DNC 2008, or Show Us What a Police State Looks Like
Earlier this month, I posted a video about the prison camp built for protesters at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado. The convention has wound down and the smoke is clearing. In the aftermath, we find repeated abuses of basic American rights and a grim outlook toward the police state of the seemingly near future.
Here are some videos and articles, take what you will from them:
The right to peaceably assemble:
Police surrounded the Food Not Bombs dinner for protesters and began pepper-spraying people to make them disperse into a trap where the police surrounded them. The organized protesters exercised oversight and surrounded the police, forcing them to let the protesters free.
Teenage girls attacked by police:
Two teenage girls were attacked without warning by police for simply writing with sidewalk chalk outside Senator Barack Obama’s hotel. This should disgust everybody, parent or not. This is not how we treat children.
Raw Story obtained a letter from the ACLU descibing rights violations by the Colorado Police:
“ACLU revealed that the police refused those arrested access to attorneys. Police did not let detainees use phones unless they posted their own bonds, and even failed to provide shoes, in one case marching a protester into court in bare feet and leg shackles, according the ACLU.
What’s more, police are said to have tricked protesters into pleading guilty, by giving them the impression they had to plead guilty in order to post bond. This meant that no one was allowed to make a phone call unless they plead guilty, thus making it impossible for arrestees to even call a lawyer until admitting guilt.
Most ominously, the ACLU letter claims that protesters were told they would be “facing ‘years’ in jail for a conviction of a single particular charge.”
“In fact, all the charges were municipal court violations that do not carry such penalties,” the ACLU added in a footnote.
Nor were protesters even given the chance to back down before they were arrested.
“It is not clear whether any order to disperse was given. No Legal Observer [sic], witness or arrestee on the scene we’ve debriefed heard any order to disperse,” wrote Taylor Pendergrass, a staff attorney for the ACLU of Colorado. “Numerous persons, including Legal Observers, asked to be able to leave the blockaded area and were refused.”
Recreate 68, one of the protest organizations present in Denver, is also considering a lawsuit, for $50 million, the amount of federal aid granted to the city for security at the convention, against the Denver police.
Authorities made a big deal of two fear-inducers (a/k/a rationalizations for increased police aggression), an abandoned backpack at a bus station, which turned out to be nothing, and the arrest of four white supremacists on suspicions of a conspiracy to assassinate Senator Obama during his acceptance speech, which also turned out to be a complete farce.
This police state ends or it escalates. The future is in our hands. We have the power. It is time we exercise it. Peaceful protests do not demand such terrorism by police. We must not stand for it.