You’d make a great cop

“Got a lot of questions for me
You got a lot of questions for me
Got your finger pointing at me
Distrusted, I look for wires when I’m talking to you
You’d make a great cop.”

Well, it looks like the ACLU of Minnesota is about to get some business.

For whatever reason, political conventions lead the po-lice in the host city to act like our democracy has been replaced by a totalitarian system.

In 2000, it was Philadelphia. Pennsylvania State Police infiltrated an activist group, and an activist friend of mine was beaten so badly by the Philly PD during a protest that he ended up with a permanent hip condition.

In 2004, it was New York and Boston. We chronicled the abuse of free speech rights at those conventions in the Freedom Files episode Dissent.

And now it’s Denver and especially St. Paul. Last week in Denver the first checkpoints around the arena where the Democrat party held its convention were two miles away from the arena. Even worse, the Colorado National Guard was on call to deal with protestors. And we all know what can happen when the National Guard deals with protestors.

Perhaps the most egregious abuse of power by the cops has occurred in St. Paul over the last few days. In general, the police have been abusing people for exercising their free speech rights.

Specifically, America is not a country where we arrest journalists. And yet Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman and producers Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar, AP photographer Matt Rourke, who is based out of Philadelphia, and several other journalists were arrested for simply covering the protests and the police reaction to them. It’s incredible that I even have to say this, but they were carrying out the right to freedom of the press protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. One of Rourke’s supervisors was none too pleased:

David Ake, an AP assistant chief of bureau in Washington, said he was concerned by the arrest of Rourke, a Philadelphia-based photographer.

“Covering news is a constitutionally protected activity, and covering a riot is part of that coverage,” Ake said. “Photographers should not be detained for covering breaking news.”

Here’s the video of police chasing down Salazar. You can hear her screaming, “Press! Press!”

And here’s the video of the arrest of Goodman, who was inquiring about what happened to her producers.

So much for “to serve and protect”. The St. Paul police certainly are not serving or protecting democracy. They’re protecting the thugs who have taken over our government.

National ACLU has released a statement, indicating that ACLU attorneys are on the scene. And here’s DN!’s statement on the arrest of its employees.

Andy in Harrisburg

13 thoughts on “You’d make a great cop

  1. How is it that thousands of people exercise their 1st amendment rights to protest and don’t get arrested? You people go to these events with the intent to push the cops to the point that they arrest you and then you cry foul. You have the right to peaceably assemble..the key word being “peaceably”. You cry that the cops are big meanies everywhere you people go? The common denominator is that you’re there every time so a reasonable person might deduce that it’s not the cops that have the problem. I’m curious….what exactly would you have the cops do? Just let you anarchist freaks bust up the place?

  2. I must say that I agree with comments posted by bushwakt. Americans are granted certain “rights” under the U.S. Constitution. I agree that people may speak their minds and offer their opinions, such as I am doing now. As bushwakt pointed out, people have the right to peaceably assemble. NO WHERE is the right granted to ANYONE to cause public mayhem and engage in riotous behavior while hiding behind the constitution, all the while screaming that their “rights” have been violated. What a bunch of crap! I am sick to death of this mindset of the far left loons. The police have every right to arrest ANYONE who violates the laws of this land. Is it really that hard for you people to follow the rules? What a concept, follow the law, be a respectful citizen and guess what, you don’t get arrested!

  3. So you both figure that reporters and editors from Democracy Now who were in town to report on the convention WANTED to be arrested? How absurd. It’s kind of hard to report on anything when you’re handcuffed in the back of a car, isn’t it?

    I find a deep irony in the fact that citizens of a nation that celebrates the Boston Tea Party and a violent revolution from tyranny now believe in “following the rules” and label peaceful demonstrating (outside of the designated protest cage) as a crime.

    The protesters ARE following the rules – the Constitution. It’s the cops, the city, and the organizers who are breaking the rules. Who watches the watchmen? In America it’s supposed to be the Citizens, but apparently the citizens are too busy watching television.

