Progressive Calendar 09.06.08
From: David Shove (
Date: Sat, 6 Sep 2008 06:12:51 -0700 (PDT)
            P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   09.06.08
                           POLICE RAIDS VII

1 Fratto
2 Rybisky
3 Hare
4 Hare
5 Royce
6 Muller
7 Rybisky
8 Overland
9 Webster
10 Kelly
11 Peterson
12 Thompson
13 Schoenberg
14 Rybisky
15 Driscoll
16 Hine
17 Stalnaker
18 Rybisky
19 Fratto
20 Livesay
21 Uhl
22 Spaulding
23 Luger
24 Amnesty International
25 Allen (One World)
26 Free Press
27 Gibbs
28 Johnstone
29 Turl (Socialist Worker)


Date: Fri, 5 Sep 2008 04:27:32 -0700 (PDT)
From: Mike Fratto <mfratto [at]>

What is going to be real interesting is who was actually pushed to the
bridge so they could be arrested. Watching KARE11 last night, one of their
staff who had just arrived found himself in the net that ended up on the
bridge and arrested. He reported at lease one couple, caught up like him,
had just left Sears and were headed to their car.

Imagine that! Going shopping and making the mistake of coming out of the
store and getting arrested. In St. Paul no less.


Date: Fri, 5 Sep 2008 06:53:33 -0500
From: Chris Rybisky <atkuku [at]>
Subject: Re: [SPIF] long week

As many of you feel, I feel this is my city.

What I have experienced over the past week permanently alters my view of
my city and not in a good way. How quickly we changed from Saint Paul to a
Police State worries me. If it's been done once, it'll be that much easier
to do it again.

Concrete barricades, fencing, stormtroopers, flash-bang grenades across
the street from our house, confusion, teargas weapons, scared (and
scarred) children. Not being able to get from point A to point B. Being

They say the barricades are coming down today, but I will always remember
where they were and wonder when they'll be back.

The fact that a political party (both the Republicans and the Democrats)
need to turn a city into a fortress in order to meet for party business
speaks volumes. These parties live in fear of the people they are supposed
to represent. Perhaps for good reason. Something needs to be done.

I feel sorry for the next cities that will undergo one of these


Date: Fri, 5 Sep 2008 07:42:45 -0500 (CDT)
From: hare [at]
Subject: Re: [SPIF] long week

The barrier along Chestnut St is down already.  I'm going to spend the day
with a 3x5 card around my neck that says "RESIDENT - ST PAUL", under the
assumption that this will give me access to everything in the city.

The security certainly made economic benefits impossible.  I have a small
example on my blog, but without any doubt people simply could not get
around and so there was no net benefit - the complete lack of regular
customers made it into a loss for many people.

What could have been done differently?  I'm not sure yet, given the
obvious fact that we did have serious troublemakers come in, almost
exclusively from out of town.  What I can say is that the net effect was
that this was indeed ruined for everyone.

It was anything but a quiet week in Lake Wobegon.


Date: Fri, 5 Sep 2008 07:49:34 -0500 (CDT)
From: hare [at]
To: St. Paul Issues Forum <stpaul-issues [at]>
Subject: Re: [SPIF] long week

> As many of you feel, I feel this is my city.
> What I have experienced over the past week permanently alters my view
> of my city and not in a good way. How quickly we changed from Saint
> Paul to a Police State worries me. If it's been done once, it'll be
> that much easier to do it again.

I believe that this is the important point for the future as well.  I
think that we need several things out of this:

1)  The Truth and Reconciliation hearings that both Dave and Charlie have
called for.
2)  A more transparent understanding of when and where this force is to be
used so that the public can comment on it and modify if necessary.
3)  A discussion of what reasonable limits we have as a city to host large
events like this successfully by nearly any measure of success, given that
it's hard to gain the desired economic benefits when security is this

Erik Hare
West End (Irvine Park), Saint Paul
Info about Erik Hare:


Date: Fri, 5 Sep 2008 08:18:27 -0500
From: cathleen royce <catyroyce [at]>

I agree with Charley that we need some type of public investigation and
airing of the degradation of civil rights that occurred during the past
week.  But I would urge us to come up with a different name for it, the
Truth and Reconciliation Commission, i think, should remain sacred to
truly abhorrent times in history where there has been loss of life such as
tracing accountability for the thousands of deaths perpetrated by the
South African government during aparthied, or the hideous ethnic cleansing
in Rawanda.

I could find only one instance in the US where a Truth and Reconciliation
Commission was appointed and that was the KKK's murder of five people in
Greensboro in 1979.

However disturbing this police state activity has been I think it would be
a mistake to liken it to any of the above mentioned events.  I do think it
important to name it and soon and to begin a concise articulation of
events, as suggested by Dave Thune (who in my humble opinion has been a
elected official hero through this), so as not to lose any of the
important details.

In addition, I think we should all be very vigilant for any same or
similar activity by our local police departments, this kind of power once
granted and excercised does not easily get put away, i imagine.

caty royce
still missing selby, in south mpls.


Date: Fri, 05 Sep 2008 09:51:36 -0400
From: Alan Muller <amuller [at]>

At 07:49 AM 9/5/2008 -0500, hare [at] wrote:
>3)  A discussion of what reasonable limits we have as a city to host large
>events like this successfully by nearly any measure of success, given that
>it's hard to gain the desired economic benefits when security is this

I hope Eric doesn't mean it would be OK to run police state events if they
were more profitable.  (Profitable for whom?  Are/would the people who
made money selling hotel rooms and meals giving some of their ill-gotten
profits to Dave Bicking to help him bail his daughter and colleagues out
of jail ....?)

Has St. Paul's reputation as a progressive and civilized place been used
by the Republicans and the "security" establishment to, in effect,
greenwash the event?  Carol and I are on the East coast now, and its quite
clear that people have no idea what happened.  The mainstream media
strikes again....  Would things have been any different in Dallas or
Atlanta or....?

Is there any parallel to the period when - so I have read - St. Paul was a
safe haven for bank robbers from all over the midwest?  It'd be
interesting to spend some time in the library and see how this was
rationalized by progressive and thoughtful people at the time.  ("It
brings deposits to OUR banks, sells hotel rooms, and the robbers donate
their spare guns to OUR cops....?")


"It also gives us a very special, secret pleasure to see how unaware the
people around us are of what is really happening to them. "
 -Adolf Hitler


Date: Fri, 5 Sep 2008 10:39:12 -0500
From: Chris Rybisky <atkuku [at]>

What I found interesting was the number of people who wanted to be active
Observers. There were of course the police and the protesters, but there
was this whole new class brought to the table. They were there to observe
and photograph and document what was happening.

That was great. I haven't seen any media coverage of this observer
phenomena, but I was really excited about it. I mean, we've got the
security cameras so that the government can watch us, but now we seem to
be watching them too - yay!


