'Preemptive' Arrests of Protesters in Twin Cities

Borrowing from the Bush Administration's "preemptive war" playbook, police agencies in the Twin Cities made "preemptive strikes" against organizations planning to protest at the Republican National Convention.

Ramsey County authorities conducted raids across Minneapolis and St. Paul Friday and Saturday .... Five people were arrested and more than 100 were handcuffed, questioned and released by scores of deputies and police officers, according to police and elected officials familiar with the raids.

The police continue to be obsessed with groups that came to town to monitor police misconduct. [more ...]

On Saturday afternoon, law agents surrounded 951 Iglehart Av. in St. Paul where members of I-Witness Video, a New York-based group that monitors police conduct during protests, were staying. They were detained and handcuffed but eventually freed without charges.

St. Paul City Councilman Dave Thune is upset at the Ramsey County Sheriff for stepping on the toes of the St. Paul police in conducting the raid against I-Witness Video.

"I'm really ticked off...the city is perfectly capable of taking care of things," Thune said. "If they had found anything that could have been used to commit a crime they would have arrested somebody."

Finding evidence of a crime wasn't the point of the raid. Sending a message was the point: the Ramsey County Sheriff's Department has no interest in having the conduct of its deputies monitored.

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  • Display: Sort:
    This is disgusting behavior. (5.00 / 0) (#1)
    by eustiscg on Sat Aug 30, 2008 at 08:16:51 PM EST
    Hopefully these people aren't the type to be intimidated out of their free-speech rights.

    How do we get invoved and fight this? (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by fiver5 on Sat Aug 30, 2008 at 08:39:08 PM EST
    I'm an out of state lawyer who has practiced very little criminal law.  Nonetheless, I know how to get plane tickets, and I learn quick - and I'm not alone.  Is there something set up where where we can get local counsel, pro hoc vice status, and some basic education?  

    I've been trying the ACLU, the National Lawyers Guild, and even Al Franken's site, but no luck.  Please post any info you might have or e-mail me.  

    If I were you (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 01:52:03 AM EST
    I would google the ACLU in the state you are tyring to go to and contact them.

    In Denver, there was free legal training during the weeks preceeding the convention.

    The night Obama gave his speech, about 11 to 1130pm, the TL Kid and I were walking back to our cars when we heard sirens and a huge motorcade --motorcycles, huge 4 wheel drives, etc. It obviously was Obama on his way to the Westin Hotel. We turned the corner and were stopped at the Westin entrance by a lot of police. They told us to wait till they gave the all clear. Then he said he was checking on the all clear or he gave the all clear but hadn't released his hand yet. The kid in front of me tried to get through and somehow his hand and the officer's arm touched. The cop arrested him on the spot. Here's the photo I took. The kid was yelling "you need probable cause."


    Photo of A Lawyer in Handcuffs (5.00 / 0) (#3)
    by daring grace on Sat Aug 30, 2008 at 08:55:51 PM EST
    There's an image for the republican convention that is evocative of the last eight years of corrupted gov't agencies and Guantanamo.

    'Law enforcement' in the Twin Cities is certainly doing its part to help live up to that group Recreate '68's aims: pre-emptive raids BEFORE any crimes are committed. Somewhere Mayor Daley is beaming.

    Yeah, I don't know the answer to this. (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by eustiscg on Sat Aug 30, 2008 at 11:20:09 PM EST
    It turns me off this site that all of the Palin posts get hundreds of comments, and this, the only truly newsworthy (as opposed to gossipworthy) post gets ... 5.

    I feel the same way whern our crime posts get (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 01:41:20 AM EST
    practically no comments. Doesn't defeat me though,I just tell myself to try harder.

    When the site was all crime issues, we rarely got comments at all. So the few you are seeing here is an improvement.

    The goal is to inform people and then hope they become engaged in the topic. If they do, they will start commenting. Wny not post on those infrequently commented threads and see if you can get a discussion going.


    the "crime posts" (none / 0) (#13)
    by blueness on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 07:46:10 AM EST
    are what brought me here--many, many years ago. Logging on for the first time tonight to let you know that, and that, on Ms. Palin, your aim is true.

    I'd like a country where this was a scandal. (none / 0) (#5)
    by jerry on Sat Aug 30, 2008 at 11:08:05 PM EST

    Permit games (none / 0) (#10)
    by Ben Masel on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 03:52:23 AM EST
    Our attempt to get a TRO over revocation of Wednesday and Thursday permits for Hamm's Plaza, originally issued in March, was denied. US District Court Judge Kathleen Grearin cited the late application for relief, (revocation was dated Aug. 5th.)

    Notes that we can still use Hamm's without a permit for 24 or less, and we're offered Ecolab Plaza for a group of the original size. Hamm's is within the "soft perimeter."

    I'm co-ordinating a "STOP GOVERRNMENT SPYING" event in Hamm's Thursday, 4-8, with a 2nd presence at the Ecolab site.

    fiver 5 - chill! (none / 0) (#11)
    by DFLer on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 07:33:10 AM EST
    Not everyone can post and respond at the hour that you have, okay?

    Sara Coffey of the National Lawyers Guild was one of those arrested. They are directly involved. You should be able to find out from them, heh?

    Also, read the Mpls.Star Tribune (linked above) and the St. Paul Pioneer Press for local coverage.

    Cops said that among the things they found (none / 0) (#12)
    by DFLer on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 07:38:43 AM EST
    were "buckets of urine" to be used to throw at police.

    Well, the anecdotal evidence is that these buckets were: 2 found in the one house were actually water, sitting next to the toilets to use for flushing...ya know, 'cause of the low footprint habits of the occupants, and a third bucket on another premisis was urine, 'cause they had no toilets in the squatter house.

    Of course, the release of the urine-tossing dirty hippies thing by the cops elicited sympathy for their actions. sheesh

    I bet (none / 0) (#14)
    by Jen M on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 11:08:01 AM EST
    Next time there will be hidden cameras in their rooms.

    Video of Denver police (none / 0) (#15)
    by MyLeftMind on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 12:30:00 PM EST
    knocking down a woman who videotaped them arresting someone else.  They then arrested her for "interfering."

    St. Paul Resident (none / 0) (#16)
    by Joe Bob on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 01:07:39 PM EST
    I have to admit, the events of the past few days have been something of an eye-opener for me.

    For many months the St. Paul City Council has talked a lot about accommodating protesters. I don't doubt their sincerity one bit. On the whole, the City Council, as well as the Mayor, are a pretty liberal bunch. That's especially true of Dave Thune, mentioned in the article. I would even characterize John Harrington, the St. Paul Chief of Police, as an entirely decent guy.

    I think what is happening is that our local government is being steamrolled by forces greater than themselves. Note that the 'raids' were conducted by Ramsey County Sheriffs. I think county-level law enforcement, i.e.: Sheriff Bob Fletcher, is more than happy to participate in this sort of thing. And don't forget that we still have a GOP Governor who, despite being jilted by McCain, wants to see the RNC go off without a hitch.

    I just have to wonder when, very recently perhaps?, St. Paul city government sat down and realized, Damn, we're not in control of this thing anymore.

    The mayor Chris Coleman is a Democrat ... (none / 0) (#17)
    by Andreas on Sun Aug 31, 2008 at 01:22:46 PM EST
    ... and he supports the attacks on the protesters.