Almost 300 Arrests in St. Paul

The police were busy in St. Paul yesterday.

Police arrested 284 people Monday after firing projectiles, pepper spray and tear gas to disperse a crowd demonstrating near the convention site.

So much for freedom of assembly. Exercising that right in St. Paul apparently results in an arrest for conspiracy to riot.

Some of the arrests were probably legitimate (there have been scattered reports of vandalism), but the pattern at political conventions has been to arrest first, ask questions later. It will be interesting to see how many of the arrestees are never charged, and how many charges are ultimately dismissed.

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    Hmmm (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by litigatormom on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 10:52:54 AM EST
    Sounds an awful lot like the way the Chinese handled applications for permits to protest at the Beijing Olympics.

    permit to protest (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Nasarius on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 11:02:29 AM EST
    In itself is an absurd concept.

    I still can't believe that mild-mannered, NPR-esque Amy Goodman of all people was arrested.


    Hey, she protested the Republicans (none / 0) (#37)
    by litigatormom on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 04:19:52 PM EST
    She obviously supports America's enemies. Her mild-mannered demeanor is just a cloak to hide her true socialistic and Islamofascist sympathies.



    scattered reports of vandalism (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 10:59:19 AM EST
    Don't minimize throwing toxic liquids on people or thrwowing bags of sand from an overpass onto busses on the Interstate.  Thats far more serious than mere vandalism.

    I'm fine with arresting the Republican (5.00 / 0) (#7)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 11:04:19 AM EST
    operatives that did this ;)

    Haven't Been Following This Too Closely (5.00 / 0) (#8)
    by daring grace on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 11:08:47 AM EST
    But I heard on Morning Joe this AM, the mayor of St Paul (?) calling the protesters who have been arrested 'criminals' and trying to make a distinction between them (He also referred to them as anarchists) and the 'good' protesters who only come there to, you know, protest the war and make speeches. And these other 'criminals' are ruining it for the others.

    Like I said, I have no other context except I saw the report here of Amy Goodman's arrest and I was struck by this official (self serving sounding) framing of the issue.

    Amy Goodwin has never (5.00 / 0) (#10)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 11:14:31 AM EST
    struck me as the anarchist type. I hope this doesn't offend her but she just wasn't wearing enough black in her arrest picture that I saw. Hopefully the other anarchists she's running with will help her fix this fashion faux pas.  I didn't even notice a bandana around her neck to hide her face.  She's definitely a rookie anarchist man.

    Goodman on Thom Hartmann show right now (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by shoephone on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 11:26:36 AM EST
    In Seattle, AM 1090.

    What Struck Me (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by daring grace on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 11:48:42 AM EST
    --and again this was my one exposure to mainstream media coverage--was the word 'criminal'.

    Granted, you have 'peaceful' marchers, singers and speechmakers and you have people throwing trash cans etc.

    But there definitely seemed to be an agenda to say: "We're not arresting protesters. We would NEVER do that. We're arresting CRIMINALS."

    I don't know the true story on the ground, but as a former protester, I felt skepticism, esp. after reading the post here about the 'pre-emptive' raids on houses earlier.


    That mayor is a Democrat (none / 0) (#30)
    by Andreas on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 01:14:05 PM EST
    The mayor who is "calling the protesters who have been arrested 'criminals'" is a Democrat.

    arrest (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by mymy on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 11:13:59 AM EST
    These jokers threw bags of cement onto busses ,from an overpass.I saw video of them smashing the windows of a police car.Seems to me if you come to a protest with your face covered chances are you are up to no good

    Totally (5.00 / 0) (#15)
    by blogtopus on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 11:22:00 AM EST
    Faces covered up? They just don't want to be ID'd as the Republican Interns they are. No snark, this smells like a smear-by-association job.

    Or them darn Canadians!


    It does to me too (none / 0) (#18)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 11:28:14 AM EST
    I've hung around in the vicinity of anarchists and yeah, they did throw around the newspaper machines a bit during an ignored peace rally in D.C. but no permanent damage to anything.  They did push their way through the riot gear to the steps of Congress too to make the point that the Congress is their Congress and the people's Congress and yeah.........we had to wash off a little spray paint on the steps but once again no bodily harming serious damage done and only annoying property damage like washing steps and uprighting newspaper machines.  This story smells overly ripe.