Date: Fri, 05 Sep 2008 08:41:07 -0500
From: Carol A. Overland <overland [at]>

Thanks to Erik Hare for starting the list.  From here (too far away, right
now), my laundry list of what's needed:

1) Loud public condemnation of these violations of our fundamental rights,
championed by every elected official and party officials.  Where are they?
Instead I'm getting simpering solicitation emails about Palin's slamming
of "Community Organizers" and not a word about the real fracas in St.
Paul...  Contact your city council members, mayor, county commissioners,
state senators and representatives and put the heat on them.  Make sure
Phil Carruthers has the Constitution imprinted in a prominent place and
knows we're paying attention to prosecutions (so far, about 1 in 3 is
actually charge with anything, according to a friend doing arraignments).

2) Every advocacy organization must loudly and publicly condemn these
violations.  Where are they?  Clean Water Action is leading this charge,
call them with thanks (612-623-3666), and call all the organizations you
belong to and ask that they sign on to Clean Water's "Call to Leaders to
Protect Core Democratic Principles" (below).

3) Fundraising for bail - a friend just said she went to the jail with
$40,000 to get out four of the "urine bucket terrorists" (last one out at
9 p.m.).  $40,000!!!  That $10k each is serious change -- they need some

4) Pressure on mainstream (yawn) media that isn't reporting.  Use comment
sections, send LTEs, write Commentaries, get your blog going...

5) Support for Minnesota Indymedia, Uptake, coldsnap/NLG, et al., for the
tremendous work they've been doing (I'll be volunteering on legal defense
when I get back).  Do what you can, $$$, in-kind, volunteering, it's
sorely needed.

Methinks they're banking on "Minnesota Nice" and non-confrontational
genes.  They need to know they're mistaken, we're not going to accept it.

Carol Overland
Red Wing & Port Penn, Delaware


Date: Fri, 5 Sep 2008 08:57:29 -0500
From: Tony Webster <tonywebster [at]>

I've found myself saying this a few times, but everyone knows we got $50
million from the Department of Homeland Security to pay for officer
overtime, new police vehicles, and gear.  The RNC is over, the delegates
are leaving, but the fact that we now have riot gear for each officer,
MK-9's of OC+CS spray for each officer, gas masks for each officer, and a
ton of new unmarked police vehicles... this is forever going to change law
enforcement in the Twin Cities.

I live in Minneapolis, formerly of Saint Paul, but the issues on both
sides of the river are the same since MPD and SPPD have been acting as one
during the past week.  I drove by both Minneapolis City Hall and St. Paul
Police/Ramsey County Law Enforcement Center in the days leading up to the
RNC, before the cement and fence barricades were in place, and I saw
literally dozens of new unmarked police vehicles.

All of this stuff - riot gear, gas masks, unmarked vehicles - is
unnecessary in the daily lives of police officers.  Both St. Paul and
Minneapolis police have purchased BDU/military clothing for their officers
instead of professional uniforms, as before.  There's this goal of
community-oriented policing, but I think we've moved past that.  Officers
no longer communicate, they control, detain and arrest.

And when will the corporate media start telling the truth?  Last night,
producers, reporters and photojournalists from WCCO, KMSP, KARE, and the
AP were arrested.  These are all corporate entities that seem to have just
taken it as fact.  Why aren't they outraged?  I was outraged when I was
arrested as a photojournalist on Wednesday night.

Certainly the players of the game are not helping the situation.  Bob
Fletcher, John Harrington, and Tim Dolan (haven't heard much about Rich
Stanek) are making the situation worse, and they need to be held
accountable for their actions.  They created protests and civil
disobedience by outfitting their officers with riot gear preemptively.

I hope Saint Paul and Minneapolis can go back to being communities, and
that's what we need to fight for -- but has the battle already been won?

Tony Webster
Loring Park, Minneapolis


Date: Sat,  6 Sep 2008 04:03:02 +1200 (NZST)
From: "Grace Kelly (nicknamed Kelly)" <saintcurmudgeon [at]>

Obviously, there are Republicans trying to "spin" this story. This is not
a "good" week, this is a week of the police state that is still not over.
Yesterday many journalists, many legal observers and medics were swept up
in the arrests. People are arrested looking fine and come out of jail with
bruises. Get a clue people. People who believe in "terrorism" also believe
in "enhanced interrogation techniques". We need press and legal observers
in jails. People are still being held without charges. The stories coming
out of the jails are not good. We need public attention, this is our
Sheriff Fletcher acting here.


Date: Fri, 5 Sep 2008 11:19:23 -0500
From: Chip Peterson <c-pete [at]>

Whatever the range of different interpretations about what happened over
the past few days, I would hope everyone can agree on one thing:  that St.
Paul should never agree to host another event of this kind again without
an absolute commitment that all uniformed law enforcement officials will
be clearly identified by name and jurisdiction.

Allowing police to roam around in Darth Vader gear with no way for
civilians to know who they are or what law enforcement agency they are
from invites abuse and, if abuse does occur, impedes accountability.  And
if the city is sued, how under these circumstances can it possibly prove
that someone else was responsible?

Does anyone know why, and by whom, all of those police were allowed to
remain unidentified this week?  Did our city officials know in advance it
would happen?  What, if anything, did they do to prevent it?  Were any
prior agreements violated when it did occur?  If so, what after- the-fact
recourse does the city have?

Chip Peterson
Mac Groveland


Date: Fri, 5 Sep 2008 10:16:02 -0700 (PDT)
From: Gary Thompson <gkthomp [at]>

The video, below (on FOX 9, yet), sums up my feelings about this whole
protest smashing by the combined police forces, that I am suremust have
beenled by by Bush's famous Homeland Security, who must have pushed all
the buttons.

It wasn't long ago, when non-violent demonstrators were NOT tear-gassed by
the police, but just were picked up and carted away if they refused to
move. It was probably "before the Bush Republicans and Homeland Security.
Whatever, this kind of terrorism on our citizens has escalated since.
Non-violent civildisobedience is what Dr. Martin Luther King taught! NOW,
our police areusing tear gas and other "chemical agents" on our own
people! This is what Saddam Hussein did on his people, although with
stronger chemicals.

What is ourcountry coming to? It only enforces the need to get the
Republicans out of office and take back theConstitution.Maybe my anger and
outrage will be reduced by then.

Gary Thompson


Date: Fri, 05 Sep 2008 12:29:46 -0500
From: Mike Schoenberg <geomike [at]>

My version:"St. Paul should never agree to host another event of this kind

Mike Schoenberg


Date: Fri, 5 Sep 2008 13:16:34 -0500
From: Chris Rybisky <atkuku [at]>

Whoa whoa whoa...police misbehave? (tongue firmly in cheek)

My mom used to be a lieutenant in charge of internal affairs for a law
enforcement agency and I know that she used to be pretty busy.

We all screw up. Mr. Peterson, I agree with you. NO ONE is above the law.
When we were downtown the other day and there were people dressed in all
black with no patches or markings to identify the agency it scared the
crap out of me. When these people cannot be identified (and I realize
there were people in the protest crowd wearing masks) it becomes that much
harder to hold them accountable for their actions.

