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St. Paul is a police state - Take Action Now

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This just in from:
Leslie Cagan, National Coordinator
United for Peace and Justice

Call Mayor Chris Coleman: 651-266-8510

We are sending you this message because the situation in St. Paul is very grave and we're concerned that the real story is not being told by the mainstream media.

Over the past few days, the heavily armed and extremely large police presence in St. Paul has intimidated, harassed and provoked people; and, in a number of instances, the police have escalated situations when they used excessive force. They have used pepper spray, including spraying at least one person just inches from her face as she was held down on the ground by several police officers. They have freely swung their extra long night sticks, pushed people around, rode horses and bicycles up against peacefully gathered groups, and surrounded people simply walking down the streets. On Tuesday evening, they used tear gas on a small group of protesters in downtown St. Paul.

The massive police presence and the uncalled-for actions by the police on the streets has not been the only problem. The police raided a convergence center and several locations where people are staying over the weekend and they have stopped and searched vehicles for no clear reason.

On Tuesday afternoon, they literally pulled the plug and turned off the electricity at a permitted outdoor concert. The timing of this led to a situation where hundreds of understandably angry people ended up joining a march being led by the Poor Peoples Campaign for Economic Human Rights, a march that organizers were insisting be nonviolent. In other words, the police set up a dynamic that could have turned ugly, but the skill of the organizers kept things calm and focused.

All of this - and much more - needs to be understood in the context of the overwhelming presence of police. Police from all around the Twin Cities have been put to work, and they have also brought in police units from around Minnesota and from as far away as Philadelphia, PA. The National Guard and state troopers are in the mix, to say nothing of the Secret Service, Homeland Security and who knows who else from the federal government!

We are very concerned about what this all means about the right to protest, the right to assemble, and the right to have one's dissenting voice heard. We are worried about what it means about the growing militarization of our nation and the ongoing assault on the Constitution. We shudder to think about how the influx of new weapons and armed vehicles and everything else will be used in the neighborhoods of St. Paul and Denver: both communities each received $50 million from Homeland Security to purchase the equipment and pay for the policing during the conventions.

There are still two more days of the Republican Convention in St. Paul -- two more days of protest and possibilities of police misconduct, over-reaction, and excessive use of force.

We urge you to call the Mayor of St. Paul right now! Let him know that people around the country know what's happening! Urge him to stand up for the Constitution and to take action to end the militarization of the downtown areas of his city! Urge him to reign in the police and help bring civility to the streets of St. Paul!

Mayor Chris Coleman: 651-266-8510

And call your local media outlets to demand that they tell the real story of what's happening in St. Paul this week.

Peace,

Leslie Cagan, UFPJ National Coordinator

The Editorial Board of OpEdNews calls for immediate action. Write your newspapers, your Members of Congress, and most importantly, call the political authorities in St. Paul and demand the police brutality in St. Paul cease and desist immediately. We've set up an action page - with just some quick information and a few clicks, we'll send the letter for you. In the first comment to this article, we've provided several Minnesota phone numbers.

FreePress.net has also called for your signatures, acquiring 38,000 so far, which they will send to St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner, St. Paul City Attorney John Choi, and the Host Committee of the Republican National Convention. Sign the Letter: Drop All Charges Against Journalists.


17 y.o. Keith vs. 5 cops - MinnesotaIndependent.com

Seventeen year old Keith, a pacifist his mother says would "never hurt anyone" experienced what it is to assert his First Amendment rights in St. Paul, Minnesota at the Republican National Convention yesterday. Paul Schmelzer reports:

Trying to leave Monday's march on the Republican National Convention, Keith was wrestled to the ground by five officers, according to his mother, who were "repeatedly kicking, beating, dragging and hitting him." [Read Smith-Tourville's account of what happened.] Bloody, he was taken into custody by police for two hours and, his mom says, his [detainment] by St. Paul police was in violation of Minnesota law.

Smith-Tourville is seeking legal advice from Coldsnap Legal Collective. They told her that as a minor, state law says that Keith should've been put in contact with his parents. "Keith repeatedly asked to call his parents," she says. "He said he can't even count how many times he said, 'Can I call my parents?'"

