Progressive Calendar 09.07.08
From: David Shove (
Date: Sun, 7 Sep 2008 14:06:09 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   09.07.08
                           POLICE RAIDS VIII

1 Gordon
2 Free Press
3 Goldstein
4 Underwood
5 Lonetree (Strib)
6 Free Press
7 Regan (Daily Planet)/Webster
8 Thune
9 Steller (MN Independent)
10 Gerth
11 Thompson
12 Hare
13 Overland
14 Ballou
15 Cole
16 Kielkopf
17 Wassenar
18 Hare
19 Schleuning
20 Rydberg
21 Gilman/StPaul Greens
22 Schoenberg
23 Underwood
24 Winship (CounterPunch)
25 Washington (CounterPunch)
26 ed


Date: Fri, 5 Sep 2008 11:48:04 -0500
From: "Gordon, Cam A." <CamGordon333 [at]>
Subject: [NFCG] Second Ward September E-newsletter

RNC.  There have been reports of multiple incidents related to the RNC in
which journalists and citizens with cameras have been detained, arrested,
and had their possessions confiscated by law enforcement.  At least three
of these incidents occurred in the week preceding the RNC, and many more
happened during protests in both St. Paul and Minneapolis. I am
disappointed that the Police Policies Resolution passed unanimously by the
Council in July, which contains explicit prohibitions against confiscating
recording devices, seems to have had so little effect in some instances. I
am also very concerned about the 'collateral damage' suffered by
nonviolent protesters and bystanders due to police uses of force.  I have
expressed serious concerns about the preemptive raids of Minneapolis
houses (including one in the Second Ward) and the seizure of an
educational bus (Permibus) the weekend before the convention.  With
Council Member Gary Schiff, I am calling for a public hearing and full
investigation into law enforcement actions both before and during the
convention.  You can read more of my responses to specific incidents at my
blog here:
<> .
Cam Gordon
Minneapolis City Council Member, Second Ward
673-2202, 296-0579
cam [at]


free press: media is the issue
September 5, 2008
Free Press Blog Post
Contact: Jen Howard , Free Press, (202) 265-1490, x22 or (703) 517-6273

St. Paul in the Hot Seat over Journalist Arrests

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

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 15:44:10 -0500
From: Tom Goldstein/EFQ <tom_goldstein [at]>
To: dave thune <thune [at]>,
     St. Paul Issues Forum <stpaul-issues [at]>

Kudos to Dave Thune for capturing in a very thorough way the conflicting
emotions that the RNC event has brought about in St. Paul, the many
negatives that the police state caused in our city, and the accolades that
are due those who remained professional, inspired, committed, respectful,
etc. I am tremendously disappointed, however, that of seven city council
members and our mayor, all of whom profess to be Democrats, only Dave's
voice was raised in alarm about what was happening on the streets. Where
were our elected leaders throughout this charade of being a "host" city
other than five of them apparently issuing a press release that urged
citizens to withhold judgment of what was happening based on "partial
reports" of police overreaction - with not one willing to condemn the
arrest of journalists or some of the other abuses that took place?

Look, I know a lot of our citizenry will adopt the attitude that it's "no
big deal" that downtown was turned over to the RNC for four days, that
people should know better than venturing into a police camp or challenging
authorities on who gets to make the rules about civil liberties during a
national convention, that all of this security was necessitated because of
the hooligans, etc. In response, I will suggest that when we allow
anybody's civil liberties to be curtailed by all these faceless, riot clad
cops (who are really accountable to no one since they can't be identified)
in the name of security, it only emboldens the kind of repression that
leads to indifference toward poverty, racism, and a whole host of other
ills, not the least of which is the casual foray into an unwinnable war in
Iraq. Sure, it's a stretch to make that conclusion, but what was the
security perimeter in downtown other than our own St. Paul version of the
"Green Zone"?

While the federal government may have provided $50 million to cover the
costs of security, it is still taxpayer money, and based on the thousands
of officers I saw standing around doing nothing, it's probably the poorest
use of law enforcement dollars that we will ever see. While serving as a
legal observer of the Peace Picnic on Harriet Island yesterday, I saw
three Coast Guard raft-style boats with machine guns fore and aft circling
the small stretch of river by Harriet Island, plus half a dozen riot cops
cradling rifles atop the Jonathan Paddleford, not to mention five vans
with riot cops across the park observing what amounted to maybe two to
three hundred attendees of the event.

My thoughts: You have got to be kidding me.

The overkill of law enforcement was absolutely ludicrous. Quite honestly,
had these officers been patrolling under the bridges with bomb-sniffing
dogs, or if there had been a wide deployment of cops with stepped up
patrols walking throughout downtown, I would have been okay with the
argument that this is how you ramp up law enforcement when you have a
major event involving several national elected officials and a potential
future president. But to have thousands of cops dressed in riot gear just
standing around, or marshalling in areas where no visible harm could come
to attendees of the RNC or anyone else, then it becomes clear the purpose
is intimidation, chilling of free speech, and where necessary, forcing
confrontations because somebody in D.C. gets to decide what line to draw
in the sand and where. And it's probably just a bit more than ironic that
the Peace Picnic was organized by Colleen Rowley, the former FBI agent who
actually did uncover terrorist activity and was a genuine American hero.
Now the national police machinery simply treats her as an enemy because
she dared to reveal the truth to the public.

And yet none of our elected officials will challenge the ridiculous law
enforcement presence because some FBI agent, Secret Service agent, or
Homeland Security official assures them of "reports" of all sorts of major
plots, conspiracies, potential violence, etc - all the stuff we don't know
about but can't be told because of "national security" implications. It's
the classic police state argument that's been used for a hundred years,
and now it gets applied to political conventions. Because only the Feds
are tracking the web of conspiracies, plots, and machinations of
anarchists and terrorists that are seething underground in America while
all of us clueless citizens just go about our merry lives oblivious to the
plotters among us. I'm sure that's why we needed all those gunboats in the
Mississippi and the armed swat teams above the Jonathan Paddleford, lest a
mini-submarine surface and fire a missle at the Xcel Center.

I guess I'm out of touch for being angry that our city was transformed
into a military zone so that a bunch of RNC delegates can have their
private party at our expense, or for being offended that ordinary citizens
are looked at as potential criminals who can't be trusted to safely walk
the streets of our Capitol because of some fringe groups that might do
violence. Of course, those same folks in law enforcement who insist there
was no other way to deploy police around St. Paul will have ready excuses
as to why in spite of the overwhelming police presence to intimidate those
engaging in a peaceful march on Labor Day, no law enforcement was
available to apprehend the lawbreakers who busted the windows in Macy's
and elsewhere. All those cops on horses and bikes, and vandals could still
walk down the street and smash windows in the full view of the media -
with no law enforcement to intervene. Even those who know nothing about
law enforcement are bright enough to see that the Feds who manage these
things have no real interest in protecting property or people; they just
want to discourage those who don't have an invitation to the party from
showing up.