Heck, look at the SPIF [online email forum]. We all are identified.


Date: Fri, 05 Sep 2008 13:23:51 -0500
From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at]>

Internal propaganda for Minneapolis and St. Paul city employees.[see below
at end of this post -ed]

Todays appearance by Chris Coleman was a disgrace for its lack of reality
and its over-reliance on his police command and control center perspective
on the reality in the streets. If the todays public relations news
conference brings us more of the same from all three mayors as if
everything the cops told them was happening actually happened, they will
soon realize how deeply they've either been duped by or complicit in
Homeland Security prevaricating paranoia infecting the entire so-called
security effort.

These guys have been parroting specious police and sheriff's claims that
all of the so-called weaponry (unassembled jars, rags, feces, urine, etc.)
listed in warrant affidavits to justify the rapidly deployed police state
tactics resulting in 813 arrests, but, so far, merely 16 felony charges.

Believe nothing from the mouths of officials who can ill afford to have
truth as the dominant narrative.

Andy Driscoll, Producer/Host
Truth to Tell & CivicMedia/Minnesota
KFAI Radio, 90.3 Minneapolis/106.7 St. Paul/Streamed@
651-293-9039 / Fax: (same, call ahead) / Cell: 651-492-2221
email: andy [at]

[the internal propaganda:]

From: Exchange Mail Administrator
Sent: Friday, September 05, 2008 12:24 PM
To: All Exchange Users; All MPD (Public Info Only)
Subject: RNC Update - Sept. 5

The RNC UPDATE is an internal e-mail designed to give City of Minneapolis
employees information about the Citys work related to the Republican
National Convention (RNC), including highlights of major events and other
topics of interest.

Sept. 5, 2008
Thank you!
With the successful conclusion of the Republican National Convention last
evening, the Mayor, City Council and other City leaders extend their thanks
to the many employees who put in extra hours preparing for the convention
and making sure that our visitors had a good experience while they were in
Minneapolis Saint Paul.

They also thank all the staff who continued to provide our residents and
businesses with high quality service despite the extra workload related to
the RNC.

News conference will highlight convention successes

This afternoon, the Minneapolis Saint Paul Host Committee will hold a press
conference to declare that the RNC was a success for the cities of
Minneapolis, Saint Paul and Bloomington, and the entire community.

Mayor R.T. Rybak, Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and Bloomington Mayor Gene
Winstead, joined by leaders from the Host Committee, will outline early
markers of convention success: exceptionally high hotel bookings, successful
events that highlighted our areas exceptional arts and cultural
opportunities, friendly residents and positive national and international
media exposure. Governor Tim Pawlenty and U.S. Senator Norm Coleman also may

Please post this for employees who do not have regular e-mail access.

[this must be from some parallel universe where things are nice -ed]


Date: Fri, 5 Sep 2008 14:28:37 -0500
From: amhine2 [at]

Chris is absolutely right.  We became downright friendly with the police
who were IDENTIFIABLE.  Some sat down with us and watched Blue Tube in
stunned disbelief ("This is awful - it's awful because it's true."), some
donated money to us, and one even danced in the park when I played for him
"I Love A Man In A Uniform" (Gang of Four) at 84.99 dB.  The Philadelphian
cops were especially brotherly.  And I still have not heard one bad thing
about the SPPD.  (In fact, I called 911 on or about Sat 30 Aug 08 when the
neighbor's bike was stolen before my eyes, and damned if they didn't catch
one of the little rotters 5 minutes later.  Very impressive considering
the "ramp up" at the time.)

Then there were the masked anarchists and the Unknown Soldiers, including
our own Sheriff in khakis and a polo shirt.  He hid in plain sight, a
half-mile out of harm's way.  Both sides scared the bejeebers out of each
other, not to mention the poor horses and those of us who were wondering
how many innocent people can fit inside a truck-mounted TV studio.

As Chris alludes, it's easy to slam people with words or batons, or to
spray people with urine or tear gas, if no one knows who you are; if no
one can hold you accountable for your actions; if no one even knows what
state of the union you're from.  It was very much like a miniature,
homegrown Bush's War - a few misdirected, crazed fanatics caused a
ridiculous, over-the-top, and illegal response from men who appear to have
taken multiple testerone injections and who then took out their
aggressions on innocent women and children.  Yes, children were taken to
the hospital for tear gas treatment.  Meanwhile, all the other towns think
we're all out of our minds.

I hope they put all that riot gear on eBay, because I want my money back.
Fifty million dollars spent on making us look like the most uncivilized
country on earth.  How embarrassing.

Fortunately I met at least four score extremely great people, and made
only 3 enemies.  Apparently expressing gratitude to and respect for over
4,145 soldiers killed unjustly is un-American, and therefore I must be a
Communist.  The ignorance, denial, greed, fear, hate, and selfishness -
the real enemies of the state - make me ill.

But I do have some very positive stories to tell some day:  Parks & Rec,
CAAPB staff, Pappas, Capitol, legal eaglets, Thune/Council/Mayoral Staff,
locals, legal observers, bloggers, artists, donors, moral supporters,
Rowleys, NYC, musicians, volunteers, passers-by, comedians, youth, the
aged, journalists, spouse, old friends, truck guys, dogs, protective
flasks, meetings, iTunes, movie makers, producers, photographers,
patriots, ...

Andrew M. Hine 3M IATD Industrial Adhesives & Tapes Division 3M Center
230-1F-35 St. Paul MN 55144-1000 USA


Date: Fri, 5 Sep 2008 14:54:27 -0500
From: erin stalnaker <erinzona.s [at]>

For Immediate Release: September 5, 2008
Contact: Kris Hermes 510-681-6361
Victims of Police Brutality during RNC Speak Out Today at 4pm
Attorneys & activists demand dismissal of all charges

St. Paul, MN -- A day after the close of the Republican National
Convention (RNC), activists, lawyers, journalists, and the people of St.
Paul have begun to pick up the pieces. What began with preemptive raids on
meeting places and houses in St. Paul and Minneapolis has ended with a
reign of police terror not seen for many decades in the United States.
Multiple victims of police brutality on the streets and in the jails will
make statements today at 4pm in front of City Hall at 15 W. Kellogg Blvd.

What: Press conference on police brutality and trumped-up charges
When: Friday, September 5 at 4pm
Where: St. Paul City Hall, 15 W. Kellogg Blvd
Who: Victims of police brutality Elliot Hughes & Jason Johnson

"Local and federal law enforcement have engaged in a level of violence and
political repression that deserves a response and oversight at all levels
of government," said Kris Hermes, a legal worker with the National Lawyers
Guild and Coldsnap Legal Collective. "Civil lawsuits are a given,"
continued Hermes. "What has not been offered by elected officials is an
apology for the indiscriminate police violence and mass arrests or a means
to hold law enforcement accountable for their actions."

