Council Members Call for Investigation of RNC Police Tactics

Two Minneapolis City Council members are calling for an investigation into police tactics at last week’s Republican National Convention (RNC).

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Following the RNC protests, two Minneapolis City Council members have called for an investigation into police tactics used at the RNC. One of the council members previously critized the Ramsey County Sheriff’s office for a series of raids conducted on the Friday and Saturday before the protests.

9-5-08

Minneapolis Council Members Cam Gordon and Gary Schiff Call for Independent Investigation of RNC-Related Law Enforcement Actions

Throughout the Republican National Convention we have seen and heard a number of disturbing reports of actions taken by law enforcement, including the Minneapolis Police Department personnel, against journalists, observers, medics, bystanders, people engaged in peaceful protest and others.

We have also heard stories of patience and flexibility on the part of many law enforcement personnel. We thank and commend law enforcement for the service they provide and the many instances in the past few days where police as well as protesters have shown restraint and the ability to engage in healthy civic protest without incident.

Now that the convention is over, we join others calling for an independent, blue ribbon panel to conduct a thorough investigation into the events, decisions and policies surrounding security issues and the RNC, hold hearings and make recommendations for future policy changes.

The recent reports of law enforcement targeting observers and reporters, engaging in preemptive raids and questionable uses of force show a troubling pattern that is not consistent with our hopes for showing the world how our Cities respect the right to civic debate and are committed to preserving free speech during the 2008 Republican National Convention.

We believe that the health of our democracy depends [on] the ability of a free press to function and understand how our government’s actions encouraged or discouraged people to participate in political speech. While violence and property damage by protesters or others should not be tolerated we also know that safety should not be used [as] an excuse to limit a free press or stifle free speech.

Cam Gordon

Council Member, Second Ward

Gary Schiff

Council Member, Ninth Ward

Law enforcement officials in the Twin Cities have repeatedly justified their conduct as being appropriate for the “threats” that they faced and have said that if anything, they used “restraint.”

RNC Protest Organizers Speak to the Media

The RNC Welcoming Committee–a group that organized against the RNC for over a year and a half–broke its silence by holding a press conference last Thursday in the wake of an announcement that several of its members are being charged with terrorism.

The RNC Welcoming Committee–an anarchist and anti-authoritarian group that organized for over a year in support of the protests against the Republican National Convention (RNC)–held a joint press conference with the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign on September 4 regarding the terrorism charges announced the day before against eight Welcoming Committee members, the violent tactics of the police to suppress dissent in St. Paul and across America, and the media’s role taking the word of the police without question and largely ignoring those who are denied basic resources in our society. One person who had been arrested testifies about having been tortured in the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Jail.

Protesters back in the streets Thursday

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Despite a week of police repression, violence and arrests, protesters were back in the streets Thursday to demand an end to war,

injustice, poverty and a government that is clearly not “for the people.” 

In yesterday’s actions:

  • Leadership

    of the antiwar committee was targeted and arrested at their evening march.

  • Codepink’s

    banners disrupted John McCain’s speech inside the Xcel energy center.

  • Democracy

    Now! reporters covered a protest and mass arrests on Marion

    Bridge where repression of

    journalists was deemed, “unprecedented in recent regional history.” Some examples: NBC Kare11’s cameraman and CBS WCCO’s cameraman Tom

    Aviles were arrested. Pioneer Press’ Ben Garvin and Uptake’s Susan were

    detained.

Check out the following Indy

News links for more recent RNC coverage:

RNC Updates: Protesters Still in the Streets

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Despite law enforcement’s

continuing repression and brutality, protesters were back in the streets as

planned on Wednesday.

Below are links to headlines from other Indy media sources on the Web. Photo by Andy Birkey.

Photos from the “March for our Lives”

Photos from the “March for our Lives” at the Republican National Convention (RNC).

Here are a few photos that Mediamouse.org took during the “March for our Lives” organized by the Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights Campaign. The march demanded access to affordable housing and healthcare.

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Corporate media ignores citizens in the street, plays up “positive” police response to property destruction.

Scanning

the Webs of the major corporate media this morning, one finds little or no

reference to the thousands of U.S. citizens

who have taken to the streets of Minneapolis and St.

Paul to demand freedom and justice for all. The

one snippet of protest coverage found in the Sept. 2 edition of The Grand Rapids Press provided

unsubstantiated reports of police doing their job to keep rowdy protesters from

committing acts of vandalism.

 

Independent

media sources are covering the real news that is happening in the streets at

the RNC. Check out the current headlines:

Dispatches

from the Poor People’s march

Raiding Democracy in St.

Paul

Update:

Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman, Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar Released

After Illegal Arrest at RNC

Youth

in iconic RNC protest photo was later beaten by police, according to his mother

Boot print on his back:

Photographs, video of 17-year-old RNC protester after run-in with police

Police Arrest Nearly 300 RNC Protesters

in St. Paul

Cindy McCain and Laura

Bush Speak at RNC

As

RNC Opens, Iraq Veterans Against the War March in St. Paul

A

Debate: Iraq Veterans Against the War vs. Vets for Freedom

Two of

Monday’s RNC arrestees appear in court

Odds

and ends from Ron Paul’s Rally for the Republic

Jam-balaya:

Louisiana musicians unite to save the coastal wetlands at the best RNC party of

the week

What we mean

when we say ‘country first’

RNC: Day one

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At least 10,000 protestors took to the streets Monday, the first day of the

Republic National Convention. Hundreds of them were arrested–and many hundreds

more mercilessly attacked by law enforcement with pepper spray, rubber bullets,

tear gas and brute force. There are even reports of horseback police trampling

protestors.

By 8 p.m. Monday, the Ramsey

County Sheriff’s department reported that its jail had processed 163

protesters:73 felony arrests, 42 gross misdemeanors and 48 misdemeanors. Arraignments

were to begin at 8 a.m. Tuesday. At 10:30 p.m. Monday, Coldsnap Legal Collective reported

much higher numbers: 284 arrests, 130 felonies, 51 gross misdemeanors and 103

misdemeanors.

Coldsnap’s web site also reported, “We’ve gotten many reports

that people are not getting proper medical attention, are being refused their

medication, and/or have been separated from the rest of the group. Also, there are also many felony

charges, which allow the state to hold the protesters for a longer period of

time. Felony charges have historically been used as

scare tactics against activists, and there is much less precedent for them to

hold up in court. More often, these bogus charges are simply used to keep

protesters off the streets and as a way to oppress and silence people.”

Photo by Anna Pratt/Paul Demko

More RNC headlines:

Update:

Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman, Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar Released

After Illegal Arrest at RNC

RNC Gallery: Pictures and words from MnIndy reporters on the streets of St. Paul

MnIndy

Video: St. Paul’s High Bridge closure leaves only one route across the

Mississippi

Embedded

with the ‘anarchists’: RNC protests day one

Dispatches from

day one of the RNC

Vietnam

Veterans for Peace Demonstrate Against Fellow Vet John McCain

After

Being Detained in Preemptive House Raid, Democracy Now!’s Elizabeth Press Files

Report on Police Crackdown in St. Paul