I have no problem with cops arresting anybody committing violence,
engaging in vandalism, or threatening the safety of a law enforcement
officer, and where protestors are creating a dangerous situation by
impeding the flow of traffic, the need to move the protestors off the
streets is understandable. But when roads have already been cordoned off,
or when protest is taking place on the Capitol grounds or in the Sears
parking lot - absent any attempt to damage property - there's no
justification for utilizing tear gas, rubber bullets, or the kind of
aggressive tactics used when carrying out arrests. As someone else asked,
what happened to the days when protestors were just peacefully arrested
one by one, loaded into a paddy wagon, and transported to lockup? Have we
lost our sense of decency that protestors shall automatically be treated
as criminals because they didn't obey the command of somebody who
arbitrarily decides when people are engaged in "unlawful assembly"? And
what about the reported arrest of journalists and legal observers that
occurred in last night's sweep? Don't tell me that cops can't distinguish
somebody wearing a bright day-glo green cap that says, "Legal Observer,
National Lawyers Guild" from somebody who's engaging in protest.

I hope Dave Thune and his colleagues agree to hold a public hearing very
soon, because they're going to get an earful. This convention could have
been managed by St. Paul police with the assistance of other local
jurisdictions, and it probably would have been far more respectful of
civil liberties and the right of free assembly. It also would have
encouraged dialogue between both Republicans and Democrats, and if it
brought 10,000 people downtown to assemble across the street from the Xcel
Energy Center to vent our frustration with the Republicans, that would
have been democracy in action.

But instead, we handed our city over to the draconian Homeland Security
forces with their military engagement techniques and desire to intimidate
and humiliate anybody who challenges their authority. It worked. All the
talk about St. Paul being an open city during the RNC was simply a joke.

On the way home from a school board meeting that didn't get done until
about 11:30 last night, I happened to take 7th St to Smith Ave, then
turned left to go across 35E on Grand and up Ramsey Hill. As I waited at
the stoplight by Burger King, I observed six Ramsey County Deputies
standing around shooting the breeze, two of them swinging their riot
sticks like baseball bats and yucking it up. Your tax dollars at work.

Tom Goldstein


Date: Sat,  6 Sep 2008 10:21:06 +1200 (NZST)
From: Charley Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Re: [SPIF] Standoff at Capitol

Several folks above have indicated that police officers should be
identifiable by unit and individual's name, and that we should never host
any similar event without ironclad assurances to that effect.

I want to remind list readers that we already DID have those assurances
concerning this event.  At the three public meetings that I attended last
fall, Assistant Chief Matt Bostrum made multiple promises that have been
broken.  We were told that St Paul and other officers would be patrolling
in their usual uniforms.  We were told that citizens would be allowed to
retain their first amendment rights of free expression.  We were told that
only those breaking the law would be arrested.  And, perhaps, worst of
all, we were told that any cooperating law enforcement agencies would be
under the complete control of the St Paul police.

Either these were lies, told to lull us into false reassurances, or else
control of policing got completely out of hand.  Anyone who studies the
events of the past 8 days can clearly see that it was Sheriff Fletcher
calling the shots, organizing dozens of raids with drawn weapons,
determining arrest policy and charges.  As far as I can tell Chief
Harrington has been nowhere to be seen, and I believe he owes us an
explanation.  What happened?  Why were Fletcher's goons drawing guns on
children watching a movie over on Smith?  Why did they assume shoot
positions against that vegetable truck over on West 7th?  Why did they
pull over cars and the Permaculture bus and knock bike riders off their
bikes, cuff them face-down and detain them with no warrants and no
charges?  Who was behind the pepper-spray of innocent bystanders as they
were leaving areas they had been told to leave?

I will say very simply: Sheriff Fletcher is no friend of due process.
Sheriff Fletcher is dangerous to the rule of law.  And I will add that
Mayor Coleman and Chief Harrington do neither the citizens nor themselves
any favor by standing up for this thug and bully.  If Coleman and
Harrington won't cooperate with a complete investigation into this massive
abuse of power, then they deserve to lose their jobs and they deserve
legal consequences for their own actions.

This is a representative democracy.  This is a nation ruled by laws, not
by individuals.  If we are to maintain this democracy under law, then this
sort of abuse must end.  Sheriff Fletcher has no more right to violate the
law than some young kid breaking a window.  And $50 million doesn't give
him any extra rights.  Fletcher must go, and those who enable Fletcher
must go.

Charley Underwood
Longfellow (SD 62 A), Minneapolis


St. Paul police chief: Closing off downtown was right move
September 5, 2008

St. Paul Police Chief John Harrington said today that the decision to seal
off downtown to hundreds of protesters gathered near the state Capitol
Thursday night was fueled by evidence many planned to riot near Xcel
Energy Center during the final day of the Republican National Convention.

It was a decision that would touch off a cat-and-mouse game that resulted
in the arrests of 386 people - most of them for unlawful assembly,
authorities say.

For three days, Harrington said, authorities knew of a plot to use Molotov
cocktails to attack the convention center and a nearby viewing area.
Police officers would be targeted, too, he said, citing information
gleaned from investigations that netted three people for conspiracy to
commit arson.

Closing off downtown, he said, was the right move.

"Nothing burned in downtown St. Paul. No one was injured in downtown St.
Paul," the chief said. "It was a very successful day."

His comments came during a RNC news briefing today during which Mayor
Chris Coleman commended police for reining in people who aimed to disrupt
convention activities.

"They didn't shut down the convention - as was their stated intent,"  he
said. "Delegates were able to get in and out of the convention.  The
presidential candidate and the vice presidential candidate were able to
deliver their message . . . (D)emocracy took place in the city of St. Paul
on scale that has never taken place before."

As a result, Coleman added, "We put St. Paul on a map that it's never been
on before - as a city that could host any event."

On Friday, Amnesty International issued a statement expressing concern
about allegations of excessive force and about the mass arrests of
protesters. The organization also said it'd received unconfirmed reports
of people receiving poor treatment at the Ramsey County jail.

Harrington said he'd spoken with Internal Affairs investigators, "and we
have yet to receive any complaints from anybody in terms of excessive
force." Nor, he said, had police heard of anyone being denied medical care
at the jail.

The chief also rejected the suggestion that police had the mindset of
arresting first and then sorting out innocent people later. Of Thursday
night's incident, he said, "We kept giving people opportunities: 'Please
get up. Please leave the bridge. Please get up. You can go north from the
Capitol. Please get up. You can go to University Avenue. Please get up.' "

For many of those arrested, he said, "from their own mouth, this was an
'all-in' strategy for them." They had been told by associates, the chief
said, that if they were to come to the Capitol, they should "expect to be
arrested in one fashion or another."

