their lives. On that trip too we suffered many instances of police ignorance and a misunderstanding about why roads are built. We always overcame it and usually local good thinking citizens came to our aid and calmed down those cops who identify too much with John Wayne.
I see there are those here who doubt this incident happened or that Columbus police could be so misguided. I assure you it did and I recently spoke with the wife of one of the leaders. But, I know, those who pride themselves on being macho enough to call things bullshit while hiding behind a keyboard won't take my word either. To those of you who can understand the reality of a hundred or so very poor indigenous people walking across America, I also assure you this has not only happened to them in Columbus it happened to them without fanfare several other times across the country. Not only that, in this amazing "day of google" someone mentioned, it didn't make the news and it isn't recorded anywhere except in the hearts of the native people being harrassed and belittled by those who feel superior to us. Not only that I can also tell you it will happen again before they reach their destination... and it won't be recorded for y'all on google. It will happen just like the murder of sixty AIM people on Pine Ridge during the FBI reign of terror in the seventies happened and not one damn person in America "reputable journalist" or not, can look it up on google. But it happened. It's America, it's Indian, it didn't happen, is the way this type of assault on my people has been done forever. It covers genocide like a smallpox blanket. Believe it or not.
I'd like to say another thing, the young people who have written and worked on this diary have nothing to gain nor any selfish interest in publicizing this ugly incident. They saw and recognized an injustice and reported what they knew on the matter. The request for money wasn't a part of the original story it was the Diarists themselves who made that request as their own way of helping the walkers. It was probably a mistake to not put it last in the story or explain it better but it doesn't make the story less true. I called my contacts and found out it was true. Now I think it's up to all of you to find out what your government is doing to my people. But don't send us money... make them quit!
If you want to help these walkers first learn why they're walking because, in truth, the incident isn't a gnat on a buffalo's ass to the walkers and they'll survive and get to D.C. but, if they are to succeed in their journey, Americans need to be prodded to curiosity enough to make them educate themselves a little on what happens in Indian Country. Your country is our trustee in these affairs of Treaty and Sovereignty. Your government has the same duty to these laws as it does to the other parts of the Constitution we all bemoan George Bush is violating. Violations of these sorts can only be stopped by an aroused citizenry be it invasion of privacy, illegal war powers or violations of the supreme laws of the land such as Treaties. Support those walkers by learning our place in your Constitution and then, only if you take my word, go ahead and help them with a gift.

by cacamp on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 11:20:09 PM PDT

Morning After Update :::::::::::::::::::::::::

For the naysayers (you know those saying nay all the time...) More news reports:

In Columbus on Tuesday, Littlemoon said the group met resistance as they made their way across town.

US police point Taser at Kiwi :: A New Zealander who took his family to join Mohawk, Paiute, Navajos, Choctaw and the American Indians making a symbolic "Longest Walk" across the USA has been threatened by police in Ohio.

Remember naysayers, you heard it here first.

And, I love this comment by Meteor Blades.

And, I love this comment by Dengre.

Thanks everyone for helping Winter Rabbit bring more attention to the Longest Walk.

Originally posted to DIVA on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 07:59 PM PDT.

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