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NYCLU Releases Report on Republican Nat'l Convention

by TChris

The New York Civil Liberties Union takes issue with NYPD’s assertion that it behaved with utmost professionalism during last year’s Republican National Convention.

The NYCLU report 'Rights and Wrongs at the RNC: A Special Report About Police and Protest at the Republican National Convention' recommends the establishment of an independent City agency to oversee the planning and management of large demonstrations. The report says the most troubling aspect of the NYPD's actions during the Convention was its resort to mass arrest tactics that resulted in large numbers of innocent people being swept into police custody.

More than 90 percent of the arrests ended with dismissals or acquittals -- hardly stellar police work. The report (pdf) also condemns “the pervasive surveillance of lawful demonstrators, and the illegal fingerprinting and prolonged detention of nearly 1,500 people charged with mostly minor offenses.”

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Kicked Protester May Seek Legal Action

The authorities may not be interested in charging the young man at the Republican convention who kicked a protester as she lay on the floor restrained by Secret Service Agents, but the protester is contemplating legal action against her kicker.

Clare Martin, 26, of Berkeley, Calif., said yesterday that she has not ruled out any options against the young man who kicked her while she was being detained by Secret Service and security detail at Madison Square Garden on the morning of Sept. 1. "We're considering our options," Martin said. "Pressing charges is definitely one of
them."

Campaign Extra!, the blog of the Philly News, has more on Scott Robinson, who some have identified as the kicker. The blog has a picture of a Protest Warrior rally in D.C., and asks whether the protester on the right doesn't strongly resemble Scott Robinson.

In an e-mail to TalkLeft, and in a telephone conversation with Julian Sanchez of Reason Magazine, Mr. Robinson denied being the kicker. To date, there has been no definitive identification of the kicker.

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Update on RNC Kicker Identification

The Daily Pennsylvanian, while acknowledging Scott Robinson denies being the young Republican who kicked a protester while she was being restrained on the ground by Secret Service agents, runs with the story.

As mentioned here, Mr. Robinson responded to my e-mail and denied being the kicker. [link via Atrios.]

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RNC Protest Kicker Update

Bump and Update: I just received this answer to an email I sent late this afternoon to the person reputed to be the kicker of the protester. His response, in full:

Ms. Merritt,

I'm Sorry, but you must have the wrong person. (This is a little strange.) Please inform your sources. Thanks.

Scott

***************
Original Post:

Do you recognize this young man?

Julian Sanchez at Hit and Run has more information and another picture allegedly of the young Republican who attended the RNC in New York and kicked a female protester while she was on the ground being held by three Secret Service agents.

Despite TalkLeft's offer on Sept. 6 to provide the kicker's alleged name and identifying details to ABC News, or any othermedia outlet or recognized reporter, no one has taken me up on it.

Atrios has posted the new photo (before it was cropped to exclude the alleged kicker). I believe that Julian, Atrios and I have been given the same name for the kicker, by different sources. My offer to the media stands. Email me, and I'll provide you with the email I received on September 6. And links to at least two articles he has written and one blog he has posted on using this name.

Update: Check the comments at Hit and Run. The kicker's alleged name is no longer a secret.

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Pier 57...Leased by the RNC?

This letter is by one angry mother who checked the certificate of occupancy for Pier 57 in New York (which became known as Little Guantanamo or Guantanamo on the Hudson when it housed the jailed protesters in deplorable conditions) and found it was leased to the RNC. Read her indignation....and description of the conditions the protesters endured.

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Compassionate Conservative Yanks Protester's Hair

At the RNC, there was a young republican kicking a protester as she lay on the ground being held by 3 Secret Service Agents. Despite massive internet coverage, including the man's photo and several leads posted on websites, no one in law enforcement or the media appears interested in identifying and charging him with assault or battery.

Now there's this:

A member of the audience pulls a demonstrator's hair as he forces her out of an auditorium where President Bush was addressing a crowd of supporters at Byers Choice in Colmar, Pa. [Source: Associated Press article with large photo.]

[link via Drudge.]

Update: Photo link fixed.

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Young Republican Kicks Female Protester

Update: I received an email purportedly identifying the protester and forwarded it to Jen Maxfield, the reporter in the WABC video. Hopefully, the email will reach her. I will leave it to their investigative reporting staff to determine if its accurate.

Update: Jen Maxfield replied. She is in Florida covering the hurricane. Again, I'm not publishing the name since I don't know if it's the right person. If a media outlet or recognized journalist contacts me, I will provide them with the email I received.

*********************
Watch this ABC news video of a young Republican supporter kicking a female protester inside Madison Square Garden as she was lying on the ground being held by three secret service agents. The protesters were arrested. The young Republican was not. A search is on for his identity. Have you seen him?

If so, reply here.

[comments now closed, there are 175 of them.]

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Mainstream Media Praise for Convention Blogging

The Rocky Mountain News has some praise for convention bloggers in an editorial today marking the 35th birthday of the Internet.

The Internet is changing politics for the better, with both major U.S. parties for the first time credentialing people who host online journals called web logs, or blogs. Denver attorney Jeralyn Merritt, of www.talkleft.com was at the Republican National Convention offering a perspective quite unlike those found in either newspapers or on television.

