Today, Citizen Radio has three interviews with three equally amazing muckraking journalists. First up, Jesse Freeston, who was attacked by police at the G20 summit, then Mother Jones’s environmental journalist and one of the only reporters on-the-scene in the Gulf, Mac McClelland, and finally photojournalist C.S. Muncy breaks an important story from Louisiana. Listen here.
The court unanimously overruled an Arizona appeals court that threw out evidence found during such an encounter.
The case involved a 2002 pat-down search of an Eloy, Ariz., man by an Oro Valley police officer, who found a gun and marijuana.
The justices accepted Arizona’s argument that traffic stops are inherently dangerous for police and that pat-downs are permissible when an officer has a reasonable suspicion that the passenger may be armed and dangerous.
The pat-down is allowed if the police “harbor reasonable suspicion that a person subjected to the frisk is armed, and therefore dangerous to the safety of the police and public,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said.
Heavy police presence greeted Bay Area Rapid Transit commuters Thursday, a day after more than 100 people were arrested in violent protests over the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by a transit police officer. At least three cars were set on fire, store windows were smashed and a police cruiser was vandalized in what started as a peaceful demonstration Wednesday over the Jan. 1 shooting of Oscar Grant. Police in riot gear threw tear gas to try to break up the demonstration.
“The crowd started to become more agitated, more hostile, started throwing stuff at the police,” said Oakland Police spokesman Jeff Thomason. He said charges against those arrested include inciting a riot, assault on a police officer, vandalism, rioting and unlawful assembly.
Extra police were deployed to East Bay stations on Thursday. Officers patrolled BART headquarters to ensure calm during the agency’s morning meeting, where many African-American community leaders expressed outrage over the killing of Grant.
An officer identified as Johannes Mehserle shot the 22-year-old on a BART station platform after responding to reports of men fighting on a train. Officers had pulled Grant and a few other men out of the train. The victim was lying face down on the platform when he was shot.
The shooting and events leading up to it were captured on amateur videos that have been broadcast on television.
Mehserle resigned from the transit agency shortly before he was supposed to be interviewed by investigators Wednesday. Mehserle’s attorney did not respond to calls for comment.
Some experts who viewed the video clips speculated that Mehserle fired his gun because he believed Grant had a deadly weapon, while others think the officer had mistakenly his handgun for a stun gun.
“If he was under stress he would not be able to distinguish between a Taser and his firearm,” said Bruce Siddle, founder of PPCT Management Systems, an Illinois company that trains law-enforcement officers in use-of-force.
BART police and the district attorney are investigating the shooting, and Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums asked city police to investigate as well.
Grant’s family has filed a $25 million wrongful death claim against BART and want prosecutors to file criminal charges against Mehserle.
“There were racial slurs directed at the young men,” family attorney John Burris said Thursday. “But I have no evidence that this particular officer (Mehserle) directed racial slurs towards Oscar Grant.”
Police have not classified the confrontation as a hate crime.
During the protest, some people threw bottles; a window of a fast-food restaurant and other downtown stores were smashed. No injuries were reported.
“We gave a dispersal order four to five times over a 20-minute period, then we had our officers go in and start making arrests,” said Thomason, the police spokesman.
Dellums went to the protest scene Wednesday night to call for calm. He then led a group toward City Hall and spoke with them.
“Even with our anger and our pain, let’s still address each other with a degree of civility and calmness and not make this tragedy an excuse to engage in violence,” said Dellums, who is black. “I don’t want anybody hurt, I don’t want anybody killed.”
In Oakland, California, videotape has emerged showing a BART police officer fatally shooting an unarmed African American man on a train platform on New Year’s Day. The video, which may be disturbing to some viewers, shows an officer pulling out a gun and shooting twenty-two-year-old Oscar Grant in the back. At the time of the shooting, Grant was lying face down on the ground. The video was shot by a passenger on a train stopped at Oakland’s Fruitvale Station. The San Francisco Chronicle reports there is a possibility that the officer had intended to fire his Taser stun gun instead of his handgun. An attorney for the family has announced plans to file a $25 million lawsuit.
