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DC PROTESTS
SEPTEMBER 2002

 THE POLICE RIOT REPORT

THE CITY COUNCIL COMMITTEE report on the unconstitutional and illegal behavior of Chief Ramsey and his force during the September 2002 demonstrations is a rare case of truth triumphing over spin in this fair city. The committee, headed by Kathy Patterson, did what it should: find out the facts and lay them on the table. Of course, there is little likelihood that anything will be done about them.

It has long been our hunch that Ramsey, Terrance Gainer and Odie Washington were brought in to establish Chicago style martial law on the capital colony whenever deemed necessary. It was clear that no one in authority at either the local or national level would complain if they broke the law or ignored the constitution. The result was the worst policing of demonstrations since the 1971 police riot under Chief Jerry Wilson.

Patterson's committee has been the first official voice raised in objection and deserves every citizens' gratitude.

DAVID A. FAHRENTHOLD, WASHINGTON POST - D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey and other police officials conspired to deflect blame and cover up evidence of their wrongdoing during the mass arrests of anti-globalization demonstrators in September 2002, according to a D.C. Council committee that investigated the incident. The Judiciary Committee criticized police for not telling protesters to disperse during the demonstrations and then arresting them for failing to obey the nonexistent order. Hundreds of protesters and bystanders were arrested. In the months afterward, Ramsey changed his account of whether he had approved the arrests, according to a copy of the committee report obtained yesterday.

The investigation found fault with the police department's handling of demonstrations dating back to 2000. The report challenges the force's use of undercover officers to infiltrate protest groups, saying some continued surveillance after organizations were found to be generally law-abiding.

"The mayor of the District needs to turn the police department around," said Kathy Patterson (D-Ward 3), who led the investigation. "Turn the police department away from spying on our residents and away from arresting people because of their political views."

Ramsey reacted angrily yesterday when told of the report's conclusions. "That's bullshit," he said. "If they're challenging my integrity, that's just total BS."

EXCERPT FROM REPORT - The investigation by the Committee on the Judiciary into the policies and practices of the Metropolitan Police Department in handling demonstrations has found:

Metropolitan Police Department use of undercover officers to infiltrate political organizations in the absence of criminal activity and in the absence of policy guidance meant to protect the constitutional rights of those individuals being monitored.

A pattern and practice of misrepresentation and evasion on the part of leaders of the Metropolitan Police Department with regard to actions by the Department.

Repeated instances of what appear to be preemptive actions taken against demonstrators including preemptive arrests.

Failure of the Metropolitan Police Department to effectively police its own members for misconduct associated with demonstrations.

Failure of the Metropolitan Police Department to acknowledge and to protect the rights of individuals to privacy, and to free speech and assembly.

DC COPS ADMIT 400 ILLEGAL PROTEST ARRESTS DESPITE WARNING FROM FEDERAL POLICE OFFICIAL

NOBODY APOLOGIZES, NOBODY INDICTED, NOBODY FIRED, NOBODY PAYS, AND WASHINGTON POST BURIES STORY ON PAGE B2

CAROL D. LEONNIG, WASHINGTON POST - An internal police investigation into the roundup of protesters and bystanders at a downtown Washington park last September found that all 400 people were wrongfully arrested. The internal report, released yesterday by order of a federal judge, also said that a federal police official on the scene had earlier warned D.C. police that the mass arrests would be improper. The report revealed significant contradictions between what top city officials have said publicly about the controversial Sept. 27, 2002, arrests at Pershing Park and what they knew privately about the tightly held investigative findings. In a confidential memo to Mayor Anthony A. Williams in March, D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey acknowledged that his assistant chief ordered arrests of everyone in the police-cordoned park -- without giving an order for protesters to disperse -- and that police had blocked people who wished to leave.

FULL REPORT

MAYOR, CHIEF DEFEND MASS ILLEGAL ARRESTS & TORTURE OF PROTESTERS

 DAVID A. FAHRENTHOLD AND DAVID NAKAMURA, WASHINGTON POST - An internal investigation into the D.C. police department's handling of the anti-globalization demonstrations last fall has found that protesters were never told to disperse from a downtown park, even though authorities arrested hundreds in the crowd for failing to obey a police order, according to a D.C. Council member, who sharply criticized the police tactics. Council member Kathy Patterson (D-Ward 3) said yesterday that the report confirms allegations by people who were arrested and legal-aid groups about the Sept. 27 arrests. The report, prepared by the police department's internal affairs unit, concludes that D.C. police never intended to scatter the crowd -- which had massed in Pershing Park after a morning of roving demonstrations -- but instead had planned to surround the park and arrest those inside, Patterson said.

Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey, whose tight rein on such protests has brought him an international reputation, acknowledged for the first time yesterday that it was unclear whether the crowd was given an order to disperse from the park, at 15th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW. But he said that issue was irrelevant, because the protesters had no permit and ignored police orders to clear the streets earlier in the day. "We need to do a better job of giving clear, direct orders to individuals," he said. Still, he said, "I certainly offer no apologies. Here are folks that come in and say they want to take over the city."

Patterson said she had been given the roughly 20-page report -- with attached photographs showing people with their arms and legs bound by plastic restraints -- about a month ago by Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D). She said she had not spoken about it earlier because she believed that Williams would publicize it. "He's had it on his desk for more than a month now, and he's done nothing about it," Patterson said.

Patterson said the government "violated the rights of hundreds of District residents and visitors." She declined to release the report, saying she was told it was confidential. Ramsey also would not release it because the mass arrests are the subject of litigation.

. . . The arrests followed a chaotic and tense morning in downtown Washington on the first day of demonstrations against the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Some demonstrators smashed windows at a Citibank, and others walked down empty streets, shouting slogans and banging drums as police trailed them. Most ended up in Pershing Park. Patterson said police commanders had decided before the crowd reached the park to make arrests, but they delayed action until the throngs had stopped marching.

A police source confirmed that strategy yesterday. If police didn't wait, "what you'd have is what you saw in Seattle, officers running down the street chasing people," the police source said, referring to the trouble that erupted during an IMF meeting there in 1999. Patterson, citing the internal affairs report, said that most of the people arrested in the park were charged with "failure to obey a police order," although the officers arresting them had not given orders or seen orders disobeyed. None of those arrested in the park was prosecuted; some paid the equivalent of a fine to avoid facing charges.

. . . Activists have charged that bystanders in the park were swept up and arrested, too. Law professor Herman Schwartz of American University said yesterday that police cannot arrest anyone who is not actually seen to have committed a crime. "You've got to have probable cause for each and every individual," he said.

Patterson said the report cleared police of allegations that arrested protesters were "hogtied." Plastic handcuffs were used to bind together the wrists and ankles of some protesters, who were unable to stand or lie prone, but the report said that they were not hogtied, as defined in departmental regulations, according to Patterson. At the mayor's news conference yesterday, Deputy Mayor Margret Nedelkoff Kellems agreed. "The hogtying, as they call it -- I was raised on a farm and wouldn't call that hogtying," Kellems said.

 BRIAN DEBOSE, WASHINGTON TIMES - During the Sept. 27-29 protests, police officers arrested about 400 protesters and bystanders, many of whom were "hogtied" for more than 24 hours, said Mrs. Patterson, who heads the council's Judiciary Committee, which oversees the police department. All charges against those who were arrested were ultimately dropped. Hogtying - binding a person's ankle to the opposite wrist to prevent them from standing - violates police department policies, Mrs. Patterson said. She said the internal affairs report notes numerous instances of officers filing false reports about witnessing individuals disobeying police orders. Other officers stated that they heard no warnings or orders to disperse before arrests were made.

. . . Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey and the Metropolitan Police Department have received national and international recognition for their handling of anti-globalization protests since April 2000. Similar protests have turned violent and ended in millions of dollars worth of damage in cities in the United States and abroad. . . [Mayor Williams] called the situation a "serious matter" but disagreed with Mrs. Patterson's analysis of the report. "We're balancing a free society with a safe city. And here in the heat of battle in a high-pressure situation, it is important for us to back our officers," Mr. Williams said. "And an excessive amount of Monday-morning quarterbacking isn't helpful." He said Chief Ramsey and his officers did an "outstanding" job of dealing with a tense and possibly explosive situation.

 COUNCILMEMBER PATTERSON - Not only were arrests preemptive and wrongful, not only was the detention inhumane, but officers in the field were directed to sign arrest forms that were inaccurate on their face. The Metropolitan Police Department, under Mayor Tony Williams, stands compromised by their own actions last fall and by the Mayor's inaction since that time. Many were detained in excess of 24 hours, with wrists bound to ankles so they could not straighten up. All charges were ultimately dropped. After three of those arrested testified about their experiences before the Judiciary Committee in October, Patterson asked Mayor Williams to investigate the actions and take steps to see that similar violations do not reoccur.

Mayor Williams assured me, in writing, that there would be an investigation and action taken within 10 days. He's missed his deadlines; he's taken no action.
Patterson summarized the confidential report's conclusions as follows:

· Police arrested bystanders who had not participated in the demonstrations.

· Before the arrests, police refused to permit those who wanted to leave Pershing Park to do so.

· Those arrested were charged with "failure to obey a police order," but witnesses including law enforcement officials did not hear any orders being given to those who were subsequently arrested.

· Arresting officers signed field arrest forms affirming that, in each case, they saw the person arrested engaged in unlawful activity. In fact, not a single arresting officer gave or observed a police warning.

· Following arrest and transport to the police academy, those arrested were held up to an additional 18 hours due to computer-caused processing delays. The department failed to implement a manual backup system.

· Detainees were restrained with plastic "flexicuffs" with one wrist tethered to the opposite ankle so that individuals could not stand up or lie prone. The report claims that this does not constitute "hogtying" although the department's own definition, which prohibits the practice, states that hogtying is a restraint "that forces the legs and hands to be close to one another."

· There were procedural errors in the arrests, the choice of charges, and the manner of arrest documentation.

DC POLICE CHIEF RAMSEY REFUSES TO RULE OUT MORE ILLEGAL ARRESTS, ABUSE OF DEMONSTRATORS

[After a slow start, City Paper has gotten on to this story with an excellent piece by Jason Cherkis.]

WASHINGTON CITY PAPER - Mass protests, of course, are routine in Washington; large anti-war demonstrations are planned for this weekend. Asked if he would do another Pershing Park [last September's illegal mass arrest and mistreatment of both protesters and people just passing by], Ramsey doesn't hesitate in responding, "We probably will," he says, smiling. "We probably will.". . .

At a late-afternoon victory lap before the media, Ramsey took to the bouquet of microphones assembled in front of police headquarters and rattled off the one statistic that mattered-the number of arrests for the day: 649. He praised his force for performing "very well." There was already a buzz about Pershing Park-something about arbitrary arrests. "We gave warnings," Ramsey said, Mayor Anthony A. Williams smiling behind him. "We followed everything by the book!". . .

As video footage and first-person accounts show, the park events constitute one of the most serious collective violations of civil rights in this city since the Vietnam War era-or at least since the last major anti-globalization demonstrations, in April 2000. Protesters and bystanders, nurses on their way to a convention, lawyers on their way to work, a woman training for a bike race-all rounded up, seized without warning, without orders given, and arrested en masse. They were then tied up like farm animals for hours.

The next day, in the Washington Post, Ramsey described the scene at Pershing Park this way: "Ain't it a thing of beauty. To see our folks up there ready to go."

No one is calling that day a thing of beauty anymore. No one is even calling the arrests worth pursuing. The D.C. Office of the Corporation Counsel, the city agency charged with pursuing the Pershing Park cases, declined to prosecute a single demonstrator caught up in the police's dragnet. "We no-papered everything in Pershing Park," explains Peter Lavallee, the Corporation Counsel's communications director. "We did not feel in the cases that came from Pershing Park-that the witness statements and the evidence that we had [presented] probable cause that a crime was committed and/or that a specific individual committed a crime."

MORE ON SEPTEMBER POLICE RIOT

SUIT FILED AGAINST WILLIAMS, RAMSEY
AND OTHERS FOR SEP 27 POLICE RIOT

The Partnership for Civil Justice, Inc. and the National Lawyers Guild Mass Defense Committee have suited in federal court over the violations of constitutional rights of political activists, legal observers and passers-by who were subjected to arrest and detention during the September 27 police riot.

"D.C. and federal law enforcement authorities executed an illegal and unconstitutional coordinated plan to sweep the streets of political activists and place them in preventive detention," said attorney Mara Verheyden-Hilliard.

"Officers told those being rounded up that they were just 'following orders,'" stated plaintiffs' counsel Carl Messineo. "This complaint sues Chief Ramsey, Mayor Williams and every supervisor in the chain of command who is responsible for issuing and ratifying those blatantly unconstitutional orders. These plaintiffs are sending a clear message: there will be zero tolerance for the criminalization of dissent in the Nation's Capital. There will be accountability for these unconstitutional mass arrests and punitive tactics."

The mass arrests were also used for a mass intelligence gathering operation by the F.B.I. on lawful political activity. Using the false arrests, confinement and compulsion of identification information including fingerprints and photographs, the D.C. police allowed the F.B.I. to collect information on the political activists and persons near the demonstrations.

According to the suit, plaintiffs were rounded-up, taken away on busses, shackled and hogtied right-wrist to left-ankle and detained for up to 30 hours, many being released on the streets outside of the Blue Plains police training center in the middle of the night with no knowledge of where they were and no access to transportation.

The complaint seeks, in addition to damages for the government's illegal conduct, a permanent injunction barring the use of illegal tactics used by law enforcement to disrupt and infringe upon constitutionally protected speech and assembly.

EXCERPT FROM LAW SUIT

This complaint is the most recent in a series of lawsuits with a shared factual allegation: That the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department's Civil Disturbance Units maintain and execute unconstitutional tactics to disrupt lawful protest and assembly including specifically the routine use of mobile police lines to interfere with freedom of association, assembly, speech and free movement; and the use of administrative detention, false imprisonment and false arrest tactics in which the CDUs will trap protesters (and others in physical proximity) on all sides, seize, detain and arrest those trapped/seized in the absence of probable cause. These actions are accomplished through the use of paramilitary force and threat of force in order to deprive, interfere with, and deter the exercise of constitutionally protected rights. . .

The conduct challenged is neither aberrational nor the consequence of overzealous but well intentioned law enforcement. It was the implementation of a pre-designed plan to engage in unconstitutional preemptive arrests intended to round-up political activists and lock them up in the absence of probable cause. U.S. Capitol Police Chief Terrance Gainer testified - before the protests - that he and D.C. police had discussed preemptive action against protesters.

When one plaintiff asked why she was being arrested and whether she could please go free, one officer candidly explained that she was being arrested because she was displaying political "propaganda." Others were let out apparently based on their perceived loyalty to the government. The Washington Post reported that police lines yielded for at least one detainee when he displayed a Department of Justice identification card. . .