Throughout the RNC, police have used rubber bullets, concussion grenades,
tasers, tear gas and pepper spray against protesters, journalists, medics,
lawyers and bystanders in an unprovoked and manner. Although Ramsey County
Sheriff Bob Fletcher has used the pretext of petty vandalism and household
items found as a result of police raids, little has been produced to
explain the breadth and intensity of wanton police violence.

In addition to the array of weaponry indiscriminately used on people in
the streets, Sheriff's deputies have prevented arrestees from receiving
medical attention and have assaulted numerous people in jail. In response
to the events of the past few days, activists and attorneys are demanding
the immediate release of all political detainees and a dismissal of all
charges. "We're calling on City Attorney John Choi and County Prosecutor
Susan Gaertner to drop the hundreds of frivolous charges applied to
protesters and others," said Hermes. "This type of reconciliation is the
least that the City of St. Paul and Ramsey County can do to make up for
the harm they have inflicted on literally thousands of people that came to
protest the RNC."

To add insult to injury, literally, the St. Paul Police Department has
refused to issue personal property such as keys, cell phones, eye glasses,
credit cards and other items to the people that were detained in jail.


Date: Fri, 5 Sep 2008 16:11:19 -0500
From: Chris Rybisky <atkuku [at]>

Of course, I can't speak for anyone else, but my memory is long on these
kinds of things and will be firmly in my mind when I hit the voter booth.
The elected authoritarians (as well as the Electeds that sat by and did or
said nothing) that were involved will not be getting my vote next matter what.

My representatives are: Melvin Carter and Chris Coleman and Betty McCullum
and Amy Klobuchar and Norm Coleman and Carlos Mariani and Sandy Pappas.
Mr. Carter was out there taking pictures and making himself available.
Mayor Coleman did a few half-hearted pressers. Norm did..."his
thing"...and the rest...well...I didn't see them around. Maybe I missed
them, but they weren't exactly as easy to find as Carter and the Colemans.
Love 'em or hate 'em, a politician isn't worth much if you can't find


Date: Fri, 5 Sep 2008 15:12:46 -0700 (PDT)
From: Mike Fratto <mfratto [at]>

Mr. Titus, the job you and your brothers and sisters in law enforcement is
potentially dangerous every day. Special Security events like the RNC
raises the probability of danger. I wouldn't want the job.

I am not aware any of the items you mentioned were found among those
arrested. I know some of these items were found in raids conducted by the
Sheriff's office. Yet you needed to be prepared for them. Nothing you list
except the semi-automatic and possibly the knives would have caused
serious injury. All of the officers in direct conflict were well protected
in riot suits.

On the other hand the batons and mace freely and indiscriminately wielded
caused harm every person who it struck/ To my knowledge none of the
protesters wore much protective gear beyond scarves to protect themselves
from mace.

You, however, are trained to deal with situations without over reacting.
Yet many of your brothers and sisters chased down people who were doing
exactly what they were asked to do. In more than a few situations they
physically attacked and arrested credentialed news people. Last night you
even arrested a couple who happened to come out of Sears after shopping.
There was absolutely no interest in separating protesters from regular
citizens who happened to be in public space. In last night's case the your
brothers and sisters went far beyond the area where protesters actually

This is unfortunate.


Date: Sat,  6 Sep 2008 11:18:01 +1200 (NZST)
From: G Livesay <portx10 [at]>

It appears Sheriff Fletcher suffered an injury to his tongue during the
RNC.  The upside is our visiting overlords had the greatest shine on their

Shouldn't we reward him with a recall vote?  How about the MN state AG
looking into his activities?

G Livesay
East side, St Paul


Date: Fri, 05 Sep 2008 17:32:29 -0500
From: Alan Uhl <awuhl [at]>

After looking at just a little of the video of the police action here over
the past week, including some of SPPD officers, there should be some
official inquiry into what was going on. The name would not have to be
Truth and Reconciliation, but that should be the purpose, and the name
could be kept in reserve in case is needed to awaken the city. The
breaking and entry on Iglehart before the convention even got going and by
city police, was enough to get some attention to propriety. If Chris,
Harrington or any on the council can defend that we have a problem.

I also have problems with the tag of the so-called self-described
anarchists. If that one in black and masked who tipped over a policeman as
he was trying to subdue a protestor was identified and arrested, his fate
should be checked out thoroughly if that is possible. I cannot find it now
and think I may have seen it on television. I can't help but wonder if he
was carrying a 'get out of jail free' card. Of course my suspicions always
rise when I hear the word anarchists bandied about.

We do owe some special thanks to the people who brought us the Jumbotron
up by the Cathedral. That may well be the way to go in protest now. Kudos
to the whole group. Of course once that sort of thing draws a real crowd
it will likely meet the same fate.

All in all I now feel having the convention was not a good idea. It made
most of us look bad to the outside and it really hurt many of us on the

There were a couple of very light, and nice, touches. I saw a tee shirt
which said "Homeland Security"  and "Fighting Terrorists since 1492" with
a picture of four armed Indians between those comments. The other was a
group of faux SS suits, black and with black fedoras, in the Monday
parade. They were pro-administration satirists. One carried a placard
which read "Don't change horses mid Apocalypse".

Ah, the Assumption bells are ringing outside my window, Wonderful! I don't
think I have heard them for five days, too tense.

Al Uhl, Downtown


Date: Fri, 5 Sep 2008 18:31:18 -0500
From: Bob Spaulding <bob_spaulding [at]>

I would echo my thanks for Dave Thune.  As the downtown Councilmember, at
an arms length from day-to-day responsibility for the SPPD, it was a
perfectly-suited and essential job for Dave.  I'm realizing this week
would have been positively fearsome for many of us and the public at large
had we not known he was there.

I've spent time carefully sorting through lots of perspectives here.
Parts of our city are, and will remain for some time, in a degree of
tension over these events, and it is essential to have a guy like Dave on
the job.  Though it may make his colleagues grumble, here's hoping Dave
(and others like Tom Golstein) continues to smartly challenge St.  Paul on
issues of civil liberties.

The other thing I'm really curious about is surplus equipment, as Mr.
Hine alluded to.  After years of a starvation diet, this City has a list
of needs longer than ever.  I realize that it may feel like a bonanza for
the SPPD to get new equipment.  But God help us if we need that much riot
gear or tear gas any time soon.  Would be interesting to see a list of
what was bought, and what's being sold.

Anyone got some creative ideas on what we can use the proceeds for?
Heck, maybe it's already factored into the City's 2009 budget.  But...


Date: Fri, 5 Sep 2008 17:11:27 -0700 (PDT)
From: C Luger <cluger85 [at]>

Chief Harrington is on PBS Almanac right now. If you miss it, replayed at
1 am or catch on weekend.

