New RNC Aftermath Documentary Released!

September 29, 2009

Check out what our friends in Chicago did!

One year after the 2008 Republican National Convention, the Chicago Independent Media Center takes a look back over the last year of RNC aftermath work. This documentary shares helpful advice with any activists organizing under state repression.  Includes interviews with legal workers, members of the RNC8 and arrestees, as well as updates on our incarcerated friends.

“Resist! An RNC Aftermath Documentary”
By Chicago Indymedia
Released September 21st, 2009
Runtime: 1hr 12min

http://www.archive.org/details/RESISTRNCAftermathDocumentary

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Recent RNC Court Happenings

September 22, 2009

On Sept. 17, two important events took place in the Ramsey County Courthouse. Check out the word from our friends at TC Indymedia:

“Two decisions related to RNC protests came down simultaneously in Ramsey County Court Thursday afternoon.  Eight demonstrators from the August 31, 2008 Vets for Peace march were found guilty of misdemeanor trespassing, but were sentenced to merely a $100 fine or 20 hours community service.  They had argued their claim of right to enter the secured area around the Xcel Energy Center under international law and the Minnesota and United States Constitutions.  Meanwhile, two floors above, Jesse James Forrey was sentenced to 120 days in jail after being found guilty weeks ago of felony damage to property.  He’ll likely serve 75 with good behavior. The expected sentence was much higher.”

Read the whole article at http://tc.indymedia.org/2009/sep/september-rnc-verdicts-community-service-fine-vets-peace-forrey-gets-120-days

And check out the awesome support letter for Jesse James Forrey!

From http://supportjessejames.wordpress.com/

“Today, Jesse was sentenced to 120 days in jail by Judge Flynn. What this means in Minnesota is that he should get 1/3 of his sentence off for good behavior, and 5 more days off for credit from when he was arrested last year, for a total of 75 days in jail. So our educated guess is that he’ll be free on December 2nd. We’ll keep you posted, of course.

“During the sentencing, Richard Dusterhoft, the Prosecutor, argued for 6 months in jail and just over $10,000 in restitution. Jesse’s attorney asked for at most 60 days in jail. Jesse spoke eloquently on his own behalf. He mentioned how much he’s learned and changed in the past year, how he wants to move on in his life and do what’s really important to him: spend time with the children in his life, his friends and family, and return to his community. He said he’s already experienced distance from his loved ones, isolation, and had time to contemplate the seriousness of the situation, all things that imprisonment is supposed to make you experience. The desire most strongly articulated was that of returning home.

“For the first time in our collective court experience, Judge Flynn took a downward departure from what the prosecution recommended. She originally planned on sentencing him to 9 months, but it seem she was swayed by the massive amount of letters submitted in Jesse’s favor. Thank you so much to friends, family, and supporters for your articulate and emotional letters! They made all the difference. While appealing to authority doesn’t leave us very empowered, if we can take even a day off of a friend’s jail sentence, then we should in any way we can. 5 months off is even better!

“We were all nervous, sad, and scared before the sentencing. We couldn’t all fit into the courtroom, and the indimidating sherrifs, in uniform and plainclothes, took up all the standing room and rudely tried to stop us from entering. The weeks leading up to this have been stressful and emotional, and it seemed that our tension was coming to a head. But after hearing the sentence, many of us felt a weight lifted. Even though our dear friend is sitting in that terrible place, surrounded by unsympathetic guardians of law and order, we know he’s on his way home. The sentence was much less than we expected and were trying to prepare ourselves for. By no mean is this judicial stifling of our lives acceptable, but at least we know that Jesse will soon be free.

“Jesse called us this late afternoon, and while disappointed not to be with his friends and family, he seems to be doing well. He is still in the downtown Ramsey County Jail, which is different than his final destination, the Ramsey County Correctional Facility, a.k.a. the Workhouse. He says he should be transported there tomorrow, so if you want to send him letters as soon as you can, he should get to the jail before your letter does. Letters are immensely important to prisoners, to combat isolation and stay engaged with the world and your loved ones. Send him letters soon and often! Use your common sense with what you write, don’t say anything that could get Jesse in trouble. Photographs can be sent (but not polaroids), and photocopies are accepted, but avoid staples. Also, items with glue, glitter, markers, or general things the jail staff might find annoying won’t be accepted. Stamps, envelopes, writing supplies and money will all be rejected. If they don’t accept mail it should be placed in Jesse’s property and he’ll get it upon his release. This is a good basic guide to writing to prisoners. His address is:

