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Victory on Preemptive Political Arrest

victory on preemptive political arrest: 1st Pershing Park settlement &
Killer Ramsey's half-assed apology
Comment: No admission of criminal intent, not one resignation, not so
much as a vague promise of department reform or any criminal or
internal
administrative investigation. No apparent reference to key terms
"preemptive", or "political" (the elephant in the room), but rather to
"mistake". Killer Ramsey, DCPD & U.S. essentially still spitting on
democratic expression and on everyone you care about.

Recall Nixon held 11,000 protesters in RFK stadium while shooting
thousands
in Chile, millions in Vietnam...April 15, 2000 preemptive political
mass
arrests of an entire action in D.C., obviously to disrupt a16...1800
mostly
preemptive last August, many with minor tortures, in the name of
another
godawful Bush speech and in return for simultaneous sudden G.O.P.
support
of DHS $millions for Bloomberg.

If law worked it would be illegal.

But a $425,000 award's a public chink, however tiny, in these
criminals'
armor. Chinks are good. A field of legal specialty and body of
precedents
slowly emerge. Somebody did lots of thankless legwork & paperwork
under
flourescents, they are having a nice day today, and I'm glad. Today I
and
presumably you woke up far from Guantanamo because of idiotic, rigged
court
dances like these. So mazeltov and thank you to somebody. No f_cking
paseran.

< http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A33527-2005Jan24.html>
From:  jsmacdonald@riseup.net To:  dawn-discuss-dc@yahoogroups.com,
 stop-the-inauguration@lists.riseup.net Subject:
[stop-the-inauguration] A
washingtonpost.com article Personal Message: wow...

D.C. Settles With Mass Arrest Victims
By Carol D. Leonnig and Del Quentin Wilber

The District government agreed yesterday to pay a total of $425,000 to
seven people caught up in a mass arrest at a downtown park in September
2002, acknowledging that they were wrongfully arrested and promising to
adopt changes in police procedures.

The agreement settles a lawsuit in which the seven alleged that D.C.
police
violated their constitutional rights and department policy during the
roundup of about 400 protesters and bystanders in Pershing Park. The
settlement also requires D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey to send a
personal letter of apology to each of the plaintiffs.

The monetary award raised questions about the settlement's effect on
three
lawsuits that make similar claims against the city, including a
class-action suit filed on behalf of all 400 people arrested that day.

"It's too bad the taxpayers have to pay for the wrongful actions of our
police department," said D.C. Council member Kathy Patterson (D-Ward
3),
who issued an investigative report last year that said Ramsey and other
police officials had conspired to cover up evidence of wrongdoing
during
the mass arrest.

"What do you pay people for taking away their liberty for 24 hours, 36
hours? . . . I think we're probably looking at the city paying out
another
huge amount of money."

Ramsey said yesterday that city attorneys have instructed him not to
comment on the settlement because of the ongoing litigation.

The arrests occurred Sept. 27, 2002, during demonstrations against the
World Bank and International Monetary Fund. With Ramsey's approval,
Assistant Police Chief Peter J. Newsham ordered officers to corral
demonstrators and anyone else within the boundaries of the park, on
Pennsylvania Avenue NW, and to charge them with failing to obey police.
Those arrested were put in plastic handcuffs, taken away on buses and
detained on floors for as long as 36 hours.

A subsequent internal investigation by police, made public by a federal
judge in September 2003, found that Newsham never gave an order for the
crowd to disperse and that police, therefore, had no justification for
making the arrests.

In approving the settlement with the seven plaintiffs at a hearing
yesterday, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan hailed the deal as
"historic," noting that it marked a major turnabout by city officials
in
accepting blame and offering to make amends for the police actions.

Sullivan, who previously had criticized Ramsey and D.C. Mayor Anthony
A.
Williams (D) for not publicly admitting the errors made at Pershing
Park,
said he was proud of Ramsey for agreeing to issue an apology.

"A real man can admit that problems can occur. . . . that the arrests
in
this matter were flawed," Sullivan said. "I think it's a great
agreement. I
applaud it."

The seven plaintiffs were five protesters and two bystanders. Each will
receive about $50,000 after paying the legal expenses of the American
Civil
Liberties Union, the National Lawyers Guild and the law firm of
Covington &
Burling, which teamed up to represent the seven.

In interviews yesterday, the plaintiffs said they decided not to take
the
case to trial because of the city's agreement to adopt police
procedures
intended to prevent improper arrests in the future.

"I've said all along that I would withdraw my name from this lawsuit
if
Chief Ramsey resigned or was fired. That's what should have happened
here,"
said Adam Eidinger, 31, a protest organizer and one of the plaintiffs.
"But
I accepted this agreement because the changes the police are going to
have
to make in their arrest procedures are substantial."

Under the terms of the agreement, a high-ranking police commander
must
issue a warning to disperse before police can begin arresting
protesters.
Officers must be able to prove that individual protesters broke the law
and
cannot arrest people simply for protesting without a permit. All
officers
must have clearly displayed badge numbers. Police must also provide
phones
so that detainees can call attorneys, friends or family members.

Eidinger said he would use some of his cash award to promote the
antiwar
and anti-globalization message and some to pay for his daughter's
education.

Legal experts said it was unlikely that District officials would
offer
similarly large awards to the 400 plaintiffs involved in the
class-action
lawsuit.

"The settlement of the larger group may run into some real money, and
there may be some resistance by the government to do that," said Paul
Rothstein, a Georgetown University law professor.

A year ago, the city agreed to a much smaller settlement -- $7,000 to
$10,000 per person -- with three students of the Corcoran College of
Art
and Design who were taking pictures for a photojournalism class when
they
were arrested in the mass roundup.

Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, an attorney who helped file the
class-action
suit, said yesterday's cash settlement was "just a floor" for future
negotiations on behalf of her clients. She also said her clients are
seeking more substantive changes in police procedures and will not be
satisfied until the department eliminates "contemptuous" policies that
block and silence demonstrators.

Late last year, the council passed a bill, introduced by Patterson,
that
would prohibit police from encircling protesters unless they plan to
arrest
them and would limit the use of physical restraints.

It also would prohibit the deployment of officers wearing riot gear
unless there was a danger of violence. Williams has not signed the
bill.

Immediately after the mass arrest in Pershing Park, the mayor praised
Ramsey for his handling of the protesters. For many months afterward,
Ramsey rejected claims from protesters, civil liberties groups and D.C.
Council members that police had violated people's rights.

One of the plaintiffs, Mindy Mancuello, 30, a physician's assistant who
was
caught in the protest on her way to a class, said she was disappointed
that
the judge praised Ramsey for acknowledging his error. She said that she
was
detained for 17 hours and that the handcuffs were so tight that tears
streamed down her face.

"At one point, he was only going to say he was sorry we were arrested,"
she
said. "Now, finally, he says he's sorry his department made a mistake
and
that we did absolutely nothing wrong."

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