RNC protests/police brutality update

and i keep wondering…where’s the media coverage?

from Starhawk:

Hey friends, here’s some quick updates on the various legal issues, including our bus, our friends in jail, and more.

Thanks for all your calls and emails—they have been tremendously effective, as you’ll see below!

My full accounts of the actions can be found at http://www.starhawk.org.

UPDATE: First, the good news: Elliot Hughes, who was badly beaten, tasered and maced in jail, is out now, with all charges dropped. He’s with our Pagan Cluster, getting lots of healing, good food and a bath, and this morning will go to a hospital for a CT scan as he has head injuries. His spirit is amazingly strong, and it’s really good to have him back and see him smiling and laughing.

Riyanna is also out of jail, with all charges dropped, and back with us. She’s unharmed and doing well.

Jason Scarecrow is still in jail, still as far as we know has not received medical treatment for his wounds, including a gash in his foot and remaining bits of copper from the taser in his hip, but sounds in good spirits and we hope to see him get out today. He was tasered seven times by the police in the street when he was not resisting their unprovoked arrest, and beaten up badly for no evident reason.

Over a hundred activists were released uncharged throughout the night. Police were driving them far away from the jail and their waiting supporters and dropping them off in lonely places with no phone access.

UPDATE ON THE BUS:

The City Attorney’s office in Minneapolis has now said that seizing the bus was “a regrettable misusnderstanding”. The bus will be released today, and while the Wilsons will still have to have it towed from the lot beause of some clauses in the city’s insurance policies, they are free to drive it, do workshops and trainings from it, and stay in the state of Minnesota as long as they like. One of the National Lawyers’ Guild lawyers is a former truck driver and has offered to help them fix the mechanical issues with the bus that were found in the inspections. So the PermiBus may soon be on the road again. Thanks so much for all the support, and thanks to all of you who have donated money. Any funds left after they pay for towing, impound, and repairs will go to help pay for gas and food for the crew as they carry on their journey of teaching and training the skills we need for survival and change. Oh yeah—and for starting a lawsuit that will help deter the authorities from doing this sort of thing again.

See their blogs and journals at permibus.livejournal.com.

Information on Earth Activist Trainings can be found at http://www.earthactivisttraining.org.

BAD NEWS:

Eight members of the RNC Welcoming Committee have been charged with criminal conspiracy to riot in furtherance of terrorism, under the Minnesota version of the Patriot Act. The Welcoming Committee organized the food, logistics, housing, and meeting spaces for protestors coming to the Twin Cities. No actual acts of violence were committed or alleged to be committed by any of them. No weapons or physical evidence of any conspiracy were found. The entire case against them is built on the testimony of three paid informants who infiltrated meetings. Such testimony has been proven, over and over again, to be notoriously unreliable—as the informants have a vested interest in fabricating plots and plans that can justify their pay and a disproportionate police response, which we have seen.

This is exactly what we’ve always feared the various anti-terrorist laws would be used for: not to stop another September 11, but to target dissent.

I’ll have more information later on this—a press conference is scheduled for this morning. But let’s just be clear—when people can be charged with ‘conspiracy’ for things they have not actually done, we are all at risk. Almost all the protestors arrested in this last week were charged with ‘conspiracy’: ‘conspiracy to riot’, Riyanna was charged with ‘conspiracy to use poisonous substances’ (???) although no evidence of any poisonous substances were found anywhere on or around her. (Those charges were dropped.) When we can be arrested, tasered, beaten, have our property seized and illegally searched on no evidence that we’ve actually done something but only on suspicion that we might have thought about or spoken about the possibility of doing something or be somehow associated with a group that someone else thinks might be thinking of doing something—whoa, no one is safe.

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