5/2/2008 Newsletter

Contents:

  • Keep Up the Fight for Free Speech
  • Newport Rally a Smashing Success
  • One Down, Two to Go--Help Us Get Justice for the Critical Mass Arrestees

KEEP UP THE FIGHT FOR FREE SPEECH

Minneapolis City Council's
PS&RS Committee Meeting
Wednesday, May 7
1:00 p.m.
Minneapolis City Hall
350 S 5th Street, Rm 317

The latest free speech restriction proposal under consideration by the Minneapolis city council is now posted at http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/council/2008-meetings/20080516/PSRS20080507agenda.asp along with the agenda for tomorrow's meeting. Although the proposal has the title of being voluntary, it is actually a mandatory proposal in that it requires that “any person or group planning on holding a public assembly of greater than 50 persons in a location that will prevent other pedestrians from using the sidewalks and crosswalks must provide notice of the assembly to City staff and obtain plan approval.”

If we act now, we can still stop this bad proposal from being adopted. And we must. The "free speech" working group was tasked with finding ways to IMPROVE the community's ability to exercise our constitutionally-protected rights. They could have addressed restrictions on amplified sound (abused perennially by cops to silence dissent), the ordinances blocking demonstrations in parks, or several other ominous free speech restrictions. Instead, the process results in this schlock, which does nothing to "preserve free speech," adds an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy, and is little more than a veiled attempt to give the cops cover for usurping our rights.

The agenda seems to indicate that there will be "limited public input" on this awful proposal. It's unclear what that means. Still, we need to be there whether we can FINALLY speak about free speech or not--to let it be known that we won't go along with these plans.


NEWPORT RALLY A SMASHING SUCCESS

Thank you to everyone who attended the rally for justice for Paul and Mary in Newport last week. It was truly a smashing success. As predicted, a number of people beeped their horns in support as they passed or stopped to thank us for taking on the corrupt police department there. We marched into the city council meeting, shutting it down. The meeting, which is televised live, showed a bit of our action before the wigged out camera man hurriedly posted a "we're on a break" sign and pulled the meeting off the air. It was a hoot and I'm sure the viewers of the show wondered what they were missing. The police chief, who was in attendance, certainly got an earful. The rally is still the talk of the town. Paul's case went to mediation this week and he feels very positive that he will finally get justice.

Thanks, again, for your support. It may seem odd to single out one individual or family to rally for. However, as we push to end police brutality and for community accountability of police, we have to remember the individuals affected by these issues and be willing to stand with them as they seek justice. In this way, we truly become Communities United.


ONE DOWN, TWO TO GO...
Help Us Get Justice for the Critical Mass Arrestees

While the recent acquittal of Gus Ganley is certainly something to celebrate, there are still two riders who are facing similar trumped-up charges and they need your support!

The City Attorney's office is acting as a political tool for the Minneapolis Police Department and the City as it willingly serves their interests at the expense of the residents of Minneapolis. Instead of going after the police who planned and instigated a riot situation on 8.31.07, they are prosecuting the victims of police violence. This was painfully apparent in Gus' trial, where the only evidence that the city felt that it needed to bring charges against Gus was the clearly fabricated story of a single officer. It was up to Gus and his attorneys to provide the mountain of evidence to prove his innocence. Though officer Craig Williams' (#7769) story has been proven to be false by video and eyewitness testimony, it is highly unlikely that the City Attorney will ever prosecute him or any of the other officers who blatantly lied under oath and falsified their reports for perjury. Instead, the city is hell-bent on prosecuting the two remaining riders for crimes they didn't commit based solely on the intentionally falsified reports of the police officers involved.

Gus had to go through months of worrying, a week of his life was taken away, and he lost thousands of dollars in the legal proceedings. This shouldn't have to happen to anyone else! The city needs to be pressured now more than ever to drop the charges against the remaining two riders from the Critical Mass ride.

Demand that charges against all critical mass participants be immediately dropped! The city has politicized the trials of the critical mass participants and won't let up without citizen action. Here are contacts that you can make right now:

1. Call the City Attorney’s Office at (612) 673-2010 and ask to speak with Susan Segal, the city attorney. Let her know that leveling charges against the critical mass participants for political reasons is wrong and the flimsy charges should be dropped immediately.

2. Call or email your city council member (especially Gordon, Lilligren, Schiff, Glidden, Remington, or Hodges) or the mayor and let them know that you expect them to take a stand against police abuse and demand that they express their disapproval of these prosecutions to the City Attorney. You can also request a meeting with your council member to talk about the cases. The city council has to rehire the City Attorney every three years and has the authority to remove them early if necessary.

CUAPB is collecting donations that are specifically earmarked for Critical Mass defense. To make a donation, please go to http://www.cuapb.org/DonateHere.asp and indicate on the form that you are donating to Critical Mass defense.


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