Plaintiffs were subjected to more harsh treatment in custody and were hogtied wrist-to-ankle for hours. They were subjected to intentional sleep deprivation and were not released in a matter of hours as would normally be the case, but were held into the night and overnight, for up to 30 hours. The purpose of these arrests was not to enforce laws, but to take protesters off of the streets on the first day of a weekend of planned political events. . .

These round-ups and mass arrests of political activists are anathema to democracy. It is not merely remarkable that such round-ups happen repeatedly in Washington, D.C., but that policy makers emphatically ratify such blatantly unconstitutional tactics. "Ain't it a thing of beauty," Chief Ramsey stated on September 27 as he reviewed the officers about to mass arrest hundreds in Pershing Park, "to see our folks up there ready to go."

These challenged police actions create a substantial chilling effect and deterrent to future First Amendment protected activity as the exercise of one's political rights in Washington, D.C. now carries with it the risk of arrest, of being wrongfully subject to the criminal process of the state, of being threatened with physical harm by the police, being bound with handcuffs, having one's identification and political activities be collected and recorded - for no reason other than having political associations that have been targeted by the federal government or by the local chief of police or mayor. . .

As a matter of practice, custom, and informal policy the MPD routinely violates its own established standards and engages in constitutionally impermissible mass arrests and political round-ups of targeted political demonstrators and activists engaged in mass assembly and political activity and others associating with them. . .

According to the MPD Mass Demonstration Handbook, where police intend to disperse a crowd engaging in a political demonstration, the field commander shall instruct unit commanders "to issue warnings to the crowd to disperse.". . . None of the plaintiffs were afforded benefit or protection of the standards described in the Handbook. The MPD violated these standards with respect to plaintiffs and hundreds of others. . .

Federal and local law enforcement agencies discussed and planned in advance a strategy of "preemptive" action against protesters. . . Capitol Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer participated in these discussions with D.C. and federal law enforcement officials. Treating the protesters as presumptively criminal, and indicating a willingness to act absent probable cause, Gainer explained, "I don't know why we have to wait until after they've inflicted damage."

FULL COMPLAINT

JOHN AUBUCHON, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL PRESS CLUB - Dear Mayor Williams: The National Press Club strongly objects to the recent arrests of reporters covering the protests of the Sept. 27 meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. At least seventeen journalists were swept up in mass arrests and some were detained for several hours. We understand the challenges police face in controlling large crowds, and commend you on the success in keeping order. However, credentialed media who promptly identify themselves and who are doing their jobs should not be detained or arrested. I cannot accept the suggestion that because of the numbers involved, the police cannot distinguish between news professionals legitimately covering an event and the demonstrators themselves. In a separate letter the National Press Club has urged Chief Charles Ramsey to formerly apologize to Stefany Moore, a United Press International intern; Washingtonpost.com reporters Christina Pino-Marina and Michael Bruno; and Larry Towell of New York-based Magnum Photo, who were reportedly arrested in the Freedom Plaza area in downtown Washington on Sept. 27. We suggested, too, that others cited in the attached stories deserve apologies, as well. We also request a meeting with Chief Ramsey under the auspices of the Office of the Mayor to discuss ways to avoid such violations of the First Amendment in the future. The District of Columbia must have firm policies --- of which all officers are aware --- to prevent the detention or arrest of credentialed media representatives who are covering demonstrations and other public events. We understand, of course, that journalists have a responsibility not to obstruct police efforts to maintain or restore order. However, law enforcement personnel must accept the legitimate presence of news media covering such efforts. I look forward to hearing from you.

MANNY FERNANDEZ AND DAVID A. FAHRENTHOLD, WASHINGTON POST - Seven George Washington University students filed a federal lawsuit against District police, alleging they were unfairly swept up in last month's mass arrests at an anti-globalization demonstration even though they were attending the event as observers and news photographers and causing no trouble. . . The lawsuit alleged that authorities violated the students' rights under the First, Fourth and Fifth amendments and accused police of "abusive confinement" and denying the detainees access to counsel. According to the suit, Lee and three others were held at the police academy until the next afternoon, spending more than 10 hours on the bus waiting for processing and then at least 12 hours inside the facility's gym, where each reportedly had a wrist handcuffed to an ankle. The students' lawyer, Jonathan Turley, a George Washington law professor, said the suit seeks to get the police "trap-and-arrest" tactic declared unconstitutional and to clear the arrests from the records of students and others. "The police do not have a license to operate outside of the U.S. Constitution when faced with demonstrations," Turley said.

MORE MILITARY INTIMIDATION
OF PEACEFUL DC PROTESTERS
DC INDY MEDIA

GREAT MOMENTS IN PERSONAL ADS: JAIL BUS 15, from Freedom Plaza protest. You: Georgetown Law student. Me: blonde, red shirt. It was tough getting to know you in cuffs, so the 17 hours in the bus weren't enough. Let's talk about our case against DC government over drinks sometime? No Bologna sandwiches, promised! - Washington City Paper

A MOTHER AND A WIFE, DC INDY MEDIA - My Dear Fellow Americans, Let me tell you what was done on Friday, September 27th. It was done in your name in your capitol city to your children. They are so young and so idealistic that they still believe in the preposterous notions we taught them in kindergarten. They still believe in peace and justice.

They are so young and so energetic that they can still sing, dance, drum, march, build beautiful banners and puppets, create street theater, and yes, express rage. They were doing all this for you. They are trying to tell you that you have lost your way. To point out to you that you are actually discussing as a rational proposition that we bomb a small country as a "preventative" measure. They want you to see that this proposition is the negation of every moral principle that stands between us and utter chaos.

They spoke to you with dancing and singing and beating on drums. (So young and so beautiful!) They obeyed the orders of the policemen, those policemen you taught them to run to if they were afraid. They followed the rules. "You have a right to speak freely and to assemble to express your grievances." Isn't that the rule you taught them?

Let me tell you what the nice policemen did. They said, "don't go over there with your protests. Come over here into the park." Your children obeyed them. Then they said "Go further into the park. Stand close together. Do not move. No, you may not leave." Then they bound their arms behind their backs with plastic straps, tight. Then they loaded them onto the buses, and transported them across the river. There they were kept, bound and seated, for fourteen hours. Some of them cried. Some pleaded. Mostly they sang songs and played games to encourage one another.

After midnight they were taken from the buses into the large gymnasium of a police training building. There they were strapped into plastic shackles: left-wrist-to -right ankle. They could not stand or kneel. They were kept in this position for another fourteen hours. Because they are young and strong and loving they kept one another's spirits up.

The police are "the law" isn't that right? The "law" told your children that they had to pay a fine and sign a paper admitting that they had "failed to obey". If they didn't they would be kept in the gymnasium in the painful shackles for two more days, until Monday. Perhaps because you raised them right, but more likely because the young are also vulnerable, they believed and signed.

I saw many of them sobbing as they left.

I was there to pick up my daughter on Saturday afternoon. along with her father, my husband. He was corralled and cuffed and transported from the park too. He was dressed in his best navy blue pinstripe business suit. He just came for an hour, the park being just a block from his office. He likes to go with her to encourage her to participate in these demonstrations "legally" so as not to go to jail. It has been so painful to us when she has been jailed in other protests. He's "elderly" though he'd never answer to that description. He's sixty-nine and a half. Bad knee. Poor circulation. Although he'd be quick to point out that he can still jog four miles or play a round of handball. He was shackled for fourteen hours as well. Left wrist to right ankle.

So my dear fellow American parents, I hope you have some tears left to shed for your children. We've shed so many this year. They are your better selves. They still believe that you can be "good". If you do not allow them to speak, if you refuse to listen, what measurement will you use to judge the morality, or even the wisdom of your actions? Ignore these voices at your own peril. It is never the "other" who is our greatest threat. It is us.

