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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Judge Orders Police to Release Info on 2003 RNC Protest Arrests

Despite their many attempts to hide the details of their illegal and unethical behavior at the Republican National Convention in 2004, a judge has denied the NYPD's request to keep the information secret.

If you remember, massive protests were organized the week of the RNC here in new York city to protest President Bush and his Party's role in planning and pushing the Iraq War, their anti-immigrant policies, the curtailment of civil liberties, anti-workers policies, etc. The police responded with surveillance, spying, infiltration of peaceable organizations and then "preemptive arrests." On the second day of the Convention, hundreds of activists were rounded up and arrested, not for breaking laws, but to prevent them from breaking some future law. Bystanders who were not protesting were alsso arrested. Protesters were corralled into a makeshift holding area, where they suffered in substandard and downright dangerous conditions before being released, many held as long as 66 hours. A court order forced the police to release hundreds who remained stuck in detention as the Convention droned on.

It is this group of detainees who, together with the New York Civil Liberties Union is suing the police to release the info pursuant to their civil case charging that the arrests were unwarranted.

The police will appeal the court decisions stating against that the reams of police logs and records will expose undercover agents, police techniques, and other sensitive info. What they fail to address is that the police—under the leadership of Mayor Bloomberg who pursued the RNC to come to the Big Apple and guaranteed the GOP smooth sailing in their deliberation—were engaged in political repression not peace keeping or protecting safety and security. Plus, the lawyers for the plaintiffs have agreed to redact any information about undercover agents. They only seek what information was collected about protest groups that justified the arrests.

Like the attempts to hide racial data on New York City policing, the police attempt to hide their behavior at the RNC shows that there is something afoul at the NYPD. If there is nothing to hide, why are you hiding it? Time to come out into the light.

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