Sunday, September 07, 2008

More on the St. Paul arrests and detentions

Several people detained or arrested in the protests have been subjected to abuse by the police there. The local courts have been handing down some strange punishments, too. From a September 2nd press release by the Coldsnap Legal Collective:
In an unusual court decision, Ramsey County Judge Paulette K. Flynn today convicted two minors of criminal contempt for refusing to provide their identity. The two minors were then sentenced to 30 days in an adult jail facility. “This decision undermines one of the most fundamental human rights concepts in the justice system, to protect the rights and safety of children,” said Jordan Kushner, Mass Defense Committee Chair of the National Lawyers Guild’s Minnesota chapter, and an attorney for one of the minors. “This shows the willingness of the courts to go to any length, including sacrificing the most important due process rights, to answer to the political pressure to persecute activists.”

Many arrestees are also being denied medical attention. One arrestee with hemophilia and another with asthma are being denied their prescription medication. An arrestee with a broken finger is being refused medical care, as is a person who has been coughing up blood. An anemic woman reported to Coldsnap today that she passed out for 20 to 30 minutes due to iron deficiency and was told that she could not receive iron because it was a prescription medication, and because she refused to identify herself. Iron is in fact an over-the-counter supplement. The same anemic woman reported seeing a Sheriff knock another woman to the ground and drag her out of the room by her hair. “Just because people have been jailed does not mean their health should be put in jeopardy,” said [Rick] Kelley [of Coldsnap Legal Collective]. “This is a matter of compassion and basic human rights.” An unknown number of arrestees are also engaging in a hunger strike to put pressure on the jail to provide needed medical attention for other prisoners.
According to Kirk James Murphy, MD and other sources, medics were targeted by the police during the protests. Reports from the North Star Health Collective and the Portland Street Medics, two groups providing on-scene first aid, describe verbal and physical abuse as well as flagrant disregard for civil rights or legal niceties on the part of the police, who prevented them in several cases from providing medical help to individuals in or around the area of the protests. Firedoglake has more on these horrific abuses, plus more on the torture of others.

Around 800 people total have been arrested before, during, and after the Republican National Convention. Two members of the Minneapolis City Council are calling for an independent investigation into the actions of the police.

1 comment:

Ishmael said...

This is a horrible black eye for St. Paul, Minn. Heads need to roll.