Channel 5 eyewitness news will have video of their embedded reporters
tonight at 10 pm

" Embedded with the St. Paul Police during RNC

It's the biggest law enforcement force ever assembled to protect an event
in Minnesota. An army of more than 35-hundred officers and National Guard
troops to keep the Republican National Convention safe. 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS
was given unprecedented access to spend the first day of the RNC with a
mobile field force team from St. Paul. Reporter Mark Albert and
photojournalist Jared Bergerson embedded with Commander Steve Fraser's
division as his team patrolled downtown as delegates assembled to nominate
a presidential candidate and demonstrators gathered to try and disrupt the
convention at all costs. The video and still pictures capture a city on
edge, a police force stretched thin, and some protesters almost begging
for a fight "

--Both Mayors Rybak and Coleman expressed very positive opinions on how
the security was handled.on 5 pm news (.either Wcco or Kstp).

--I wasn't able to find the link in a forum posting on Mayor Coleman's
statement (there have been so many on this event and erased many...after
reading, of course). Unlike Mayor Rybak, there isn't any written statement
on his Mayor's site. While quoted on TV, he has made statements on MPR,
for example:

I had been wondering why mainstream tv media hadn't raised more questions
about reporter incidents; would undisclosed embedding limit objectivity? (
mpr link in 1st post "broke" embedding story).

additional notes: (sorry, no time for links...go to St. Paul Pioneer Press
web site and Strib) Pi Press and Strib: 'Green van' impounding status
(pipress has article on looking for corpses) Raid on st paul location -
police response to report of kidnapping

best wishes,
cheryl luger
nokomis east(Minnehaha), Mpls.


Date: Sat,  6 Sep 2008 13:15:02 +1200 (NZST)

Use of Force Against RNC Protesters "Disproportionate," Charges
Amnesty International

[London]--Amnesty International is concerned by allegations of excessive
use of force and mass arrests by police at demonstrations in St. Paul,
Minnesota during the Republican National Convention (RNC) from September
1-4, 2008. The human rights organization is calling on the city and county
authorities to ensure that all allegations of ill-treatment and other
abuses are impartially investigated, with a review of police tactics and
weapons in the policing of demonstrations.

The organization's concerns arise from media reports, video and
photographic images which appear to show police officers deploying
unnecessary and disproportionate use of non-lethal weapons on non-violent
protestors marching through the streets or congregating outside the arena
where the Convention was being held.

Amnesty International urges that an inquiry be carried out promptly, that
its findings and recommendations be made public in a timely manner. If the
force used is found to have been excessive and to have contravened the
principles of necessity and proportionality, then those involved should be
disciplined, measures put in place and training given to ensure future
policing operations conform to international standards.

Police are reported to have fired rubber bullets and used batons, pepper
spray, tear gas canisters and concussion grenades on peaceful
demonstrators and journalists. Amnesty International has also received
unconfirmed reports that some of those arrested during the demonstrations
may have been ill-treated while held at Ramsey county jail.

Amnesty International is also concerned at reports that several
journalists who were covering the RNC were arbitrarily arrested while
filming and reporting on the demonstrations. They include host of
independent news program Democracy Now!, Amy Goodman, and two of the
program's producers, Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar, who
were both allegedly subjected to violence during their arrest. A
photographer for the Associated Press (AP) and other journalists were also
arrested while covering the demonstrations.

Kouddous described his arrest to media, "two or three police officers
tackled me. They threw me violently against a wall. Then they threw me to
the ground. I was kicked in the chest several times. A police officer
ground his knee into my backĻ I was also, the entire time, telling them,
'I'm media. I'm press'., but that didn't seem to matter at all."

Amnesty International recognizes the challenges involved in policing large
scale demonstrations and that some protestors may have been involved in
acts of violence or obstruction. However, some of the police actions
appear to have breached United Nations (U.N.) standards on the use of
force by law enforcement officials. These stipulate, among other things,
that force should be used only as a last resort, in proportion to the
threat posed, and should be designed to minimize damage or injury. Some of
the treatment also appears to have contravened U.S. laws and guidelines on
the use of force. The U.N. standards also stress that everyone is allowed
to participate in lawful and peaceful assemblies, in accordance with the
principles embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

For more information, please contact the AIUSA media office at
202-544-0200 x302 or visit our website at


Published on Friday, September 5, 2008 by One
RNC Media Intimidation Condemned
by Jeffrey Allen
Common Dreams

MINNEAPOLIS - Police and local and federal officials in St. Paul,
Minnesota are under fire from independent media groups for their crackdown
on reporters at this week's Republican National Convention.

Television and radio host Amy Goodman was one of several journalists
arrested this week. ( bignoisetactical (YouTube))"We are concerned that
police in St. Paul prevented journalists from covering a breaking story,"
said Committee to Protect Journalists Executive Director Joel Simon on
Tuesday. "We urge authorities to drop any pending charges and allow
journalists to continue with their work."

The New York-based group, which monitors media suppression around the
world, condemned the arrest of four journalists who were documenting the
confrontational end to an otherwise peaceful antiwar protest on the
opening day of the Convention.

Well-known television and radio personality Amy Goodman, host of the
nationally syndicated program Democracy Now!, was arrested when inquiring
about the condition of camerawoman and producer Nicole Salazar and sound
technician Sharif Abdel Kouddous.

In a video of Goodman's arrest, onlookers can be heard in the background
calling for police to "release the accredited journalists now."

Salazar shot footage of her own arrest, where she can be heard shouting
"press! press!" as she is shoved to the ground by baton-wielding police
who ran directly at her and told her to "get the hell out of here!" Once
on the ground, the police repeatedly yell at Salazar to "get down on your
face." The camera flips over, recording three screams -- apparently from
Salazar -- and then cuts off. [Watch Salazar describe her detention]

A fourth journalist, Associated Press photographer Matt Rourke, was also
arrested during the protest. All four journalists were released within
hours of their arrest, though several had their press passes confiscated,
apparently by federal Secret Service agents.

"It was very clear who I was," Goodman told media after her release. "I
had all my credentials hanging from my neck. 'Look --  these are my
credentials,' I said. A Secret Service agent walked up to me and said, 'Oh
really?' and ripped my credentials off my neck."

Kouddous told the Committee to Protect Journalists that the same agent
also confiscated his daily press pass.

Distinguishing Between Press and Protesters

The National Association of Hispanic Journalists called on police and
local and federal officials to "respect the First Amendment right to free
speech and free press of journalists doing their job."

"In this era of new technology and broader participation in citizen and
independent journalism, it may become increasingly difficult for police to
tell journalists from those who are not," the group said. "But police must
be aware it is their duty to try, and to respect the role of the press in
a democracy. When the media has credentials, as was the case with Goodman
and other journalists arrested, the police should have a much easier job."

The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), meeting this week in
Atlanta, said: "Police have a duty to protect and serve the public. So,
too, do journalists serve the public interest. SPJ doesn't object to the
police stopping violence. Rather, we are merely alarmed by the
disconcerting trend of journalists being treated as if they are a threat
to public safety, when they are clearly fulfilling their roles as
professional reporters.

