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Protesters march on North Side over alleged police raid

About 60 protesters took part in an impromptu march across the North Side Thursday night after activists accused police of illegally raiding an apartment.

Lawyers for the demonstrators say police burst into a Bridgeport neighborhood apartment, broke down the door, roughed up several people inside and took nine people into custody, all without a warrant.

William Vassilakis, who leases the apartment, says numerous protesters were staying in the apartment.

"I could not be more disgusted, enraged, terrified, by and generally totally disappointed with the city of Chicago," he told ABC7.


NOTE: Press conference to be held TODAY at 5:30pm at 3340 W. Fillmore Street, the Chicago Police Department's Organized Crime Division
Chicago, IL -- The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) condemns a preemptive police raid that took place at approximately 11:30pm Wednesday in the Bridgeport neighborhood, and instances of harassment on the street, in which Chicago police are unlawfully detaining, searching, and questioning NATO protesters. The Bridgeport raid was apparently conducted by the Organized Crime Division of the Chicago Police Department and resulted in as many as 8 arrests.

According to witnesses in Bridgeport, police broke down a door to access a 6-unit apartment building near 32nd & Morgan Streets without a search warrant. Police entered an apartment with guns drawn and tackled one of the tenants to the floor in his kitchen. Two tenants were handcuffed for more than 2 hours in their living room while police searched their apartment and a neighboring unit, repeatedly calling one of the tenants a "Commie faggot." A search warrant produced 4 hours after police broke into the apartment was missing a judge's signature, according to witnesses. Among items seized by police in the Bridgeport raid were beer-making supplies and at least one cell phone.

"Preemptive raids like this are a hallmark of National Special Security Events," said Sarah Gelsomino with the NLG and the People's Law Office. "The Chicago police and other law enforcement agencies should be aware that this behavior will not be tolerated and will result in real consequences for the city."

In another incident, 3 plainclothes police officers unlawfully stopped, handcuffed, and searched a NATO protester on Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive at approximately 2pm today. According to the protester, he did not consent to a search and there was no probable cause to detain him. The police also photographed and questioned him about where he was from, how he got to Chicago, how long it took, what he was doing here, where he was staying, who he was with, and how long he was planning to say in Chicago. The protester refused to answer any questions and was eventually released.

The NLG has received reports that at least 20 people have been arrested so far this week, and two people are still in custody, not including the Bridgeport residents who are still unaccounted for. One of the protesters currently being detained, Danny Johnson of Los Angeles, has been accused of assaulting a police officer during an immigrant rights rally on Tuesday afternoon. However, multiple witnesses on the scene, including an NLG Legal Observer, recorded a version of events that contradict the accusations of police.

During the week of NATO demonstrations, the NLG is staffing a legal office and answering calls from activists on the streets and in jail. The NLG will also be dispatching scores of Legal Observers to record police misconduct and representing arrestees in the event the city pursues criminal prosecutions.

Contact: NLG Legal Worker Kris Hermes 510-681-6361 or NLG Attorney Sarah Gelsomino 773-520-8246

Originally posted to Hyde Park Johnny on Thu May 17, 2012 at 08:36 PM PDT.

Also republished by Occupy Wall Street, Police Accountability Group, and Progressive Hippie.

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Comment Preferences

  •  But they blame us. (3+ / 0-)

    Any way to sleep comfortably as the nation slides ever more irrevocably into being a repressive authoritarian police state in the defense of corrupt capital.  Anything to keep believing in "the land of the free".  Free to do exactly what you're told to do, which mostly involves buying things.  That's about it.

    The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike from sleeping under bridges. ~ Anatole France

    by ActivistGuy on Thu May 17, 2012 at 10:46:49 PM PDT

  •  Funny that you spend half your diaries... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    johnny wurster

    ...quoting thug cops when they criticize Rahm.

    Now, all of a sudden, you don't like thug cops?

    Make up your mind, man.

    "The disturbing footage depicts piglets being drop kicked and swung by their hind legs. Sows are seen being kicked and shoved as they resist leaving their piglets."

    by Bush Bites on Thu May 17, 2012 at 11:59:52 PM PDT

    •  Agents of law enforcement, like other (5+ / 0-)

      human beings, are variable. Sometimes their behavior is lawful, sometimes it's not.  When one assesses behavior, rather than defining behavior in terms of who does it (personal responsibility), judgment is bound to be variable, as well.
      The quality of a person's behavior is not judged by the person's social status or rank.  
      What an agent of law enforcement does may well be unlawful because their behaviors are limited by the Constitution.  For example, while a neighbor may spy on a neighbor all he wants, an agent of law enforcement may not spy on a person without probably cause. We all have a right to privacy, but only agents of government are directed to respect it.
      That agents of government have fewer powers than ordinary citizens is to be expected since it is the citizens who govern.
      That agents of government do not recognize that they are limited by the Constitution to carrying out their obligations and duties and nothing more is evidence of poor training and preparation for office.

      People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

      by hannah on Fri May 18, 2012 at 02:40:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  the thug cop blog claims Occupy had molotovs (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Horace Boothroyd III

      and throwing stars and junk in the apartment.  (throwing stars are almost certainly illegal weapons; I remember reading some blawg post on topic; it stuck with me because the statutes, IIRC, used hilarious language, like "kung-fu throwing stars" or something)

    •  WTF? (0+ / 0-)

      These kinds of comments can be sent through kosmail.

      Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

      by Horace Boothroyd III on Fri May 18, 2012 at 05:46:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You know, this is just another chance for some (0+ / 0-)

        folks to be assholes.  They really don't care about what's legal when the government does it, just when people are standing in the street, then they deserve to be beaten.

        There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

        by AoT on Fri May 18, 2012 at 08:37:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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