    You mean (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by CST on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 11:32:27 AM EST
    like Putin saving a tv crew from a tiger???

    Are you suggesting this may be contrived???

    Shocking! :)


    What makes you think Karl Rove doesn't (none / 0) (#14)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 11:21:39 AM EST
    own a bandana?  I haven't seen the video but this sort of reminds me of Iraq where videos get taken of some really evil stuff as a way to make certain impressions on the masses...........just sayin

    Cool, let's be honest. (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by blogtopus on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 12:54:00 PM EST
    Anarchists who are violent should be arrested and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Totally. Completely. Those a**holes who threw the toxic stuff should be put away.

    But let's keep our wits too, eh? It seems to me that those of you who are saying the cops are not to be held responsible for arresting innocent protesters are ignoring something: Part of their job comes down to judgement.

    Do you think it was good judgement to arrest a small, older woman for asking too many questions? They get trained for that kind of situation, don't they?

    There is no absolute way to handle this kind of thing, but I would hope that the police are taught to err on the side of the constitution. Punching someone / throwing poison / dropping cement bags on buses = bad. Asking questions / standing next to a 'criminal' = Constitutionally protected.

    Where did all the libertarians go? Have they been arrested?

    Cmon Lyle you can do better than that (none / 0) (#36)
    by blogtopus on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 04:13:23 PM EST
    Youtube is your friend. We can SEE what she did. I'm surprised he didn't beat her in the face and pepper spray her, for her insolence.

    And please, I didn't say cookies and milk, air conditioned, etc, so leave the accessories at home. Don't these guys have training about when arresting is appropriate as opposed to overreacting?

    Who / What told them they could turn off their brains and become Robocops?

    Over. Reaction.


    You say, (none / 0) (#2)
    by bocajeff on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 10:57:38 AM EST
    "so much for the freedom to assemble" however I don't believe throwing park benches through windows is part of the constitution.

    While I believe the cops may be overreaching on some arrests, don't forget that the self defined anarchists help the police become more authoritarian...

    Nobody (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by eric on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 11:18:22 AM EST
    is saying there is a right to throw park benches, are they?  This is about how the police get all hopped up because of some hooligans and abuse the rest of us.  This is about how normal, peaceful people are being abused and intimidated and how the constitution is being trampled in the process.

    I live in Minneapolis and am embarrassed by all of this.  The police do not represent the majority of people who live here in the Twin Cities.


    Who needs a baby? (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by blogtopus on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 11:23:51 AM EST
    Dirty, Filthy Bathwater! The baby was ASKING for it by sitting in the tub anyway.

    Don't knock anarchists (none / 0) (#5)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 11:02:49 AM EST
    I like them, Just don't have the guts to be one when I feel the situation calls for it.

    Yup (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Wile ECoyote on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 11:14:58 AM EST
    gotta luv the destruction of someone else s property.  

    This ownership nation thing is overrated (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 11:16:56 AM EST
    As soon as the rapture gets here you won't be needing any of that stuff anyhow, and the rapture is due any day now.

    ya think?? (none / 0) (#6)
    by Josey on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 11:04:02 AM EST
    >>>>Some of the arrests were probably legitimate

    Earlier in the day, a group of self-described anarchists threw park benches into streets and smashed windows, police said.

    St. Paul police spokesman Thomas Walsh said Monday afternoon that some of those arrested are accused of property damage and conspiracy to riot.

    The arrest of the "anarchists" came after almost 5,000 protesters marched peacefully outside the site of the convention. Walsh said they were part of a "splinter group" of the main body of protesters. He said he would not characterize their activity as a protest.

    If anything, I suspect (none / 0) (#19)
    by eric on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 11:30:48 AM EST
    the arrests have only inflamed the anarchist/anti-authoritarian types.  According to their spokesperson, "We are excited about what the next few days may bring now that the illusion of business as usual has been shattered," [Startribune].

    Further, today there is a march by the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Committee, who has pledged that it is going to leave the "approved" path to go by the jail.  That sound like a recipe for disaster.  We shall see.

    Anarchists are opportunists (none / 0) (#34)
    by shoephone on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 02:20:27 PM EST
    They are always looking for excuses to exploit any authoritarian tactics of the establishment.

