Reporters Committee decries citations given to journalists at RNC protest

PRESS RELEASE · September 5, 2008 ·

Reporters Committee decries citations given to journalists at RNC protest

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press today asked Ramsey County Sheriff Robert Fletcher and St. Paul Police Chief John Harrington to drop the criminal citations given last evening to up to 20 journalists who were covering a demonstration at the Republican National Convention.

The reporters and photographers had followed demonstrators who were marching from the state Capitol area into downtown St. Paul. Law enforcement officers flanked the marchers and corralled them on bridges passing over Interstate 94. Journalists and marchers were detained on the bridges while police processed them.

Volunteer lawyers for the Reporters Committee’s convention hotline and several Twin Cities area editors and news directors appeared to have negotiated the release of the reporters with commanders on the scene but Fletcher and Harrington apparently intervened, they said, and ordered that the journalists be issued criminal citations. Once ticketed, the journalists were released.

“What conceivable purpose is achieved by citing (the journalists) them with criminal charges?” the letter from Reporters Committee Executive Director Lucy A. Dalglish asks. “Once you knew they were journalists, why did you have to engage silly bureaucratic nonsense?”

The Reporters Committee has sponsored a legal hotline for journalists at every political convention since 1972.

Read the letter here:

http://www.rcfp.org/news/documents/20080905-protestlet.pdf

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2 Responses to Reporters Committee decries citations given to journalists at RNC protest

  1. Reverend Manny says:

    thank you so much for posting this!!

    One Love, One Struggle, One Hope,
    –Reverend Manny

  2. Anton-Scott Goustin says:

    The abuse of authority is not unique to the police in St. Paul. We have seen it over and over. Against the non-violent marchers in Alabama and Mississippi under the leadership of Dr. King. The sit-ins in Tennessee. The police outside the Democratic National Convention along Michigan Avenue in August 1968. The alliance between Mayor Daley in 1968 in Chicago, and the DNC leadership probably cost Hubert Humphrey the election, and the US got a man who had a “secret plan to end the War” (in Vietnam). His name was Nixon, and the Vietnam War went on for another 7 years! More than 17,000 American soldiers were killed in Vietnam in the months following Nixon’s election–12,000 in the month of December 1968 alone.

    I was one of the noisiest antiwar protestors on August 30, 2004, up Seventh Avenue in New York City, past Fux News (where I lead a chant), up to Madison Square Garden, where one more time the Republicans were gathering to support the architects of Abu Ghraib (spring 2004 was when the world learned about it), and other atrocities in Iraq. There was no police misconduct at the RNC 2004 in New York City, and guess what? The Republicans won in November! (With the help of Ken Blackwell, Ohio Secretary of State, a Co-Chair of the Re-elect Village Idiot of Crawdad Texas, who certified votes in counties where there were more votes for Bush than registered voters!)

    Arresting journalists is for Tiananmen. Arresting journalists is for the Soviet Union under Stalin. Arresting journalist in the US could only happen when arrogance of politicians (the Repulicans with Lucas McCain and Annie Oakley) meets eye-to-eye with the local population.

    In 1985, Lincoln Steffens, one of the original muck-rakers wrote an article called “The Shame of Minneapolis”. Today, muck-rakers should write “The Shame of St. Paul.” Except this time, we should propose changing the name of St. Paul back to its original name, Pig’s Eye Landing.

    The police in St. Paul behaved as pigs. Shame on St. Paul. Shame on the “good people” of St. Paul for letting this happen. I hope they don’t mind us calling their town Pig’s Eye Landing. It fits!

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