“Jesse Forrey
“297 South Century Avenue
“Maplewood, MN 55119

“Other ways you can help are by donating money via paypal, check, or money order. Contact us for an address and name, or use the paypal link on the lefthand side of this site. Jesse also would like to read the following books, which can only be sent via a publisher such as amazon.com or powells.com

  • Custer Died For Your Sins – Vine Deloria
  • Living My Life – Emma Goldman
  • Any Derrick Jensen
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – Jonathon Saffran Foer
  • Ward Churchill
  • something about traditional/indigenous norwegian peoples
  • Mary Oliver
  • The Continuum Concept
  • The Male Herbal by Jame Green
  • The Ohlone Way
  • Having Little, Being Much by Lorraine Perlman
  • Conquest by Andrea Smith

“and related such and such….

“Tell us if you send any books, so we can take them off the list. Please get in touch with us regarding any concerns or questions, or if you want to schedule a visit. We’re here to help Jesse and all y’all. This is a hard time for many of us but together we’ll come out much stronger for it.

“I’ll leave you with some words written by Jesse on his house’s message board:

“‘Thank you so fucking much. I love you.’

“supportjesse@riseup.net”


RNC One-Year Anniversary Media Packet Now Available!

August 27, 2009

Our Omnibus Working Group has also been incredibly busy this month! In anticipation of the one-year anniversary of the RNC, we have compiled a packet to provide information and resources to the media.

You can find it by clicking on “RNC One-Year Anniversary Media Packet” in the “Welcome!” box to the right.

The package includes information from:
•Courtwatch: Arrestee Statistics
•Felony Cases Update
•Civil Litigation Information: Pending Suits
•Support Sites and Other Resources
•Multimedia: Still Images and Video for Media Use
•Upcoming Dates
•Contacts for the Media

The information in this packet is free for use and dissemination by your organization, in whole or in part, with
credit to the Community RNC Arrestee Support Structure or as otherwise noted.

An excerpt from the packet:

“One year after the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., the aftermath remains newswor-
thy.  The RNC was for many of us our first taste of a police state; the astounding violence against pro-
testers, bystanders, journalists and others directed by Sheriff Bob Fletcher and other authorities shocked and radicalized many of us.  We have since come to realize that these instances of raids, intimidation and
violence play out regularly in our society, particularly in communities of color and working class commu-
nities, and will almost assuredly replay themselves at upcoming summits such as the G20 in Pittsburgh later
this September. Thus, keeping the RNC in our collective consciousness is critical.”

Click on the link to see the whole thing!


Updates from the Felony Support Working Group

August 26, 2009

Our Felony Support Working Group has compiled an update on people facing felonies from the RNC. People are currently serving time and more of our comrades are about to be stolen away from us or are being threatened with this, so we’ve gotta stand in solidarity with them. Read on to learn about their situations and how you can support them.

In addition to hundreds of misdemeanor charges, the 2008 RNC has resulted in lasting felony charges against 24 individuals. Ten are still facing charges, including the “RNC 8,” who are all being charged under the same complaint.  Originally facing one charge, then four, and now two (conspiracy to riot in the second degree and conspiracy to commit property damage in the first degree), the 8 were the first ever individuals charged with terrorism under the MN PATRIOT Act, although the terrorism charges were dropped in the spring of 2009 due to political pressure.  The 8 have a support site here: http://RNC8.org; the RNC 8 Defense Committee holds public meetings on a regular basis.

This is the breakdown of the “RNC Others”:

One hundred fifty-nine people were booked into Ramsey County jail with probable cause felonies during the RNC. Two weeks later, the count of 159 was reduced to merely 19, though in the coming year Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner charged three more individuals (one of whom was already imprisoned on federal charges).  Three individuals were also charged in federal court.  Given the history of vindictive prosecution, it’s entirely possible that more felony charges are to come.

