8/20/2008 Newsletter

Contents:

  • Calling all Copwatchers
  • All Hands on Deck for RNC Actions
  • Darryl Robinson Goes to Court
  • National Guard May Be Deployed for RNC Policing
  • Antiwar Activists Win $2 Million Settlement from NYC
  • Call it Ramsey County Red: Two SPPD Cops Caught Stealing Big Bucks

CALLING ALL COPWATCHERS OR WANNA-BE COPWATCHERS: WE NEED YOU!

Whether we're at the shelters, outside the clubs during closing time or out at Critical Mass or other protest events, we've shown time and again that copwatch is a valuable service that helps to prevent police brutality and that provides important case documentation for people who are brutalized or falsely arrested. In the run up to the RNC, we've seen increased attacks on homeless people in an effort to shove them out of sight. Now that the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Bloomington city councils have given free reign to their police to abuse protesters, we know copwatch will be even more important when the elephant show finally arrives.

WE NEED LOTS OF TRAINED COPWATCHERS! Come to a copwatch training to learn about your rights in general and about your rights while documenting police conduct. You'll also learn how to correctly document what you see in the streets and how to work with our technology. We'll spend some time together in a classroom then go out into the streets to practice your new skills.

Please attend one of these dates:

Friday, August 22, 6:00 PM
Thursday, August 28, 6:00 PM

Both trainings will be held at Walker Church, 3100 16th Ave S, Minneapolis.

Depending on demand, we may add other dates. If a group is interested in setting up a separate date, please let us know.


ALL HANDS ON DECK FOR RNC ACTIONS!

During the Republican Convention, CUAPB will play a number of important roles. Along with copwatch as noted above, we'll be involved in jail medical support, jail exit support, documentation of cases through our hotline, court watch/court support, and even assisting homeless people being swept aside in both downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul. It will take a lot of hands and we really need your help. You can plug in by coming to one of the copwatch training sessions listed above or coming to our volunteer meeting on Saturday, August 23 at 1:30 p.m. at Walker Church. If you can't make it to the training or meeting, please email us back with your contact phone number and how you'd like to be involved.

First event on the list will be the Critical Mass on August 29th. This will be the one year anniversary of the attack on Critical Mass that resulted in many injuries and 19 arrests. It will also be a kind of kick off event for protests against the RNC. As such, we think the MPD may have "special plans" for this event and we need all copwatchers out with us that day.

Copwatch at Critical Mass
Friday, August 29
Meet 4:30 p.m.
Loring Park, Harmon Place side near the dandelion fountain


DARRYL ROBINSON GOES TO COURT

You'll recall that Darryl Robinson, CUAPB vice president and head of our copwatch program, was brutalized by Minneapolis police back on July 20th while copwatching at a homeless shelter. To cover up their vicious attack, police arrested Darryl and charged him with obstructing the sidewalk, obstructing legal process and disorderly conduct. Just a few weeks before that, Darryl was charged with trespassing while standing on a public sidewalk doing copwatch at that same shelter. Darryl goes to court on August 27th on all of these charges. We need to stand with Darryl as he fights back against these false and malicious charges. Please mark your calendar and plan to be in court with Darryl.

Darryl Robinson Court Case
Wednesday, August 27
8:30 a.m.
Public Safety Building (new jail)
401 S 4th Street, Minneapolis


NATIONAL GUARD MAY BE DEPLOYED FOR RNC POLICING

By Paul Demko 8/19/08 1:08 PM
http://www.minnesotaindependent.com/4158/st-paul-police-union-on-rnc-security-planning-the-ball-was-dropped

[NOTE: Under the Posse Comitatus Act, it is illegal to deploy US troops for domestic law enforcement operations. The city will most likely come up with another name for it, even if that's exactly what they are doing.]

Less than two weeks before the opening of the Republican National Convention, significant questions remain about the preparedness of the St. Paul Police Department to oversee security efforts. For weeks the law-enforcement agency has been scrambling to cobble together enough officers to work the event, with out-of-state departments the latest to be tapped.

“All the indicators that make it our way make it seem like they’re in crisis mode,” says Dave Titus (pictured at right), president of the St. Paul Police Federation. “The fact that we are looking to out-of-the-state agencies with these few days to go tells me that the ball was dropped.”

The latest rumor rumbling through law-enforcement circles is that the Minnesota National Guard will be utilized on security operations at the convention site. But SPPD spokesman Tom Walsh says any guard presence will be limited to logistical support. “You’re not going to see anybody in a uniform at the Xcel Energy Center,” he says.

The Minnesota National Guard also issued a statement laying out its expected duties during the RNC. “Just as we routinely do in state emergencies, the National Guard is available in the event that additional manpower, equipment or capability is needed,” said Lt. Col. Kevin Olson in the statement. “Due to the National Special Security Event status, there are more than 1,000 Minnesota National Guard troops dedicated to assist. The Minnesota National Guard is a partner in a support role with local, state and federal law enforcement during the Republican National Convention in the Twin Cities.”


SHADES OF THE FUTURE?
ANTIWAR ACTIVISTS WIN $2 MILLION SETTLEMENT FROM NYC

NEW YORK - August 19 - A group of 52 local activists today announced a $2 million settlement in their lawsuit against the City of New York. The activists were illegally arrested on April 7, 2003 while protesting against the Iraq war in front of a military contractor's offices in midtown. The settlement in Kunstler et al v. New York City follows the dismissal in 2003 of all criminal charges brought against these individuals and four costly years of delays by the City in negotiating an end to the civil lawsuit.

"The New York Police Department violated core constitutional rights when it arrested a group of peaceful demonstrators who were lawfully protesting against the commencement of the Iraq war and those who stood to profit from it," notes Sarah Netburn, attorney with Emery Celli Brinkerhoff Abady LLP, which handled the civil rights case along with the Center for Constitutional Rights. =E 2We are gratified by the City's decision to compensate these individuals whose targeted arrests were without probable cause and intended to quell future protest in New York City. This lawsuit, and this settlement, vindicates our clients' rights to assemble and speak their mind free from the fear that they will be punished for their views."

Attorneys and plaintiffs noted, however, that the City's decision to drag the case out is part of a long and disturbing pattern by which it attempts to "wear down" plaintiffs to avoid political damage, even at huge expense of tax dollars and City resources. "My question is, why did the NYPD send over 100 police in riot gear, along with vehicles to block the street and disrupt the flow of morning rush hour traffic, all to stop a legal, peaceful protest, when there are far more important matters they could be pursuing? And, why did they fight us in court so doggedly when they knew the evidence proved that we were arrested without any police orders to leave?" asked Ahmad Shirazi, a film editor and grandfather and one of the plaintiffs in the case.

An NYPD videotape of the demonstration depicts a group of demonstrators lined along the sidewalk of West 56th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues – with ample space for pedestrians – who were arrested without any police warning or opportunity to leave. The police arrested 94 people that day.

The arrests took place outside the offices of the Carlyle Group, an investment firm with ties to the Bush family and an extensive portfolio of holdings in the military-defense sector. The police tactics used that day became the model used by the NYPD during the 2004 Republican National Convention held in New York.

At that event, thousands of activists were illegally arrested, jailed and mistreated. Lawsuits related to the police conduct at the RNC are still winding their way through the courts. NYPD officials are now consulting with police departments in Denver and Minneapolis on their plans for the 2008 Democratic and Republican Conventions.

"We hope our victory helps convince the City to stop violating people's rights as a matter of policy and stop wasting taxpayers' money doing so," said Sarah Kunstler, an attorney and filmmaker who is the daughter of the late William Kunstler, noted attorney and civil rights champion. Ms. Kunstler was acquitted after a trial of all criminal charges brought against her. "It should also serve as a reminder that Washington's illegal war in Afghanistan and Iraq is also being fought at home – against its own citizens and in the name of war profiteers like Carlyle and Halliburton. We intend to continue our resistance until this stops."


TRIAL IN MINNEAPOLIS: JUST LIKE 'NYPD Blue'

http://www.minnpost.com/judithyatesborger/2008/08/19/3016/trial_in_minneapolis_just_like_nypd_blue

And the cops are worried about protesters? They should pay more attention to their own...

Attorneys are expected to begin selecting a jury in federal court in Minneapolis today for a case that could have played on "NYPD Blue." Call it Ramsey County Red.