WATCH THE VIDEO HERE (WARNING: MAY DISTURB SOME VIEWERS)
Nick Juliano (Raw Story)
A copy of the 44-page report, “Known Unknowns: Unconventional ‘Strategic Shocks’ in Defense Strategy Development,” can be downloaded here. Freier notes that his report expresses only his own views and does not represent US policy, but it’s certain that his recommendations have come before at least some Defense Department officials.
The author warns potential causes for such civil unrest could include another terrorist attack, “unforeseen economic collapse, loss of functioning political and legal order, purposeful domestic resistance or insurgency, pervasive public health emergencies, and catastrophic natural and human disasters.” The situation could deteriorate to the point where military intervention was required, he argues.
“Under these conditions and at their most violent extreme,” he concludes, “civilian authorities, on advice of the defense establishment, would need to rapidly determine the parameters defining the legitimate use of military force inside the United States.”
While the scenario presented is “likely not an immediate prospect,” Freier concedes, it deserves consideration. Prior to 9/11, no one in the defense establishment would have envisioned a plot to topple skyscrapers with airliners, and the military should not be caught so off-guard again, he says.
To the extent events like this involve organized violence against local, state, and national authorities and exceed the capacity of the former two to restore public order and protect vulnerable populations, DoD would be required to fill the gap,” he writes. “This is largely uncharted strategic territory.”
Freier’s report has merited some concern as it comes alongside revelations that the Defense Department has assigned a full-time Army unit to be on-call for domestic deployment.
An article in Monday’s El Paso Times notes that military and police officials in Texas are unaware of team-up efforts such as those suggested in the report.
Arizona authorities told the Phoenix Business Journal they are similarly unaware of any new plans, although the Phoenix Police Department made clear its officers “always train to prepare for any civil unrest issue.”
The Posse Comitatus Act restricts the military’s role in domestic law enforcement, but it does not completely preclude involvement in cases of emergency or when emergency law is declared. As of now, though, such scenarios seem unlikely.
The bulk of Freier’s report recommends refocusing Defense Department strategy toward thinking outside the box, in general, and the unlikely possibility of domestic deployments is just one longshot example he uses to illustrate a worst case scenario.
DENVER — An independent Denver police monitor said officers did nothing wrong during mass arrests on the first day of the Democratic National Convention.
Monitor Richard Rosenthal said Monday there’s no evidence to support a complaint alleging officers lied about whether they gave an order to disperse before arresting more than 100 people.
The American Civil Liberties Union complaint also contended a police officer pretending to be a protester created a tense atmosphere when he confronted another officer. Rosenthal said the undercover officer acted appropriately.
The ACLU did not immediately return a call.
JHU professor, 15 others arrested then released after celebrating on city street
By Gus G. Sentementes
“It was nonsense,” said Aaron Goodfellow, 41, a professor in Hopkins’ anthropology department. Goodfellow said he and a graduate student left an election-night party after news broke that Sen. Barack Obama was elected president. They saw the gathering and stopped to participate, and both were later arrested, he said.
Clifford said Union Memorial reported that one of its entrances and a nearby intersection were blocked by members of the crowd. He said the crowd was chanting: “These are our streets. We won’t go.”
“We made a reasonable effort to accommodate those people,” Clifford said. “You can’t just let it go on indefinitely, partly out of concerns for their safety, and partly out of concerns for the neighborhood.”
Some of the participants interviewed yesterday morning said the crowd was loud but that they weren’t in the streets when they were arrested. Some were Hopkins students, while others were area residents or students from other schools, including Goucher College and Towson University.
A person posted a 14-second video clip on You Tube.com that purportedly was shot during the police crackdown. The video shows three officers wrestling with someone who is lying on the ground in front of a Subway restaurant on the southeast corner of St. Paul and 33rd.
A woman can be heard on the video yelling: “Somebody take pictures … take pictures.”
Jeff Levine, 19, a Hopkins sophomore, said he was trying to push his way through a “huge mob” of people in front of his apartment building at St. Paul and 33rd streets about 2 a.m. He was returning home after spending the evening at an election-night party with friends and said that he was not an Obama supporter.