Anthony Lonetree - 651-298-1545
İ 2008 Star Tribune. All rights reserved.


60,000 Letters Delivered to St. Paul Mayor: release arrested
journalists, drop all charges
Sept.5, 2008

Police have been rounding up, detaining and arresting journalists
throughout the week at the Republican National Convention. But tens of
thousands of people across the nation have responded with demands to
protect free speech.

This morning, local advocates and independent journalists delivered more
that 60,000 letters to St. Paul City Hall calling on Mayor Chris Coleman
and local law enforcement officials to drop all charges against
journalists arrested while covering protests outside the Republican
National Convention.

The signatures were garnered in less than two days as people expressed
their outrage over St. Paul's attempts to stifle independent journalists
documenting what's happening outside the highly orchestrated activities
and speeches in the Xcel Center.

Journalists have been widely targeted during the four days of the
convention. On Monday, local law enforcement officials arrested Democracy
Now! host Amy Goodman and two producers from her show, Associated Press
photographer Matt Rourke, and several independent videographers while they
were covering protests outside the RNC. The Democracy Now! crew has been
released but still faces serious charges.

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

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 photographers, Associated Press
reporters, and two MyFox journalists, among others.

"From the first [smoke] bomb until the time when they herded everyone onto
the bridge was about 15 minutes," said MyFox national editor John P. Wise
in an article on "They cuffed me, took the [press] credential
off me, checked my pockets. I was told a couple of different times that
they were going to let [the media] go - but then I saw they were tagging
my camera bag."

The letters delivered today demands that Mayor Coleman and local
authorities immediately "free all detained journalists and drop all
charges against them." This call has been echoed by groups 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,

Nancy Doyle Brown of the Twin Cities Media Alliance, who helped present
the letters, expressed her frustration and anger over the treatment of

"The targeting and harassment of journalists that we've seen during the
RNC sends the message that the Twin Cities don't value the essential role
that journalists play in a democracy," she said. "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. We're bringing
Mayor Coleman more than 50,000 letters from people across the nation
demanding that all charges pending against these journalists be dropped."


The night I got arrested
By Shela Regan , Twin Cities Daily Planet
September 05, 2008

I was actually thinking about skipping the protest. Instead, I went to the
Peace Picnic at Harriet Island. I listened to some music powered by solar
power (because the city refused to turn on the power), and talked to some

Mostly it was a lot of older folks, a lot of veterans, and families. "It
feels so good to be around my people" said Marlys Ertel, who stayed away
from the marches this year because she has trouble getting around. She
says she would have marched if she could walk more easily.

James Fellmen, a member of Veterans for Peace who wore a "delegate for
peace" sticker, went to the march on Monday, but liked the more relaxed
feel of the Harriet Island event. "It's not such a fascist police state,"
he said. "I've been apologizing to everyone I see for this monstrosit.
We're not like this in Minnesota." He added: "Xcel Energy Center is where
the real criminals are."

Claire Dawson, who was there with her young son, said "I wanted to be a
part of the protest for the RNC, but it didn't seem safe with my kid."

Everybody was in a good mood, eating the free food and listening to old
sixties songs.

And at about 5:30, I got a call from my editor asking me if I was at the
march. I said I wasn't, but I could check the twitter updates. I went back
to my office and found that people were in the middle of an intersection
facing the police at 12th and Cedar. Still, I really kind of felt like
skipping it. After this week, I was kind of protested out.

As it happened, I had to go right by there in order to get to the freeway,
and well, the freeway was blocked. So I parked my car, got my camera and
figured I'd get some pictures.

The crowd was smaller than on Monday and Tuesday. It seemed like a lot of
college kids, singing and chanting. "Stay peaceful!" shouted an
angelic-looking girl. The cops, on their horses and wearing their masks,
were blocking the bridge. "Don't give them any excuses!" said the blonde
girl again.

Some of the college students started singing "The Star Spangled Banner,"
which I thought was kind of odd. Um, guys? Don't you know that's kind of a
pro-war song? On the other hand, in a way it fit. The reason the founders
of this country started the revolution was because the British were taking
away their civil liberties. And it seems as if that is the climate that we
are facing today as well.

The group in front sat down. They carried cardboard signs. I kept on
hearing garbled words coming from the police megaphone, but I had no idea
what they were saying. I also was scrambling to delete some pictures from
earlier in the day. Unfortunately, my camera only holds 27 pictures, and I
figured there might be some dramatic arrest shots to come.

The police shouted again, unintelligibly, from the megaphone. Something
about we had to leave or we would be arrested. I could see people kind of
look at each other. Were they going to move? Or were they going to get
arrested? It was peer pressure.

I wasn't particularly interested in getting arrested. I started to walk
toward the side, but I was in the middle of a crowd of people, and nobody
was budging. Suddenly, a line of cops on horses split the crowd in two,
and I found myself in the center of a circle of police.

"You are all under arrest," said the megaphone, more clearly this time.
"Sit down with your hands on your head."

"Really?" I said. "Aw, man. This sucks."

So I sat down with the others, many of whom had already been sitting
anyway. Nobody put their hands on their heads. I took a few pictures. Then
I lit a cigarette. I called my editor. She was on the other side of the
police line, and said she would see what she could do.

I called my mom. "Um, mom?" I said. "I think I just got arrested."

"What? What do you mean you think you did?"

"Well, they surrounded us and told us we were all under arrest."

"Well, tell them you are a journalist."

"I don't think that's going to work, mom," I said, but I figured that,
when they came to deal with me, I would calmly explain that I was a member
of the media and should be let go.

It took forever, just sitting there. Eventually they decided they didn't
want us taking pictures or using our cell phones. "No texting!" the cop

Anybody in the circle who was acting like a "leader" got taken away first.
As soon as they took away one leader, another person would begin leading
the chanting.

There was a crowd still outside the circle, shouting "Let them go! Let
them go!" People were taking pictures of us.

Out of the blue the police lunged into the crowd, grabbed a man, and threw
him to the ground, right by me. Then they did the same to another man.
Apparently they were "leaders."

I was the last person in my group to get taken away. A tall, smiling cop
came up to me. "You're the last one, huh?" He told me my rights, and put
plastic cuffs on me. "You're hands are really delicate," he said, "but I
want to get them tight enough."

"Ew," I thought.

"So, what's your name?" he asked me. "Where are you from?" I told him. Was
he really trying to start a conversation with me? I told him I was a
reporter. He told me he couldn't do anything about that. He passed me on
to someone else.

"'My' new cop was really young, not more than 25 years old. And he was
confused. He couldn't figure out which line to put me in. In fact, there
was a general chaos. "Is the Minneapolis line?" he asked another officer.

"I don't know," the other said.

