Come one, come all to Coldsnap Legal Collective’s first open meeting of 2009!


Coldsnap is an open collective, so we’re reaching out to the radical activist community to join us in providing legal support and education to help protect us from police violence and state oppression.

When: TODAY, Thursday, Feb. 5th, 5:30-7pm

Where: Common Roots Cafe community room, 26th St. & Lyndale Ave S, Mpls

Who: You and your friends and comrades!

Why: Because you want to help educate, empower, and support your communities by helping decentralize knowledge of basic legal rights, run our jail support hotline, do copwatching at political actions, and much more!

If you have any questions, email coldsnap@riseup.net.

Our jail support hotline number is 651.356.8635.

If you’re still floating around after the RNC and wanting to reconnect, please check out the Community RNC Arrestee Support Structure (CRASS) for information, arrestee/court updates, and to get involved! Coldsnap Legal Collective is proud to be part of this broad coalition of support for RNC arrestees.

For some reflections on the RNC and a few perspectives that have been missing in mainstream media as of late, here’s an article from In The Fray magazine published after the RNC  that we haven’t yet posted on our blog. It is well-written and inspiring, and includes several quotes from members of Coldsnap.

Check out the article at http://inthefray.org/content/view/3013/288/ or read the full text after the jump.

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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!

***

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

Attention RNC 08 Arrestees and Allies!

There will be another arrestee support meeting this Sunday! Please attend to get updates on the legal work being done and to get involved in the process!

When: Sunday, September 28th from 1-3 pm

Where: Bedlam Theatre (1501 S. 6th St., Cedar-Riverside Light Rail Station on the West Bank, Mpls)

Arrestee meetings aren’t just for arrestees! This is the chance for local folks in the Twin Cities and the families and friends of those arrested to become involved in arrestee solidarity and contribute to the

important work of supporting those who were attacked by the police in St. Paul and are now facing serious charges. There will be a lot of work to be done in the upcoming months fighting the legal charges that have been leveled against the survivors of police brutality.

Attention working group bottomliners: Please show up at 12 noon for a meeting before the larger general meeting at 1pm. If you can’t make it personally, please arrange from someone else from your committee to be there so that the day can run more smoothly. Thank you for taking on coordination in your committee!

See you there!

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Please see http://rnc08arrestees.wordpress.com/ for future updates, additional arrestee resources, etc.  Please also contact rnc08arrestees(a)riseup.net with any questions related to arrestee support.

To subscribe to the arrestee support announcement listserv, send an e-mail to rnc08arrestees-announce-subscribe@lists.riseup.net

To subscribe to the arrestee support discussion listserv, send an e-mail to rnc08arrestees-discuss-subscribe@lists.riseup.net

We at Coldsnap Legal Collective have received many reports recently of police harassment and attempted interrogation at the homes of many area residents regarding supposed involvement with the RNC.  We would just like to make a friendly reminder that you NEVER have to answer a cop’s questions (or the questions of any level of law enforcement, including federal agents).  The legally safest thing to say is always “I’m going to remain silent. I want to speak to a lawyer.”

So that you can be prepared if the cops stop in for a visit at your residence, some information regarding common interrogation tactics is here:

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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.

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