Civil Litigation Working Group

We are CRASS’s civil litigation working group. Welcome to our web page! We want to help you learn about all the ways you can fight back against the police state by taking them to court for the police brutality and silencing of free speech that we experienced during the RNC. But first, a disclaimer: This is not legal advice. If you want legal advice, you need to talk to a lawyer. We are just friends and supporters trying to make it easier for you to make them pay.

There is a lot of information to cover about civil suits, and we are doing our best to make it accessible (i.e., not in legal speak). To learn everything that we know, visit our Civil Litigation Information and Forms page. If you have questions, please contact us at RNCcivillit@riseup.net.

Civil Litigation is Now Underway!

We have been patiently working to create a legal support framework for our community to fight against the police abuses and terrorizing of dissent that we experienced during last year’s Republican National Convention. We are ready to assist lawyers in going on the offensive against the system that had us jailed, attacked, prosecuted, and gassed. Civil litigation is a slow process but the lawyers are moving towards filing the first suit against the mass arrests of last year.

The framework has now been created and your participation as witnesses, volunteers, or plaintiffs is crucial. Our first focus will be on the mass arrests at Shepard Road on Sept. 1 and during the anti-war march on Sept. 4. If you were arrested at either of these incidents, see below for information about how to get involved.

Attorneys and legal workers are currently looking into other RNC incidents from which suits may be filed. We hope as our capacity grows that lawyers will be able to take on additional cases of collective action against the state, police, sheriff, and other agencies who are responsible for the militarization of our communities and attacks on dissent last fall. Info about additional suits will come out as fast as we are able to get it together.

If you were not arrested at Shepard Road or another mass arrest situation and want to pursue civil action for how you were treated by police during the RNC, we can suggest 2 options:

  • Find a lawyer who will handle your case. We have some names of lawyers who may be interested in handling your case. You can contact us at RNCcivillit@riseup.net.
  • Fill out our intake form and send it to us. We will keep these forms in secure locations and we will make sure that lawyers are presented with your information to see if they are interested in your cases. Intake forms are available at http://www.rncaftermath.org/resources/civil-litigation-forms/

Sept. 1 Mass Arrest: Shepard Road

A message from the lawyers organizing this suit:

“The Law Office of David L. Shulman, with the assistance of Robert Kolstad and volunteers from CRASS, is investigating violations of civil rights that occurred on September 1, 2008, at Shepard Road in St. Paul, Minnesota during the Republican National Convention. We believe that government actors violated the civil rights of persons by the use of unlawful detention and/or arrest, excessive force in the form of pepper spray and other chemical weapons, and other forms of excessive force. It is possible, even likely, that other civil rights abuses also occurred.

“If you were at Shepard Road on September 1 and believe your civil rights were violated or if you witnessed the violation of others’ civil rights, we are interested in talking to you. Our purpose in doing so is two-fold: first, we want to hear first-hand from you what took place on Shepard Road. Second, we want to gauge the level of interest of individuals in participating in a civil lawsuit intended to hold responsible public officials and law enforcement personnel.

“If you are willing to discuss your experience at Shepard Road, please call us at 612-870-7410, or you may email Robert Kolstad at bob@robertkolstad.com.”

Sept. 4: Mass Arrest During & After the Anti-war March

If you were arrested at the mass arrest event that culminated on the Marion Street Bridge, contact Jordan Kushner at kushn002@umn.edu or (612) 288-0545.

Finally, please join our announcement-only listserv: RNCcivillit@googlegroups.com. Go to http://groups.google.com, search for “RNCcivillit,” then click on the “Join this group” link and follow the instructions. If you don’t have a Google account, you’ll need to create one, but you can use any email address you want (i.e., you don’t have to create a gmail account just to get these announcements!).

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