Ramsey County

  • Two people had their felony charges dropped entirely due to political pressure, a lack of evidence, or both.
  • One person successfully had their felony charges reduced and pled guilty to disorderly conduct – a misdemeanor – in January 2009 and was sentenced to a fine and credit for time served.
  • One person successfully had their felony charges reduced and pled guilty to unlawful assembly/disorderly conduct – a misdemeanor – in May 2009 and was sentenced to a fine and community service.
  • Joe Robinson pled guilty to first degree criminal damage to property and was sentenced to three years probation on December 12, 2008.  Thanks in large part to court solidarity, he received community service and credit for time served with no additional jail time.  Upon successful completion of the sentence, the felony will be reduced to a gross misdemeanor.
  • Dustin Matchett-Morales of California pled guilty to first degree damage to property and was sentenced to 60 days in jail and five years probation on February 5th, 2009, and taken directly into custody at the Ramsey County Workhouse.  With 4 days credit from his initial arrest and the guideline of serving 2/3 of one’s sentence in the workhouse with good behavior, he was released after 36 days.  For more information, visit his support site: http://supportdustin.wordpress.com
  • Glenn Dyer of New York pled guilty in March 2009 to first degree criminal damage to property and was sentenced to 30 days in jail on May 28, 2009.  He was released 17 days later.  Upon completion of five years probation, the felony will be reduced to a gross misdemeanor.
  • One person pled guilty to first degree criminal damage to property and was sentenced to 60 days in jail on July 16, 2009 and upon completion of probation the felony will be reduced to a gross misdemeanor.
  • David Mahoney originally faced two charges, which were gradually increased to ten counts of assault and terroristic threats, stemming from an alleged incident in which a sandbag was thrown onto a highway off-ramp in front of a delegate bus.  Prosecutor Richard Dusterhoft called Mahoney the “poster boy of the RNC.”  Despite the hype, Mahoney struck a plea deal on June 1, 2009 reducing the ten counts to a single count of second degree assault.  Under the deal, Mahoney received 90 days in jail – reduced to 56 with good behavior and time served – and, importantly, after his release will be able to return to his native England rather than serving probation in the United States.  He is expected to be released from jail September 2, 2009.  For more info on his case, go to: http://helpdavemahoney.blogspot.com
  • One person stood trial before a jury on June 26, 2009 and was found guilty of aiding and abetting the obstruction of an arrest (a misdemeanor), guilty of escaping from custody pending a felony arrest (a felony), and not guilty of aiding and abetting an assault on a police officer (a felony). He was the first conviction at either a misdemeanor or felony trial stemming from the RNC nearly 10 months prior. The charges stemmed from an incident in which he went limp – a classic civil disobedience tactic – while being arrested by a lone renegade officer, and then was unarrested by the supportive crowd. On August 4 he was sentenced to 30 days in jail – 17 days counting time served plus good behavior – plus five years probation.  He is expected to be released from jail September 3, 2009.
  • Jesse Forrey of California was charged with first degree criminal damage to property and found guilty by a jury on August 6, 2009, despite the contradictory statements of the two state witnesses and no photographic or video evidence.  His sentencing will be on September 17, 2009.  Jesse, like some other felony arrestees, has been stuck in the Twin Cities away from home since September 2008.  He is in need of financial support both for his lawyer and the many witnesses and friends who traveled from California to join him at trial; more information and ways to help can be be found at http://www.supportjessejames.wordpress.com
  • Christina Vana and Karen Meissner, both of Milwaukee, were charged along with Bradley Crowder (see below) on January 16, 2009 with aiding and abetting assault in the second degree.  They turned themselves in to St. Paul Police two days later.  They were released on bond later that day and are in need of funds.  Their trial is scheduled for August 31, 2009.  Visit their support site: http://helpmkethree.blogspot.com
Federal
  • Matt DePalma of Michigan took a plea agreement in federal court, admitting to unlawful possession of destructive devices, a federal crime.  He was sentenced on March 11, 2009 to 42 months in prison followed by three years supervised release.  It is widely believed DePalma was entrapped by FBI Informant Andrew Darst (who later faced his own assault charges in Hennepin County, MN). Matt DePalma’s Plea Agreement
  • Bradley Crowder and David McKay, both of Texas, faced federal firearms charges for allegedly manufacturing molotov cocktails.  Bradley Crowder, held in custody since the RNC like McKay, plead guilty on January 8, 2009.  His plea agreement can be seen here.  David McKay had trial the week of January 26 which resulted in a mistrial due to hung jury.  McKay’s lawyer argued that McKay had been entrapped by FBI informant Brandon Darby .  McKay was released on bond and was scheduled to begin a retrial on March 16, but preempted it by pleading guilty to three charges.  His decision to plead guilty was, we guess, based on the prosecution’s underhanded tactic of compelling his friend Crowder to testify against him in the second trial.  He was taken back into custody at that time.  McKay was later sentenced to four years in prison; Crowder to two years.  Brad and David have a support site here: http://freethetexas2.comThe six people previously subpoenaed to a related grand jury have all had their subpoenas withdrawn. For more info, see the Grand Jury page.  (Crowder was charged on January 16, 2009 with an additional felony charge of aiding and abetting assault in the second degree, along with Christina Vana and Karen Meissner.)