Media Intimidation Alleged

The nonpartisan media reform group Free Press has said Monday's arrests
were part of "an orchestrated round up of independent [media] covering the
Republican National Convention."

Police also raided a home where independent journalists were staying over
the weekend before the Convention began. The journalists were working for
a media organization known for documenting police crackdowns against
protesters, especially during the 2004 Republican National Convention in
New York City.

I-Witness Video's documentary work helped to get charges dropped against
over 400 people arrested during the 2004 Convention, according to
Elizabeth Press, who works with the group and was in the house that was
raided over the weekend. Police surrounded the house for several hours on
Saturday, while waiting for a warrant to arrive.

When the warrant arrived, it was for the adjoining apartment in the duplex
house, but the police entered the apartment where the journalists were
staying anyway -- through an attic door. The police then detained the
journalists for approximately an hour, along with those in the adjoining
apartment, including the owner of the duplex house, and searched the
journalists' belongings.

"I feel like it's an intimidation tactic," Press told The UpTake, a live
video documentary group that is also keeping tabs on protests and police
activity during the Convention. "I-Witness Video has been in the news
lately -- in the New York Times, and all over the Internet."

During the previous week, I-Witness Video's colleagues in Minneapolis had
their computer and video equipment seized, said the group's Eileen Clancy,
in a report filed during Saturday's raid.

And on Wednesday, offices being rented by I-Witness Video for its work
during the Convention were entered by police wielding batons and a
battering ram. Officers said they had reports of anarchists taking
hostages within the building.

An attorney working in the building, Geneva Finn, showed the officers
around to clarify that there were no hostages being held.

"[The officers] did a pull-up on the frame of I-Witness' door, looked in,
saw that there were people in there -- nobody was being held hostage,"
said Finn during an impromptu press conference after the incident. "I then
asked the police to leave, since no one was obviously being held hostage
here, and they refused. Eventually their head sergeant came here, and
decided that they could leave the building."

I-Witness Video was subsequently asked by their landlord to leave the
premises due to the police attention they had attracted.

"The St. Paul police came after us with unfounded allegations that we were
engaged in criminal behavior.  This harassment has interfered with our
ability to do the work of documenting the policing of protests that we
have come to St. Paul to do," the group said in a statement.

50,000 Demand Press Freedom

"We condemn the arrest and harassment of journalists before and during the
Republican National Convention," said Free Press executive director Josh
Silver. "We call on the mayor, district attorney, and police chief to rein
in the overly aggressive -- and even violent -- tactics of law
enforcement. Arresting and detaining journalists for doing their jobs is a
gross violation of free speech and freedom of the press."

In just over 2 days, Silver's group has gathered over 50,000 names on a
petition to the mayor's office, the Republican National Convention Host
Committee, and other local officials demanding an end to the aggressive
and violent tactics used against journalists in recent days.

"Reporting by independent journalists is the only way for the American
public to learn the full story, and they must be free to do their jobs
without intimidation," Silver added.

 2008 One World


September 5, 2008
St. Paul in the Hot Seat over Journalist Arrests
Free Press Blog Post
Jen Howard , Free Press, (202) 265-1490, x22 or (703) 517-6273

Journalists and St. Paul citizens assembled outside St. Paul City Hall
today to deliver more than 60,000 letters to Mayor Chris Coleman and
prosecuting attorneys demanding that they immediately drop charges against
all journalists arrested this week as they covered the Republican National

Watch the press conference:

By Friday morning, dozens of journalists, photographers, bloggers and
videomakers had been booked by the Ramsey County Sheriff's office in what
appears to have been an orchestrated round-up of media makers covering
protests during the convention.

"From the pre-convention raids to the ongoing harassment and arrests of
journalists, these have been dark days for press freedom in the United
States," said Nancy Doyle Brown of the Twin Cities Media Alliance, who
delivered the letters on behalf of the nonpartisan media reform group Free

She was joined by a crowd of local activists and journalists, including
Amy Goodman and Nicole Salazar of Democracy Now!, KFAI-FM radio host Andy
Driscoll and Mike Bucsko, executive director of the Minnesota Newspaper

"Tragically, there are stories that the world needed to hear this week
that will never be told," Brown said. "They won't be told because
reporters working on them were sitting in the back of squad cars, were
stripped of their cameras, or were face down on the pavement with their
hands cuffed behind their backs."

On Thursday, the final night of the convention, it appears that
authorities ratcheted up their attacks on both protesters and credentialed
journalists, lobbing tear gas and percussion grenades into crowds and
arresting student journalists, local TV photographers, Associated Press
reporters and two MyFox journalists, among others.

Other independent journalists have also been pepper-sprayed, and reporters
with I-Witness were held at gunpoint during a "pre-emptive" raid aimed at
disrupting protesters last weekend.

Mayor Chris Coleman has refused to reply to Free Press' repeated calls and
e-mails asking for his response to allegations that journalists were
specifically targeted by authorities.

Watch the letter delivery:

A crowd of journalists -- many of whom were arrested earlier in the week
-- entered City Hall and delivered the letters into the hands of St. Paul
Deputy Mayor Ann Mulholland and City Attorney John Choi, who briefly told
them that the legal system will sort out their concerns.

The mayor and public officials "need to do a post-mortem to examine the
circumstances of these arrests," said Bucsko, who represents reporters at
the Star Tribune and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "I hate to think that
journalists were being targeted," adding that it appeared that "there was
discrimination based upon their jobs."

The signatures were collected in less than 72 hours as people nationwide
expressed their outrage over St. Paul 's attempts to stifle the many
independent journalists documenting events surrounding the tightly
scripted spectacle in the city's Xcel Center .

Groups including the American Civil Liberties Union, the National
Association of Black Journalists, the National Association of Hispanic
Journalists, The Newspaper Guild, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of
the Press, Reporters Without Borders, the Society for Professional
Journalists and the Writers Guild of America, East, have also sounded the
alarm over the unusually harsh treatment by city authorities.

"The city of St. Paul has a black eye right now, and I must say that Paul
Wellstone would be rolling in his grave," said Denis Moynihan of Free
Speech TV, who spoke outside City Hall today. "Mayor Coleman must salvage
the damaged reputation of the state and the city by dropping charges
against all journalists immediately."

Read the Free Press blog post:

Free Press is a national, nonpartisan organization working to reform the
media. Through education, organizing and advocacy, we promote diverse and
independent media ownership, strong public media, and universal access to
communications. Learn more at


Date: Fri, 5 Sep 2008 23:29:25 -0500
From: ElyDog <elydog [at]>

I was at the demonstrations on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday in St. Paul.
I think thousands of the youth of the city have been radicalized, though
some at the cost of personal injury and incarceration. We have also seen
what the new 'Patriot State' has up its sleeve.

I understand the GOP itself 'insured' the St. Paul police
department/Ramsey County Sheriff's department for $10 million dollars.
What this means is that any lawsuits out of this repression that cost, in
attorney fees or damages, less than $10 million dollars, will be paid by
the GOP.

