The Blue Raccoon

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

"Awesome! Awesome!"
Police non-interference with journalists doing their job is just a theory

Our Men In Blue: St. Paul police and FBI agents outside a house they didn't have an actual warrant to search, though they burst in and harassed people anyway. Via

Journalist Amy Goodman and several other of her Democracy Now! colleagues were harassed, detained and released, and none of the main stream media seems to have much concern. In yesterday's New York Times, a few graphs on jump page made mention of this incident.

Note how two of theme are getting charged with felony riot; if convicted, that means you can't vote. Goodman acknowledges that some unnecessary violence occurred about "peace" protestors, but that the excessive over reaction by "peace" officers trampled upon the Constitution and recalled to me Adon Yoder's century-old description in his Idea pamphlet of Richmond police conducting wholesale arrests of blacks in Jackson Ward as "Russian-like procedure." He was talking about czarist law enforcement -- which seems like where we're headed.

Some excerpts from Goodman's telling of events:

"AMY GOODMAN: Most of the arrests took place within hours of a 10,000-strong peace march organized by the Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War. After the rally ended, several splinter groups broke off for spontaneous actions in the streets of St. Paul.

While most protesters demonstrated peacefully, some engaged in property damage, slashing car tires, throwing bottles, tipping trash bins and breaking windows of cars and buildings. One of the broken windows came in the building that houses Saint Paul Neighborhood Network—that’s SPNN —where Democracy Now! is broadcasting from this week.

But police used harsh tactics, including chemical irritants, to disperse everyone, even those protesters who remained peaceful. Officers in riot gear fired teargas, pepper spray, rubber bullets in a series of standoffs around the downtown St. Paul area.

Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar were covering one of those standoffs before their arrest. They were released last night but now face pending charges on suspicion of committing a felony riot. It’s called “PC riot,” probable cause riot. I’ve been charged with obstruction of legal process and interference with a, quote, “peace” officer. Overall, police say some 120 people face pending charges. "

There is an extensive description of how these reporters and producers were treated, but here Goodman describes the preemptive raid upon a house were I-Witness video reporters were congregated.

"Of course, we just came out of Saturday, where we raced from the airport, got a text that I-Witness Video, which did such a remarkable job as the New York Police Department will also admit, documenting what happened in 2004 at the RNC, the I-Witness Video collective was in a house in St. Paul. They just arrived, beginning to organize their week of documenting what was happening here. And there was a preemptive raid in the house.
They didn’t even have a warrant for this house. They had a warrant for the house next door. And the police moved in, and we documented all of that. I have to say, when I was inside the jail next to the pens, I asked one of the St. Paul cops what he thought about these preemptive raids. He said, “Awesome! Awesome!

This wasn't reported much, and if so, framed in such a way that Mr. and Mrs. Murgatroyd sitting at home in the cul-de-sac archipelago just nod and mumble, "Well, they deserved it!"

No, nobody who isn't breaking the law or waving a handgun at a candidate deserves this kind of treatment. These are just our basic rights under assault that, as someone a while ago observed, U.S. citizens would exchange for a good deal at a White Sale. And it's because, in the main, they don't know what they have, so they can't understand what it is they are losing.

The whole transcript is here.

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At 8:06 AM, Blogger Scott said...

Harry, the Green Party cares.

At 4:52 PM, Blogger libhom said...

These attacks on press freedom are disgusting. There just is no excuse for them.

At 1:08 PM, Blogger HEK said...

Scott and libhom, thanks for dropping in to my tidal pond of the InterTubes.

Scott, well, I'm glad the Greens care. Shows somebody does; though how little mention has been made of this demonstrates the culpability of the MSM by its complicity in silence.

And libhom, these attacks on press freedom are not just disgusting, but scary.


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