Ramsey County court appearances are all at the Ramsey County Courthouse at 15 W. Kellogg Blvd in St Paul.  Sign up for the CRASS announcements list or watch TC Indymedia to be apprised of upcoming opportunities for court solidarity!

It is a common law enforcement practice to create trumped up charges in the wake of a massive police action like what occurred at the 2008 RNC. The point is to distract from the real issues–e.g., lack of police accountability, and especially the institutionalized prioritization of corporate interests over human life and the lack of government accountability to the people–and to justify the use of taxpayer money ($50 million in federal security grants, this time) to crush popular dissent.

Individuals with felony charges are facing protracted and expensive legal battles, and the possibility of years in prison. In order to fight their charges and win, they need our support.

What You Can Do:

1. Donate to the legal funds of Jesse, Karen & Christina.

Karen and Christina’s fund:

Jesse’s fund: Click here to donate online via PayPal.

2. Write Matt DePalma, still in custody, at:

Matt DePalma

Sherburne County Jail
13880 Highway 10
13880 Business Center Drive
Elk River, MN 55330-4601

For tips on writing prisoners, click here.
For Sherburne County Jail writing guidelines, click
here.

Write to those incarcerated at the Ramsey County Workhouse at:

[Arrestee’s name]

297 S. Century Avenue

St. Paul, MN 55119

3. Seek out folks you know facing felonies and see what they need from you.

4. Spread the word about what really happened at the RNC; educate yourself and your community about resisting State repression (click here for a guide); counter State and corporate propaganda.

5. Watch this website for updates on arrestee support actions.

If you are facing RNC-related felonies and need info or support, or if you want to support those who are, email rnc08felonies@riseup.net.


Twin Cities Legal Support So Far: Updates and Analysis

August 23, 2009

Our lovely comrades at the Earth First! Journal will be publishing this article in the next edition of the journal, but keep reading to get a sneak preview of our most recent updates and analyses!

The one year anniversary of the Republican National Convention is quickly approaching. Despite having faded from the national headlines, the RNC and its’ aftermath still define much of daily life for the radical community here in the Twin Cities. The people who have been targeted by state repression and prosecution, along with their supporters, carry on the fight that was sparked by riot police last August. Twenty-four people (including the RNC8) are still being prosecuted in Ramsey County, and until their charges are dropped and state repression ends, the RNC will remain ever-present here in Minnesota.

The court solidarity strategy that was formed in the hectic days immediately following the RNC has been one of the most effective community responses to mass arrest in recent memory. The best defense against state repression is a collective one, and arrestees organized to fight their charges en masse. This strategy has succeeded in tying up the court system and forcing the state to drop large numbers of cases against protestors. In connection with the RNC8 Defense Committee, the Community RNC Arrestee Support Structure (CRASS) coalition was created to help coordinate legal support and court solidarity. Mass community meetings, lawsuits, the creation and maintaining of internet archives, and rummage sale fundraisers have been a few of the varied forms that support work has taken over the past year. And though there is much yet to be done, there can be no doubt that we are winning.

Of the 818 people arrested during the convention, only one person has been successfully convicted at trial. In addition, seventy-four people have been forced into plea deals or taken bench warrants. In spite of these losses, an incredible 90% of RNC arrestees have been acquitted, had their charges dismissed, or were never prosecuted. All the cases in Hennepin County (Minneapolis) have been resolved without any convictions because there is absolutely no evidence to justify the mass arrests. In addition, the terrorism charges against the RNC8 were dropped as a result of community pressure aimed at County Attorney Susan Gaertner. Arrestees and supporters should take full credit for the victories thus far, since they certainly did not result from goodness in the hearts of the prosecutors.

The abysmal failure of prosecutorial efforts has pushed the state into new strategies of judicial repression. Politicians and bureaucrats (many of whose careers are riding on their affiliation with the RNC) are desperately seeking to justify the $50 million in federal funds that was spent on RNC policing. Since they can barely seem to convict anyone, malicious prosecution, scapegoating, and retaliatory charges have become favored strategies of the local court system.

