Fw: [NCFPJ-Discussion] Z Net information on Philly situation

Joe R. Golowka joegolowka at earthlink.net
Sun Aug 6 14:37:00 PDT 2000

Joe R. Golowka Anarchist FAQ - http://www.infoshop.org/faq

"The Republican Convention is in Philadelphia, yeah! ... Otherwise known as the Million-White-Man March." - Jay Leno ----- Original Message ----- From: "Paul Street" <pstreet at niu.edu> To: <ncfpj-discussion at egroups.com> Sent: Sunday, August 06, 2000 6:08 PM Subject: [NCFPJ-Discussion] Z Net information on Philly situation
> -----
> by Leslie Cagan
> It's Saturday morning (August 5th) and I just got off the
> phone with someone working with the legal support team in
> Philadelphia. The situation remains extremely serious and
> needs national attention!
> Here is a quick review of what's been happening:
> As the Republican Party met in Philadelphia this past week,
> protest demonstrations were held every day. On Tuesday,
> August 1st, almost 400 people were arrested as non-violent
> direct action tied up downtown Philly during the afternoon
> rush hour. About a dozen people had been arrested before
> then, and more have been picked up since, but the majority
> of arrests happened on Tuesday. Not everyone arrested was
> actually involved in any direct action: 75 people were taken
> into custody at the space where puppets were being put
> together for use in the protests; others have been picked up
> just walking the streets. (There continue to be conflicting
> reports on the number of people arrested, an indication of
> the problems people have faced since being taken into
> custody.)
> As of this morning, more than 250 of those arrested are
> still in jail. They are engaging in jail solidarity,
> demanding that everyone be treated equally and that all have
> access to food, water and bathrooms, as well as access to
> their lawyers. Stories about what has unfolded have come to
> light as people have been released, and several people still
> have possession of their cell phones and so more information
> is being passed along that way.
> The legal support team have reported extremely disturbing
> instances of mis-conduct by police and prison guards.
> Actually, mis-conduct is much too weak a word and some are
> calling it torture, including:
> * sleep deprivation by overnight handcuffing in awkward
> positions
> * the use of pepper spray to coerce arrestees into attending
> arraignments
> * stripping of prisoners' clothing
> * beatings
> * denial of essential medication, including for people with
> diabeties and asthma
> * denial of food, water and access to the bathroom for
> extended periods.
> There are numerous accounts of arrestees who have been
> isolated, verbally abused, punched, kicked, thrown against
> walls, bloodied, and dragged naked across floors, in one
> instance through a "trash trough" containing refuse, spittle
> and urine. There has been a reported sexual assault by a
> female officer who pulled and twisted a prisoner's penis, as
> well as reports of peopole dragged by their genitals and
> nipples being twisted by guards. Seven witnesses saw one
> woman dragged naked and bleeding.
> Many of the arrestees have been held since Tuesday without
> arraignment, some without phone calls or contact with their
> lawyers. There are reports of missing paperwork, and
> arraignments with incomplete or slipshod records and lawyers
> have been allowed only very limited visits. And to make
> matters even worse, excessively high bail has been set for
> many of those arraigned, with most bail ranging from $15,000
> to $30,000, and several set at anywhere between $100,000 and
> $500,000. Two people have had their bail set at $1,000,000:
> Kate Sorenson an activist with the Philadelphia Direct
> Action Group and Philly ACT-UP (she faces 7 felony charges)
> and John Sellers from the Ruckus Society which trains people
> in creative non-violent direct action tactics. He was
> standing on a sidewalk when arrested. The 75 people arrested
> at the puppet site have all been given $15,000 bail for
> obstructing traffic charges, and they were not even in the
> street when arrested.
> To make matters worse, the Philadelphia police are being
> hailed as models of restraint by the mainstream media in
> Philadelphia and in signs all around town. As people have
> called the police, district attorney's office and other
> officials they are being told that everything is fine and
> there are no problems...blatant lies. The news of what's
> happening inside the jails is hardly getting out. People
> around the country are encouraged to call Philadelphia
> officials - see details below - and an effort is underway to
> get Amnesty International into the jails.
> In the face of all this, reports from inside indicate that
> those arrested are tired and harassed, but for the most part
> in good spirits and continue to practice jail solidarity. As
> they demand their release, people inside are singing,
> chanting, telling stories and about 150 people are on a
> hunger strike, some for almost three days now.
> WHAT YOU CAN DO: It is important to keep up the calls to
> officials in Philadelphia. People are reporting having a
> hard time getting through and then, when finally getting
> someone, being told everything is okay. Please be
> persistent....
> Mayor John Street 215-686-2181
> DA Lynn Abrams 215-686-5777
> Deputy Police Commissioner Mitchell 215-686- 3364
> Captain Fisher (Head of the Police Department office of
> Civil Affairs) 215-685-3684
> Chief Maxwell (Head of Criminal Investigations for the
> police) 215-686-3362
> Police Commissioner John Timoney 215-686-3149 or
> 215-686-3388
> City Council President Ann Verna 215-686-3442 or
> 215-686-3412 and 3413. Mayor's Chief of Staff Stuber
> 215-686-7508
> Roundhouse Jail 215-686-1776 or 215-685-8574
> And here are several important questions to ask these
> people....
> Why are non-violent demonstrators being held in this manner?
> Why such high bail amounts? Why are they not just being
> released?
> Have all the protesters been arraigned? If not, why not?
> Legal observers are telling us that people are being denied
> bathroom privileges, medicine, and food. Why are you
> torturing people like this?
> Finally, take a moment to contact your local media outlets
> and ask them to cover this story. For more information they
> can contact the Legal Support Team in Philadelphia at
> 215-925-6791.
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