  4. Dear C,
    Of course you cannot write with handcuffs on. You have to wait until they are removed. Can you not understand that it makes a much better and sellable story to be arrested and cuffed “fighting” for your rights than if you are just peacefully chanting and holding a sign? How boring a story would that have been? How much money and how many papers would that have sold for those editors of democracy now?
    It sounds like you are advocating violence as a means to get your point across. Not cool. Show me where it says in our Constitution that it’s ok to beat up people that don’t agree with you. Our forefathers fought in the face of tyranny and lost their lives to give us the freedom of speech that we have today but those freedoms don’t include inciting riots because you don’t like what that other person stands for. Don’t lump a bunch of journalists and editors pushing for a story into the same category as those who gave you those rights. That is truly absurd. We are living in a democracy and not under a tyranny. If you ever find someone out there trying to overthrow my government for an autocratic one, let me know, I’ll grab my sticks and stones and join you. Until then, keep the peace….

  5. Eks, have you followed the news at all since 2000? Have you heard of the USA PATRIOT Act? The Military Commissions Act? The Unitary Executive? Executive Privilege? Any of this ringing a bell? The Bush Administration has been working to turn this nation into an autocracy since they day they took power. The citizens of this country would rather live in denial, reciting their mantra, “it can’t happen here,” than accept the awful truth and get up and do something about it.

    I am not advocating violence as a way of promoting one’s beliefs (or as you say “getting a point across”; that is called terrorism. I will, however, accept violence as a defense of essential liberty.

    You say that our forefathers fought against tyranny to defend our rights, but in the same sentence suggest that we should roll over as those very rights are denied. Our founders fought a war and created a new government in a frontier, all in the interest of personal liberty. They did not back down and follow the rules, assuming that their government knew best. They were not concerned about disturbing the peace of those citizens who were complicit with the denial of their rights. They rioted.

    No I am not suggesting that a riot is appropriate every time a few people are offended by something; but when the limitation on liberty is so thorough as what we see around these conventions (both Republican AND Democrat) then it is time for the people to stand up against their government.

    There can be no freedom at the point of a gun – no matter how much the gunman may tell you otherwise.

  6. C,

    Can you describe how your rights have been violated by any of the laws you cited? If you haven’t been personally violated can you describe how anyone’s rights have been violated?

    Our Founding Fathers risked everything they had when they declared independence from the Crown. From that point on they defended themselves and the nation against British troops sent to disarm them and crush the rebellion. Please, please, don’t equate the riotous behavior of your anarchist brethren to the behavior of men who sought only to break free from tyranny. My suggestion is that you and all your fellow malcontents pick a state and move to it and then declare independence from the dreaded Bush administration and the evil United States. The Peoples Democratic Republic of Vermont would be a good pick since they already have a head start on your preferred type of representation. They sport the nations only openly socialist senator. Comrade Bernie Sanders.

    Lastly, your last statement regarding guns is so incredibly lost. Check your history. The Revolutionary War began when the Minute Men made their first stand against Redcoats that had been dispatched to confiscate the arms of the colonists. The king recognized, as any intent tyrant does, that arms in the hands of the people are a serious, deadly obstacle to the oppression he intended to inflict. If the British troops had been the only ones with guns our world would be much different now wouldn’t it? Your statement, although completely untrue now, will be horrifyingly true on the day that the government, the police, are the only ones with guns.

    “As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people duly before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the next article [2nd Amendment] in their right to keep and bear their private arms.” Tench Cox, Pennsylvania delagate to the 1st Continental Congress

  7. bushwakt: first off you completely missed the point of my last sentence. It has nothing at all to do with the second amendment or with gun control. I understand, you may have to re-read it several times. Just think of it as second grade, and do it over and over until you get it right.

    Secondly, are you being deliberately ironic? Two posts about how the people should not riot and should just obey the cops, followed by the Cox quote. I’m not even sure you know what you’re in favor of – except unthinking devotion to some political party line, no matter how contradictory its tenets.

