[Hpn] Fwd: media blackout

Coalition on Homelessness, SF coh@sfo.com
Sat, 05 Aug 2000 14:38:06 -0700

>Date: Sat, 5 Aug 2000 13:49:59 -0700 (PDT)
>From: Andrew Rose <affirmingandy@yahoo.com>
>Subject: media blackout
>To: talk@quiet.org
>X-Original-Envelope-From: affirmingandy@yahoo.com
>I am upset.  What I read in the papers seems to say ëOK hippies,
>drag out someone covered in bruises and blood and then weíll
>believe that youíve been hurtí.  Sorry (insert phrase here
>denoting opposition), we canít show you mass graves and burnt
>towns, nor can we show you in a photo the psych damage and
>trauma inflicted by violent arrest, imprisonment, captivity, or
>the disorienting effect of reading your funky corporate trash
>Not that how tough we are or how hurt we are is even the issue.
>People made puppets, they came together to teach each other
>media skills, nonviolence based activism, social change,
>awareness of oppressor priveledge, and how to work together to
>work together.  And for this people were arrested.  Not for
>ëassault on an officerí or ëREALí (reckless endangerment of
>anotherís life) or ëpossession of an instrument of crimeí.
>These are political arrests.  And besides the verbal, physical,
>and mental abuse, the long waits for arraignment (some over 80
>hours), the denial of access to lawyers or phones, the high
>bail, and the detention of organizers, with the repeated refrain
>by prosecutors that high bail is necessary ëbecause of the Los
>Angeles conventioní shows this. 
>And now I have to answer to anyone slightly interested the
>question of ëwhy was philly so violentí and ëwhat are you people
>doingí and ëdoesnít property damage really divide the movementí.
>  It was not violent here (property was damaged, not people)
>except for police violence (people damaged).  Our messages of
>unjust unequal corporate rule, reproductive rights, ending the
>death penalty, reducing military spending, providing for the
>social welfare, creating more democratic forms such as
>proportional representation, to name a few, are buried and lost
>with the sensationalism and voyeurism of ëhow bloody did you
>New York Times (nicked)
>August 5, 2000
>Convention Demonstrators Are Held on Very High Bail
>Lawyers Call Action Preventive Detention
>  HILADELPHIA, Aug. 4 -- With bail being set as high as $1
>million for protesters accused of blocking streets during the
>Republican National Convention, defense and civil liberties
>lawyers today questioned whether the city court action was a
>punitive measure intended to discourage the next round of civil
>disobedience, planned for the Democrats' convention in Los
>The bail of $1 million was set for John Sellers, identified as a
>33-year-old leader of the Ruckus Society of California, which
>says it trains demonstrators in nonviolent civil disobedience.
>Larry Frankel, executive director of the American Civil
>Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, said the amount seemed
>extraordinary since Mr. Sellers had been charged only with eight
>Bail for three other defendants whom the police considered
>ringleaders of the street protests was set at $400,000 to
>$500,000, with only one of them, 20-year-old Darby Landy,
>accused of a felony. The charge came after a street fracas with
>biker police officers led by Commissioner John P. Timoney.
>Mr. Frankel questioned whether the city's intention was to keep
>protest leaders "in detention until their date of trial"
>sometime after the Democratic National Convention's opening on
>Aug. 14, rather than serving bail's basic purpose of
>guaranteeing a defendant's appearance for trial. Other defense
>lawyers noted that defendants charged with misdemeanors
>typically were released on their own recognizance and that bail
>as high as $1 million was unprecedented for misdemeanors.
>In arguing for the high bail, Assistant District Attorney Cindy
>Martelli contended on Thursday that Mr. Sellers was one of the
>key leaders of the illegal street demonstrations Tuesday in
>which more than 200 protesters were arrested.
>"He facilitates the more radical elements to accomplish their
>objective of violence and mayhem," Ms. Martelli said.
>There were few reports of major property damage or serious
>personal injury in the demonstrations.
>In the bail argument, prosecutors referred repeatedly to the
>coming Democratic convention and to street protests earlier in
>Washington and Seattle. Defense lawyers said the simple
>misdemeanor charges at issue were being inflated into
>ominous-sounding national conspiracies to draw the high bail.
>"This is Philadelphia, Ala.," said Lawrence S. Krasner, Mr.
>Sellers's defense lawyer, who contended that the city was using
>bail as a tool of preventive detention and punishment.
>"Bail of $1 million for a misdemeanor is absolutely ludicrous,"
>Mr. Krasner said, adding that he would appeal it on Monday.
>After 371 arrests made during the convention week, most on
>misdemeanor charges, only about a third of the defendants were
>free as of this morning, by unofficial count. The police and
>demonstrators accused each other of deliberately slowing the
>arraignment process. Civil liberties lawyers said a number of
>protesters were refusing to cooperate and withholding their
>"I'm getting parents calling us up asking if we know what
>happened to their kids," Mr. Frankel said, emphasizing that he
>was urging cooperation and proper identification.
>Mr. Sellers was arrested as he engaged in a cell phone
>conversation on the street. Amy Kwasnicki, organizer for the
>protest group Philadelphia Direct Action, accused the police of
>pre-emptively arresting people they considered protest leaders
>even though she said Mr. Sellers had only trained others in
>methods of nonviolent civil disobedience.
>Seventy of the defendants were arrested on Tuesday in a
>puppet-making factory that the police raided with a search
>warrant, contending they would uncover hard evidence of criminal
>plans to disrupt the city during the convention. Demonstrators
>said the factory contained only street-theater puppets and
>agitprop paraphernalia intended for nonviolent civil
>As defense lawyers awaited details of the evidence that the
>police considered likely to be found, a judge ordered the
>warrant's contents sealed at the request of city prosecutors.
>"Highly suspicious," said Stefan Presser, legal director for the
>The police denied accusations that the factory raid was a
>pre-emptive strike.
>"We think we can prove they've engaged in criminal activity,"
>Commissioner Timoney said on Thursday.
>He raised the question of whether there should be a federal
>investigation into the activities of protest groups moving
>lately from one city to another to stage street demonstrations
>during major, media-heavy conferences. "Somebody's got to look
>into these groups," Mr. Timoney said.
>The police were widely praised by Philadelphians for restraint
>in dealing with the demonstrations. But leaders of the protest
>groups said defendants were being abused in jail. The police
>denied this, and Mr. Presser of the A.C.L.U. said legal monitors
>inside the detention area had received no complaints of the
>alleged brutality.
>Do You Yahoo!?
>Kick off your party with Yahoo! Invites.

Coalition on Homelessness, San Francisco
468 Turk St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
vox: (415) 346.3740
Fax: (415) 775.5639