Posts tagged Riot cops

Street Thugs

From England:

So far, police have arrested more than 1,700 suspects. About 1,000 of those have been charged. Of those convicted some are receiving what seem to be tough sentences.

Take Anderson Fernandes. He faces possible jail time for stealing two scoops of ice cream during a Manchester riot. There are other cases involving petty theft like stealing a bottle of water, a cake and chewing gum.

. . . Politicians and the public [sic] have demanded tough sentences.

And that may explain what seem to be particularly harsh sentences for Jordan Blackshaw and Perry Sutcliffe-Keenen. They each got four years in prison for using Facebook to incite a riot, or rather failing to incite a riot.

Both invited their Facebook friends to join in the looting with a “smash down” at an appointed place and time. No one showed up, however, except for police who promptly arrested them.

. . .

But many also feel that harsh punishments are necessary to let offenders know the riots were not a free-for-all without consequences.

Riots and looters trashed the pretty and normally placid suburb of Ealing, west London last week. The day after, I stood in the riot debris and an elderly woman stopped for a chat.

She lamented the state of Britain’s youth and suggested one way to deal with it. They should bring back … execution, she said grimly, drawing a finger across her throat.

— Atika Shubert, CNN World (2011-08-17): Riot sentences stir backlash in UK

I’m reminded of the time that Lyndon Johnson took a brief break from napalming Vietnamese children to get on the TV in July 1967, in order to speak out on the riots in Detroit, and to declare that We will not endure violence. It matters not by whom it is done or under what slogan or banner. It will not be tolerated. Which is why — under the slogan of public order and the banner of the United States government — he sent tanks and soldiers down Woodward Avenue, so that they could massacre unarmed teenagers at the Algiers Hotel, and join the local police in gunning down looters and curfew violators.

This is what a police state looks like. (Part 3 of ???)

Show me what a police state looks like…

This is what a police state looks like!

In the interest of equal time, this footage comes from the streets of Occupied Denver, during the protests outside of the Democratic National Coronation. While police repression was much less severe in Denver than in St. Paul, the city government’s use of fascist free speech zone cages was much more extensive, and the paramilitary cadres in Denver engaged in plenty of their own pre-emptive raids on activists, round-ups and mass arrests, pepper-spraying, beatings with batons, and all the rest.

Remember that so-called electoral democracy — in fact, nothing more than an imperial elective oligarchy — never means that we (meaning you and I and our neighbors) are respected as sovereign individuals or left alone to manage our own affairs. What it means is that a highly organized, heavily armed elite insists on the privilege of representing us, ruling over us, and ordering us around, on the excuse that, once every several years, we are given some minimal opportunity to select which of two tightly regimented political parties will take control of the ruling apparatus. It is, in other words, not freedom, but rather a Party State, in which we are given only the choice of which of two bureaucratic political parties might control our lives and livelihoods, with their authority supposedly justified by the ritual of elections and the mandate of popular sovereignty. And if the people (again, meaning you and I and our neighbors) should dare to think that we might challenge the authority of the regime supposedly representing us, you’ll find that it’s the people that go out the window, not the rigged electoral system or the parties’ grasp on the authority supposedly derived from those people.

See also:

Cops are here to protect you. (#7)

Trigger warning. The video footage and news report include both video and a verbal description of a male cop shouting misogynistic curses and using sudden physical violence against a woman trying to find out why another protester had been arrested.

This special edition of Cops are here to protect you is brought to you from the streets of Occupied Denver, during the recent police riots against people protesting the Democratic National Convention.

Government cops protect you by yanking random dark-skinned men out of the park for no clear reason. Then, if you should walk up and try to take some photographs of what’s happening, or ask them why they’re arresting a dark-skinned man who, as far as anyone could tell, was standing around not doing anything wrong, they’ll protect you by jabbing you with a stick. Then, if you should dare to verbally demand that your public servants stop jabbing you with a stick for asking questions, they’ll make sure you’re good and protected by screaming Back up, bitch! in your face and slamming you to the ground with a body check from the same stick.

Oh, and then grabbing you and hauling you away to jail when you try to talk to reporters about what just happened.

The woman shown on video being shoved to the ground by a Denver police officer says the officer hit her four times with his baton in an incident she describes as unprovoked.

CodePink protester Alicia Forrest, 24, was released on $500 bail Tuesday night and has a court date for late September, she said Wednesday at an anti-war protest march through the middle of Denver.

I’m a little sore, she said, but I’ll make it.

Forrest is a former fashion designer from Los Angeles.

She and others were asking officers why they were arresting another protester Tuesday afternoon outside Civic Center Park when the officer poked her twice with his baton. He then pushed her with the long side of the stick once, Forrest said, before yelling, Back up, b—— and shoving her hard to the ground.

The final shove was captured by a Rocky videographer.

. . . I was taking photos (and) he kept hitting me with his baton, she said. I was so shocked that he did that.

Forrest and CodePink said the officer was reassigned and can no longer interact with demonstrators, but that could not be immediately confirmed Wednesday.

Forrest was in jail about five hours, then spent another two hours talking with the Denver Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division, she said.

— Paul A. Anthony, Rocky Mountain News (2008-08-28):

I suppose it’s for the best that he can’t get all interactive on demonstrators’ asses anymore. But if it is true that he acted improperly enough to yank him from protest control duty, then isn’t also the case that he violated the rights of an innocent woman with his use of force? And, if so, why is this dangerous thug — who feels perfectly free to beat an unarmed woman with a stick, while screaming misogynistic curses at her, apparently for nothing more than daring to give him lip — why, I say, is he not in jail on charges of assault and battery?