Finally, he figured out which line we were supposed to be in. He and this
other cop with another young, female prisoner tried to make conversation
with us. We proceeded to have a discussion about civil liberties.

When we got to the truck, they took my purse and asked what I wanted to go
into the plastic bag.

"What valuables do you have in there?" a woman asked. "Your wallet?
Anything else?"

"My cell phone," I said. "And my camera."

"Your camera is too bulky," she said, and handed the plastic bag with my
phone and wallet to the cop.

As they were doing my paper work, I once again told them I was a reporter.
They didn't seem to think that was a significant piece of information.

After they took my picture, we walked to the end of the block, where we
were supposed to get into a van. It had left without us. So I got passed
to another cop and was put in a scary looking truck, with a bar across my
chest, and was told to wait there with another young woman.

We were in there forever. I thought they had forgotten about us. I had an
ominous feeling that I would have to sleep there overnight, with my hands
behind my back, and probably die of suffocation.

Luckily, that didn't happen. They took us to the detention center, where I
was told to spread my feet and place my hands against the chain wall. A
blond woman frisked me, and asked me to take the rubber band out of my
hair. As I tried to untangle it, the woman reached up to take it out.

"Please don't," I said, not wanting her to pull my hair.

"You better stop with the attitude," she said, "or you're going to jail."
She passed me to another woman. "This one's got an attitude, she said.

They took my fingerprints. They told me to wipe my fingers with a wet
wipe, and yelled at me when I didn't throw it away.

Then I was taken into a cage and told to wait with the other women.
Everyone was very chatty and friendly. We were given white bread and tubs
of peanut butter, but no knife. I didn't care - I was starving and gobbled
it up.

One by one they processed us. When it was my turn, I told them again that
I was a reporter. The cop behind the desk asked another cop: "What are we
doing with the journalists?"

"Nothing," he said, and walked away.

I went to the last waiting area and waited for another hour and a half. It
was a mixed group of men and women. People were sharing stories about what
happened to them. One man said he was arrested because he was giving a
speech on the MSNBC stage at Rice Park. Others relayed how they had been
trapped on a bridge.

"How is everybody doing?" an overly happy, official-looking man asked.
"This is going pretty quick, wouldn't you say?" He asked as if we should
be happy about it. We all glared at him. "I guess you just want to be left
alone, huh?" he asked, a little hurt.

At long last, they called my name and told me I couldn't get my purse back
until Monday between the hours of 10 and 2. So, until then, I am without
keys or camera.

They drove us to a stop at Larpenteur, where there were helpful people
with food and support. My editor was there, and gave me a big hug. She
drove me home.

It could have been worse, I guess. At least I didn't have to spend the
night in jail. I only got a petty misdemeanor for "presence at an illegal
assembly." But you know? It seems like a big pain in the butt for just
trying to do my job. And I, for one, am looking forward to Saint Paul
looking less like a war zone. But I'm not entirely convinced that's going
to happen. I'm not sure we can just "go back to normal" after the events
of last week.

Sheila Regan is a theater artist based in Minneapolis. When not performing
or writing, she serves as educational coordinator for Teatro del Pueblo.

Rights and Freedoms
Submitted by Tony Webster on Fri, 09/05/2008 - 15:04.

This is a great, but unfortunate story. I'm sorry you had to go through
all of that, and I'm glad that you're safe. The way journalists have
been treated is sick and this all seems like a big plot to get names of
protesters and those who aren't afraid to document and report - and not
just names, it's photographs and fingerprints they want to get into the
BCA and FBI databases. In support of anti-terrorism, of course.


Date: Sat, 6 Sep 2008 09:31:07 -0500
From: dave thune <thune [at]>
Subject: [SPIF] after assessment

The City of St. Paul is required to submit an after-assessment of how the
convention security, etc. went.
Each Councilmember has been invited to participate.
I'd invite each of you to be involved by sending something thru SPIF

Try to be concise. Offer a what went right or wrong and if wrong, suggest
how it could've been corrected.
I will submit these along with my own.

For example:
Independent journalists were arrested and shouldn't have been.
Suggest we should've offered pre-RNC credentialing I.D. tags and allowed the
holders to move thru the streets without fear of arrest.

Crowds of non-violent protesters were caught in the middle and were confused
as to how to escape police v.s. violent protesters.
Suggest a St. Paul cop should've  been in charge of all non- st. paul units.
An officer(s) should have been available to lead non-violent demonstrators
to safety.

Your input will be submitted net week.
Dave Thune
Ward 2, St. Paul


Minneapolis council members call for investigation of RNC police
By Chris Steller, Minnesota Independent
September 05, 2008
On Wednesday, the St. Paul City Council said in a one-page statement that
charges of law enforcement overreaction had been taken out of context, but
also promised that "all of this week's actions will be thoroughly
reviewed." ...


Date: Sun,  7 Sep 2008 03:33:03 +1200 (NZST)
From: Diane Gerth <gerthkueny [at]>
Subject: Re: [SPIF] after assessment

Submitted to whom, Dave?  I think that any self-evaluation by the City
would take longer than a week.

And personally, I have a lot more questions than answers. But I suppose I
could rephrase them.  Instead of asking:  "Why was the representative of
the lead local law enforcement agency (Matt Bostrom) telling citizens in
December 2007 that no police officers infiltrating protest organizations,
would be wearing uniforms (not war-like tactical gear), would actually be
in charge (not the Secret Service), and that demonstrators would be
greeted by smiling cops on bicycles while at that very moment the Ramsey
County Sheriff's office had (according to search warrant affidavits made
public earlier this week) ALREADY infiltrated the RNC Welcoming
Committee?"  I suppose I could rephrase it to suggest that such tactics
might not be wise.


Date: Sat, 6 Sep 2008 08:30:02 -0700 (PDT)
From: Gary Thompson <gkthomp [at]>
Subject: Re: [SPIF] after assessment

Thanks Dave for taking a lead on this effort. You may be the only public
official that has spoken out on the police violence.

I would start with sending this (FOX 9, yet) video to both mayors and
asking for their reaction and to explain who the higher ups were that
ordered the tear gassing of non-violent, but civil disobedient protesters?

This would go a long way in answering the many questions that many of us
have and clear the air some in the general understanding of what really
caused the obvious overreaction (to put it mildly) of the police and other
security forces.

It is only the right thing and the political thing to do by the mayors. In
today's Strib, a letter writer called for both of their resignations. I do
not believe this should be done, but the mayors need to tell uswhat person
or organization told the police and security to use tear gas on unarmed
and non-violent protesters. The correct thing to do was to just pick up
the protesters and put them in a van or truck to get them out of the way.
This is what was done before the last few conventions.

Are you as outraged as I am? The cops even went beyond their orders and
kept tear- gassing this poor young woman over and over and assaulting her!
Even the gassing of the woman once, I feel is unlawful, as well as
possibly unconstitutional.

