Monday, October 03, 2011
Settlement reached in Democracy Now case against St. Paul cops, Secret Service
by Larry Geller
It was good to hear on this morning’s Democracy Now that a settlement has been reached in the treatment of Amy and two other Democracy Now reporters at the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota.
The story is below, or see the Democracy Now website later today for a transcript.
Will this change the behavior of St. Paul police in a similar future situation? Will they become a squadron of purring kittens next time they are assigned to keep order at a peaceful demonstration?
The Secret Service shares in paying the cost of the settlement, according to the story. Will this change their behavior in Hawaii at APEC or at any future event?
Will police brutality anywhere in the country be reduced because of this and other routine settlements?
The system of justice in the United States has fallen into disrepair. It doesn’t matter if there are laws or not, it seems. Government feels free to violate civil liberties of ordinary citizens regardless of the law [side note: the same Democracy Now newscast reported that Obama has killed not one, but two US citizens in his recent drone attack. Totally illegal, but so what?].
Paying settlements is a convenient way to continue the practice of busting heads. It’s just a minor cost of doing business for the police departments. And of course, the cost of the settlements do not come out of their budgets. The taxpayers of St. Paul will pay the settlement and legal costs in this case. They will not demand any change on the part of their police department. That’s not how it works. Similarly, US taxpayers will have their pockets picked as the Secret Service’s share of the settlement. The Secret Service itself feels no pain.
There oughta be a law. Oh, nevermind.
Click thingy in lower right for full screen
A final settlement has been reached in a federal lawsuit challenging the police crackdown on journalists reporting on the 2008 Republican National Convention and protests in St. Paul, Minnesota. Democracy Now! host and executive producer Amy Goodman, along with former producers Nicole Salazar and Sharif Abdel Kouddous, filed the lawsuit last year against the Minneapolis and St. Paul police departments, the Ramsey County Sheriff and United States Secret Service personnel. The lawsuit challenged the policies and conduct of law enforcement during the 2008 RNC that resulted in their arrests. They were among dozens of journalists arrested that week in St. Paul. The settlement includes $100,000 in compensation paid by the St. Paul and Minneapolis police departments and the Secret Service. The settlement also includes an agreement by the St. Paul police department to implement a training program aimed at educating officers regarding the First Amendment rights of the press and public with respect to police operations, including proper procedures for dealing with the press covering demonstrations
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