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Busted for Playing Banjo on Independence Mall: Park Rangers Brutally Arrest Iraq War Vet at Anti-Syria Bombing Demo

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(Article changed on September 5, 2013 at 16:33)

By Dave Lindorff

This woman is .resisting. and .assaulting. Park Rangers? ( by ThisCantBeHappening!)

Independence Mall, Philadelphia -- The US has yet to launch President Obama's latest war crime of massively bombing Syria (a country that does not threaten this nation) and already federal police thugs, in this case National Park Service Rangers, have brutally arrested an Iraq War Veteran who was just gently playing her banjo in the shade on Independence Mall in Philadelphia following an anti-war protest and march.

Emily Yates, an activist with the group Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), and a professional folksinger and banjo player, can be seen in  this video , peacefully standing plunking her instrument when she is ordered to move by a group of Park Rangers. When she asks them why she has to move off of federal park property that is open to the public, which is completely appropriate and within her rights, she is not given any explanation. Then at one point, as she's still seeking an answer, she is grabbed brutally from behind and slammed, bent over, across the top of a park bench, with several burly rangers pinning her down, and with her hands wrenched behind her back, as they try to place metal cuffs on her wrists. 

As she struggles to breathe with all that pressure on her forcibly bent-over form, a senior officer can be heard telling her to "relax" and to "stop resisting," though with three men piled on top of her, it is clear she is not resisting.

Yates was held in a federal lockup for two days before an arraignment on Monday, at which she was charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and, most seriously, "assaulting a federal officer." The latter charge, absurd when matched up against the video of the arrest, is a felony carrying a heavy jail sentence.

One is reminded of those black jokes about police ramming arrested persons head first into the sides of patrol cars and then charging them with damaging public property, or punching handcuffed victims in the face and then charging them with banging their heads into the officer's fist.  It is impossible to view the above video and see any evidence of "assault."  Nor could Yates have been assaulting the larger scrum of rangers who were all over her prone body later when she can be seen being held on the ground, screaming for help, as angry spectators shouted from the sidelines for the rangers to let her go, to "stop strangling her" and to call for a medic.

Yates' attorney, Larry Krassner, offered TCBH! a statement on the case saying: "Emily is  a six-year military veteran who served honorably for two tours in Iraq. She has PTSD. She was arrested and injured by federal officers for no good reason. The US government owes its veterans better treatment than this, even when they happen to be opposed to further war in Syria."...

For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF in ThisCantBeHappening!, the new uncompromising three-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative newspaper, please go to:


Dave Lindorff is a founding member of the collectively-owned, journalist-run online newspaper He is a columnist for Counterpunch, is author of several recent books ("This Can't Be Happening! Resisting the (more...)

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My understanding is that this happened at the Smok... by Darren Wolfe on Wednesday, Sep 4, 2013 at 8:05:11 PM
There was an anti war march, followed by a smoke-i... by Dave Lindorff on Wednesday, Sep 4, 2013 at 9:44:45 PM
>"as angry spectators shouted from the sideline... by Paul Repstock on Wednesday, Sep 4, 2013 at 11:46:47 PM
Perhaps this could all be avoided if we can get pe... by Darren Wolfe on Thursday, Sep 5, 2013 at 9:00:50 PM
This is a sad but acurate view of the chickenshit ... by Keith Hupp on Friday, Sep 6, 2013 at 1:48:06 AM
Are you suggesting that the witnesses should have ... by Dave Lindorff on Thursday, Sep 5, 2013 at 6:55:31 AM
We need more people like your friend.... by Bob Gormley on Thursday, Sep 5, 2013 at 6:45:58 PM
However, it is quite reasonable to "peacefully" in... by Paul Repstock on Thursday, Sep 5, 2013 at 11:04:04 PM
While I agree the heavy handedness of it all is un... by Bill Johnson on Thursday, Sep 5, 2013 at 8:28:14 AM
  Your major concern is how launched was spel... by Bob Gormley on Thursday, Sep 5, 2013 at 6:42:58 PM
It was a typo obviously.Geez. If I were paid ... by Dave Lindorff on Thursday, Sep 5, 2013 at 4:30:32 PM
  If all you can get out of an article is a m... by Bob Gormley on Thursday, Sep 5, 2013 at 6:44:45 PM
   I think most cops these days are cowa... by Bob Gormley on Thursday, Sep 5, 2013 at 6:47:53 PM
Law enforcement is one of the few employments left... by Paul Repstock on Thursday, Sep 5, 2013 at 11:15:36 PM
And baggage, law inforcment at all levels is fille... by Keith Hupp on Friday, Sep 6, 2013 at 2:08:32 AM
For authoring the news the spoon fed media doesn't... by Neal Chalabi Chambers on Friday, Sep 6, 2013 at 1:48:20 AM