Protesters Imprisoned in Philadelphia Face Brutal Treatment, Physical Assault By R2K Legal
undreds of nonviolent protesters arrested during Tuesday and Wednesday's protests are reporting inhumane conditions in custody and physical brutality from authorities, according to members of the R2K Legal Collective. R2K Legal is a collective of lawyers and paralegals providing legal support to protesters. Over 300 arrests had been reported as of Wednesday night. As the evening wore on, protesters began to be arraigned one by one. Bail for protesters not giving their names was set at unprecedented levels -- between $15,000 and $450,000. "To my knowledge, bail has never been set so high for misdemeanor charges in the history of this country," said Ron McGuire, an attorney working with R2K Legal.
"I consider this a civil rights catastrophe of the first order," McGuire added.
On Tuesday night, female protesters being held in the Police Administration Building, commonly called the Roundhouse, reported seeing guards drag a male protester past their cell. The male was naked except for a pair of boxer shorts, which were down around his knees."He was screaming in pain," said a female protester in custody who asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation from authorities. "His back was badly bruised, he was bleeding from shoulder to wrist, and his fingers were blue."
Reports of physical brutality towards the men in the Roundhouse continued on Wednesday night. According to reports from within the prison, guards handcuffed and recuffed male protesters so tightly that the men were howling "Stop the torture" loudly enough for the women down the hall to hear.
One protester, who gave his name only as Jack, phoned R2K Legal from custody early Thursday morning to report that his ear had been nearly torn off by an officer's baton during arrest. Jack had been taken to a nearby hospital to have his ear stitched back onto his head, he said.
"Sadly, this kind of abuse is not unusual," said Sara Marcus, a Philadelphia resident and member of R2K Legal. "The abuse protesters are facing on the streets and in jail is representative of the very issues they were protesting about on Tuesday -- police brutality and human rights abuses in prison."
"If you believe this treatment is unjust, let the authorities know how you feel," urged Brian Petruska, another R2K Legal member. The list of people to call includes Philadelphia Mayor John Street, Deputy Commissioner ____ Mitchell, head of Civil Affairs Captain ____ Fisher, District Attorney Lynn Abraham, and Police Commissioner Timoney. Petruska added, "When you call, express your concern over treatment of protesters in custody, and register your support for the demands of those arrested."
Protesters in custody are demanding the return of the dozen or so comrades in isolation, immediate attention to medical issues in jail, reduction or dismissal of all charges, and equal treatment for all arrested.
List of Some Reported Incidents Excessive Force August 1. At 14 and Locust, a protester was severely beaten by police officers. As a result, he was hurried to the hospihis ear back to his head. In the protester's own words, he was "A bloody mess."
August 1. Bork from Blackbloc was sent to Pennsylvania Hospital due to injuries she received from police before they arrested her. She has a concussion and loose-teeth . Police let her go when the hospital release her form treatment.
Physical Attacks by Police August 2. Police attacked a man taking video footage of the demonstrators. Once the man was thrown to the ground, a police officer stepped on the protester's head as another officer threw water on him. The police then smashed the protester's camera against the ground with their feet, and confiscated the remains.
August 2. 2:30 p.m. at 13th and Race. Without provocation, police threw an apparently homeless man carrying blankets to the ground then six uniformed officers stepped on him. Police placed the man under arrest.
August 2. Near the Roundhouse Jail. Police seemingly arbitrarily picked out a man and threw him against a wall without warning.
August 1. While a protester was drawing with chalk on the ground, a police officer on a bike drove directly into him Apparently, the protester was not seriously injured.
August 2, about 12:30 across the street from the Convention Center. Four uniformed cops moved through the crows to apprehend an individual. The man raised his arms in the air, whereupon the police threw him into newspapers metal vendors, cutting the man's arm. Police then arrested him.
August 2, about 1:00 p.m. while three people were walking through JFK Plaza, police approached on bicycles and trapped them. Police demanded the man's backpack, but he refused. Police respond by throwing him to the ground and twisted arm behind his back and put him in a finger hold. However, police didn't search the man's bag and didn't arrest him. The man claimed his some fingers was broken. Denial of Necessities August 2. The twenty-two protesters who are held in custody in Philadelphia's 23rd Precinct have reported a number of brutal conditions there. According to these protesters, police have denied them food and water. One protester is HIV positive, which required him to take a regular regimen of medicine, but police have not allowed him access to his medicine since he was arrested. Another protester had to be taken to Pennsylvania Hospital after being beaten by police prior his arrest. Although hospital doctors prescribed regular doses of ibuprofen, police have not permitted this either. Although some protesters were arrested on Tuesday, only one protester has been allowed single phone in that time.
Spontaneous Arrests August 2, at 11th & Arch . Police pulled over a truck. The driver was the sole occupant, but was driving with protest signs in his cab. After pulling the truck over, the police forced the driver out of his car and arrested. The witness to the arrest reports the driver was not engaging in any illegal activity prior to the arrest.
August 2 in the evening. Police cars surrounded a car at a red light in center city. The police order the occupants, three young men and a woman, out of their car. Police immediately arrested three young men, but let the woman passenger go. The incident was reported at approximately 9:30 p.m. to the R2K legal office.
August 1. While searching a protester, Commanding Officer LaSchmitt #209 made this statement, "Get out of town or you'll be sorry." The police preceded to break their Nextel and threw their gear in the trash. For information on sources, please contact Brian at the R2K Legal Office. 215 925 6791
tal nearest to the Roundhouse for medical attention. The protester was beaten so severely that he had to undergo surgery to stitch
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"Freedom without socialism is privilege and injustice, and socialism without freedom is slavery and brutality." -- Mikhail Bakunin