    Based on your Vermont diatribe I probably shouldn’t, but I’ll respond to your first question anyway. How I am I affected? Because what happened in Minneapolis, and also in Denver, is an affront to the rights of the People. I am the People. You are the People too, though you refuse to acknowledge it and adopt instead your false us-vs-them / anarchist-vs-patriots mentality. When the rights of the people are attacked, I am affected. You are affected. So is everyone else in this Nation.

  8. Dear C,
    First I need to repond to the gun comment. I’m sure you intended for a metaphor to be in there somewhere if you weren’t referring to gun control, but you blew it. Too rambling and nonsensical. Here’s my very clear gun comment. No gunman is going to tell you you are free when holding a gun on you. EVER. You are dead…unless you have a bigger, badder gun. Then he’s dead.
    Answering the question bushwakt asked regarding how your rights have been violated by those Acts with a rambling diatribe about how we’ve all been affected, but not being able to give any actual specifics doesn’t add anything to the credibility of your comments. I am familiar with those acts so of course they “ring a bell”. My life is still the same as I’m sure yours is also. No one is tapping my phone or following me with a camera. Nor are they tapping yours or following you. Oh, that’s right..those things are specifically reserved for the terrorists trying to kill AMERICAN citizens. I assume the intelligence that resulted in breaking up several terrorists plots since 9-l1 is not important to you since you feel the need to protect their privacy. Would you still feel so “affected” by those Acts if you were the one deciding whether to jump or burn to death because people like you needed to protect the terrorist’s right to blow up the building beneath you? Did you watch the History Channel yesterday as they gave tribute? Remember as those buildings burned? I did. If you didn’t, shame on you. Have you forgotten so easily what those terrorists did and more importantly what they still want to do? I haven’t. We all know it can happen here, especially if we close our eyes and pretend everyone is a nice person and if we just be nice to these evil people, they’ll leave us alone. History tells us that doesn’t work and here are some facts of my own to back up that statement. We didn’t have the intel to prevent our embassy bombings which were then followed by the bombing of the Cole. Was it 16 or 17 soldiers who died that day?I bet they and their families would have liked us to listen in on that terrorist plot before it happened. (Those incidents all happened during the CLINTON administration. See what happens when we ignore terrorists. They don’t go away and they don’t leave us alone. They just get bolder. Again, history tells us this.) While bushwakt has given actual historic facts and has used quotes to back up his statements, yours are rambling and unsubstantiated. His “2nd grade education” is blowing you out of the water. No more rambling. Substantiated facts only please. Maybe someone “rung your bell” a little too hard……

  9. C,
    Apparently I did miss your point. Obviously you’re my intellectual superior. So….. you were trying to make some clever metaphor regarding how the evil Bush administration is holding you at theoretical gunpoint by doing whatever it is that you can’t name all the while telling you you’re free? You might want to work on your style a little.

    No, I’m far too intellectually inferior to be deliberately ironic. It’s funny though that you mention irony. The real irony is that you liberals, progressives, communists, or whatever you prefer to be called, continue to insist that the government take more control of our lives every day at the same time you speak from the other side of your mouth about freedom. EVERY time the government makes a new law or creates a new program to “help” the people those people become more dependant on the government. And when people are dependant on the government what happens to the freedom that you claim to hold so dear? Hmmmm?

    I gotta ask………..were you in Denver or Minneapolis? Did you see what happed first hand or did you just read about it on or and then parrot it? I wonder how many people got arrested that were exercising their first amendment right to peaceably assemble? I’m going to go out on a limb and say none. What’s funny is that most of the people that did get arrested for destroying other peoples property, all in the name of freedom, probably can’t even tell you what they’re protesting.

