11/23/2003 Newsletter

Contents:

  • Police State Measures Front and Center In Miami, Philadelphia
  • Urgent Support Needed for Activists Protesting the FTAA
  • "On the Ground" Report from NLG Legal Observer and Student Organizer in Miami
  • Activists of Color Tortured in Miami Jails
  • Democracy Now! Producer Arrested By Miami Police
  • Break-In at the Mumia Abu-Jamal Office in Philadelphia
  • Governor Pawlenty: His Words vs. His Deeds
  • Bryce Williams Court Support
  • Philander Jenkins Case Update
  • Survivor/Family Empowerment Event
  • Peace Cabaret

POLICE STATE MEASURES FRONT AND CENTER IN MIAMI, PHILADELPHIA
We have received recent reports about police brutality and repression against anti-FTAA protesters in Miami along with a disturbing report about a break-in at the headquarters of International Concerned Friends and Family of Mumia Abu-Jamal in Philadelphia. These seemingly unrelated events are emblematic of stepped up police state measures under Bush/Cheney/Ashcroft's USA Patriot Act. Reports on these situations are below.
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URGENT SUPPORT NEEDED FOR ACTIVISTS PROTESTING THE FTAA

The A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition calls on all those who have been involved in the anti-war movement to show their support for those in Miami protesting at the FTAA negotiations who are being brutalized and incarcerated in a coordinated police state action designed to stifle dissent in the United States.

Police have attacked protestors with tear gas, pepper spray, concussion grenades, stun guns and by shooting activists with rubber bullets. Medics have not been allowed in through the police lines to treat the injured.

Protestors have been grabbed, seemingly at random, and taken off the street in snatch operations conducted by police in unmarked vehicles. The police are also directly targeting the legal support for the demonstrators, including National Lawyers Guild Legal Observers. Many who have been taken away have been beaten.

Your urgent help is needed now. The National Lawyers Guild and the Miami Activist Defense are asking that you contact the Mayors, the City Attorney, Police Chief Timoney and the media. Below is contact information -- please call or email now and let them know their actions will not be tolerated.

The attack on the protestors gives lie to the claim that the U.S. is fighting for democracy abroad -- when people who participate in political dissent at home are subject to brutal systematic police abuse and government repression.

The U.S. government in pursuit of corporate globalization uses all methods in its arsenal - from invasion and bombing to economic sanctions and IMF imposed austerity plans. The FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas) is merely another mechanism to extend the exploitative reach of corporate domination over the people of the Americas.

Show your solidarity with the people in the streets of Miami. Miami Activist Defense asks that the following be contacted:

ALEX PENELAS, Mayor, Miami-Dade County
305-829-9336 home or 305-375-5071 office

MANUEL A. DIAZ, Mayor, City of Miami
305-250-5300 or 305-375-5071
mannydiaz@ci.miami.fl.us

JOHN TIMONEY, Chief of Police
305-673-7925 or 305-579-6565

ALEJANDRO VILARELLO, City Attorney
305-416-1800
law@ci.miami.fl.us

JOE ARRIOLA, City Manager
jarriola@ci.miami.fl.us

JOHNNY WINTON, Miami City Commissioner
305-858-7344 home or 305-250-5333 office

KATY SORENSON, Miami Dade County Commissioner
305-375-5218 or 305-378-6677
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An amazing "on the ground" report from a National Lawyers Guild legal observer and student organizer in Miami:

I can't emphasis how crazy we all feel this is. People who have been doing legal support for mass demonstrations for years and years--even R2K legal folks who have dealt with Timoney before--are amazed at how unprecedented and overwhelming it is.

The unusual thing is that there are no mass arrests! Arrests are mostly being made of small groups or individuals for seemingly nothing. Random people are being pulled behind police lines that may be 3 rows thick and legal observers can't access them for names and descriptions, nor can medics access people who are hurt in the process. Also undercovers are snatching random people in the crowds and pulling them away. A huge thing is the tactic of unmarked "snatch squads" patrolling the city and grabbing people off the streets. We have 3 LOs [legal observers] that have been picked off this way in separate incidents, and for these we have we have witnesses reporting that the LOs were beaten by the police. It is really eery and frightening. Many arrest reports we receive include brutality, beatings and such--tasers, wooden and rubber bullets, many cops beating one person, concussion grenades, electrical shields, etc.--so it seems as though arrest numbers are down but the intensity of the arrest and the complexity of defending all these cases is high. This seems like a good media tactic on the part of the police--the small arrest numbers won't put the actions in much mainstream media.

Legal Observers and defense and support people are overwhelmed and we have a lot on our plate. We have a big problem coming up as many of us are leaving this weekend and we will have alot of unresolved legal issues remaining. Plus the precedent all these new tactics set--especially this quote in our press release that this is being referred to by city officials as a "blueprint for homeland security."

As is the case with nearly everyone here, I got 45 minutes of sleep last night and 2 hours the night before. We are so maxed out but we just cannot stop. I am going to be careful and try to not get arrested but if I do they know to call you.