DOUG MALKAN, BRECKINRIDGE, CO - Police brutality is alive and well in DC as our civil rights are rapidly disappearing. I found this out the hard way on September 27 when I was "preemptively arrested" in Pershing Park along with many hundreds of others. A total of 649 people were arrested that day, the majority of them from the park. What happened to us next was unbelievable. I was hand cuffed for over 22 hours. I was barely given any water or food and spent the night on a wood floor while half hog-tied the whole time.

What did I do? Nothing. I was in Pershing Park mostly sitting on a bench listening to some great drumming and people were dancing.
We were assembled in the park taking part in a permitted rally to oppose corporate globalization and to stop war with Iraq. There was no blocking of the streets or sidewalks going on at or near the park, no property destruction happened there at all. It was a nice sunny morning when hundreds of DC Metro Police surrounded the small park with full riot gear on, batons at the ready.

The police blocked any chance of exit and refused to let us out. I, and many others, asked repeatedly for two hours if we were being detained and if so for what charge. No answer was ever given, no response. We were not allowed to leave and we never got an answer why. All they did say was that we could not leave. The Metro Police held us in the park for two hours against our will. Then the arrests. No charges were given. No reason. Innocent or guilty, it didn't matter. There were media people in the park, onlookers, passersby, kids, twenty-somethings, punk kids, hippy chicks, old people, drummers, dancers.

We were driven across town to a parking lot at the Metropolitan Police Academy where were held on a packed bus and kept hand cuffed for 14 hours. It was 7 hours before we got any water, and then just 9 ounces. The only food we got in 12 hours was two sandwiches split between the entire bus of detainees. And that was the bus driver's own lunch, who was not a police officer but a Metro bus driver.

While held on the bus we asked repeatedly what the charges were against us. We were not given an answer. Our legal council from the National Lawyers Guild was not allowed to speak to us on the bus. They tried to shout some legal information to us from across a sidewalk while we were in the bus with the engine running. When that happened the police moved the bus a few dozen feet down the street so we could not hear our lawyer anymore.

At 1 am we were processed into a holding facility which was a gymnasium with a wood floor and some old beat-up gym mats. Two hundred of us were held all night in the gym, half hog-tied all of the time. Our right wrist was handcuffed to our left ankle so you had to remain hunched over or stay in a ball. There weren't enough mats so I ended up with half my body on a mat and half on the wood floor. I curled up on my side in a ball all night as I tried to use by boots as a pillow so as not to wrench my neck. No blanket. Some people unfortunate to be near the huge fan were freezing.

For those who wore contacts, there was no eye drop solution or anywhere to put their contacts. Eyes were burning. No aspirin for anyone who got a splitting headache. No soap and water available after a bowel movement in the dirty port-o-potties. We got a terrible meal at 9 pm that consisted of two slices of white bread with a thin sliver of what I though was baloney, whatever it was I got sick for two days. If you were a vegetarian, there were three cheese sandwiches available for 200 people.

We were held in the gymnasium with no windows, no clocks or anyway to tell how much time was going by. The bright overhead lights were on twenty-four hours and we were woken up every 15 to 30 minutes as they called out names all night long. Sleep deprivation hit everyone and made me unable to think clearly.

Some of the police were sadistic and mean. If you bugged the guards the punishment was to cinch your hand cuffs so tight your hands would turn white and you'd be in pain. I didn't know till after I got out that some of this treatment was against the Geneva Convention. Now I know what it must be like to be a POW.

We all had our prison tattoos. That was the Legal Aid number for the Lawyers Guild that we had hastily written with a permanent marker on our arms just minutes before our arrest at the park. But as time dragged on and the abuse got worse, the guards started to hover over the phones and watch what number you dialed. They then forbade anyone to call the legal aid number anymore.

I was held for 24 hours total. At the end, I was charged with one of the lowest misdemeanors there is, equivalent to a traffic citation. It's likely a judge will drop the charges against almost everyone, as happened last year in DC.

I see the DC Police in a whole new light now. They are a despicable organization and Police Chief Ramsey is a criminal.

I'm far from a radical. I'm just a 43 year old political progressive who tries to get people to vote. This experience did not keep me from attending the Mobilization for Global Justice rally just two hours after I got out of that prison, even though those same Metro cops were there threatening us again with their aggressive posture. And it did not stop me from marching through the street that day or marching to stop the war with Iraq the day after that. Just the opposite.

I, like the others that were illegally imprisoned and tortured by the DC Police, have even more resolve now to stand up and try to change things. I realize from my experience that things are much more desperate than I ever thought.

SHAWNA BADER - I got to the park (ironically named "Freedom Plaza") a little after 9 am, and saw a group of people dancing and drumming, and went over to watch. Hundreds started converging on the park. I was so impressed with the undergrads and even some high school students (at 28, I was one of the oldest people around) who were there, and as I heard them speaking articulately about the connection between consumerism in America, the World Bank, globalization and global poverty, I felt inspired and hopeful. . . I saw about a dozen people march into the street chanting anti-World Bank and IMF slogans, and they were immediately pushed back to the park by the cops. I got as far away from that as that as I could; again, I did not want to get arrested. Around 9:15 am I noticed hundreds of cops in riot gear surrounding the park. It seemed absurdly disproportionate, because the vast majority of the people in the park were clearly not trying to do anything illegal.

So there I am, holding a cappuccino in a park surrounded by police, saying to myself, OK, it is time to get out of here. The police refused to let me out. Some cops on one part of the park said "I don't care where you have to go, you made the choice to come down here and you are not getting out." I went to try a different side of the park, and there I heard the cops saying to others like me trying to leave "We will make an announcement soon letting those who want to leave, leave, and the rest will be arrested" (that turned out to be a lie and a form of entrapment).

Meanwhile, they were closing in on us and it was getting pretty tight. The cops were getting all worked up, and the protestors started to chant "we want to leave peacefully, we want to leave peacefully!" Before I knew it, these huge officers from Chicago, Boston, DC, and federal Park Police were pulling out their batons and wacking people. The protestors chanted "Shame! Shame! Shame!" in response. Then it got really ugly and scary. The police yelled "There are only two ways you are going to get out of here -&hibar;by volunteering to be arrested, or by being arrested by force."

Bewildered people lined up near me to get "voluntarily arrested." The woman standing next to me was a photographer I think from AP, who had come across the activities in the park on her way somewhere else, got out to take a picture, forgot her press badge and found herself in handcuffs.

Empty DC public transit buses came out of nowhere and lined up near the curb. Cops lined the way to the first bus. I was grabbed by the neck by a huge man wearing gloves really hard, and forced toward the bus. He tightened when I tried to look behind me, and yelled not to look back. I wondered if that was because someone was being beaten. A few minutes earlier, I saw a tiny woman who couldn't have been more than about 20 and 100 lbs shackled and punched in the back. Others were slammed to the ground and were bleeding.

We got on the bus and were handcuffed behind our backs. I ended up on the bus handcuffed like that from 10 am-4 pm, at which point we were brought into a large gym at the Police Training Academy in SW DC, where we were shackled right-cuff-to-left-ankle (so we couldn't stand up) for 20 hours, laying on mats. Many of us were denied food and access to lawyers. We were not told the charges against us for hours after being detained ("Failure to obey a police officer" ended up being the charge.

I'm not saying we suffered police brutality! But we were treated like crap nonetheless, especially given the minor charges against us. This was clearly meant to intimidate protestors from ever getting out on the streets again. Judging from the conversations I had with those around me, the police instead learned a lesson in how to radicalize college students.