The prosecution openly seeks to “make an example” out of the felony defendants whose alleged acts of property destruction have been described by the whitewash Heffelfinger-Luger Report as “the most frightening moment(s) of the convention.” Of course, such statements overlook the pre-emptive raids, state-sponsored shutdown of downtown, and hundreds of brutal injuries caused by police. In addition, this attempted vilification of felony defendants seeks to draw lines between “good” and “bad” protestors and to weaken our solidarity. We will not, however, give up on our friends and comrades who are facing the brunt of RNC-related judicial targeting.

Of the twenty-one felony defendants originally charged, two cases have been dropped and one person has been convicted for the unarrest incident from Sept. 1st. This conviction is currently being appealed. As this article is being written, the RNC support community holds its breath in anticipation of the trial of our friend and CRASS member Jesse James Forrey, whose trial is set to begin on August 3rd. Milwaukee co-defendants Christina Vana and Karen Meissner have a trial date set for the end of August. Their co-defendant David Mahoney is currently serving a sentence from a plea deal he took in order to return home to his native England, and is set to be released back to his friends and family on Sept. 2nd. In addition, Matt DePalma, Bradley Crowder, and David McKay are three defendants who each took guilty pleas in high profile federal trials involving Molotov cocktails and FBI informants. All three are currently serving federal sentences. Bradley Crowder is facing additional state charges for a separate incident.

The case of the RNC8 highlights the vindictive prosecutorial efforts of Susan Gaertner’s, who is running for Minnesota Governor and whose political ambitions are closely tied to her image as a successful County Attorney. Her efforts to criminalize Welcoming Committee organizers as the supposed masterminds of RNC protests again attempt to fracture and factionalize community solidarity. By dropping the terrorism charges against the 8, Gaertner has sought to reduce media attention and community pressure surrounding the case. However, people in the Twin Cities and across the United States remain strongly behind the co-defendants and regularly attend Gaertner’s public events to remind her of our opposition against her attempts at thoughtcrime prosecution.

One of the most difficult challenges of our court solidarity strategy stems from the very nature of the “justice” system. This slow moving process is designed to force people into accepting plea deals by wearing them down with endless court dates and a “trial call” system which requires you to be on two-hour notice for weeks at a time. The financial and emotional effects of this structure have been particularly difficult for out-of-town arrestees, many of whom have had to move here in order to fight their cases. The RNC prosecutors have deliberately dragged out the cases of arrestees in order to eke out the pleas that they would not otherwise be able to acquire. One arrestee flew up from Miami six times to fight a simple misdemeanor before he eventually was unable to return and had to take a plea. CRASS’s travel fund, which pays for arrestee plane tickets, has helped ameliorate this situation, but this has nonetheless been the most difficult hurdle for coordinating effective court solidarity and helping people fight their charges.

In an obvious effort to cover their asses against future lawsuits, in June the city of St. Paul filed criminal charges against four additional people. One of these, Elliot Hughes, was beaten by sheriff’s deputies in the Ramsey County jail while incarcerated, and his case has attracted media attention and been a thorn in the side of Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher. These defendants had previously signaled to the city their intent to sue over their treatment during the RNC. If any of them are found guilty or plea to a criminal charge, it will be difficult if not impossible for them to successfully pursue their claims against the state. These retaliatory charges seek to discourage others from filing civil suits, and are obviously motivated by the fear of people pushing back against the city, county, and cops.

Civil litigation efforts are in full swing. After a very successful Mardi Gras action in which sixty-five Notices of Claim (forms indicating intent to sue) were filed against St. Paul, city attorney John Choi was overheard complaining that “things couldn’t be worse” for his office. Since then, legal workers and attorneys have been setting up the necessary framework to make the city pay. Group claims for several of the mass arrests are being coordinated by local attorneys, and individual suits have been filed already, including a suit against the Sheriff’s office for the Aug. 29 convergence space raid. In addition to getting money for the movement, civil litigation seeks to make connections to systemic issues of police violence and to change the narrative of what happened in the streets during the convention.

Certainly, civil litigation is not a solution to state violence, nor will it protect us in the streets or give us back the time and energy that has been stolen from us while we fight to keep ourselves and our friends out of jail. Nonetheless, suing the state effectively hits the city bureaucrats where it hurts them most– their coffers and their careers. Lawsuits from previous mass mobilizations such as Seattle and Los Angeles have succeed in wresting millions of dollars from the state’s insurance companies and have changed policing practices in many cities. In addition, local despots like Bob Fletcher can lose their power and paychecks from successful lawsuits. Civil litigation is one of a variety of strategies that we are using to push back against those who would have us imprisoned in jails and “free speech zones”.