So $10 million dollars is the cost of 'doing business" for this
convention.  Most corporations set aside a certain amount for legal fees,
knowing they will be paying them to customers or as government fines, etc.
The payment in this case, said to the police, sure, protect us, and
remember, you're insured up to $10M, so ... don't worry.  I.E. you have
$10M to play with, fuck 'em up!  Now, in NY for 2004, the suits cost the
City $2M, and of course, they appealed, and will appeal endlessly.  So
this is pretty good insurance.

Point two, which is even more troubling, is that there is not just a 'do
not fly' list with 8 million people on it (all Al Quaeda, no doubt...),
but a 'detain and search' list - i.e. a "do not drive" list, or "do not
walk"  list.  This includes one of the vets mentioned in one of these
posts, but also a security/peacemaker for the Poor Peoples' March, who was
stopped on his way to the airport on Wednesday.  In other words, the
secret laws of the Department of Homeland Security, and the Patriot Act
are were used normally, far outside the bounds of normal 'legality', for
this convention.  For instance, police boarded a whole light rail train in
Mpls, detained everyone on it, including two RNC delegates, for little
probable cause.  The Veteran's march on Sunday was stopped short of its
goal and permit - probably because some person in the Department of
Homeland Security had the authority to do so, and void a permit.  Without
a hearing or the OK of the City of St. Paul.  As a friend pointed out, not
one police officer will ever be disciplined for use of excessive force -
and there are plenty of examples I have heard - perhaps they will even be
given medals.

How have we gotten to this place?  Look carefully at Mayor RT Rybak and
Mayor Coleman, both pro-Obama Democrats.  These are the people who
welcomed this mini-police state into our midst, who gave license to the
Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security to control their
City's police, who sacrificed our taxpayer dollars so the restaurant and
hotel industry could make money.  Which reflects that these industries are
their REAL 'base'.  Rybak and Coleman - our 'friends' in sheep's clothing.

-Greg Gibbs


From:* Johnstone Diana [mailto:diana.josto [at]]
Sent:* Thursday, September 04, 2008 3:16 PM
To:* chris.coleman [at]
Subject:* Human Rights in Minnesota

To Saint Paul Mayor Christopher B. Coleman
Dear Mayor Coleman,

I was born in Saint Paul where my grandfather was Principal of Harding
High School. I have taught at the University of Minnesota. I live in
France, and rarely miss an opportunity to boast about my home state of
Minnesota, of its liberal traditions and respect for human rights.

I am therefore especially shocked to hear of the arrests of journalists
and other citizens who committed no acts of violence on the occasion of
the Republican National Convention in Saint Paul. It is very disturbing to
hear that several citizens were arrested on the basis of no evidence
beyond the testimony of infiltrated agents - the sort of testimony
which, as is well known in Europe, is totally unreliable since the agents
have their own motives to exaggerate and provoke.

If they are maintained, the charges will be seen as a disgrace to the
state of Minnesota and to the United States. No serious person believes
that the journalists, or for that matter the activists, were in any
possible way aiding "terrorism". This is simple political repression, of
the same sort as is so vigorously denounced when it occurs in other

I urge you to dismiss immediately all such charges for the sake of
justice, as well as of your own reputation and conscience.

Diana Johnstone
Paris, France


Lockdown in St. Paul
Socialist Worker
September 5, 2008

Adam Turl describes the police-state tactics used to squelch dissent in
Minneapolis and St. Paul during the Republican National Convention.

Packs of riot police roamed the streets of St. Paul during the Republican
National Convention (Indymedia)

THERE WAS a criminal conspiracy engulfing Minnesota's Twin Cities during
the Republican National Convention (RNC) - but it didn't involve masked
anarchists, as mainstream media outlets warned.

The real conspiracy was a plot by 30 federal, state and local law
enforcement agencies to repress dissent and protests under the rubric of
"national security" and the "war on terror."

The repression caught in its wake antiwar protesters, environmentalists,
pacifists, anarchists, socialists and reporters - in short, anyone who
might show (or report on) signs of dissent against a government waging two
barbaric wars while it can't even provide health care to its own people.

As of the late afternoon before John McCain's convention speech September
4, at least 320 people had been arrested in the previous five days - on
the street or in police raids. At least 16 of them faced felony charges,
and 47 others faced serious "gross misdemeanor" charges. Other reports put
the number of felony arrests as high as 120 - at least five of them
involving minors.

As of September 3, many of those arrested remained in jail, held illegally
beyond Minnesota's 36-hour limit on detention without formal charges.
Reportedly, many prisoners hadn't been allowed to meet with lawyers or
make phone calls - and some prisoners were said to be holding a hunger
strike in protest.

What you can do There are numerous efforts to support the victims of
police-state tactics used in St. Paul.

Organizers in St. Paul have issued a national call asking activists to
protest the jailing of more than 300 people arrested during
demonstrations. Call St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman (651-266-8510); the head
of Ramsey County Jail, Capt. Ryan O.Neil (651-266-9350 ext. 1); Ramsey
County Sheriff Bob Fletcher (651-266-9333); and County Chief Judge Gearin
(651-266-8266) and demand immediate medical attention, full legal rights
and the dismissal of all charges for arrestees.

The Coldsnap Legal Collective is asking for donations to help cover legal
costs. You can donate via Pay Pal at the Coldsnap Legal Collective Web

A number of publications and groups have united to protest the arrest of
journalists covering protests at the convention. Send a letter of protest
at the Web site to St. Paul authorities.

The independent radio and television show Democracy Now! - hosted by Amy
Goodman, who, along with two producers, Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole
Salazar, was arrested in St. Paul - has issued its own "Call to action on
behalf of DN! journalists." Contact Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner
at rca [at] or 651-266-3222 to demand that her office not press
charges against the Democracy Now! journalists.

Outrageously, eight people have been charged with "second-degree
furtherance of terrorism," "conspiracy to riot" and "commit civil
disorder." Not one of them was charged with any actual act of violence or
property damage.

Government documents show that their organization, the RNC "Welcoming
Committee," along with other activist groups, had been investigated - and
infiltrated - over at least the past year, with the help of the FBI and
FBI-led Minneapolis Joint Terrorist Task Force.

As Indymedia observed: "Based on past abuses of such informants by law
enforcement, the National Lawyers Guild is concerned that such police
informants have incentives to lie and exaggerate threats of violence, and
to also act as provocateurs in raising, and urging support for, acts of

Despite flimsy or nonexistent evidence, over the Labor Day weekend,
several homes and activist meeting centers were raided. Computers,
cell-phones, e-mails, political pamphlets and protest plans seized, and
dozens of people were arrested.

These first raids occurred before any protests had even been held in the
Twin Cities. As Glenn Greenwald observed on

Just review what happened yesterday and today. Homes of college-age
protesters were raided by rifle-wielding police forces. Journalists were
forcibly detained at gunpoint. Lawyers on the scene to represent the
detainees were handcuffed. Computers, laptops, journals, diaries, and
political pamphlets were seized from people's homes. And all of this
occurred against U.S. citizens without a single act of violence having
taken place, and nothing more than traffic blockage even alleged by
authorities to have been planned.