The message coming out of the police is: If you go to a demonstration, permitted or not, peaceful or not, whether or not you are planning a non-violent direct action or even if you are just walking by, you have no rights if the cops decide you don't. For a minute under detention I got all high-and-mighty about my rights, and told the officer standing over me "You are not allowed to hold me for more than 12 hours without giving me food, it's against the law." The officer laughed in my face, and said "Don't talk to me about the law." I told him not to laugh at me, more cops gathered, and I decided to go back to sleep. He was right, in this disturbed and unjust scenario they could do whatever they wanted. If they could arrest us by simply ignoring our supposed "constitutional rights" to freedom of speech and assembly, not read us our rights and keep us from our lawyers, of course they could deny us food.

JOE MAYER IN THE SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER - I am a lieutenant colonel, retired from the U.S. Army after 20 years of service, including Vietnam. . . As a soldier, I risked my life to defend the Constitution. With the GI Bill, I went to law school to learn to apply it. . . On Friday, Sept. 27, in Washington, D.C., my sense of my own place in our society was stunned when I was arrested for the first time, at the age of 69. This experience shook my confidence that our Constitution and my adherence to that rule of law made me safe and secure on the streets of our capitol. . .

When we asked the police for permission to leave the park, they answered us by closing ranks. When I saw that a man my age dressed, as I was, in a business suit was allowed to pass, I realized that without the "Don't Attack Iraq" button I wore on my lapel, I would be a free person who could direct my own movement.
The police line continued to close around us and we were forced through trees and over benches to avoid the charging line of riot cops with raised batons. The charge did not stop until the confinement forced everyone to stand packed together, surrounded by hostile police in the armored suits of Star Wars villains. After several minutes, without warning, the police began seizing the unresisting would-be demonstrators and pinned our arms behind our backs with plastic cuffs.

The result of the command decision to treat us as criminals, if not actual terrorists, was a 29-hour incarceration, a summary punishment disproportionate to the violation ("failure to obey") that we will return to court to defend. . .

Chief Charles Ramsey and the D.C. Police Department executed a preemptive strike against American citizens in Pershing Park, people who committed no criminal acts. All of the actions in Pershing Park by the demonstrators were legal, peaceful and protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution. Ramsey does not attempt to justify the mass arrest in the park by events that actually occurred. He justifies them by saying that if not arrested in advance, the demonstrators would have broken the law. Ramsey does not identify these future crimes nor offer any evidence to support his claims. He ignores the rule of law. The similarity of the D.C. police preemptive action to the war policy it was used to defend is striking.

STUPID JOURNALISM TRICKS

[This is how City Paper, the alternative paper that wishes it wasn't and once again mistaking arrogance for irony, treated the second largest mass arrests in recent Washington history.]

CITY PAPER - The IMF-protest carnival has become, in its own way, as much an institution as the IMF. The Army-jacketed radicals don't need to battle with the police; they just execute the dance steps they learned in Seattle and in Philadelphia and in D.C., before, when it was new. It's an exercise in crowd management, like a Freaknik for the Vassar-Oberlin-Columbia axis. The street theater, dancing, puppetry, and drum circles get another showing. . . Outrage and fury serve the protesters' own emotional ends, even if the World Bank never hears them. But if you do the same thing over and over again, eventually you get good at it. So, in celebration of the institutionalized art of the protest, the Washington City Paper went looking for the Best of Anti-Globalism 2002. Here are the most perfectly realized threats to the status quo, in no particular order. . .

ON THE OTHER HAND. . .

[A few of the city's journalists still believe in the Constitution, including Adrienne Washington of the Washington Times]

ADRIENNE T. WASHINGTON, WASHINGTON TIMES - On the first day of class at Catholic University, I hand out a single sheet of paper with the words from the single most important paragraph my novice journalism students need remember. It simply states: The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or of the right of people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for redress of grievance."

Free speech, a free press and the right to peaceably assemble are the bedrock fundamentals of a free society. So precious are these freedoms that the Founding Fathers named them first. . . Having participated in and covered many a peaceful protest at the foot of the U.S. Capitol in my day, it became clear that if nothing else, these peoples' rallies serve a fundamental function espoused by the First Amendment - the right of people to petition their government for redress.

The larger value of such protest as the 1963 March on Washington or even today's predictable, perennial marches, is often overlooked. Protests, such as those against the debatable policies of the IMF, provide the public with useful information, which they can accept or reject, but which contribute to the public discourse on what we value as Americans and how we want to evolve as a civilized society.

Who among us has not uttered the quintessential phrase "this is America" or "this is a free country" as a last resort in an argument not so much to defend what we are saying but simply our right to say it? Always, it is with those we disagree most, we should listen closer.


IT'S A LITTLE LATE BUT FUN ANYWAY
Adam Eidinger takes on Bill Press and Pat Buchanan prior to the recent demonstrations. We especially like the part where Press - who plays the part of a journalist on TV - expresses confusion over what the demonstrations are about. Shouldn't he stay off the air until the gets the story down a little better? PLAY IT

DEMONSTRATORS ON CAPITOL HILL TRIED TO SHOW MEMBERS HOW TO STAND UP FOR THE CONSTITUTION. THEY FAILED AND 13 DEMONSTRATORS WERE ARRESTED.

MIKE FLUGENNOCK PHOTO

 

MILITARY PERSONEL BEING USED TO SPY ON PROTESTERS IN THE CAPITAL
[IMC]

THE POLICE RIOT

A MOTHER AND A WIFE, DC INDY MEDIA - My Dear Fellow Americans, Let me tell you what was done on Friday, September 27th. It was done in your name in your capitol city to your children. They are so young and so idealistic that they still believe in the preposterous notions we taught them in kindergarten. They still believe in peace and justice.

They are so young and so energetic that they can still sing, dance, drum, march, build beautiful banners and puppets, create street theater, and yes, express rage. They were doing all this for you. They are trying to tell you that you have lost your way. To point out to you that you are actually discussing as a rational proposition that we bomb a small country as a "preventative" measure. They want you to see that this proposition is the negation of every moral principle that stands between us and utter chaos.

They spoke to you with dancing and singing and beating on drums. (So young and so beautiful!) They obeyed the orders of the policemen, those policemen you taught them to run to if they were afraid. They followed the rules. "You have a right to speak freely and to assemble to express your grievances." Isn't that the rule you taught them?

Let me tell you what the nice policemen did. They said, "don't go over there with your protests. Come over here into the park." Your children obeyed them. Then they said "Go further into the park. Stand close together. Do not move. No, you may not leave." Then they bound their arms behind their backs with plastic straps, tight. Then they loaded them onto the buses, and transported them across the river. There they were kept, bound and seated, for fourteen hours. Some of them cried. Some pleaded. Mostly they sang songs and played games to encourage one another.

After midnight they were taken from the buses into the large gymnasium of a police training building. There they were strapped into plastic shackles: left-wrist-to -right ankle. They could not stand or kneel. They were kept in this position for another fourteen hours. Because they are young and strong and loving they kept one another's spirits up.

The police are "the law" isn't that right? The "law" told your children that they had to pay a fine and sign a paper admitting that they had "failed to obey". If they didn't they would be kept in the gymnasium in the painful shackles for two more days, until Monday. Perhaps because you raised them right, but more likely because the young are also vulnerable, they believed and signed.

I saw many of them sobbing as they left.

I was there to pick up my daughter on Saturday afternoon. along with her father, my husband. He was corralled and cuffed and transported from the park too. He was dressed in his best navy blue pinstripe business suit. He just came for an hour, the park being just a block from his office. He likes to go with her to encourage her to participate in these demonstrations "legally" so as not to go to jail. It has been so painful to us when she has been jailed in other protests. He's "elderly" though he'd never answer to that description. He's sixty-nine and a half. Bad knee. Poor circulation. Although he'd be quick to point out that he can still jog four miles or play a round of handball. He was shackled for fourteen hours as well. Left wrist to right ankle.