We all need to send this video to as many public officials as we can, as I
feel this is the most telling of the videos that I have seen of the police
violence at this convention.


Date: Sat, 6 Sep 2008 10:44:31 -0500 (CDT)
From: hare [at]
Subject: Re: [SPIF] The Worst (and Best) Is Over.

Bob sayeth:
> Downside? Most of the visitors were ferried to free events and wined and
> dined elsewhere. I was especially dismayed at the lack of mobility
> downtown, which left some of us looking at open floors during lunch
> "rushes" all week. In fact, for a good chunk of Monday's happy hour,
> people were forbidden to even enter our restaurant by riot police. That
> sucked. (I snuck some in the side door! )

I predicted this would happen back in June, and talked about it at every
opportunity.  No one wanted to listen to me, as usual.  I have no idea why
I'm personna non grata around here, but my track record is pretty good at
predicting this stuff:

Why did I make that call?  Because I went to a number of discussions about
security, probably 12 in all.  Not a single one included concern about how
people would move around the city when the heart of it was ripped out.  I
asked questions about mobility, and I was politely reassured.

It's not that I'm smart, it's that I know when people are blithely
ignoring something important.  It's a special skill.

In the end, it went down about as I said.  I'm still gathering anecdotal
evidence from bar owners and other retailers, but the story so far is the
same:  Fairly normal business to slightly down, but extra staff and
security costs made it a downer.

When people raise issues about things that are clearly being ignored, they
should be listened to.  It's not about me, it's about how a truly
democratic (small "d") and open city operates.  Ordinary residents working
through a citizen participation process will often identify what's being
ignored.   To continue to ignore them is to render the process closed and
nothing but a show.  It says, "We're still in charge here, now go away."
Saint Paul needs to be better than that, and cutting that crap out is the
best way to make Saint Paul better.

Erik Hare
West End (Irvine Park), Saint Paul


Date: Sat, 06 Sep 2008 10:45:08 -0500
From: Carol A. Overland <overland [at]>
To: dave thune <thune [at]>

Dave Thune's comments and suggestions are appreciated and taken to heart.
However, I think that comments should be written, and sent to ALL,
including the Mayor and Ramsey County Commissioners, and our Governor too!
email makes this a simple task.  By sending it to all, that puts the
responsibility on ALL, not just Dave Thune, who shouldn't have to be
battling this on his own.  If only Dave Thune is getting and presenting
these concerns, it's easier to dismiss them.  The entire city is
responsible, and ALL must know our concerns.

Here's the list, thanks to whoever had posted it before:

Mayor Chris Coleman Chris.Coleman [at]
Ward 1: Melvin Carter:  Melvin.Carter [at]
Ward 2: Dave Thune:  Dave.Thune [at]
Ward 3: Pat Harris: Pat.Harris [at]
Ward 4: Russ Stark:  Russ.Stark [at]
Ward 5: Lee Helgen: Lee.Helgen [at]
Ward 6: Dan Bostrom: Dan.Bostrom [at]
Ward 7: Kathy Lantry: Kathy.Lantry [at]

Ramsey County Commissioners:
victoria.reinhardt [at]
Jim.McDonough [at]
Rafael.E.Ortega [at]
Toni.Carter [at]
janice.rettman [at]
jan.parker [at]
tony.bennett [at]

Gov. Tim Pawlenty
tim.pawlenty [at] <mailto:tim.pawlenty [at]>


Date: Fri, 5 Sep 2008 14:23:59 -0500
From: Martha <ballou [at]>
Subject: Re: [SPIF] The Worst (and Best) Is Over.

Hey Bob and everyone,

Thanks for all your good words and support for True Blue. It took the flat
out effort of literally hundreds of people over a two year period to make
this happen. I can't say enough good about Andrew, Becca, Jane Prince,
John Mannillo, Dave Thune, Jay Benanav, Lizz Winstead, Robert Greenwood,
our local artists and film makers, the City Parks people, and Liz Miller
on the Covington, and everyone else who made this happen.

It took an army and a court order but we got there.  There is a ton of
great media to use, and there is so much work to do to keep the Republican
Record out there.

We spent a lot of time doing the research, learning the facts, and getting
them out there so that people knew who did what in this Administration.

This is going to be a tougher election than I thought, and it is classic
Karl Rove to pick Sarah Palin, a red-meat babe who loves guns, drilling
and abstinence-only programs.  This election will be about resentment,
which she plays to, and it is a very powerful motivator.

Our job is to know their records and get them out there in ways that
people understand, get, and use.  The press gave McCain a free ride in
calling off the convention because of feared Katrina II. He bagged
groceries for 10 minutes.  What True Blue could show was that he voted
FIVE TIMES against relief for Katrina victims after the last storm.

I learned a lot in this convention. Partly, that a convention does not
pick its city, it picks a place to put a heavily defended Green Zone,
where no one without security can come in, and nothing goes out except in
sealed busses.  The press is sealed in the Green Zone, and even the local
reporters at some point never come out.  It is in effect a sealed city
feeding on its own information.

I also relearned the power of resentment, which is what Sarah Palin is
about. Resentment is very powerful, and it is so hot, it knocks everything
in its path out of the way.

The Left's job is to do the work, do the research, get the facts on their
records out, figure out how to make it compelling (Robert Greenwald is a
master at this) and GET IT OUT THERE. HOLD THEM TO THEIR RECORDS.  I was
so surprised that there is so little data on Pawlenty's record, same for
Norm, has been done. People literally do not know the records, the facts
and how to hold their opposition's feet to the fire.

All I can say is, if we want to win elections, do the work, do the
research, know the facts, and put them up on jumbotrons or anything else
you can get your hands on.

Thanks for all your and everyone else's help and support.

Martha Ballou
Highland, Saint Paul
Info about Martha Ballou:


Date: Sat, 6 Sep 2008 12:17:24 -0500
From: Karen Cole <krcole18 [at]>
Subject: Re: [SPIF] long week

As John Stewart put it, "I've never been in a city this friendly with this
much tear gas residue."

I think all the newly purchased riot gear should be put in big boxes and
shipped far away, maybe to the next city getting a convention.  Anywhere.
Just so it's not here and there's any temptation to use it.  Also all of
the brand new surveillance equipment.  All of this stuff is likely to lead
to unfortunate shortcuts instead of the careful respectful law enforcement
that should be the standard here.

Karen Cole
Summit and Dale


Date: Sat, 6 Sep 2008 11:00:54 -0700 (PDT)
From: Jim Kielkopf <jjkielkopf [at]>
To: dave thune <thune [at]>,
     St. Paul Issues Forum <stpaul-issues [at]>

Problem: Police were uniformed in black and military-style battle gear,
creating the impression, if not the reality, of a militarized, occupied,
and confrontational city, instead of a safe, festive environment.  Lots of
research and work goes into designing military uniforms for the political
statements of authority and imposition of power in confrontational and
violent contests for power.  Those kinds of political statements are
precisely the ones that should NOT be made by people charged with ensuring
public safety in a supposedly happy and festive event.

