WTO - ACLU SEEKS REPORTS ON POLICE MISCONDUCT

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Mon, 6 Dec 1999 12:29:57 -0800 (PST)


PLEASE CIRCULATE

FWD on WTO - 1) ACLU COMPLAINT FORM &
             2) RELATED NEWS ARTICLE

http://www.aclu-wa.org
American Vivil Liberties Union - Washington state

http://www.aclu.org/action/wtoform.html
Click here for ACLU-WA's ONLINE COMPLAINT FORM

http://www.aclu-wa.org/ISSUES/police/WTO%20ACLU.htm
WTO INCIDENTS: REPORT POLICE MISCONDUCT TO THE ACLU

The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington is
closely monitoring police treatment of WTO protesters
and residents of Seattle. We are looking for incidents of
police action against citizens that have occurred during
the WTO conference.

We need personal reports of any of the following
activities - if they happened to you or if you were a
witness:

Unprovoked physical aggression by police:
shoving, kicking, hitting with billyclubs, overly
forceful restraint

Use of pepper spray, tear gas, CS gas, shots of
rubber bullets against non-violent protesters or
onlookers either without warning or in excess

Being pursued or chased by police when trying to
flee or disperse

Encountering any of these activities as a bystander
or within an area that is NOT a designated
"no-protest zone"

Or other unreasonable restrictions on your civil
liberties

We need details on what happened to you or what you
witnessed. Please contact the ACLU of Washington right
away!

If you know someone who does not have web access, but
would like to file a complaint, please have them call the
*
ACLU Complaint and Referral Line
206-624-2180
http://www.aclu.org/action/wtoform.html


FWD [related news article]

http://www.seattle-pi.com/local/jail04.shtml
FWD  Seattle Post-Intelligencer - Saturday, December 4, 1999
     [Washington state, USA]

     ACLU SEEKS INDEPENDENT REVIEW OF CITY ACTION
     PROTESTERS CAN SUBMIT COMPLAINTS ON WEB SITE

     By ELAINE PORTERFIELD
     SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTER

     The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington called on Mayor Paul
Schell yesterday to convene an independent commission to investigate the
city's response to this week's massive protests.<P>

     "Because Seattle is unquestionably a global city where international
events will be occurring in the future, it is imperative that the
opportunity to learn from recent unfortunate events is not lost," the
organization wrote in its letter to Schell.<P>

     Protesters have complained they were abused by police.<P>

     During a news conference yesterday by Direct Action Network, two
people, who identified themselves as "Heron" and "Greta," sat with their
backs to reporters to hide their faces.<P>

     Heron, 25, said officers broke all but two of his belt loops while
carrying him. And he said an officer in latex gloves pinched his nose to
suffocate him.<P>

     "(The officer) said, 'I'm gonna hold you until you turn blue,' things
of that manner," added Heron.<P>

      Police said the pair were blocking traffic near the Market with a
parked van and an unwieldy, suspicious-looking apparatus. They were
arrested for obstruction, but charges were later dismissed.<P>

     In its letter to Schell, the ACLU wrote that the citizens review
panel, which studied police accountability earlier this year, would be a
good model to oversee the investigations.<P>

     That ad hoc commission was made up of community leaders without ties
to the police department.<P>

     There was no immediate response from the mayor's office.<P>

     Doug Honig, ACLU spokesman, said his office is fielding numerous calls
from people who feel their civil rights have been violated by Seattle
police. Many reported allegations of excessive force, he said.<P>

     In response, the ACLU is encouraging people to send their personal
accounts of problems during the protests to the organization via a
complaint form available on their Web site at <http://www.aclu-wa.org>.

     The ACLU plans to hold a news conference Monday to discuss their
concerns, Honig said.<P>

     The ACLU has been outspoken in its criticism this week of the mayor's
declaration of civil emergency in downtown Seattle, saying it stifled
legitimate political protest.<P>

     The organization unsuccessfully sought a temporary restraining order
in federal court Wednesday seeking to have the ban on protests near the
World Trade Organization events rescinded.<P>

     Many of the protesters swept up in massive arrests in the past few
days were scheduled to be arraigned yesterday. Seattle Municipal Court
Presiding Judge Helen Halpert said she expected 400 people to be arraigned
by the end of the day.<P>

     "We'll go to midnight if we have to," Halpert said in the late afternoon.

     Halpert, who came in to work from a scheduled vacation, said she is
proud of the judges and court staff, all of whom worked long hours to make
sure the arrested protesters got arraigned.

     "I really feel like what could been a completely horrid situation is
not great, but much less bad than it could have been," she said.

P-I reporter Kimberly A.C. Wilson contributed to this report.

END FORWARD

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