So my dear fellow American parents, I hope you have some tears left to shed for your children. We've shed so many this year. They are your better selves. They still believe that you can be "good". If you do not allow them to speak, if you refuse to listen, what measurement will you use to judge the morality, or even the wisdom of your actions? Ignore these voices at your own peril. It is never the "other" who is our greatest threat. It is us.

DOUG MALKAN, BRECKINRIDGE, CO - Police brutality is alive and well in DC as our civil rights are rapidly disappearing. I found this out the hard way on September 27 when I was "preemptively arrested" in Pershing Park along with many hundreds of others. A total of 649 people were arrested that day, the majority of them from the park. What happened to us next was unbelievable. I was hand cuffed for over 22 hours. I was barely given any water or food and spent the night on a wood floor while half hog-tied the whole time.

What did I do? Nothing. I was in Pershing Park mostly sitting on a bench listening to some great drumming and people were dancing.
We were assembled in the park taking part in a permitted rally to oppose corporate globalization and to stop war with Iraq. There was no blocking of the streets or sidewalks going on at or near the park, no property destruction happened there at all. It was a nice sunny morning when hundreds of DC Metro Police surrounded the small park with full riot gear on, batons at the ready.

The police blocked any chance of exit and refused to let us out. I, and many others, asked repeatedly for two hours if we were being detained and if so for what charge. No answer was ever given, no response. We were not allowed to leave and we never got an answer why. All they did say was that we could not leave. The Metro Police held us in the park for two hours against our will. Then the arrests. No charges were given. No reason. Innocent or guilty, it didn't matter. There were media people in the park, onlookers, passersby, kids, twenty-somethings, punk kids, hippy chicks, old people, drummers, dancers.

We were driven across town to a parking lot at the Metropolitan Police Academy where were held on a packed bus and kept hand cuffed for 14 hours. It was 7 hours before we got any water, and then just 9 ounces. The only food we got in 12 hours was two sandwiches split between the entire bus of detainees. And that was the bus driver's own lunch, who was not a police officer but a Metro bus driver.

While held on the bus we asked repeatedly what the charges were against us. We were not given an answer. Our legal council from the National Lawyers Guild was not allowed to speak to us on the bus. They tried to shout some legal information to us from across a sidewalk while we were in the bus with the engine running. When that happened the police moved the bus a few dozen feet down the street so we could not hear our lawyer anymore.

At 1 am we were processed into a holding facility which was a gymnasium with a wood floor and some old beat-up gym mats. Two hundred of us were held all night in the gym, half hog-tied all of the time. Our right wrist was handcuffed to our left ankle so you had to remain hunched over or stay in a ball. There weren't enough mats so I ended up with half my body on a mat and half on the wood floor. I curled up on my side in a ball all night as I tried to use by boots as a pillow so as not to wrench my neck. No blanket. Some people unfortunate to be near the huge fan were freezing.

For those who wore contacts, there was no eye drop solution or anywhere to put their contacts. Eyes were burning. No aspirin for anyone who got a splitting headache. No soap and water available after a bowel movement in the dirty port-o-potties. We got a terrible meal at 9 pm that consisted of two slices of white bread with a thin sliver of what I though was baloney, whatever it was I got sick for two days. If you were a vegetarian, there were three cheese sandwiches available for 200 people.

We were held in the gymnasium with no windows, no clocks or anyway to tell how much time was going by. The bright overhead lights were on twenty-four hours and we were woken up every 15 to 30 minutes as they called out names all night long. Sleep deprivation hit everyone and made me unable to think clearly.

Some of the police were sadistic and mean. If you bugged the guards the punishment was to cinch your hand cuffs so tight your hands would turn white and you'd be in pain. I didn't know till after I got out that some of this treatment was against the Geneva Convention. Now I know what it must be like to be a POW.

We all had our prison tattoos. That was the Legal Aid number for the Lawyers Guild that we had hastily written with a permanent marker on our arms just minutes before our arrest at the park. But as time dragged on and the abuse got worse, the guards started to hover over the phones and watch what number you dialed. They then forbade anyone to call the legal aid number anymore.

I was held for 24 hours total. At the end, I was charged with one of the lowest misdemeanors there is, equivalent to a traffic citation. It's likely a judge will drop the charges against almost everyone, as happened last year in DC.

I see the DC Police in a whole new light now. They are a despicable organization and Police Chief Ramsey is a criminal.

I'm far from a radical. I'm just a 43 year old political progressive who tries to get people to vote. This experience did not keep me from attending the Mobilization for Global Justice rally just two hours after I got out of that prison, even though those same Metro cops were there threatening us again with their aggressive posture. And it did not stop me from marching through the street that day or marching to stop the war with Iraq the day after that. Just the opposite.

I, like the others that were illegally imprisoned and tortured by the DC Police, have even more resolve now to stand up and try to change things. I realize from my experience that things are much more desperate than I ever thought.

SHAWNA BADER - I got to the park (ironically named "Freedom Plaza") a little after 9 am, and saw a group of people dancing and drumming, and went over to watch. Hundreds started converging on the park. I was so impressed with the undergrads and even some high school students (at 28, I was one of the oldest people around) who were there, and as I heard them speaking articulately about the connection between consumerism in America, the World Bank, globalization and global poverty, I felt inspired and hopeful. . . I saw about a dozen people march into the street chanting anti-World Bank and IMF slogans, and they were immediately pushed back to the park by the cops. I got as far away from that as that as I could; again, I did not want to get arrested. Around 9:15 am I noticed hundreds of cops in riot gear surrounding the park. It seemed absurdly disproportionate, because the vast majority of the people in the park were clearly not trying to do anything illegal.

So there I am, holding a cappuccino in a park surrounded by police, saying to myself, OK, it is time to get out of here. The police refused to let me out. Some cops on one part of the park said "I don't care where you have to go, you made the choice to come down here and you are not getting out." I went to try a different side of the park, and there I heard the cops saying to others like me trying to leave "We will make an announcement soon letting those who want to leave, leave, and the rest will be arrested" (that turned out to be a lie and a form of entrapment).

Meanwhile, they were closing in on us and it was getting pretty tight. The cops were getting all worked up, and the protestors started to chant "we want to leave peacefully, we want to leave peacefully!" Before I knew it, these huge officers from Chicago, Boston, DC, and federal Park Police were pulling out their batons and wacking people. The protestors chanted "Shame! Shame! Shame!" in response. Then it got really ugly and scary. The police yelled "There are only two ways you are going to get out of here -&hibar;by volunteering to be arrested, or by being arrested by force."

Bewildered people lined up near me to get "voluntarily arrested." The woman standing next to me was a photographer I think from AP, who had come across the activities in the park on her way somewhere else, got out to take a picture, forgot her press badge and found herself in handcuffs.

Empty DC public transit buses came out of nowhere and lined up near the curb. Cops lined the way to the first bus. I was grabbed by the neck by a huge man wearing gloves really hard, and forced toward the bus. He tightened when I tried to look behind me, and yelled not to look back. I wondered if that was because someone was being beaten. A few minutes earlier, I saw a tiny woman who couldn't have been more than about 20 and 100 lbs shackled and punched in the back. Others were slammed to the ground and were bleeding.