He said an officer shoved him from behind, toward his building, and when he turned around, the officer applied a stun device to his upper abdomen area. “It hurt. I couldn’t move my body,” Levine said. He said he asked officials at Central Booking if he could talk to a lawyer.
“They told me I didn’t even need one” because he would be released without charges, Levine said.
Zach Warner, 19, a Hopkins sophomore, said officers cursed at him and threatened him with arrest when he tried to get their names and badge numbers. Warner, who avoided arrest, said he and others took photos of the officers with their cell phones. He said he watched one woman tell an officer that she had the right to assemble peacefully, and moments later, the officer threw her to the ground.
“All of these students, this was their first time voting, their first time to express their civil liberties,” Warner said. “And to see civil liberties taken away from us is just disgusting.”
Clifford said there were spontaneous celebrations across the city overnight but that, so far as he knew, no other arrests had been made at public gatherings.
David Rocah, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union in Baltimore, said the group fielded calls yesterday from people who were arrested or who had witnessed the events and that the civil rights group was gathering information about an incident he regarded as “troubling.”
“Even if it wasn’t illegal, I think it raises real questions about the Baltimore City Police Department’s crowd-control policies and what is the right way for people to handle a situation like this,” Rocah said.
I have to be brief because I’ve been awake now for almost 35 hours. I was rounded up along with a dozen or so other people last night at an impromptu Obama celebration in Baltimore and jailed. My crime?
Photographing the Baltimore cops as they loaded people into a paddy wagon. The crowd was very well-behaved — mostly Hopkins students overjoyed with the Obama victory. A phalanx of cops moved in and
started arbitrarily arresting people. They tased an undergraduate for trying to get back into his building — after asking him to go inside. It was insane. I started taking photos with my cell phone as they lined up cuffed college kids, professors, etc. and a cop approached me. “I’m a journalist,” I said (I freelance for Baltimore City Paper) and he knocked the phone out of my hand onto the street. “Write a nice long story about this,” he said, spun me around, and he and another cop cuffed me with flexi-cuffs and loaded me into the police van.
This was 2am last night (Tuesday). I served as an election judge all day, and the last thing I expected was to spend the night in Baltimore City lockup. Unreal.
The dangerous thugs the police decided to jail included me (an election judge, writer, and employee of the Bloomberg School of Public Health), TWO professors of anthropology at Hopkins, a Baltimore City school teacher, and a variety of students. It was one student’s birthday. The student who was tasered had bruises on his wrists from the cuffs and a bruised eye. Truly a dangerous group of criminals.
We were released this morning — no charges were brought against us. We’re getting together as a group to see what recourse we have. One of the anthropology profs, Aaron Goodfellow, has contacted the ACLU
and I’m going to follow-up. There were lots of students with cell phones, videocams, and cameras, so I’m hoping some of this was caught on tape.
City Paper has a very brief clip on its site: http://www.citypaper.com/digest.asp?id=16987
Back in the United States, a New Jersey police officer has been suspended following the violent arrest of a television camera operator. Jim Quodomine of WCBS was filming a peaceful protest outside a Newark church when the officer put him in a chokehold and arrested him. Quodomine spent more than an hour in a police vehicle and had his camera confiscated. The arrest came days after a photojournalist was arrested in Chicago while covering the fatal shooting of a suspected burglar by an off-duty police officer.
Video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTAAZBT0rBU
I’m writing to pass along the newest and MOST DAMNING video that’s been released of the police violence against peaceful protesters Wednesday night.http://glassbeadcollective.org/emily/IVAW_NICK_MORGAN.mov
In this video, Nick and all are seen clearly on the sidewalk complying with police orders while being antagonized and subsequently dragged to the ground by police into the path of Officer Quagliano’s horse who also was on the sidewalk. Nick’s injury is captured perfectly.
The NCPD should be forced to drop charges against Nick and Geoff Millard as a result, as well two civilians from the Hempstead 15.
Please continue joining me in writing and calling the candidates to put pressure on them to condemn police actions that night, as well answer our questions from the debate.
And please contact the IVAW national office to donate to Nick Morgan’s medical fund.
Peace and Solidarity,