See also:

In fifteen words or fewer: On Blaming the Victim

From the New York Times (2008-09-01): As Throngs of Protesters Hit Streets, Dozens Are Arrested After Clashes:

Elsewhere in St. Paul, a prominent Democratic Party strategist, Donna Brazile, was hit by pepper spray while trying to walk around protesters outside the convention hall, Ms. Brazile said in an interview.

I got a strong whiff — just toxic — and my head and throat are still hurting, said Ms. Brazile, who appears on CNN as a political analyst. I’ll avoid the protesters tomorrow.

Wouldn’t it have been more to the point for her to avoid the cops?

See also:

Emergency action alert: Twin Cities protesters imprisoned without charges; human rights abuses in Ramsey County jail. Free all political prisoners!

Folks,

I received a message this morning from ALLy Soviet Onion. If you are in the Twin Cities area, please join the vigil outside of the jail. If you are not, please call to demand the release of all protesters being imprisoned without charges and respect for the human rights of all prisoners.

Incidentally, since yesterday, the total number of people arrested has now risen to over 800.

From the Coldsnap Legal Collective, Sept. 2nd, 2008:

Over 300 protesters, bystanders, media, and medics arrested at RNC

Two minors sentenced to 30 days in adult jail

St. Paul, MN – Two days into the Republican National Convention (RNC), more than 300 people have been arrested, including at least 120 people for felonies — mostly the notoriously vague charge, conspiracy to riot. With no provocation, police have indiscriminately used rubber bullets, concussion grenades, and chemical irritants to disperse crowds and incapacitate protesters. Police appear to be specifically targeting videographers documenting these police abuses. In response, lawyers have filed a federal restraining order against such conduct.

By the end of the day today, only 12 people had been arraigned. Many arrestees are refusing to provide identification, in order to call attention to what they consider trumped-up charges and to collectively bargain. These tactics are designed to protect the most vulnerable people in jail, and take a page from the history of labor solidarity, said Rick Kelley of Coldsnap Legal Collective, an activist-based legal collective supporting the arrestees. Based on the vagueness of their charges and the program of police intimidation currently underway, these individuals understand how they will fare if they don’t stick together. The court has been imposing the maximum bail of $2,000 for misdemeanor defendants.

In an unusual court decision, Ramsey County Judge Paulette K. Flynn today convicted two minors of criminal contempt for refusing to provide their identity. The two minors were then sentenced to 30 days in an adult jail facility. This decision undermines one of the most fundamental human rights concepts in the justice system, to protect the rights and safety of children, said Jordan Kushner, Mass Defense Committee Chair of the National Lawyers Guild’s Minnesota chapter, and an attorney for one of the minors. This shows the willingness of the courts to go to any length, including sacrificing the most important due process rights, to answer to the political pressure to persecute activists.

Many arrestees are also being denied medical attention. One arrestee with hemophilia and another with asthma are being denied their prescription medication. An arrestee with a broken finger is being refused medical care, as is a person who has been coughing up blood. An anemic woman reported to Coldsnap today that she passed out for 20 to 30 minutes due to iron deficiency and was told that she could not receive iron because it was a prescription medication, and because she refused to identify herself. Iron is in fact an over-the-counter supplement. The same anemic woman reported seeing a Sheriff knock another woman to the ground and drag her out of the room by her hair. Just because people have been jailed does not mean their health should be put in jeopardy, said Kelley. This is a matter of compassion and basic human rights. An unknown number of arrestees are also engaging in a hunger strike to put pressure on the jail to provide needed medical attention for other prisoners.

Under Minnesota law, detainees must be released after 36 hours if the court fails to review and affirm probable cause for their charges. This 36-hour period will expire at noon on Wednesday.

From Soviet Onion:

This report was released by Coldsnap on Tuesday the 2nd. It’s now Thursday the 4th, and protesters are still being held without affirmation of probable cause.

In response to the anemic woman’s denial of medication, fifty of the other women being held with her have begun a hunger strike in solidarity.

Coldsnap legal has also reported that within the jail, trans-folk in particular have been denied their phone calls, and are being placed in cells opposite the gender they identify with and in which they do not feel safe.

In addition, there are unconfirmed reports of ICE agents intimidating detainees with foreign-sounding names.

What you can do:

Right now there is a constant 24-hour vigil outside the Ramsey Co. jail house at 425 Grove St., St Paul, near the intersection of Grove and Lafayette St. Despite continuing harassment from riot police outside the jail, we are providing support and services to our friends and community members as they are released. In order to have a round the clock presence, we need lots of people to come hang out and help out at the jails. If you are interested in getting on the outtake schedule, please email Lindsey at lindshives@gmail.com. Otherwise, just show up and bring your friends! We’ll be there 24 hours throughout the RNC, starting Friday night after critical mass.

Out-of-towners can still help us put pressure on the assholes responsible by calling their offices and demanding an end to these practices:

  1. Immediate medical attention. [Jail staff are reportedly lying about medical attention being given, so don’t believe them if they say it has]

  2. Arrestees to be allowed to meet in group(s) with their lawyers.

  3. Dismissal of all charges.

  4. Release of minors from adult jail.

  5. Ensure trans folks have access to phones, attorneys, and are held with the gender group of choice

Direct your complaints to:

  • Mayor Chris Coleman, (651) 266-8510
  • Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher, (651) 266-9333
  • Ramsey County Chief Judge Gearin (particularly important due to the courts being late in reviewing their charges), (651) 266-8266
  • Head of Ramsey County Jail Captain Ryan O’Neil, (651) 266-9350

See also: