Protesters and the Police

From the New York Times (yes I’m feeling lazy):

Dennis Kyne put up such a fight at a political protest last summer, the arresting officer recalled, it took four police officers to haul him down the steps of the New York Public Library and across Fifth Avenue.

“We picked him up and we carried him while he squirmed and screamed,” the officer, Matthew Wohl, testified in December. “I had one of his legs because he was kicking and refusing to walk on his own.”

Problem is, according to video tapes the officer was totally wrong.

For Mr. Kyne and 400 others arrested that week, video recordings provided evidence that they had not committed a crime or that the charges against them could not be proved, according to defense lawyers and prosecutors.

Seven months after the convention at Madison Square Garden, criminal charges have fallen against all but a handful of people arrested that week. Of the 1,670 cases that have run their full course, 91 percent ended with the charges dismissed or with a verdict of not guilty after trial. Many were dropped without any finding of wrongdoing, but also without any serious inquiry into the circumstances of the arrests, with the Manhattan district attorney’s office agreeing that the cases should be “adjourned in contemplation of dismissal.”

In the bulk of the 400 cases that were dismissed based on videotapes, most involved arrests at three places – 16th Street near Union Square, 17th Street near Union Square and on Fulton Street – where police officers and civilians taped the gatherings, said Martin R. Stolar, the president of the New York City chapter of the National Lawyers Guild. Those tapes showed that the demonstrators had followed the instructions of senior officers to walk down those streets, only to have another official order their arrests.

So basically the cops harrassed a bunch of protestors who were exercising their consitutional rights, threw them in jail and months later dropped the charges. Generated a lot of publicity and squelched free speech in the bargain. Sounds like this was the planned method for dealing with protest at the RNC.

3 Responses

  1. looks to be an effective method. no consequences for the police. we’ll be seeing more.

  2. Now, that’s pretty disgusting they arrested the people, but thank goodness for the cameras. At least this way, the protestors don’t have to pay fines out the wazoo.

  3. Yes,
    Unfortunately they were able to stiffle dissent at the RNC. I think the cameras were there for just that reason – so whoever got arrested could be cleared. The scary thing is that the police remembered things so wildly at odds with what really happened.

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