We got on the bus and were handcuffed behind our backs. I ended up on the bus handcuffed like that from 10 am-4 pm, at which point we were brought into a large gym at the Police Training Academy in SW DC, where we were shackled right-cuff-to-left-ankle (so we couldn't stand up) for 20 hours, laying on mats. Many of us were denied food and access to lawyers. We were not told the charges against us for hours after being detained ("Failure to obey a police officer" ended up being the charge.

I'm not saying we suffered police brutality! But we were treated like crap nonetheless, especially given the minor charges against us. This was clearly meant to intimidate protestors from ever getting out on the streets again. Judging from the conversations I had with those around me, the police instead learned a lesson in how to radicalize college students.

WANT TO SUE THE CITY?

DC JUSTICE & SOLIDARITY COMMITTEE - Everyone must write a letter to the mayor to preserve her/his right to sue the city. This should be done immediately. Anyone can write a letter and you should all write one yourselves. The letter need only contain the approximate time, place, cause, and circumstances of the injury or damage. Injury includes unlawful detention, physical harm, intentional infliction of emotional distress, or any other violation of your rights. Don't worry about pinpointing the particular violations of your rights at this point, it is enough to say that the District of Columbia and the police violated your constitutional and common law rights. It should also say that you are writing the letter pursuant to DC-Code Section 12-309. It can be short. If you are concerned about getting the letter exactly right, consult an attorney.

Everyone who believes their rights were violated during the September 2002 protests should send a letter - not just those who were arrested.

If you can, send the letter certified, return receipt, or hand-deliver it. Also, it's a good idea to send a copy to Police Chief Charles Ramsey.

Anthony Williams Mayor, District of Columbia 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20004

Charles Ramsey, Chief of Police Metropolitan Police Department 300 Indiana Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20001

You can try to find a civil law firm to take your case, if you want to sue on your own or with a group. Make sure you keep a copy of your complaint for them to review. The collective will be searching for civil law firms that would be willing to take cases. If you want us to include yours, please send a copy of your complaint to Justice & Solidarity Collective, c/o D.C. NLG, 1322 18th St. Suite 300, Washington, DC 20036. Also, you should print and fill out a Police Misconduct Report as soon as possible. Sending us the complaint or the report does not automatically mean that we will be able to find a lawyer who will be willing to take the case, or that they would be willing to do it for free.

WANT TO COMPLAIN TO CITY OFFICIALS?

CHIEF RAMSEY
MAYOR WILIAMS

The message coming out of the police is: If you go to a demonstration, permitted or not, peaceful or not, whether or not you are planning a non-violent direct action or even if you are just walking by, you have no rights if the cops decide you don't. For a minute under detention I got all high-and-mighty about my rights, and told the officer standing over me "You are not allowed to hold me for more than 12 hours without giving me food, it's against the law." The officer laughed in my face, and said "Don't talk to me about the law." I told him not to laugh at me, more cops gathered, and I decided to go back to sleep. He was right, in this disturbed and unjust scenario they could do whatever they wanted. If they could arrest us by simply ignoring our supposed "constitutional rights" to freedom of speech and assembly, not read us our rights and keep us from our lawyers, of course they could deny us food.

 


BEN CHADWICK, DC INDYMEDIA

KEEPING AMERICA SAFE
FOR LATTE GRANDE

THE WEEKEND CONSTITUTED the third worst police riot in recent Washington history and the second largest mass arrest on a single day. On Friday, using the MPD's own statistics, officers arrested a record one-third of the protesters present, mostly by the illegal preemptive corralling of demonstrators without giving them a lawful order to disperse or allowing them to do so. The 650 arrests were roughly one-half the illegal arrests during the much larger April 2000 demonstration, where the police were also under the command of champion local lawbreaker Charles Ramsey. The biggest mass arrests occurred in May 1971, when 12,000 anti-war demonstrators were arrested using much the same illegal tactics as Ramsey engaged in on Friday. Approximately 670 demonstrators were arrested one day in September 20002 as compared with 600 in one day during the April 2000 protests.

MEANWHILE IN LONDON, where, according to the count of Mayor Ken Livingstone, four hundred thousand marchers rallied, there were precisely two arrests. Livingstone called it "the largest march for peace I have seen in 30 years."

THE WASHINGTON NEWS MEDIA suggested that the real issue was whether the protests would shut the city down. In fact, the city did work at one-third speed Friday, but not because of the actions of protesters but because police and politicians had so terrified the easily-scared bureaucrats of the region that many of them stayed home. As a matter of observable fact, therefore, the police caused far more harm to the city than did the protests. None of real perpetrators, however, was arrested.

THE BEST KEPT SECRET was that even in quieter times, the city was shut down by the IMF-World Bank meetings, except the cause then was a traffic jam of limousines. Your editor used to enjoy walking past catatonic Cadillacs and Lincolns as the serial rapists of capitalism were stalled in their vehicles. Now, the big boys prefer to ride in buses accompanied by squad cars.

EVEN WASHINGTON POST REPORTERS WERE ARRESTED

LUXURY HOTEL GOES BUNKER BONKERS FOR DEMO

AMERICAN PROSPECT ran a series of articles on the protests, some of which clucked with disparagement over its effectiveness. Presumably, the activists could have better spent their time writing articles for a small liberal publication.

EMENDATION: Jim Farley of WTOP News in Washington writes to note that the station could not get any back-up for the story of Chief Ramsey shoving a woman to the ground during the protests (which we reported last week). Further, Washington Post reporter David Farenthal was with the chief all morning up until that point and he witnessed no such thing. "We reported it twice with the Chief's denial but stopped after we could not get a second source."

FIRST PERSON ACCOUNT

ANON ANOK, DC INDY MEDIA - So, I just got out of jail about 4 hours ago, and while events are fresh in my mind, I thought I would give an account of my experience. We woke up early Friday morning and met up with a few other folks from our affinity group around 6:30. We headed down to Franklin Park, the starting point for the Snake March. As we walked to the park, the police were everywhere. About 5 of them stopped us about a block away and asked if we were protesters. We said no, and continued walking, when one of the cops grabbed a member of our group and demanded to search his bag. We made it clear that we didn't consent to a search, asked if we were under arrest, to which the cops replied that we were being detained and weren't free to leave. They proceeded to search our bags, reading through the ACC and legal support manuals we were carrying. When we asked why we were being detained, the cops said that they weren't going to tolerate 'violent protest' and so they had taken the right to search anyone who looked like a protester. They confiscated a couple of our gas masks, and then let us go, issuing vague threats on our safety.

After we were free to leave, we made our way to the park, where there was a large crowd gathered preparing for the march. The march started soon afterward, but after a couple of blocks, the police formed a line, preventing us from proceeding. We turned back the other way, but the police had already formed a line on that side, in effect trapping us in the street. A few folks tried to break through the police line, but were repelled. The police then divided the march, and began shoving us on to the side walk at 14th and K. Once they had us pinned, they moved in and started plucking people one by one. At this point, I and most of the people there sat down and locked arms. About five minutes later, the police grabbed me, and when I refused to unlock my arms, began hitting me in the chest and ribs with their batons. I curled up to protect myself, and after a few more jabs, they picked me up and carried me to a bus that was parked and waiting for us. They took us to the Police Academy in the boonies of D.C., where it took about 6 hours for them to process us and move us into the gym. There were some interesting discussions with some of the police there, who were angry at having to pull double shifts in order to man the protest, and who resented the hell out of their superiors for forcing them to work it and also explained that they were getting the usual shaft when it came to pay and benefits.