Solution: The same level of personal protection and command cohesion
provided by the military-style, battle-duty uniforms could have been
provided by uniforms with a more sporting appearance, maybe even paid for
with sponsored logos as sports teams do.  Use of civilian, sporting-style
protective gear by police would have helped decrease the sense of
confrontation and the military-authoritarian political statements that
were given so clearly and so often during this convention.

Jim Kielkopf
East Side, Battle Creek, Saint Paul
Info about Jim Kielkopf:


Date: Sun,  7 Sep 2008 06:12:02 +1200 (NZST)
From: Mike  Wassenaar <wassenaar [at]>
Subject: Re: [SPIF] long week

One of my employees complained Tuesday about the tear gas cannisters at
her child's daycare center playground.

It's not political...I just don't want anything like this in my city ever


Date: Sat, 6 Sep 2008 14:01:47 -0500 (CDT)
From: hare [at]
Subject: Re: [SPIF] after assessment

Thanks, Dave, for doing this.  Democracy works because people like you
make it happen.

My bits:

We know for a fact that Sheriff Fletcher relied heavily on infiltrators to
secure information on protest groups.  This may have been reasonable,
given the publicly stated intent to behave violently by some of them.
However, this action needs to be accompanied by a full accounting of the
actions of the undercover agents involved, including proof that they were
not agents provocateurs.
 Suggest that the names and full actions of the infiltrating agents be
made public along with a full accounting as to why the groups were

Some of the actions by Sheriff Fletcher in advance of the convention
resulted in little evidence being seized and no arrests.  This begs the
question as to whether they were designed to intimidate.
 Suggest that the information that was used to obtain the warrants along
with the name of the judge that signed the warrant be made public, along
with the authority that this judge had in Ramsey County.

During the more difficult times of open rioting, little was done to
control rumors.  This was very unfortunate, and is a major part of
restoring order in any such situation.  Stories of beatings and macings
were circulated, some proving true later but most not.
 Suggest that a website listing every arrestee along with picture be made
available, and that staff be on had to use the latest technology such as
twitter, etc to rebuff rumors.

The complete closure of the entire stretch along Kellogg from I-35E to the
Mississippi made it impossible for anyone to get around.  Delegates and
other people here for the convention were not able to leave the site,
meaning that economic impact was minimal from this event.
 Suggest that in the future we stipulate that a crossing at Smith/Main and
at the Science Museum be maintained as a minimum, and that we refuse to
host event that cannot operate with these crossings in place.

Economic impact is, anecdotally, not what we hoped for.  We need to find
out what this convention was worth to the city.
 Suggest a formal study by neighborhood /zip code to assess the economic

The site of so many police in riot gear was enough to damage police
relations with the citizens for many years.  To undo this damage, we need
to know exactly what the conditions are that prompt this show of force.
 Suggest a public review of all police procedures for controlling a riot
and a public comment period based on how these standards worked during the

Erik Hare
West End (Irvine Park), Saint Paul


Date: Sat, 6 Sep 2008 14:06:04 -0500
From: Neala Schleuning <schleuning [at]>
Subject: [SPIF] In the middle of the anti-war march

It's interesting that no one has commented about the "support our troops"
people occupying the traffic island at the parade route turnaround at the
Xcel Center.  At the turn, the whole parade was funneled (literally)
through a narrow passage with 8 or 12 ft high metal mesh walls on either
side.  The marchers had to slow down, and almost come to stop before
proceeding into the turn.  Right at this exact point, there were 30+
individuals standing on the small island in between the two lines of
marchers approaching and leaving the Xcel area.  They were carrying
"support our troops" signs with lots of angry looks on their faces.  As
marchers went by, many raised their hands in the peace sign.  There were
no problems.  I repeat, no problems (at least in my section of the

Now.  I would like to know.  Why were they allowed to be there, when the
rest of us were constantly advised to "keep moving, keep moving?"  Did they
have a permit to be there, to stand there to deliver an alternative message
to the peace march? It felt like a provocation approved be someone or not
stopped by other someones, that never, thank goodness, materialized.

Oh, and by the way, not a police officer in sight.

Neala Schleuning
West Side, Saint Paul


Date: Sat, 06 Sep 2008 14:20:28 -0500
From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at]>
To: David Shove <shove001 [at]>
Subject: Re: Violence ... and "our own"

I deplore the violation of rights, mass arrests, police brutality, etc.
and have been involved in situations in which I observed such tactics ...
and occasionally suffered from them ... for 50 years. However, that said,
I also believe that some responsibility also lies with those who planned
to violate the rights of assembly and free speech of the delegates to the
NRC and to destroy property and do violence to others. Even talk of such
behavior provides the police with an excuse to move against others to
prevent the planned acts from taking place.  Closing down seven bridges
into St. Paul would have created a situation that would have endangered
the safety of the public. Preventing delegates from entering the Xcel
Center would violate their right to participate in the democratic process.
Those who want to deny those rights to others, help to create a situation
where those rights are denied to all. How can we talk about our right to
assembly and our right to free speech if we condone the denial of those
rights to others?

I went to a meeting in January where I was told that all groups who were
endorsing the march were expected to agree to a statement ( which was
distributed there) that they would not publicly criticize the tactics of
any other group.  I told them then that I do not give up my freedom of
speech that willingly and just what were these tactics that they feared
that I might want to criticize?  I was told that some people wanted to
block entrances to the Xcel Center and prevent the delegates from
entering. I told them right then that I disagree with the Republican
choice for President and with their policies but I would fight for their
rights to assemble, to have free speech, and to participate in the
process.  My group refused to endorse the march for this reason.

We chartered a bus from the NW suburbs and had 52 people on the bus plus
three vans of people go to the March on Sept. 1st.  Many who made
reservations, canceled them out of fear that their children would not be
safe.  How many thousands of people may have stayed away because of the
expectation of violence?  I have been to marches with 100,000 and 200,000
and 10,000 and it seemed to me that the march on Sept. 1st was closer to
20-25,000 than to 10,000. What do you think? Nevertheless, because of the
violent actions of a small minority, almost all TV coverage was on the
violent behavior with a "oh yes, and 10,000 or so people also marched
peacefully."  The people who create such violence do not help our efforts
for a more peaceful world, change in leadership, or do anything else to
add to the movement.  They are as destructive to the movement as they are
to the windows of Macy's.  I have one old sign that I made years ago ...
"Violence Breeds Violence" ... and it still is the case.  I don't know how
... or if ... it would have been possible to defuse this violence ahead of
time when it first became known that some planned to take away the rights
of others .. or not.  To your knowledge, was any effort made to prevent
this and to turn those away from such a plan?

As far as I am concerned, if one group planned to act violently and
wanted an agreement that no others would publicly criticize their
tactics, I would have said, "No dice. Peace is about non-violence and you
don't achieve non-violence by being violent.  Violence is contrary to the
purpose of this march and if you commit violence, we will not hesitate to
criticize that tactic to anyone who will listen!"


Date: Sat, 06 Sep 2008 15:01:54 -0500
From: Rhoda Gilman <rhodagilman [at]>
Subject: [GPSP] Press release from 4th District Green Party

September 6, 2008
Contact:  Rhoda Gilman, (651) 224-6383, Spokesperson, Green Party of the 4th
Congressional District


It is with deep sadness that St. Paul Greens have seen our city become an
armed camp during the past week.  The presence of the RNC gave St. Paul an
opportunity to set a shining example of a community where diversity of
opinion and freedom of expression are welcomed and where civil
disobedience is handled firmly but with restraint.  The result would have
been trust and respect for law officers and a long step toward realizing
our vision of St. Paul as one of the worldıs greenest cities.

Instead we have seen a virtual army of anonymous, heavily armored and
armed troopers take control of our streets.  We have seen how helpless and
compliant our local authorities are in the face of such a quasi-military
occupation.  And we have experienced a sense of violation as our homes and
meeting places have been invaded on the flimsiest of excuses, our roads
and bridges closed to traffic without warning, and our jails packed with
people who were rounded up brutally and indiscriminately.  Some are angry
young protesters, some are journalists who were seeking to do their jobs,
and some are citizens who simply ventured to ask questions.

We were told it would not be this way.  We feel misled and betrayed.  We
ask that our city council and county commissioners authorize an
independent investigation along the lines suggested in Minneapolis by
council members Cam Gordon and Gary Schiff.


Date: Sat, 06 Sep 2008 16:18:29 -0500
From: Mike Schoenberg <geomike [at]>
Subject: Re: [SPIF] RNC Police: Looking Backwards

Kelly has many fine suggestions. But here I want to point out the position
of the police. New Darth Vader costumes and a lecture on how to use new
equipment do not mean the officers were trained to use the equipment
appropriately. So I ask, did the police receive appropriate and adequate
training? From the actions and tactics used by some, I believe the answer
is a loud and resounding NO!

Finally, police, as people in the employ of the public (a strange concept
at times, I know), give up some if not all rights to privacy when they act
in the public arena. We should be using modern surveillance and
identification means to track the police in their course of serving the
public (though always not obviously done at times this last week). To this
end either the equipment each officer uses or the officer themselves
should be tagged with a broadcasting RFID/GPS tags (preferably the officer
with a non-removable ankle bracelet or permanent implant), with an
adequate number of electronic RFID/GPS readers stationed at all locations
where these officers perform their duties. When combined with an adequate
number of date/time-stamped high-definition surveillance cameras, an
misapplication of power would be able to be determined. Also, all
commendable service can be noted and applauded.

As Ronald Reagan said, one of the most frightening statements in the
English language is "I'm from the government and I am here to help you."
Remember, the police are from the government.


Date: Sun,  7 Sep 2008 04:33:02 +1200 (NZST)
From: Charley Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: [SPIF] Sheriff Bob Fletcher must go

Having only about three deep breaths since the RNC left town, I have
already reached several conclusions.  Others may disagree; feel free.

My first conclusion is that Sheriff Bob Fletcher is a threat to public
safety.  Sending his deputies out to do preemptive raids with guns drawn
on literally a couple of hundred people or more (several of whom I have
spoken to personally) is not just evidence of a police state and an
affront to civil liberties.  This stuff is dangerous.  Stopping random
strangers in their cars or bikes and pulling weapons puts all of us in a
situation of real physical danger.  All evidence points to Bob Fletcher as
the one organizing these raids, in fact pushing the most confrontational
aspects of the entire week in St Paul.  He has got to go before he gets
people killed.  It is remarkable that we apparently got through last week
without fatalities.

My second conclusion is that Mayor Chris Coleman must go also.  If he
wasn't complicit in turning St Paul into a garrison city, then he was and
is so ineffective that he does not deserve to be mayor.

My third conclusion is that Matt Bostrom should be fired.  I listened to
his reassurances time after time last fall: that police would patrol in
their normal uniforms, that police officers would be clearly identified as
to unit and as to personal identity, that there would not be infiltration
of non-violent groups, that there would be absolutely NO sweeps and that
only those who broke the law would be arrested, that police operations
during the convention would be under the total control of the St Paul
police department.  I heard him make statements like saying that the
entire reason he got up in the morning every day was to protect civil
liberties.  When asked last fall at a public meeting in St Thomas if
control slipped from St Paul PD, would he resign?  He thought a long
moment and then said that he would in fact resign.

Well, Bostom hasn't resigned.  He lied.  Now it is time for him to get

So I want to use this forum for an organizing tool, and I think it is a
completely legitimate venue for electronic democracy.  But I have a
full-time job, a previously active participation in peace activism and
politics, and I live in Minneapolis.  I need some people with a lot more
expertise than I have, so I am asking mostly questions here.

Question 1: What is the mechanism for getting rid of Fletcher?  When was
he elected?  How long is his term?  Are there legal mechanisms for recall?
Is there a way to rid ourselves of him through some accreditation, like
state or national certification or professional requirements that he must
uphold the law himself?  (Something like disbarring an attorney whose
public job is dependent of being a member of the Bar.)

Question #2: What are the politics that got him elected and that might be
involved in keeping him in power?  For example, did he have a political
party endorsement and, if so, what would that look like now?  Did he have
union endorsements, particularly from law enforcement unions, and if so,
what would be the current status of that support?  Who was his opponent
and what groups were allied behind the opponent?

Question #3:  What is the current state of criminal prosecution against
deputies in his office and is there any chance that Fletcher himself may
have been involved in any of these felonies?  Will further legal actions
against his cronies likely keep any attention on his department in
general, particularly from the news media?

Question #4:  Who could replace him?  Who has the law enforcement
background and political support to actually do at least an adequate job
in the sheriff's office?

Question #5:  Fletcher seems to be getting at least lukewarm support from
both Mayor Chris Coleman and from city attorney John Choi.  Why is that,
do you think?  Are they afraid of him, either physically or politically?
Is it possible they actually share Fletcher's Wild West values and really
want the sort of police state we saw last week, or are they just covering
their derrieres?

Let me be very clear about my own values here.  I am a Gandhian pacifist,
so I can imagine many situations where civil disobedience might be used,
but I believe in doing it openly and in accepting the consequences.  I do
not condone violence against anyone, no matter who does it or who it is
against.  So I do not want police officers or Republicans hurt any more
than I want protesters hurt.  I do not support or condone even destruction
of property, although I consider property less valuable than people's
lives.  So I am not supporting any window-breaking or whatnot.