Laura R.
November 21, 2003
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And yet another disturbing report:

Activists of Color Tortured in Miami Jails
Chicago IMC , 11.22.2003 14:38
http://www.ftaaimc.org/en/2003/11/1805.shtml

Two male activists of color were separated from others in police custody and tortured. Among those arrested at the support demonstration that occurred outside the Miami Dade Detention Center yesterday, November 21, were two male activists of color, one African American and one of Mexican descent.

In jail, many activists, including both men of color, were participating in jail solidarity, not giving their names, dates of birth or other information to the police.

These men were separated from the other demonstrators who were arrested yesterday and taken to a different detention facility. Here, they were put in metal cages resembling dog kennels. They were denied use of a bathroom and were forced to expel their bodily wastes into the small cages. While in the cages, pepper spray and high-powered water hoses with freezing water were used on the men. The pepper spray was used inches from the men's eyes. The men were not treated for exposure to chemical weapons.

While in police custody both men were beaten with night sticks. The African American male is believed to have been beaten for over two hours. It is possible that this beating resulted in brain injuries in one of the men.

The man of Mexican descent was brought back to the Miami Dade Detention Center and put in a cell with the other activists who are being held there. The other activists were told that the men who had been beaten and pepper sprayed would not receive medical treatment if jail solidarity tactics were continued.

Two members of Anarchist People of Color (APOC) and one lawyer went to visit the man of Mexican descent in the detention center. As they were leaving the detention center and walking back to their cars, the police apprehended one of the APOC members.

A member of Chicago Action Medical reports that it is believed that the African American activist has been released from police custody, his whereabouts are not known at this time.
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The other day, Amy Goodman, lead reporter for Democracy Now! broadcast on radio stations across the country [including KFAI here in the twin cities], interviewed a spokesperson for the Miami police who claimed the police from cities across the country were gathering in Miami "to protect the rights of protesters as well as government officials". Today, Democracy Now! producer Ana Nogueira is under arrest in Miami along with 70-100 others, in Ana's case for the crime of videotaping the police for the Democracy Now! TV show. Here's the message from Democracy Now! Free Ana, free all the protesters.
--Mitchel Cohen, for the Greens/Green Party USA www.greenparty.org

ACTION ALERT: DEMOCRACY NOW! PRODUCER ARRESTED BY MIAMI POLICE!

Make the phone calls/emails below and demand the immediate release of Democracy Now! producer Ana Nogueira. At approx. 5 pm Friday evening, Nov. 21, Democracy Now! producers Ana Nogueira and Jeremy Scahill were reporting on the arrest of approximately 20 people who were in Miami to oppose the Free Trade Area of the Americas.

Nogueira and Scahill had their press credentials clearly visible. Nogueira was videotaping the arrests. At the time of this writing, Nogueira was being held, handcuffed, in a Miami Police patrol wagon. Jeremy Scahill has learned that there will be a mandatory overnight detention. According to Scahill, his efforts to alert the police that they had arrested a journalist were met with the reply, "It doesn’t matter if she’s a journalist ­ she shouldn’t have been there."

CALL NOW and demand that the Mayors of Miami City and Miami-Dade County [see contact info in first story, above] restrain their police from further violence and violation of constitutional rights. RELEASE Democracy Now! journalist Ana Noguira IMMEDIATELY.

For news and updates see http://www.ftaaimc.org and http://www.democracynow.org
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BREAK-IN AT THE MUMIA ABU-JAMAL OFFICE IN PHILADELPHIA

November 20, 2003 -- The 4601 Market Street public office of International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal (ICFFMAJ) in West Philadelphia was broken into in an apparent political burglary resulting in the theft of computers, files, and data bases.

No items of monetary value other than computers appear to have been taken, and it is clear that the intention of this action was in part to obtain documents and databases used in the international movement to free Mumia Abu-Jamal by people who wish to stop it.

ICFFMAJ experienced a similar break in at the same office in the summer of 2000, when lists of financial donors were stolen from the office, although no other items of value were missing.

The break-in is a strong reminder that COINTELPRO-like programs are very much alive and well. Political organizations in Philadelphia should take note of this most recent break-in and be especially careful. More information will be made available soon.


GOVERNOR PAWLENTY: HIS WORDS VS. HIS DEEDS
Some weeks ago, when the Stephen Porter story first broke, Governor Tim Pawlenty appeared on one of the local talking-head weekend news programs and proclaimed his willingness to meet with members of the community to discuss police brutality in Minneapolis. Thus far, groups trying to hold him to that promise have found another reality.

At least two groups of people have contacted the governor's office requesting appointments: CUAPB and a broad-based community coalition of which we are a part. One of our board members spoke to Pawlenty's scheduling secretary, who promised a return call a few days later after their Wednesday scheduling meeting. When two Wednesdays passed with no return call, our pesky board member called the scheduling secretary back, only to be told that "there is a problem. I don't know what it is. I can't schedule anything without talking to other staff members." Again, we were promised a return call that has never happened.