    Looks like a lot of innocent, peaceful protestors got caught in the police nets in St. Paul, but I wouldn't minimize the real damage the anarchists do to legitimate peace movements. I watched in real time as they destroyed Seattle businesses all down 3rd and 4th Avenues, from Stewart Street down to University Street. There were 30,000 peaceful protestors at WTO and the anarchists ruined it for everyone. Not saying the SPD didn't overreact -- in some cases they did and those victims have gotten their victories in court. But the anarchists came up from Portland for the express purpose of starting trouble. That is what they exist for.


    violent protesters (none / 0) (#20)
    by mymy on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 11:30:58 AM EST
    I'm sure the 80 yr old delegate hospitalized because some toxic liquid was sprayed on her finds it amusing.The peaceful demonstrators need to distance themselves for the people who are violent.

    protest (none / 0) (#22)
    by mymy on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 11:37:17 AM EST
    I've watched the video.Ms. Goodman stepped inwhen the police were arresting someone she knew.She was told to go back to the sidewalk.She decided to continue telling the police what to do.How come I have to obey the police and because Ms. Goodman is a journalist she doesn't?

    eh (none / 0) (#23)
    by connecticut yankee on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 11:38:44 AM EST
    Its the anarchists.  I watched it up close in the seattle WTO riots.  They get into the crowd and start pelting the cops with bricks and sticks.  I was on the front line next to the riot police when the bricks started hitting.... Then comes the tear gas and they march forward.

    That's why the anarchists come.  

    If the cops do nothing they catch flack from the law and order newspapers.  If they do mass arrests they wind up on the blogs.

    I cant say which side of the line they were on this time without more information.

    protest (none / 0) (#24)
    by mymy on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 11:39:46 AM EST
    They want to be inflamed.So as to not inflame the protesters the police should just let them vandalize whatever they want?

    Anarchists love to make trouble (none / 0) (#26)
    by stefystef on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 11:50:55 AM EST
    I was watching "protesters" smashing windows.  Why????
    Because they want to be on TV???

    It only gives strength to the Republican mindset... The cops are off the chain as usual.  You shoulda seen NYC in 2004.  The main protest against the RNC was excellent!!!  ~sigh~  And Bush still won.

    Some of those folks make real protesters look bad.  And that's a shame.

    certainly the best way (none / 0) (#31)
    by cpinva on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 01:19:47 PM EST
    to assure that the police are more judicious and discriminating, with regards to who they arrest, would be a multi-billion dollar lawsuit, against the city, and the police personally.

    when the police become an untenable fiscal liability, change will occur, and not beforehand.

    they are, after all, supposed to be the highly trained, licensed professionals. as with any other licensed professional, they should be subject to the same malpractice standards.

    it's the only way to be sure.

    arrests (none / 0) (#33)
    by mymy on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 01:55:21 PM EST
    WOW. The policeman {yeah I'm that old} are humane beings first.When rocks and toxic substances are being thrown at them I would expect them to be a bit defensive.How about the peaceful demonstrators stand up and kick out the violent ones.

    Lyle and mymy (none / 0) (#35)
    by shoephone on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 02:27:55 PM EST
    You two are a real good tag team. Do you get paid per comment?

    Amy is no violent anarchist: See for yourself (none / 0) (#38)
    by bluejane on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 06:48:43 PM EST
    Amy Goodman's show today reports on the St Paul police arrests of herself and her producers and cameraman (completely overboard, no reason to arrest Amy as video shows; others not seen directly on video but you can listen to their accounts).


    Amy also interviewed today by Thom Hartmann radio show:


    Also see pre-emptive house invasion by police of Eileen Clancy's "I-Witness Video" group. They are going for the press. They are going for the cameras. Amy and her producers and cameraman are not violent anarchists. They had press credentials and GOP convention credentials that were taken from from as detained. Police are (supposed to be) trained to use judgment and not use force against peaceful journalists. This is raw intimidation of the press. Looks like Eileen's Clancy's work in NYC 2004 documenting police arrests during the RNC (videos were used to prove police lied in court about their arrests) has really made the police wary of cameras or anyone watching what they're doing. I say bless the hearts of Amy Goodman and Eileen Clancy who are national treasures.

    Direct link to Eileen Clancy's "I-Witness Video" blog with account of pre-emptive police invasion of her house and her arrest: http://iwitnessvideo.info/blog/index.html

    Glenn Greenwald (none / 0) (#39)
    by Mr Natural on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 11:52:13 PM EST
    has written a few good columns about the Minnesota incidents in Salon.com.