    Lastly, that was a pretty lame answer you gave to my question. I’m not surprised though. “Standing”……you have none. You can’t name a single harm that any of those laws has done to you. The fact is that if it was Bill Clinton that had aggressively protected America this way you’d be heralding him and a savior…….you wouldn’t be able to say enough great things. But since it’s Bush (and by the way, he’s not my favorite guy either) you hate whatever he does no matter if it’s kept Americans safe for nearly seven years straight.

  10. Incidents here show a Pattern of Caprice, Abuse, local schemes of injustice by Authorities

    a) My County’s District attorney, judge and counselers are exposed in a copy of County Jail 2005 Inmate Handbook, evidencing County Jail, Court and Crime Commissions’ “Fraud and breakdown of Court” – a) First Amendment rights prejudiced at Pike Co. Jail by “Warden of the Year”, et al religious coercion of me, Appellant and other prisoners into God and Jesus H. Christ- centered programs for kitchen-work / State Parole requirements, October 2005 through November, 2007. b) Even today in August, 2008, many County Jail inmates currently invoke their Creator endowed rights (against such coercion), and are rewarded by languishing beyond their maximum county jail sentence;

    The ACLU tried and won a similar case near here in Kitzmiller vs. Dover School District, 3rd Cir. Federal Court Case No. 04cv2688, 2005 [ Find this article at: ].

  11. this nation terrifies me. as an autistic, i’ve been harassed by officials of the law at local, county and state levels. i’ve been imprisoned against my will in a hospital’s “behavioral health” ward by being dragged out of my bed, out of my house, half naked, handcuffed, upsidedown, almost having my spine broken at the neck and suffering injuries to my wrists from unneccessary cuffs. my house was invaded in the night while i tried to sleep, because my ignorant father set the county crisis intervention arrogance crew out after me, following an email i sent in disgust of how i’ve been treated. my home was invaded by local police, crisis intervention, and EMT people who all did me far greater harm than any previous assault had done (i have PTSD due to my former employer and due to my constant fighting and failing to have my rights protected). i’m afraid in my own home. terrified. i’ve asked the ACLU for help but i was told to fill out forms… i can’t do this all alone. i can’t function after a lifetime of being abused as i tried my nest to conform. where are my rights?? i have no rights!!
    you have no rights

  12. Jace, above, meant to point to his blog.

    BTW: bushwakt and gumshoe5422 are living in the same denial that the citizens of Germany were in.

    “Just a simple reminder,

    One should study how the Nazi’s rose to power. It was not over night. They spoke of nationalism, spoke of powers that had to be granted to the Nazi party and Hitler; then slowly they accumulated power from people who gave up their rights to feel more secure.

    Please review “War Powers Act”, “Posse Comatatus”, English as our national language, etc.

    1) The “War Powers Act” gives and grants the president sweeping power to abridge the constitution to protect those in power of government. And those in power of government are Republican. You Democrats gave away your rights when you granted this president these powers.

    2) “Posse Comatatus” would have given the president sweeping power to use the military on USA soil. Luckily there were few people with sense enough to stop revoking the rights of people from the president’s use of military on civilians.

    3) English as the National Language gives away our rights to languages and the first amendment right granted by our forefathers to communicate. This is a legalized abridgement and grants certain sector of our right wing society to be lazy and not learn another language, also allows them to discriminate and harass those that speak a different language.

    So I have to ask the following question regarding people who are willing to give away their basic rights, human rights, protection rights and rights to speak; “Do you feel more [safe] now that you gave up these rights!”

    Slowly and certainly this president will continue to use the fear tactic to erode your rights. He needs more power to feed his megalomania to make you feel more save.


    Posted by HybridFuel on September 9, 2006 at 01:52 PM”

    posted at The Democratic Party’s Blog, which they call “Kicking Ass” …

  13. As long as we’re demonstrating Godwin’s Law (Google it) I’ll throw in this somewhat-famous-but-not-nearly-famous-enough quote from Hermann Goering, the Nazi leader, recorded while he was being held in the Nuremberg jail:

    “Naturally the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

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