Let me also be very clear about my own actions last week.  I worked as a
street medic all week, finding a position near the action, but neither
involved as a protester nor involved as one trying to stop protesters.  I
stationed myself in situations where I might provide first aid to anyone
who might need it.  I saw a lot of bad stuff happening, and I think we as
citizens need to find democratic and legal remedies.

If you believe in democracy and in peaceful change rather than political
bullying, I am asking for your help.  A bully needs to be stopped.  Can
you help?

Charley Underwood
Longfellow (SD 62 A), Minneapolis
Info about Charley Underwood:


You Tube is Watching
The St. Paul Police vs. the Independent Media
September 6 / 7, 2008

Chronicling his life as a journalist in the colonial British Raj, a young
Winston Churchill wrote that "nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be
shot at without result". Nor, I'd add, is there anything in life quite so
discombobulating as to turn a corner and unexpectedly walk into a wall of
tear gas.

It happened to me on a couple of occasions during the years of
anti-Vietnam war protests, when I was a college student and young reporter
in Washington, DC. One time I was gassed while filming a
counterdemonstration on Honor America Day, a nationally televised
celebration hosted by Bob Hope. As God is my witness, the gas hit just as
Kate Smith was singing, "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever".

The following year, 1971, demonstrators came from around the country to
shut Washington down during morning rush hour.  A photographer, another
reporter and I were on the scene covering a failed attempt to close the
Key Bridge crossing of the Potomac. Police in pursuit, we dashed uphill
into the Georgetown neighborhood only to run smack into more police
lobbing canister after canister of gas until it blanketed the streets. I
remember then Rhode Island Senator Claiborne Pell standing at the top of
his townhouse stoop in robe and slippers, bewildered at the scene
unfolding below him, clutching his rolled up copy of the Washington Post
for dear life. Momentarily blinded, students took us in hand and led us to
a makeshift infirmary in the basement of a university building.

So, attending the Democratic National Convention in Denver and watching
events at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul via television,
the sights and sounds of police and protesters were familiar. And that
scent, the heavy, cloying smell of gas and pepper spray, as evocative as,
but far less delicate than a Proustian cookie.

In both cities, getting tickets to the big shindigs hosted by major
corporations seeking to bend the ear of party VIP's was a media challenge
- they were blocked by sometimes heavy-handed attempts by police and
private security to keep the press out.  A very few, like ABC News' Brian
Ross got in, recording, for example, the bash thrown for Republicans by
Lockheed Martin, the American Trucking Association and the NRA, featuring
a band named Hookers and Blow.  However, in Denver, one of Ross'
producers, Asa Eslocker, was arrested while trying to interview Democratic
senators and donors leaving a private event at the Brown Palace Hotel.

What was different in St. Paul was that the police seemed especially
intent on singling out independent journalists and activists covering the
Republican convention for the Internet and other alternative forms of
media. Over the weekend, police staged preemptive raids on several
buildings where planning sessions for demonstrations were being held, one
of them a meeting of various video bloggers, including I-Witness Video, a
media group that monitors law enforcement. Later in the week, I-Witness.
temporary headquarters were entered by police, claiming they had received
news of a possible hostage situation.

Why all this interest? One can only speculate, but footage that I-Witness
shot at the Republican convention four years ago in Manhattan has helped
exonerate hundreds who were arrested and detained by the New York Police
Department, their cases either dismissed or resulting in acquittals at

In St. Paul, two student photographers and their advisor from the
University of Kentucky were held without charge for 36 hours. The ACLU of
Minnesota ID'd several other journalists, bloggers and photographers from
Rhode Island, California, Illinois, Florida, and other parts of the
country who also were arrested.  Many others were gassed or hit by pepper

Perhaps the most prominent arrest was that of journalist Amy Goodman,
anchor of the daily television and radio news program, "Democracy Now!"
Police had taken two of her producers into custody as they were trying to
cover the news. Goodman went out looking for them, but didn't get very
far.  She was stopped, slapped into handcuffs, and hauled into a detention
center, along with almost 200 hundred other people. They had come to
demonstrate, she had come to report on them.

Goodman was released a few hours later and back on the job anchoring her
daily radio and TV show, a favorite of listeners and viewers who go to her
for news they won't find in the mainstream or rightwing press.

What has those in control worried is that despite what the politicians
tell us from inside their fortified compounds where the party line rules,
more and more people outside have cameras and laptops, and they're not
afraid to use them.

Forty years ago, protestors in Chicago shouted, "he whole world is
watching" More and more, the whole world isn't just watching. From
Minnesota to China, citizen journalists are reporting what they see and
hear, and the powers that be don't like it.

Michael Winship is senior writer of the weekly public affairs program Bill
Moyers Journal, which airs Friday night on PBS. Check local airtimes or
comment at The Moyers Blog at


The Media, Palin and the RNC Convention
The GOP Excluded Black-Owned Businesses from Contracts at St. Paul
September 6 / 7, 2008

The GOP convention that pumped a projected $150-million into the economy
of the Twin Cities back-handed black owned businesses in that area by
excluding them from convention related contracts. This stiff arm even
extended to reneging on pledges to post minority businesses on the
convention's website as preferred vendors.

Only the black-owned Minnesota Spokesman-Reporter newspaper reported on
this blatant exclusion. "None of that convention money trickled down. We
have significant businesses that could have benefited that didn't,"
stated Spokesman reporter Charles Hallman, who authored the August 20th
article "Republican Convention Host Committee overlooks Black businesses".


Four Action Groups
-David Shove

I suggest (at least) these four action groups and names for them. People
working on any of these should be working together, a working community.

New Broom
Replace both mayors (up in 2009) and both Sheriffs (up when?) and most of
Mpls City Council (up in 2009). Find, screen, endorse and elect reliable
consistent honest progressive small d democratic candidates (no agonizing
surprises!). Keep alive the terrible record of the incumbents up until the
2009 election - we don't forget! Demand a more friendly open community
approach from all officials. 2008 RNC Never again. "A new broom sweeps

Golden Rules
Law-savvy people investigate the bad laws/agreements/etc that led to
2008RNC. They then propose better fairer laws (Golden Rules). We pressure
the city councils and mayors to adopt them - or be replaced the next
election. (This needs to be a credible threat, based on recent history and
stalwart determination).

Straight Talk
More independent non-corporate local media, and much more involvement in
and support of it. The powers that be would love to use corporate media to
lull us back into apathy; we have got their number and must massively
resist. A free press is essential for democracy and a free community.
Straight talk, not weasel words, half-truths, lies, corporate fog, sand in
our eyes.

Freedom of information re how we got to 2008RNC, who got us here, and how
they did it. "Sunlight is the best disinfectant."


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