We stayed in the gym for the rest of the day, chanting and pounding the floors in protest. That night, they began loading those processed onto buses to be shipped to another jail somewhere in D.C.. They loaded us on 2 or 3 at a time, and those loaded first were made to wait on the bus for about 4 hours, cuffed and sweating our asses off. At one point, we asked them to put down the windows or turn on the air conditioning, to which they responded by turning on the heat. We spent the night in several large holding cells, and then were transferred in the morning to the U.S. Marshalls tank to await arraignment. The cops there were extremely violent and aggressive, throwing anyone who questioned there authority up against the wall and then isolating them. At several points, it sounded like people were being beaten after they had been taken away. . .

All in all, the action gave a sense of how far towards a police state we have really slipped.

DEPARTMENT OF PRE-CRIME - "I don't know why we have to wait until after they've inflicted damage." - Capitol police chief Terrance Gainer

WASHINGTON POST - Protesters strongly criticized law enforcement's handling of the demonstrations, saying police used unconstitutional tactics by preventing large groups from leaving demonstrations. Activists said protesters and onlookers were beaten and pepper-sprayed by police, but they provided few specifics. Witnesses said officers acted roughly in some cases, particularly when vandalism was involved, but reported no police brutality.

LAURA MACINNIS, REUTERS - One group of protesters met in a park early in the morning and marched for two blocks before being stopped by police in riot gear who penned the group into one city block and arrested everyone inside their perimeter. Police shoved handcuffed protesters and loaded them onto city buses. In a midday sweep at Freedom Plaza, a grassy park not far from the White House, police filled about 10 buses with demonstrators. Greenpeace executive director John Passandando was among several bystanders arrested in error during the Freedom Plaza sweep, Passandando's attorney Tom Fetterer told Reuters. "He was on the way to work and he stopped downtown to see what was going on," Fetterer said. "There was no warning, they just encircled the crowd and wouldn't let anyone leave."

ASSOCIATED PRESS - "They have the right to express their First Amendment-protected point of view," said Mara Verheyden-Hilliard of the Partnership for Civil Justice. ``If we saw this in another country, we would condemn it as totalitarian conduct. . . The largest number of arrests occurred after police on motorcycles, horses and on foot corralled hundreds of protesters in a grassy area a few blocks from the White House. Demonstrators and legal observers said police made no effort to disperse the crowd and refused to let people leave before beginning the arrests.

WORLD SOCIALIST WEB SITE - While in some recent DC protests police have moved more cautiously against protesters, this time they donned riot gear and moved swiftly to lock them up. . .Witnesses reported seeing police dragging away some screaming, masked protesters-who insisted they had broken no laws-as well as beating demonstrators with their clubs. . . DC Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey emphasized the aim of police to arrest as many protesters as possible. ". . .

Both of Washington's daily newspapers published editorials supporting a police crackdown on demonstrators in the week before the protests. The right-wing Washington Times issued a predictably frothing diatribe against "the Anti-Capitalist Convergence and other hooligans," criticizing Chief Ramsey for not prohibiting the demonstrators from entering the city. Ramsey should be "thinking of ways to shut them down before they can cause any trouble," the newspaper declared.

More significant was the editorial in the Washington Post, headlined, "No shutdown for DC" and published on the eve of the protests. "For a city already reeling from the economic downturn and the impact of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on its tourist trade, disruption of downtown business would further set back the District's chances of recovery," the Post commented. "That's all the more reason for the authorities to take appropriate action to ensure that Washington does not become a city that is besieged and sacked this weekend."

The swift and repressive response of the police in DC to what was by all accounts a small and relatively peaceful protest is an indication of the measures being prepared against those who speak out against government policy. In line with the anti-democratic measures which have been enacted in the wake of September 11 in the "war on terrorism," future demonstrators against the Bush administration's economic policies-or its plans for war against Iraq-can expect a similar response.

DC INDY MEDIA - One eyewitness reported "I talked to a cop this morning. He said that one of the tactics they'll probably use is shutting down random streets near hot spots to all traffic, including pedestrians, to contain protests. He also said, not surprisingly, that they're not being told where they'll be stationed or any kind of real information until they get there tonight."

CURTIS DOEBBLER, DC INDY MEDIA - Even before the demonstrations had started the DC police had launched pre-emptive actions aimed at preventing what they appear to believe will be another war. Although some off-duty police came out to march with the demonstrators, the on- duty cops were busy harassing private citizens who they were suspicious might be connected to something suspicious. When I asked one officer why he had stopped a young man to ask for his ID near the Farragut North Metro station he said he had received a report. When I asked what had been reported he replied that he did not know.

At gathering points where activists from around the globe have come together to plan how to express their concerns about the international financial institutions and the United States government's exploitation of the most vulnerable in the world, police were holding regular vigils sending patrol cars by every few hours. The patrol cars just stop in front, wait, sometimes threaten some obscure and inapplicable charges, and then leave. In one instance the police alleged that activists had opened up a church illegally. When asked to call the number of the church, which was right in front of them in six-inch tall letters, they said they did not see the telephone number until it was pointed out to them. When they called the number and a church representative said that the activists were authorized to be there the police tried to argue with the church representative and even demanded the representative come to the front of the church to meet the police. When their demands were not met the police finally left.

Already police have arrested several activists for minor offenses. The have done so although these activists were acting to protect others' human rights and thereby not only exercising the human rights of freedom of expression, association and assembly.

THE CAPITAL'S TOP COPS are talking about the upcoming IMF-World bank more like Mike Tyson before a fight than like professional police officers in a democracy. Chief Charles Ramsey and US Capitol Police Chief Terrance Gainer (formerly Ramsey's assistant) set a bad precedent with their law and constitution-battering approach to the April 2000 demonstrations including illegal raids and mass arrests - consequences of which are still in court. But this time Gainer even talked about getting an injunction against the protesters until someone at the US Attorney's office apparently briefed him on the Constitution. Now he's threatening to charge people who discommode the sidewalk under federal anti-racketeering statutes, which is like shooting a parking violator.

As we have pointed out, DC has a long history of handling demonstrations (including many much larger than predicted this weekend) with professionalism and respect. But the arrival of Ramsey and Gainer - right-wing cowboy cops from Chicago - have made the city a much nastier place in which to behave like an American.

The sycophantic local media have joined Ramsey and Gainer in circulating the proposition that exercising one's democratic rights might somehow make it easier for terrorists to operate in the city. And above all, they never cease reminding people that the demonstrations may disrupt Washingtonians' most sacred right - that of being tied up in morning traffic.

And how does the city's finest intend to respond to this terrifying possiblity? By doing what the city does best: closing off streets, of course. Even at moments of extreme tension, the bureaucratic paradigm triumphs.

IMF-WORLD BANK MEETING

JIM KEARY, WASHINGTON TIMES - Metropolitan Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey warned that commuters should not plan to drive to work Sept. 27 because anti-capitalist demonstrators plan to shut down all traffic into the District. "If you plan to drive to work on the 27th, bring a sandwich and a good CD to listen to because you could be struck in traffic for a while," Chief Ramsey said. The chief said he expects traffic on all bridges into the city, plus Metrorail service, will be hampered by demonstrators protesting the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. "You have to look at the entire city. We don't know where they will strike," Chief Ramsey said. Protest organizers are expecting more than 10,000 demonstrators in town between Sept. 25 and 29 to protest the World Bank and IMF meetings. The meetings are scheduled for Sept. 28 and 29. Protesters in previous demonstrations have tried to block delegates from attending the meeting, but this year they plan to prevent everyone from entering the city. Protest organizer Michael Loadenthal, a member of the Anti-Capitalist Convergence, said several demonstrations are planned to block people from entering the city Sept. 27. "The chief has a very good assessment of what to expect," Mr. Loadenthal said. "We are planning to shut the city down."