End the brutality now.

 

In 2004, Rady Ananda joined the growing community of citizen journalists. Initially focused on elections, she investigated the 2004 Ohio election, organizing, training and leading several forays into counties to photograph the 2004 ballots. She officially served at three recounts, including the 2004 recount. She also organized and led the team that audited Franklin County Ohio's 2006 election, proving the number of voter signatures did not match official results. Her work appears in three books.

Her blogs also address religious, gender, sexual and racial equality, as well as environmental issues; and are sprinkled with book and film reviews on various topics. She spent most of her working life as a researcher or investigator for private lawyers, and five years as an editor.

She graduated from The Ohio State University's School of Agriculture in December 2003 with a B.S. in Natural Resources.

All material offered here is the property of Rady Ananda, copyright 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009. Permission is granted to repost, with proper attribution including the original link.

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." Tell the truth anyway.

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I feel sure that the FBI's involvement was man... by William Cormier on Thursday, Sep 4, 2008 at 12:09:30 AM
he was the first to expose FBI involvement (last w... by Rady Ananda on Thursday, Sep 4, 2008 at 12:18:23 AM
http://www.aclu.org/safefree/general/16960prs20031... by Kathryn Smith on Thursday, Sep 4, 2008 at 12:41:23 AM
I have so much to report but I have been far too b... by Michael Cavlan on Thursday, Sep 4, 2008 at 3:29:10 AM
Keep up the good work, can't wait for details ... by Bob Gormley on Thursday, Sep 4, 2008 at 6:09:56 AM
Long ago Gandi proved that peaceful resistance is ... by Roger on Thursday, Sep 4, 2008 at 6:13:48 AM
we are in a state of emergency, we need to make su... by steve scheetz on Thursday, Sep 4, 2008 at 7:17:36 AM
For once Steve I am whole heartedly agreeing with ... by E. Nelson on Thursday, Sep 4, 2008 at 7:39:16 AM
that the term of art used to describe the ene... by John Sanchez Jr. on Thursday, Sep 4, 2008 at 8:37:09 AM
propaganda du jour (and last century, too)... how ... by Rady Ananda on Thursday, Sep 4, 2008 at 12:39:42 PM
We, the patriot movement are screwed.  I forc... by Hal Smith on Thursday, Sep 4, 2008 at 9:03:52 AM
that they couldn't fill their convention venue... by John Sanchez Jr. on Thursday, Sep 4, 2008 at 10:20:59 AM
no one answered, so it only took 30 seconds or so ... by Daniel Geery on Thursday, Sep 4, 2008 at 12:10:57 PM
and for the news that no one's answering.this ... by Rady Ananda on Thursday, Sep 4, 2008 at 12:32:06 PM
Mailbox full.No answer.New office hours:  8am... by Amanda Lang on Thursday, Sep 4, 2008 at 4:49:50 PM
I guess we were stonewalled; thanks for trying, Am... by Rady Ananda on Thursday, Sep 4, 2008 at 6:44:23 PM
"A certain man planted a vineyard, and set... by Nemo on Thursday, Sep 4, 2008 at 12:47:30 PM
ok, so I can interpret the first part to mean that... by Rady Ananda on Thursday, Sep 4, 2008 at 5:00:50 PM
jesus christ... by TRADESMAN on Thursday, Sep 4, 2008 at 6:56:40 PM
Unfortunately Rady there is only one way... by Munich on Thursday, Sep 4, 2008 at 2:06:24 PM
E.g. in case of attack on Iran... Don't g... by abacus on Thursday, Sep 4, 2008 at 7:26:36 PM
Rady,Thank you so much for posting that dire call ... by Jennifer Epps on Thursday, Sep 4, 2008 at 2:57:45 PM
that's what the DNC and RNC led me to ask.&nbs... by Rady Ananda on Thursday, Sep 4, 2008 at 6:49:28 PM
  " When in the Course of human events, ... by Nemo on Thursday, Sep 4, 2008 at 7:06:02 PM

 

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