Law enforcement authorities raided private homes, breaking through doors, windows and floors to gain entry into private residences, where citizens were gathered in peaceful, lawful assembly.
Tear gas, pepper spray, smoke bombs, rubber bullets, percussion grenades, and batons were reportedly used on law-abiding citizens engaged in peaceful protest. Police drove their cars into crowds to disperse them. We have reports that Ramsey City Jail refused arrestees or detainees access to lawyers, and that St. Joseph Hospital denied arrestees or detainees water.
Preemptive search and seizure has been employed as a means to intimidate and prevent peaceful assembly and lawful dissent. Professional and volunteer journalists have been arrested, in an apparent targeted action to suppress coverage of police action. Such actions were reportedly pre-approved by local city councils.
OEN is a media site that works diligently to keep otherwise neglected or suppressed news in the forefront. A free press is our last line of defense in a democracy against tyranny. With the arrest of Democracy Now!'s Amy Goodman and her producers, a line has been crossed. For fully credentialed journalists to be forcefully grabbed and arrested is an incredible breach of trust and law.
This behavior by Denver, St. Paul and Minneapolis police, Ramsey County sheriffs and the Federal Bureau of Investigation is fundamentally un-American and threatens the very fabric of our society. If those who enforce the laws are free to violate those laws, there is no rule of law.
Our constitutionally protected rights to peaceably assemble, to speak freely, to move without restriction, to protest and criticize our government, to be free of unwarranted search and seizure of our personal property, to be free of intimidation by those sworn to uphold the law are basic inalienable rights in a democratic society.
A free press where reporters can engage in their journalistic duties without threat of arrest must be restored. In 1776, the Virginia Declaration of Rights proclaimed that "The freedom of the press is one of the greatest bulwarks of liberty and can never be restrained but by despotic governments." That we have come to such a crossroads should be a wakeup call to news organizations, and to all Americans.
The editorial board of OpEdNews calls for an immediate end to these violations of citizens' Constitutional right to assemble and express dissent. The right to the freedom of the press must be respected and restored. We call for an investigation into all charges of unlawful and unconstitutional actions. We demand full accountability for these outrageous police actions.
Rady Ananda Jan Baumgartner Cheryl Biren-Wright Walter Brasch Joan Brunwasser Rob Kall Amanda Lang Linda Milazzo John Moffett