The broad-based coalition was told that they would need to submit a letter, since they were not asking for a meeting at the governor's office but were asking for the governor to attend a community meeting. A letter was sent immediately. Again, no reply has been forthcoming.

Apparently, the governor's word is not his deed, at least when it comes to dealing with the brutalization of a good number of residents of this state. Since he is so fond of Minneapolis bashing, we had thought he would relish this opportunity to latch on to a real problem here. However, his disdain for Minneapolis apparently also extends to the people of the city. You might remember that in a few years when you go to the poles to vote for governor.


IMPORTANT: COURT SUPPORT OPPORTUNITIES

December 1st
11:00 a.m. hearing (check court information desk for courtroom number)
12:00 noon press conference (at fountain on main floor)
Hennepin County Government Center
Bryce Williams, pretrial as a result of arrest during the Justice for Philander Jenkins rally. For details, see: http://www.charityadvantage.com/CUAPB/BryceWilliamsNews.asp
It is very important that the court see Bryce's support from the community to help them understand that we will not tolerate this attack on our movement. Mark your calendars now and plan to attend.

December 4, 9:00 a.m.
Hennepin County Government Center (check court information desk for courtroom number)
Philander Jenkins, hearing on motion to dismiss charges. Philander's attorney, Peter Nickitas, will present evidence of excessive force when Minneapolis police broke Philander's jaw while arresting him last May and will request that charges be dropped as a result. This is a case study in how police brutalize someone and lay on charges to cover it up.

Update on Philander's case: You'll recall that Philander was beaten and sexually assaulted on October 4th in the Hennepin County jail. He has still not received an independent medical examination, however his visiting and phone privileges have finally been restored. Also, thanks to a court order from Judge Jack Nordby, Philander's legal team is able to visit him in the jail again.

We learned last week that the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (our state version of the FBI) has concluded its investigation of Philander's beating and sexual assault. They referred the case to the Hennepin County attorney for possible prosecution, who declined the case for conflict of interest. The case has now been referred to Washington County. Neither Philander's lawyers or family have seen the BCA report, however, as they are claiming that no written report exists (a claim that defies common sense).


SURVIVOR/FAMILY EMPOWERMENT EVENT
Sunday, December 7th
5:00 p.m.
2104 Stevens Avenue
Minneapolis
For directions or transportation, call 612-874-7867

CUAPB will be holding a Survivor/Family Empowerment Event just in time for the holidays. This event is a get-together for survivors of police brutality and family members of victims (people killed by police). A delicious meal and child care are provided. Transportation is also provided for folks who need it.

WE WILL NEED A LOT OF VOLUNTEERS to make this event a success. We need cooks, drivers, help with child care, setting up and decorating the room, etc. Just a few hours of your time before or during the event would make a big difference! If you are an entertainer (singer, poet, magician, etc.), we'd like to talk to you about a possible role you could play.

WE ARE BADLY IN NEED OF FUNDS AND/OR DONATIONS OF FOOD for this event. We are asking people to sponsor this event in the amount of $50 but any donation would be gratefully accepted. We also need donations of ingredients needed to prepare the meal or prepared dishes to serve.

The menu:
Beef roast (already donated)
Chicken wings
Chili (already donated)
Vegetarian lasagna
Baked macaroni & cheese
Salad/coleslaw
Assorted veggies: peas, corn, potatoes, greens
Cornbread
Desserts
Beverages

We expect about 50 or more people to attend and as you can see, we will need a lot of food. If you can donate an ingredient or a prepared dish, please reply to this email or call our hotline at 612-874-7867.

PLEASE ALSO HELP US SPREAD THE WORD: If you know of a survivor or family member, please let them know about this event. We are sending out invitations but may not reach everyone. If you are a survivor or family member, please mark your calendar and plan to attend.


PEACE CABARET with an Irish Twist & Live Auction, Too!
A fundraiser for Cry Justice! Come have some fun and help us retire our debt from the Cry Justice! Conference!

Friday, December 5
Holy Trinity Church
2730 East 31st Street
Minneapolis
(just off Lake Street & Minnehaha Avenue– behind East Lake Library)

Auctioning off: Jane Evershed Prints, A Woodland Weekend Retreat, A Rustic Stone Country Home in France, and more . . .

Featuring:
The McDonald Sisters, Irish Song and Dance by Brigid, Poetry by Susu Jeffrey, Storytelling by Ann Reay, Mike Whalen will teach us an Irish Dance!
Face Painting, Caramel Apples, Good Company, and Good Fun

Suggested Donation: $15
Children $5
Families $30

For more info: 651-221-1082
If you are unable to attend but would like to help, please send a donation to Cry Justice!/AFD-MN, P.O. Box 15172, Minneapolis MN 55415


Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." -Ralph Waldo Emerson


Communities United Against Police Brutality
2104 Stevens Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55404
Hotline 612-874-STOP (7867)


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