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National Lawyers Guild: Cops Run Wild in Pittsburgh

By Press Release  Posted by Joan Brunwasser (about the submitter)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 2 pages)
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opednews.com Headlined to H1 9/25/09

For Immediate Release-September 25, 2009

Contact: Paige Cram, Communications Coordinator, communications@ nlg.org, 609-668-0645

Pittsburgh--National Lawyers Guild members witnessed first-hand yesterday the unwarranted display and use of force by police in residential neighborhoods, often far from any protest activity.

Police deployed chemical irritants, including CS gas, and long-range acoustic devices (LRAD) in residential neighborhoods on narrow streets where families and small children were exposed. Scores of riot police formed barricades at many intersections throughout neighborhoods miles away from the downtown area and the David Lawrence Convention Center. Outside the Courtyard Marriott in Shadyside, police deployed smoke bombs in the absence of protest activity, forcing bystanders and hotel residents to flee the area.

Later, while some protests were ending, riot-clad officers surrounded an area at the University of Pittsburgh, creating an ominous spectacle that some described as akin to Kent State. Guild legal observers witnessed police chasing and arresting many uninvolved students.

Among other questionable tactics, officers from dozens of law enforcement agencies lacked easily-identifiable badges, impeding citizens' ability to register complaints.

Heidi Boghosian, executive director of the National Lawyers Guild, said: "Accountability and chain of command is virtually impossible to establish given the lack of visible individual identifying badges on officers. The small, paper armband badges that law enforcement are wearing are difficult to read, and many wore black chest coverings with absolutely no identifying information. We've seen many law enforcement personnel, including Pittsburgh Police Department officers, deliberately covering up the arm IDs by rolling their shirt sleeves up over them."

The National Lawyers Guild is a progressive bar association, founded in 1937, with chapters in every state. Its national mass defense program includes education about laws and practices that affect individuals engaging in dissent, criminal defense of protesters and civil litigation to curb unconstitutional police practices, and its legal observing program. Resources detailing police tactics are available on the Guild's website, www.nlg.org, including Punishing Protest and The Assault on Free Speech, Public Assembly, and Dissent.

You can log onto http://www.radioreference.com/apps/audio/?ctid=2242 and listen to the live police and EMS scanners as they confront the marchers.
NATIONAL SECURITY STATE OUT OF CONTROL
In Pittsburgh yesterday, "By midnight, hundreds of police in riot gear moved down Forbes Avenue. With no obvious protesters in sight, they sprayed pepper gas on passersby and even students looking down from the balconies of their residences above the avenue.

"'We were just looking, then there were loud sirens and then it was hard to breathe and I was coughing up a lung,' said student Dustin DeMeglio, 19, who was watching as police moved by his apartment building."

The above is from British news this morning.

"Justin Hershkovitz, 26, a student from Michigan, complained about the police tactics as he ran from the officers. 'This kind of force has been used as an option of first resort by cops (at summits) in Italy, London and now Pittsburgh,' he said."

"'We're here to put pressure on the G20 to ultimately abolish global capitalism,' said a 24-year-old man from Delaware, who declined to give his name." The young man should know that you will be tear gassed, beaten and arrested in the Land of the Free for this kind of talk, which is not allowed by the ruling banksters.

NPR sees nothing wrong with the treatment of protesters in Pittsburgh, concentrating this morning on protests in Iran. Steve Inskeep interviewed Iranian President Ahmadinejad this morning, rudely raking him over the coals for his treatment of protesters in Iran, pointing out that people have died in Iranian prisons.


Ahmadinejad replied that people die every day in American prisons, but of course, this does not make the corporate media news, although human rights abuses in American prisons are condemned by international human rights groups.

French news reports onyesterday's G20 demonstration,"About half-an-hour into the march, the police began broadcasting a pre-recorded announcement in English and Spanish, declaring the protest was an 'unlawful assembly' and ordering the crowd to disperse." What is lawful, in fact the highest law of the land, is defined in the First Amendment, and says nothing about police having the right to demand a permit as justification to harass those peaceably assembling.

"'They pushed us into a side street in a residential area and then shot tear gas at us. They shot like three canisters,' demonstrator Ross McCoy told AFP."

"The main message the mass march wanted to convey to the world leaders at the G20 was that human rights and dignity were more important than capitalism and profit margins, several of the demonstrators told AFP," but of course, such a message is not allowed.

"'The people who developed the system that's falling apart and trying to fix it? That's just crazy,' said Sondra Perry, an art student from New York state.

"'Our message here is about climate change, poverty, capitalism: they're all very intertwined and it's time that we all understand that if we are going to do anything, we have to work together,' she said."

"Paul Erb, a student from Ohio, said he had come to Pittsburgh to protest against a system that puts monetary profit before all else.

"'I'm here because the current global economic system, which they are meeting about, values profit over people,' Erb told AFP.

"'Profit, power and control have become more important than human lives. But that's not what we were raised to think is right. That's not where we come from,' the 24-year-old said."
It has been widely reported in the corporate mediathat some of the youthful demonstrators employed violence in isolated incidents, themselves, without mentioning that there may have been provocation.



The Mystique of 'Free-Market Guy' Obama
by Jeff Cohen
No matter what the facts are, some liberal activists and leaders persist in seeing President Obama as a principled progressive reformer who lives and breathes the campaign rhetoric about "change you can believe in."

When he compromises, it's not Obama's fault - it's the opposition. Retreat is never a sell-out but a shrewd tactic, part of some secret long-range strategy for triumphant reform.
He's been in the White House eight months. It's time for activists take a harder look at Obama. And a more assertive posture toward him.

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When it comes to the Pittsburgh Police, it's deja ... by Eugene Elander on Saturday, Sep 26, 2009 at 1:17:02 PM
thank you for writing.... by Joan Brunwasser on Saturday, Sep 26, 2009 at 9:15:49 PM
Most of the protesters at the non-permitted march ... by Joy Sabl on Monday, Sep 28, 2009 at 10:05:59 AM
it's always helpful to have the real skedooley fro... by Joan Brunwasser on Monday, Sep 28, 2009 at 8:54:44 PM