RNC


The Community RNC Arrestee Support Structure (CRASS) is holding a press conference this Thursday at 12:30 in Rm. 125 of the State Capitol in St. Paul in response to the St. Paul Police and Ramsey County Sheriff’s call-out for public assistance in identifying suspects and victims of RNC mayhem.

Please read the following media advisory for more information, and please attend this press conference and show your support of CRASS and all the survivors of police violence during the RNC!

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Citizens Seek to Expose Perpetrators and Help Victims of Real RNC Mayhem

Call goes out for public help in identifying suspects and survivors of RNC violence

St. Paul, MN – Last week, St. Paul Police Chief John Harrington and Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher requested assistance in locating victims and suspects of RNC-related violence. We, as concerned citizens, echo their call for public participation in this pursuit of justice.

When: Thursday, November 13 at 12:30pm

Where: State Capitol, Rm. 125

Who: Community RNC Arrestee Support Structure (CRASS)

Throughout the RNC, unidentified individuals terrorized hundreds of activists, journalists, medics, legal observers and bystanders. The perpetrators of these brutal assaults were heavily armed, masked and generally dressed in black.

At Thursday’s State Capitol press conference, videos and photographs will be revealed documenting these assaults in hopes of locating the victims and holding perpetrators accountable. CRASS calls on the public and the cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis to come forward with any evidence or information leading to the identification of individuals involved.

St. Paul Police Chief John Harrington boasts that his department is in possession of over 6,000 hours of city surveillance camera footage of RNC incidents, but the City of St. Paul has refused to release any of this video in response to requests under the MN Data Practices Act. This footage is believed to contain crucial evidence of brazen attacks on citizens. We are asking the city’s cooperation in our efforts to review this key documentation.

Anyone else who was assaulted or mistreated during the RNC is asked to come forward on Thursday at 12:30 in Rm. 125 of the State Capitol. CRASS is dedicated to helping survivors of RNC-related violence navigate the legal system in pursuit of justice.

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10/7/08 Update: The RNC arrestees survey is still available, and we need YOU to fill it out!  Even if you have not been formally charged, your response is extremely important!  There are only 10 questions, so please take 3 minutes and fill it out TODAY if you haven’t already!
http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=WQXX7jwnuDjmcVGYJu5Wow_3d_3d.

An Update from the Arrestee Support Network:

Besides kicking our asses, one of the most effective weapons the state has against us is the legal system. By overcharging people in order to make them plead guilty to a lesser charge, the state is able to: prevent people from suing them (if you plead guilty to ANYTHING in criminal court, you’ll have a very difficult time winning in civil court); put something on your criminal record for your political organizing and activities; put you on probation to prevent you from organizing in the future and keep you on a leash; cost you money.

While we understand not everyone will be in a position to fight their charges, we’ve put together a survey to assess our strengths and weaknesses as we move forward. Take a minute to answer 10 questions and make sure other people you were arrested with know that we’d like to get their feedback.

IMPORTANT:

If you were arrested during the RNC, please take a moment to fill out the survey at the following link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=WQXX7jwnuDjmcVGYJu5Wow_3d_3d.
Please respond by this Friday, October 3rd if possible. This is very time-sensitive information that will allow us to assess our collective strength and move forward as quickly as possible!

Following is some more information about our next steps and further resources:

STEP 1 – Bargaining
By bargaining collectively with other people arrested during the RNC, we intend to: get a plea agreement that would protect everyone, including people from vulnerable communities and with higher charges; protect everyone’s right to sue the police and the city; prevent people from getting criminal charges or probation; prevent people from paying fines.

STEP 2 – Fighting Charges
If we aren’t able to get an acceptable collective plea bargain the next step would be to fight all charges. By demanding our right to a public defender and a jury trial we put pressure on the court system, making life difficult for the prosecution. People with petty misdemeanors who aren’t eligible for a public defender could represent themselves (pro se), or a group arrested together could have one person get a private attorney so they had the benefit of legal council, while the rest go pro se. People with misdemeanors could get public defenders and people with felonies could get public defenders or private attorneys. People may also want to collectively demand the right to a speedy trial.