And a big thanks to conservative blogger John Cole at Balloon Juice who writes:

BTW- In case you missed a lot of the coverage of the protests, Jeralyn Merritt was there, and despite the fact that I disagree with damn near anything she says, she clearly had the best of the lefty blog coverage.

I think all the liberal convention bloggers at the RNC did a terrific job--we covered the protests, the speeches, the shortcomings of the Bush Administration and more with personalized observations and reactions. A huge thanks is due the Tank for hosting us.

Please read all the Tank bloggers' coverage, accessible here. TalkLeft's complete coverage is here.

Where do we go from here? Maybe the DNCC or the Kerry campaign will grant bloggers press credentials to blog live on election day from campaign headquarters. Maybe the mainstream media will sponsor bloggers to live blog the election along side its political reporters. If you have other ideas how to expand the voice of bloggers for the election, let's hear them.

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Convention Wrap-Up

The Conventions are now over. Time to focus on the upcoming election, issues and crime-related initiatives and injustices. All of TalkLeft's convention coverage can be accessed from these two links:

Convention blogger aggregators are here and the Tank Bloggers are here

My immediate assessment: Conventions are good for rallying the troops, preaching to the choir and offering the opportunity to network and enjoy the comraderie of others sharing one's point of view. From a substantive or issues standpoint, they are fairly irrelevant. As to the impact on undecided voters, I will leave that call to the politcal experts and pollsters. The "bystander" interviews I conducted were not particularly insightful--so many just didn't care one way or the other. The one exception was the Planned Parenthood concert--that was totally focused on a substantive issue, every singer and comic and speaker addressed it, and it also was the best entertainment of the week.

Many thanks to TalkLeft's readers for enabling me to go to Boston and New York. I will send out thank you emails this weekend. It's good to be home.

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More Word Counts From Speeches

Functional Ambivalent analyzes the five highest-profile speakers at the Republican convention -- President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Senator Zell Miller, Governor Schwarzenegger, and former Mayor Giuliani -- and arrives at this breakdown:

  • Mentions of Osama bin Laden: 0
  • Mentions of John Kerry: 42
  • Mentions of Saddam Hussein: 21

Go check out his complete analysis.

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Photos From RNC Convention Week

Here are some of the photos that summarize the RNC in New York:

Jailed protesters inside Guantanamo on the Hudson
(Larger version at IndyMedia website)

Last Sunday's anti-Bush march

Last Friday's NY nude protest

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Are We Done With Ron Silver ?

Actor Ron Silver, the Bush-convert, has been on MSNBC every night during the RNC. He was intriguing in his Zell Miller-like conversion the first night. He was tiring the second. He's impossible to listen to tonight. A broken record. Grating. I'm so burned out on Ron Silver. Can he please go back to acting now?

The tables turn. Right now on MSNBC, Janeane Garofalo and Sam Seder of Majority Report are tearing into Silver on Joe Scarborough. This is getting heated. Tune in if you can.

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Judge Orders Protesters Released

A judge in New York today ordered the city to immediately release 470 protesters by 5pm and imposed a $1,000.00 fine for each prisoner not timely released.

There were accusations that the city was deliberately holding the protesters longer so they would not be in the streets during Bush's speech. "The evidence shows that the city told defendants that they would not be released until George Bush went home," said Dan Alterman of the National Lawyers Guild. The New York Police Department denied the charge.

State Supreme Court Justice John Cataldo fined the city $1,000 for every protester held past a 5 p.m. deadline that he had set for their release. It was unclear how many detainees were still in custody, but Cataldo had ordered the release of 470 people. "These people have already been the victims of a process," Cataldo told the city's top lawyer. "I can no longer accept your statement that you are trying to comply."

50 of the detainees went on a hunger strike. Conditions at the make-shift jail at Pier 57 were reportedly deplorable, prompting a rally yesterday to protest "Guantanamo on the Hudson." You can read the stories of some of those arrested in their own words here and here.

Check out the photos at Am I Patriotic? --today's are here. The AP story is here.

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Bush Speech: Word Count

Bush's speech was 5,000 words. Here's the breakdown, according to an e-mail we just received (no link, so fact check if you must.)

0 mentions of Iran
0 mentions of North Korea
0 mentions of Osama
3 mentions of Al Qaeda
5 words on the current situation in Iraq

Or how about these numbers for the speeches over the last four days?

No 'debt' or 'deficit'
Unemployment - 0 mentions
Uninsured – 1
Outsourcing - 0
Premiums - 0
Middle-income families – 1

Daily Kos has the text of Bush's speech, which had been embargoed.

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Bush Speech Lies

Bush said in his speech tonight that he supports the protection of marriage against activist judges. He said the judges he appoints will know the difference between personal interpretation and a strict interpretation of the law. He lied.

Bush's judicial nominations to date include some of the most extreme right-wing ideologues and activists out there. William Pryor; Charles Pickering; Priscilla Owen; Janice Rogers Brown.

If George W. Bush gets re-elected, he will likely appoint 3 Supreme Court justices during his next term. Say goodbye to Roe vs. Wade and a woman's right to choice. Say goodbye to equal rights for gays. Say goodbye to all the freedoms you want to preserve for your children. They will be gone.

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