Bruce Nestor of the Minnesota chapter of the National Lawyers Guild noted
that "conspiracy to riot was the charge used against the Chicago Eight in
1968 as part of a politically motivated prosecution...These charges are an
effort to equate publicly stated plans to blockade traffic and disrupt the
RNC as being the same as acts of terrorism. This both trivializes real
violence and attempts to place the stated political views of the
defendants on trial."

THE RED herring of "terrorism" was used as a cover for rampant violations
of activists' civil liberties-beginning with the "pre-emptive" arrests,
raids and harassment prior to the protests.

For example, police in the Twin Cities impounded a bus owned by the family
of Delyla and Stan Wilson for "safety violations" after pulling them over
on Interstate 94 - prior to the large Labor Day march on the Xcel Center,
the site of the convention.

Police began tailing the Wilson family - who were leading a demonstration
in favor of sustainable gardening, recycling and water conservation -
after deciding that their gardening and environmental tools could be used
as weapons. Responding to accusations that the police took the Wilsons'
bus to stifle dissent, police Sgt. William Palmer said the family was
"free to go to the protests," but they "just can't drive this bus to get

Another group of activists from the organization Earth Justice were
detained on their way to the protests, and their bus seized by police. And
on August 31, police tailed and then detained activists who had been
attending the Veterans for Peace (VFP) conference at the Ramada Inn in
Bloomington, just outside the Twin Cities.

Law enforcement personnel also surrounded a house where members of
Eyewitness - a group that had successfully fought unjust arrests from the
Republican convention in New York City in 2004 - were staying.

Police escalated their tactics from harassment to outright brutality
during largely nonviolent direct action protests on Labor Day.

When protesters tried to block traffic leading into the Xcel Center, the
cops attacked protesters with chemicals and projectiles. According to the
Coldsnap Legal Collective, "With no provocation, police have
indiscriminately used rubber bullets, concussion grenades, and chemical
irritants to disperse crowds and incapacitate protesters."

A Coldsnap spokesperson told reporters that prisoners were denied medical
treatment as punishment, including one arrestee with hemophilia, another
with asthma and yet another with a broken finger.

According to the Wall Street Journal, police responded to protests with
"pepper spray, tear gas, smoke canisters and what they call 'distraction
devices' that give a loud bang and a flash of light..." A member of Iraq
Veterans Against the War (IVAW) who witnessed some of the violent police
attacks told reporters that police were "treating [U.S.] civilians like
you would Iraqis."

Parts of the city did seem to be occupied by an army. According to the New
York Times, as "the protests grew, scores of National Guard troops in riot
gear and gas masks fanned out around" the Xcel Center, while "[p]olice
helicopters buzzed over St. Paul...Humvees painted in fatigue green
ferried water to police officers...and city dump trucks were used to block
traffic on some streets."

The Times reported that Jerah Plucker, a documentary filmmaker, was swept
up by police - along with several others - while listening to music in a
park along the Mississippi River. "Over the loudspeaker [the police] are
saying, 'You are being arrested.'" Plucker told reporters. "They're
telling us, 'Sit down, put your hands on your head."

Many others - both protesters and bystanders - had similar experiences. A
17-year-old youth was arrested trying to get into a concert on Monday on
Harriet Island. He was soon released, but not before his photo was
broadcast on television identifying him as an "anarchist" bent on
"disrupting the convention."

Dylan Asplen was charged with "felony riot" - and spoke to his mother on
the phone from jail. His mother, Annette told reporters that they
"arrested him for walking down the street. He said he didn't do anything.
I am so mad, you have no idea...It's a police state."

Keith Smith, a teenager from Menomonie, Wis., told reporters he was beaten
by police and then released without any medical treatment. Minnesota
Public Radio (MPR) reported that, "sitting in his home in Menomonie, he
lifted his shirt and displayed what appears to be a boot print on his
right shoulder... He also has scrapes on his arms, chest and hip."

Anita Betancourt, speaking outside the Ramsey County Law Enforcement
Center days after Monday's arrests, told MPR she was waiting for her
19-year old daughter, who had been in the Twin Cities to protest the war
and convention because her brother was serving in Iraq.

As MPR reported, Betancourt's daughter told her mother in a phone call
that "the police just shot her and arrested her, and she was just standing
there. She told Betancourt that everything - all of a sudden - was just
chaos all around her. They started pushing and shooting people, and the
gas and pepper spray and all that stuff."

Attorney Matthew Ludt - who has represented some of arrestees - told MPR
that "not only were they trying to keep demonstrators, protesters, people
who want to get their message across off the streets...they swept up
everybody else, which was bystanders as well as journalists."

REPORTERS APPEAR to have been systematically targeted by law enforcement
during the protests. Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman was arrested and
physically assaulted September 1 and charged with obstruction of a peace
officer, as were DN! producers Sharif Kouddous and Nicole Salazar.

Kouddous and Salazar were reporting on one of the protests against the
convention. Goodman was then arrested for the "crime" of asking after her
wrongfully arrested colleagues. According to an emergency alert from DN!:

During the demonstration in which the Democracy Now! team was arrested,
law enforcement officers used pepper spray, rubber bullets, concussion
grenades and excessive force against protesters and journalists. Several
demonstrators were arrested during this action, as was a photographer from
the Associated Press.

Other independent journalists were also arrested, including Chicago-based
freelance reporter Nathan Weber, who was thrown to the ground and received
blows to the back of his head. Four journalists from a student newspaper
in Kentucky were detained as well. The student-journalists were charged
with rioting while covering Monday's protests. Like Weber and the DN!
producers, the Kentucky students showed their media credentials - but were
arrested anyway. One was still in jail as of September 3.

The escalating repression and arrests continued for the rest of the week.
This included hundreds of riot cops in full gear lining the streets of the
permitted Poor People's March September 2 to try to intimidate the

On September 3, following a Rage Against the Machine concert at the Target
Center, 102 people were arrested for the "crime" of marching through the
streets and chanting about "democracy." According to reports, police fired
"two rounds from what appeared to be either a beanbag or a pellet gun" and
pepper-sprayed people as they left the concert.

Even before the concert began - at around 7 p.m. - an activist campaigning
for presidential candidate Ralph Nader was arrested outside the Target
Center. His crime? Informing people about an upcoming Nader campaign

The point of the raids - and the repression since - is clearly to
intimidate radicals and progressives. But the issues that led thousands to
protest the Republican convention in the Twin Cities - as well as the
Democratic National Convention in Denver - aren't going away. Nor are the
growing expectations that something must be done to address these

If we are to continue organizing and speaking out, we must stand behind
all the victims of this police conspiracy to stifle dissent.


   - David Shove             shove001 [at]
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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