Saturday, 30 Aug 2008
This is Eileen. The house raid is over. We have been released from our cuffs and the police have left our house. Our belongings were searched. But we have not inventoried them so we do not yet know yet if something is missing.
5 other I-Witness Video folks were detained, both on bicycles and in a rental car. Moments ago, I heard that 3 were released. We do not know the status of the other 2.
Please keep phoning the St. Paul Mayor's office. Many thanks for your calls and ongoing support.
I will write later.
The New York Times reported, in an article on Saturday, titled,Dozens Detained Ahead of Convention
ST. PAUL, Minn. — On the weekend before the Republican National Convention, law enforcement agencies detained dozens of people and issued a series of search warrants aimed at groups believed to be organizing demonstrations while delegates and Republican officials are in town. On Friday night the Ramsey County sheriff's department, accompanied by the St. Paul police, detained people inside a building here that was being used as a headquarters to plan protests.
“They handcuffed all of us,” said Sonia Silbert, 28, from Washington. “They searched everyone.”
People who had been in the building said that officers entered shortly after 8:30 p.m. with a warrant and instructed them to lie on the ground, adding that they had been questioned and photographed before being released.
Jordan Kushner, a member of the National Lawyers Guild, said the two-story brick building had been rented by a nonprofit organization and was being used by several groups planning protests.
People who had been inside said teach-ins and legal training had been conducted there, and that the space was also a repository for such items as computers and bicycles.
The R.N.C. Welcoming Committee, a group that has said it wants to block roads during the convention, issued a statement Friday night that was read aloud outside the meeting place by a woman who identified herself as Sarah Coffey.
Ms. Coffey said that the officers, citing fire violations as the reason for their visit, “detained over 50 people in an attempt to pre-empt planned protests.”
The sheriff's department continued the sweeps on Saturday morning, executing warrants for three houses in Minneapolis and two in St. Paul, detaining more than 50 people and arresting 4.
A copy of a warrant at one house said the police were authorized to look for a laundry list of items, including fire bombs, Molotov cocktails, brake fluid, photographs and maps of St. Paul, paint, computers and camera equipment, and documents and other communications.