The ongoing militarization of the Twin Cities that was enabled by the delegates’ arrival remains the untold aftermath of the Republican National Convention. Police brutality continues unchecked as they turn their RNC weaponry and crowd control devices onto the low income and people of color communities of our cities. Our work must always make connections to the everyday faces of police violence and state repression, and we have begun to engage in these struggles through coalition work with local anti-police violence organizers. However, to our detriment, we have not been able to achieve this on the scale needed to effectively fight against systemic white supremacy and classism.

In addition, we seek to connect our struggles to those of political prisoners elsewhere. The parallels between the RNC8 and Green Scare conspiracy defendants highlight the nationwide commonalities of the state’s repressive campaigns against political organizers and activists. We are privileged to have both local and national support for our struggles, which allow us the energy and resources to fight back as effectively as we have been able to thus far. Many people who face similar state targeting do not have such support structures, and we hope that the resources and knowledge of RNC legal support will spread to future situations of community defense and solidarity.

For more information about RNC legal support (including how to get involved in civil litigation), check out: www.rncaftermath.org and www.rnc8.org

For your very own free copies of Bob Bucks, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to:

Bob Fletcher Sucks!
c/o Coldsnap Legal Collective

PO Box 50514
Minneapolis
, MN 55405


New RNC Charges Highlight Vindictive Prosecutorial Tactics

July 14, 2009

Recently, the City of St. Paul filed new charges against four individuals arising from incidents that occurred during the 2008 Republican National Convention. Nearly a year has passed since the RNC, so this begs the question: why has the City of St. Paul suddenly decided to file these?

The answer isn’t surprising: some, if not all, of the individuals charged may eventually file their own civil lawsuits against the City for various violations of their rights during the first week of September. The new charges are simply vindictive attempts to head these suits off at the pass through intimidation … a tactic by now overly familiar to those of us who have observed the workings of the courts in RNC cases.

Individuals who had their rights egregiously violated in both Minneapolis and St. Paul – and this is no small group – shouldn’t be dissuaded from filing such lawsuits. It’s outrageous that the City continues to misuse its prosecutorial powers to silence dissent and further cover up the widespread police brutality in the streets last September. If the city’s prosecutor’s office is interested in doing its job, they would be pursuing the police and other agents of the state for their violence rather than their victims.

Further, by filing these bogus criminal charges, the city continues to avoid or delay their responsibility, failing to hold those in power accountable to the people. Most likely, these types of distraction tactics will fail if the defendants choose to fight them – but the cost and time involved for both sides brings to mind the old saying “Justice delayed is justice denied.” The RNC convention misdemeanor cases rarely result in a conviction before a jury, and in fact, state-sanctioned crimes have been committed in the court room, where the police or other agents of the state have routinely perjured themselves on the witness stand.

But sadly, none of this is unusual, nor is it limited to the RNC cases – the State assiduously avoids addressing its own violence against the community and uses vindictive prosecution to protect itself from consequences. In another recent and closely-watched example, the cops got away with murder of Fong Lee, avoiding paying the family any monetary compensation, avoiding any criminal charges, and giving the appearance that this type of conduct is okay if you happen to wear a uniform.

So for those who continue to delay and deny justice in the numerous recent cases of police brutality, we shouldn’t stand idly by and accept complacency and silence as an acceptable response from those in power. After all, the current City Attorney, John Choi, plans to run for higher office, seeking to replace Susan Gaertner as Ramsey County Attorney. Gaertner, in turn, is prosecuting the RNC 8 and other felony cases while at the same time eyeing the Governor’s mansion. The current courtroom shenanigans related to the RNC have everything to do with Ramsey County’s and Minnesota’s political future … a bleak future, indeed, if those who so actively work to silence dissent through the misuse of their power find themselves in positions of even greater authority.


Civil Litigation Begins…We Need Your Help!

June 28, 2009

The Civil Litigation crew of CRASS has 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. If you were arrested at Shepard Road, see below for information from an attorney with the National Lawyers Guild and consider contacting them 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 Roadd 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 suethebastards@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/

Thank you for your continued interest and participation. We intend to win these cases as one of many strategies we can use to fight back against state repression and police violence.

Yours in struggle,

CRASS

And now the note from the lawyers…

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.

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