Glen Greenwald writes that Minneapolis police were out in force today, “dropping in on” some of the Twin Cities’ hippy crowd and making them feel right at home in Minnesota. Looks like we’re gonna party like it’s 1968 again.
After that little brouhaha in Chicago, no one in authority wants to see riots in their city. I certainly can’t blame them for that. Still, it’s disturbing to see police seeking out and harassing people based on little more than their political contrariness.
There is clearly an intent on the part of law enforcement authorities here to engage in extreme and highly intimidating raids against those who are planning to protest the Convention. The DNC in Denver was the site of several quite ugly incidents where law enforcement acted on behalf of Democratic Party officials and the corporate elite that funded the Convention to keep the media and protesters from doing anything remotely off-script.
The attitude of the powers-that-wanna-be seems to be that they’re paying big bucks to put on a show – the political convention – and they’re not about to let a little thing like freedom of speech interfere.
A couple of people were booked for conspiracy to riot. Bruce Nestor, President of the Minnesota chapter of the National Lawyers’ Guild calls the charge ridiculous:
It basically criminalizes political advocacy. I mean, the essence of conspiracy law is if a single individual takes an overt act towards accomplishing an illegal goal such as purchasing a brick, and the police then claim that someone else in his group has an intent to throw that brick, then everyone who advocates that you attend that demonstration…
Maybe. The charge itself makes sense – if it’s supported by evidence gathered using a warrant justified by probably cause. Nestor’s explanation seems overly paranoid. Common sense dictates that a conspiracy must be planned. In turn this means that multiple people must be aware and actively participating. Certainly I’d expect to see this level of evidence if I was sitting in the jury box.
What’s unfortunate – and probably illegal – about these arrests is that there doesn’t seem to be any conspiracy or intent to do anything at all. Evidence? Police took some computers and journals, nothing more, something that begs the question: What drew police down on these people? Where is the probable cause, in other words?
This situation gives the feeling that the police are being instructed to trump up something, anything, to keep the locak wackos and their drop-in friends from doing any ad hoc protesting during the RNC.
Much as I despise leftist politics and thought I find this pre-emptive attack against dissenters unsavory, uncalled for, and un-American.