RESOURCES
In the event that the prosecution is unwilling to give us an acceptable deal, the more people fight their cases, the harder it will make things for the prosecution. The resources we have available for people who are fighting their case are: people to make court displays, investigators and researchers to help locate evidence (video, witnesses, photographs), a fund to help people pay travel expenses, a locally-based legal support group consisting of a hospitality working group, a fundraising working group, a political pressure working group, a court watch working group, a felony/high risk support working group, an outreach/community organizing working group, a working group to document our process for future use, and a media working group. Spokes from each of these working groups have formed an arrestee support steering committee.

Also see http://rnc08arrestees.wordpress.com/ for more info, or contact rnc08arrestees(at)riseup.net

Please note that the TIME and LOCATION of this meeting have changed; see below! Sorry for any confusion or inconvenience!

Attention RNC 08 Arrestees and Allies!

Please attend this important upcoming meeting! This will be a chance for you to talk to lawyers, organize your legal defense, and receive information about court solidarity plans. It will also be a good opportunity to meet with other arrestees to discuss and strategize, as well as plan future meetings as needed. Bring your citation if you have it.

General Arrestee Meeting

When: Sunday, September 14th, 2pm

Where: Hosmer Library (347 E 36th St., Minneapolis)

This meeting will be mainly facilitated by a team of legal workers working to organize this meeting.  The first half of the meeting will be an informational session similar to last Saturday’s meeting, covering attorney options, criminal vs. civil cases, court procedures, etc.  The second half will be a larger group discussion about future, more long-term arrestee support, including how to plug in out-of-towners and continuing discussion about forming working groups.  This will be a facilitated discussion, and any decisions made during this discussion will be decided using consensus process.

If you left town without getting your property back, please follow these instructions:

  1. Download, print, and complete this Statement to Authorize Return of Property.
  2. In the statement, name a person who will be able to pick up your property as the authorized person. Your best option for this is a friend or relative who lives in Minnesota. Your second best option is your attorney (especially if you don’t have photo identification available). If neither of these options are available to you, call Coldsnap Legal Collective (651.356.8635). Coldsnap cannot guarantee assistance, but we will do our best to help.
  3. Have your statement notarized. Kinkos or your local bank are common options for notaries.
  4. Fax or overnight mail the notarized statement and along with copies of identifying documents (see the form for more info) to the authorized person you named in the statement and tell them to take it to the correct location (see below) with their own photo ID BY FRIDAY.

To get your case number and tracking number call Records at 651.266.5700.

To confirm whether your property is at the SPPD or the Impound Lot, call 651.266.5637. Getting through on this number has been inconsistent.

If you were charged with a misdemeanor at the time of your arrest, your property is probably at the Impound Lot Container, 830 Barge Channel Road (Hwy 52 & Concord).

If you were charged with a gross misdemeanor or felony at the time of your arrest, your property is probably at the St. Paul Police Department, 437 Grove Street.

NOTE: If you do not get your property back THIS WEEK, it is our understanding that you will have to make an appointment to get it back.

If you have any unaltered or unedited original video (copies are okay), photos, or witness statements from the week’s events, PLEASE mail them or deliver them by hand. Follow the instructions below.

NOTE: These items are being collected, processed and catalogued for potential use in court matters. We CANNOT accept altered or edited items.

NOTE: IF YOU ARE A DEFENDANT IN A CRIMINAL CASE, please consult the attorney representing you and discuss the possible ramifications of any submission before doing so.

INSTRUCTIONS:

By mail:

  1. Print out and complete the Intake Form.
  2. Send the item (notes, video, photos, etc.) and completed intake form by certified mail to:
Berglund & Magnuson, PLLC
1595 Selby Ave. #102
St. Paul, MN 55104.

