Police State Shows Its Violent Face in Minneapolis

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Here are a few snippets from Greenwald’s post. Please go to his blog to read the entire thing, with excellent links and videos.

Protesters here in Minneapolis have been targeted by a series of highly intimidating, sweeping police raids across the city, involving teams of 25-30 officers in riot gear, with semi-automatic weapons drawn, entering homes of those suspected of planning protests, handcuffing and forcing them to lay on the floor, while law enforcement officers searched the homes, seizing computers, journals, and political pamphlets. Last night, members of the St. Paul police department and the Ramsey County sheriff’s department handcuffed, photographed and detained dozens of people meeting at a public venue to plan a demonstration, charging them with no crime other than “fire code violations,” and early this morning, the Sheriff’s department sent teams of officers into at least four Minneapolis area homes where suspected protesters were staying.

There is clearly an intent on the part of law enforcement authorities here to engage in extreme and highly intimidating raids against those who are planning to protest the Convention. The DNC in Denver was the site of several quite ugly incidents where law enforcement acted on behalf of Democratic Party officials and the corporate elite that funded the Convention to keep the media and protesters from doing anything remotely off-script. But the massive and plainly excessive preemptive police raids in Minnesota are of a different order altogether. Targeting people with automatic-weapons-carrying SWAT teams and mass raids in their homes, who are suspected of nothing more than planning dissident political protests at a political convention and who have engaged in no illegal activity whatsoever, is about as redolent of the worst tactics of a police state as can be imagined.

…The Uptake has this amazing video interview with the Democracy Now producer who was detained today. As the DN producer explains, she was present at a meeting of a group called “I-Witness” — which videotaped police behavior at the 2004 GOP Convention in New York and helped get charges dismissed against hundreds of protesters who were arrested. The police surrounded the St. Paul house where they were meeting even though they had no warrant, told them that anyone who exited the house would be arrested, and then — even though they finally, after several hours, obtained a warrant only for the house next door — basically broke into the house, pointed weapons at everyone inside, handcuffed them, searched the house, and then left.

RELATED NOTE: Check out also RNC Resistance Radio here–Live radio blogging from the resistance. (Beware–this is resistance radio. It’s not “polite”!)

Editor’s Note:

UPDATE 9/1/08: Right now, National Guard are reportedly marching through downtown Minneapolis. Journalists (in addition to literally hundreds of activists) are now being rounded up and arrested in Minneapolis, which will prevent us from being able to get information about what’s happening there. There is certainly no coverage of this on corporate TV. This has become very serious–pepper spray, concussion grenades, teargas, rubber bullets… Today Amy Goodman and two other producers from Democracy Now have been included in the list of journalists arrested (Video here). Activists are being charged with FELONIES including “conspiracy to incite a riot,” their personal belongings are being confiscated (laptops, office computers, cell phones, an entire privately owned bus!, food, every way you can think of to get the word out is being preemptively taken!) Twincities.Indymedia.org reports: “Police authorities said of those arrested today, 119 were charged with felonies, 89 with gross misdemeanors, and 48 with misdemeanors.” Please watch Coldsnap Legal Collective for more on this aspect.

YOU NEED TO CALL Mayor Coleman of Minneapolis at 651-266-8535 or 651-266-8510, Mayor Rybak of St. Paul at 612 673-2100, the Ramsey County Jail at 651-266-9350, Governor Pawlenty at 651-296-3391 (fax 651-296-2089), elected officials throughout the state, media–whomever you can think of! Make some noise, People. This is not acceptable and we can not just sit back and watch it happen!

 

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