portland independent media center  
images audio video
feature article reporting oregon & cascadia

actions & protests | human & civil rights | police / legal

POLICE VIOLENCE AT WTO RIOTS COST SEATTLE TAXPAYERS $250,000

Cop violence at LEIU protests in Seattle, Wa June 2, 2003 (Pic from Seattle IMC) In a time when Seattle is in deep need of money for its schools, its health care systems, for affordable housing, for public transportation, etc., we are paying $250,000, and rightly so, to protesters who were grotesquely violated at the WTO protests in 1999. And Seattle did not learn from that riot, as it produced two more unnecessary police riots in 2003, which still need to be addressed properly by officials, and perhaps the courts. Perhaps using this WTO case as precedence.

In December 2003, U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman said the police lacked probable cause to arrest the protesters outside a "no protest zone." Pechman said the police had done an "atrocious" job at record keeping, as well as citing the use of improper warrant and arrest procedures to round up protesters... Many of the issues in these WTO trials will affect the outcomes of these antiwar and LEIU riot situations from 2003... If Seattle police had no right to arrest those protesters at the 1999 WTO protests, for simply protesting, they also had no right to beat, assault, and falsely imprison, from what I saw, (and arrest in some cases), any of the approximately 500 people on March 22, 2003 that police abused in Seattle. The Seattle Police also had no right to riot...

This concept of acceptable police violence, and "no protest zones," has been pushed as far as possible by Bush. "No protest zones" undermine the Constitutionally-protected freedoms of speech and assembly so fundamentally that it is amazing this is even up for argument. As that part of the WTO protest case is still to be heard, in an appeal to a 2001 ruling by U.S. District Judge Barbara Rothstein... Rothstein upheld the no-protest zone, saying, according to the [Seattle] Times article, "Free speech must sometimes bend to public safety." ... Just as the Bush administration lies about weapons of mass destruction, it also lies about public safety issues when it comes to political protests.

When Seattle Police were beating, assaulting, and containing us against our will on March 22, THEY were the ONLY public safety issue present... If this concept of extreme police violence upon hundreds of unarmed protesters in Seattle at the WTO 1999 protests, is found to be unconstitutional in the 9th Circuit courts, the City of Seattle will be liable for even more in damages to WTO protesters, still to come. And to LEIU and anti-war protesters after that. [ Read More ] [ kirstenanderberg.com ]