I know that this diary may not get much attention but I couldn't live with myself if I didn't make the effort to remind people that this situation is still taking place. If I got you to look, I am pretty sure that I can speak for many people sitting in prison right now, "Thank you". Some of them have been suffering from untreated 1st degree burns resulting from the use of pepper spray.
Update: Please check out this great diary by doctorscience!
Many of you have been following the story of the arrests in St. Paul, some with disbelief, some applauding the actions of the police on the assumption that everyone arrested was a marauding anarchist breaking windows.
The police have been using something called the Miami Method and those of us who have experienced it in the past are not at all surprised by what is happening in St. Paul today.
Five years ago this November, the Miami Police Department, with the assistance of Homeland Security, the FBI and other federal government agencies, unleashed a violent para-military occupation of the city in order to quash protests against the now defunct proposal to create a Free Trade Area of the Americas.
Police officers, some of whom had no visible identification, fired rubber bullets, tear gas, concussion grenades, and stun guns indiscriminately at the estimated 25,000 protesters, which included 20 busloads of senior citizens retired from the AFL-CIO.
One of the many low points for police occurred when Elizabeth Ritter, a local lawyer weilding a sign that read 'Fear Totalitarianism', was shot repeatedly by police aiming for her head.
A local videographer captured Broward Sheriff's Office Sgt. Michael Kallman addressing a group of officers afterwards congratulating them for their sharp-shooting. "The good news about watching you guys live on TV was the lady in the red dress. I don't know who got her, but it went through the sign and hit her smack dab in the head," said a "pumped up" Kallman, to applause and cheers.
Later, another unidentified officer referred to protesters as "scurrying cockroaches," further revealing a culture of violence and contempt towards not only the citizens the police are responsible to protect, but to the U.S. Constitution.
A month later, State Circuit Court Judge Richard Margolius, while presiding over the cases of free trade protesters, said in court that he saw "no less than 20 felonies committed by police officers." Margolis went to the protests and commented that it was "pretty disgraceful what I saw with my own eyes."
But Miami Mayor Manny Diaz saw it differently. Diaz, echoing a sentiment surely shared by many in the Bush Administration, declared the security operation "a model for homeland defense." And what has become infamously known as the "Miami Model" offers a preview of what protesters can expect at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul this September.
Yesterday morning, Daily Kos blogger Arielle posted about her son's arrest.
He was arrested while sitting in a park waiting for a concert to begin. The organizers of the concert had a permit. As of yesterday morning, he had not been charged. If he were charged, he would probably be charged with Felony Conspiracy to Riot.
According to Coldsnap Legal:
Over a hundred people were charged with felonies on Monday. Most of these folks were charged with Felony Conspiracy to Riot. Well, the "good" news is that cops give people felony charges all the time - when they beat you up. That way, the cops can say they acted in self-defense. It also makes it more likely you’ll plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for getting the felony dropped. This is good for the state, because if you plead guilty it makes it harder to sue the cops later for assaulting you.
So, if you have friends in jail who are charged with felonies, know that their bail may be higher in the short term, and they may be kept in jail longer. But many, many people with this charge ultimately get it dropped. And we’re working to help everyone who got arrested during the RNC fight their charges—no matter what they are.
Keep an eye on this space for information on Court Solidarity—an effective tactic for group legal defense. Also, there are two meetings set up for arrestees: One on Saturday, September 6th, at 11am at the RNC Convergence Center (627 Smith Ave. in St. Paul), and another on Sunday, September 14th, at 4pm at Walker Church (3104 16th Ave. S in Minneapolis).
Amy Goodman, who attempted to speak with the officers arresting her co-workers was arrested. I urge you to listen or watch the first half hour of this show, her story, and to that of her co-workers on yesterday's Democracy Now. This should frighten you. The implications of what happened to Goodman and to other journalists on Monday should terrify you.
Here is a link to a video of two individuals being arrested for riding their bikes near a protest.
This is not the first time that this has happened. It will not be the last. If you were in New York in 2004, we had massive arrests even without the presence or the excuse of anarchist violence (two exceptions were provoked by the police). Almost every single charge was dropped.
At least we KNEW who was arresting us. Nobody knows who these "officers" are. Are they Secret Service? Are they Blackwater? How did the fine folks of Minnesota, who value their civil rights so dearly, allow this to happen?
Hold them accountable for their actions. The only way to combat evil is by shining a light on it. The Civil Rights movement was helped in the 60's because of the mainstream media. There is something that you can do. Two individuals (here and here) wrote diaries yesterday asking us to contact CNN and MSNBC. Tonight there are stories on both of these networks that more accurately reflect what is happening in St. Paul. They still don't tell the whole story.
Here are the contact numbers again from joyesse:
Call the number for CNN in Atlanta: 404-827-2600
Call MSNBC. Here is the number -