Monday, September 01, 2008

Police State RNC

Here are a couple videos of preemptive, a priori police raids ahead of the RNC, designed to sow fear among the populace of an allegedly democratic society. The RNC has since been partially canceled due to the incredible photo opportunities generated by the coming hurricane tragedy in the gulf states region to which all the reeps ran in a jiffy, most likely in an effort to do...something. Check the updates after the videos.

Police State RNC: A Nun and Eight Others Swept into Unmarked Van by Cops in Minnesota
By Lindsay Beyerstein, Firedoglake

UPDATE (12:34 PDT):: One of the 9 protesters arrested was a nun, seen being loaded into an unmarked blue van. The 9 were apparently trying to climb a fence near a church.


UPDATE: ColdSnap is reporting 9 arrests downtown near the Excel center and police massing all over the downtown core.

The National Lawyers Guild and Communities United Against Police Brutality have filed an emergency motion to stop the seizure of cell phones and cameras during the RNC.

The groups will hold a joint press conference at Hennepin County Government Plaza to discuss their application for an emergency injunction, according to a tweet issued by the ColdSnap Legal Collective.


The 6 activists arrested during police raids in advance of the Republican National Convention are being held without charge by the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office, the Minnesota Independent reports.

The arrestees are being held on probable cause holds. These holds give the authorities 36 hours to charge them or let them go. Holds are typically used to give investigators more time to gather evidence before filing formal charges.

Holds allow police to charge first and ask questions later. Sometimes that's a good thing. Arrest opportunities are unpredictable. A suspect could slip away in the time it takes to turn a solid suspicion into sufficient evidence to file charges. A probable cause hold buys the police some time to dot the i's and cross the t's.

However, it doesn't take a genius to see how the power to detain people without charge can be abused. For example, unethical police officers have been known to use frivolous holds as quickie jail terms. Piss off the police, spend 3 days in jail--no trial required.

In Minnesota, a probable cause hold can be issued by an officer without review by a judge or a prosecutor. The 36-hour window doesn't include weekends and holidays. So the protesters arrested over the long weekend could be locked up until Wednesday.

The National Lawyers Guild is asking a judge to review these detentions in the hopes of getting the arrestees out sooner.

Imagine if the police could hold these protesters as long as they wanted.

The United States is holding suspects without charge at Guantanamo--many of whom were apprehended without anything approaching probable cause. Of course, Bush administration asserts the right to put off their trials forever.

Scenarios like these illustrate why habeas corpus is vital to the rule of law.

Lindsay Beyerstein a New York writer blogging at Majikthise.
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