The scheme

It’s a Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2004. The FBI has seeded a St. Paul hotel room with $13,500 in cash. A "cooperating individual," according to the grand jury indictment, calls St. Paul Police Department Officer Timothy Rehak, who is assigned to the special investigations unit of the Ramsey County sheriff, and tells him that a drug trafficker had been arrested and is trying to recover the drugs and money he had left in the hotel room. The "cooperating individual" gives Rehak the perp's name and IDs the hotel.

Rehak, and Mark Naylon, a [St. Paul Police Department] public information officer working with Rehak, go to the hotel, where they find the room, rented in the perp's name. After a hotel clerk thwarts their attempt to enter the room, Rehak and Naylon convince a Ramsey County deputy to get a search warrant.

It's about 5:30 in the afternoon. The sun is dropping in the November sky, when Rehak, Naylon and the deputy, now armed with a search warrant, unlock the door. The deputy searches the bathroom, while Rehak and Naylon toss the main room. Rehak finds the bag of dough the FBI planted in the dresser. He nods Naylon closer, then gives him $6,000 of the $13,500. Naylon slips the cash into his jacket pocket.

Rehak and Naylon call the deputy into the main room and show him the bag. Rehak digs through it and pulls out $7,500. While Rehak and the deputy count the cash, Naylon slips out to visit the trunk of his car. Rehak and Naylon stay mum about the six large.

Mark Naylon

But suspicion grips Rehak and Naylon, according to the indictment, because the "cooperating individual" tipped them to drugs, too, but all they found was money. They can't imagine a druggie leaving that kind of money in an empty hotel room, according to the indictment. So later that night, about quarter to 10, they start searching national and state crime data bases looking for the name of the perp. He doesn't turn up. Anywhere. They figure was an "integrity test," according to the indictment.

It's midnight when they call the Ramsey County deputy at home. There was an extra $6,000 in the hotel room, they tell him. It was hidden in the bed. They give him the money on Thursday.

The second scheme

It's a Tuesday, July 12, 2005. About 1 p.m. the same "cooperating individual" tells Rehak that yet another doper has left drugs and money, but this time in a car, all of which is courtesy of the FBI. The CI gives Rehak a description of the vehicle and a general location. About 11 p.m. the FBI sees Rehak and Naylon hanging around the car. Half an hour later there's a check on the license plate. It's registered to a company, not a person, and again Rehak and Naylon are suspicious, according to the indictment. They leave in the early hours of Wednesday, July 13.

On Thursday the CI tells Rehak the doper's car had been moved. Naylon watches the car most of the afternoon, writing down its vehicle identification number. A check shows it's stolen. That evening, Rehak and Naylon call in the K9 unit to sniff around for drugs. But the pooch gets nothing, because the FBI put only money, no drugs, in the car.

Rehak gets on the scene about 8:30. "Why would anybody store a substantial amount of dope in a stolen car parked at a hotel?" Rehak asks the CI in a phone call 10 minutes later. The CI swears there is money and drugs in the car. After dark, about 10, with no other cops around, Rehak and Naylon open the trunk and find the feds' cash. They step away from the car and talk quietly for a few minutes. When they get back to the car they call another deputy and have it towed. Stolen, they say. Neither reports the incident.

On Ground Hog day, a Tuesday, Feb. 2 two years later in 2007, Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher agrees to an FBI request to search the office and squad car used by Naylon, who just happens to be Fletcher's close friend and best man at his wedding. Then the fibbies go to Naylon's home and search his car in his garage. The indictment doesn't say what the FBI found, but Naylon asked the court to suppress the evidence because they didn't have a search warrant. Sorry, said the court.

After the commercial break

Now for the courtroom scenes. The defense has said in legal documents that because Rehak and Naylon held the cash over night that doesn't mean they stole it. They gave it back. And they were exercising their discretion as officers when they didn't immediately record the $6,000, their attorney argued.

The indictment says Rehak and Naylon figured out it was a sting when they learned there was no perp and that the car turned out to be registered to a company, not a drug dealer. But grand jury members are not mind readers, their attorney said. There's no way they could know what Rehak and Naylon were thinking.

The prosecutor, Joseph Dixon, and the defense attorneys, Paul Rogosheske for Naylon, and Paul Engh for Rehak, are all known in the Twin Cities legal community as top-notch lawyers. The judge, Patrick Schiltz, the newest on the bench, is quickly gaining a reputation as a saber sharp jurist.

It should be an interesting trial. Stay tuned.


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