Over 300 protesters, bystanders, media, and medics arrested at RNC

Two minors sentenced to 30 days in adult jail

St. Paul, MN – Two days into the Republican National Convention (RNC), more than 300 people have been arrested, including at least 120 people for felonies — mostly the notoriously vague charge, “conspiracy to riot.” With no provocation, police have indiscriminately used rubber bullets, concussion grenades, and chemical irritants to disperse crowds and incapacitate protesters. Police appear to be specifically targeting videographers documenting these police abuses. In response, lawyers have filed a federal restraining order against such conduct.

By the end of the day today, only 12 people had been arraigned. Many arrestees are refusing to provide identification, in order to call attention to what they consider trumped-up charges and to collectively bargain. “These tactics are designed to protect the most vulnerable people in jail, and take a page from the history of labor solidarity,” said Rick Kelley of Coldsnap Legal Collective, an activist-based legal collective supporting the arrestees. “Based on the vagueness of their charges and the program of police intimidation currently underway, these individuals understand how they will fare if they don’t stick together.” The court has been imposing the maximum bail of $2,000 for misdemeanor defendants.

In an unusual court decision, Ramsey County Judge Paulette K. Flynn today convicted two minors of criminal contempt for refusing to provide their identity. The two minors were then sentenced to 30 days in an adult jail facility. “This decision undermines one of the most fundamental human rights concepts in the justice system, to protect the rights and safety of children,” said Jordan Kushner, Mass Defense Committee Chair of the National Lawyers Guild’s Minnesota chapter, and an attorney for one of the minors. “This shows the willingness of the courts to go to any length, including sacrificing the most important due process rights, to answer to the political pressure to persecute activists.”

Many arrestees are also being denied medical attention. One arrestee with hemophilia and another with asthma are being denied their prescription medication. An arrestee with a broken finger is being refused medical care, as is a person who has been coughing up blood. An anemic woman reported to Coldsnap today that she passed out for 20 to 30 minutes due to iron deficiency and was told that she could not receive iron because it was a prescription medication, and because she refused to identify herself. Iron is in fact an over-the-counter supplement. The same anemic woman reported seeing a Sheriff knock another woman to the ground and drag her out of the room by her hair. “Just because people have been jailed does not mean their health should be put in jeopardy,” said Kelley. “This is a matter of compassion and basic human rights.” An unknown number of arrestees are also engaging in a hunger strike to put pressure on the jail to provide needed medical attention for other prisoners.

Under Minnesota law, detainees must be released after 36 hours if the court fails to review and affirm probable cause for their charges. This 36-hour period will expire at noon on Wednesday.

As of 10:30pm today, the arrest tally from Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office was: 284 total; 130 felonies; 51 gross misdemeanors; 103 misdemeanors. The jail is seemingly severely backed up and not everyone has been booked or processed, so these numbers clearly don’t represent the total arrestee count for the day. These numbers also do not necessarily include the numbers of arrestees whose identifications have not been verified.

In regards to the arrestees from this weekend’s raids, five of them are still being held at Ramsey County Jail on probable cause, which means that they might not be able to see a judge until Tuesday or Wednesday. One of the arrestees was released yesterday evening.

Though some people have been cited and released, the majority are still being held in jail. We’ve gotten many reports that people are not getting proper medical attention, are being refused their medication, and/or have been separated from the rest of the group.

Also, there are also many felony charges, which allow the state to hold the protesters for a longer period of time. Felony charges have historically been used as scare tactics against activists, and there is much less precedent for people engaged in this type of demonstration to have felony charges hold up in court. More often, these bogus charges are simply used to keep protesters off the streets and as a way to oppress and silence people.

Please show your support and solidarity by calling the jail at 651.266.9350 and demand that people are given proper medical attention, are given access to their medication, and are not separated from the larger group! Also, demand that arrestees’ charges are dropped and that they are released immediately! You can also call the Ramsey County Sheriff’s office at 651.487.5149 or the St. Paul Mayor’s office at 651.266.8510, as well your city council member, state representatives, etc.

More information about how to support your friends and loved ones here:

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