National Lawyers Guild dondemns fabrications of Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher and preventative detention arrests
National Lawyers Guild Press Release
The Minnesota Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild condemns the coordinated raids carried out by Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher against citizens planning to engage in demonstrations at the Republican National Convention.
The primary prop used by Sheriff Fletcher in his afternoon press conference, where he displayed items seized in three early morning raids conducted in south Minneapolis, were three buckets of alleged urine. As shown by inventory sheets left by law enforcement, these buckets were seized at 2301 23rd Avenue South in Minneapolis, MN. Two buckets contain grey water and were being used to flush toilets, to conserve water, in the upstairs bathroom. Both were identified in the inventory as “unidentified liquid.” The third bucket, as shown by inventory sheets, was seized from illegal apartment over a garage in the rear. This apartment has been occupied for several years by a person unconnected to the house occupants or the RNC. No bathroom was in the illegal apartment and urine was collected in a bucket. This was listed as “unidentified yellow liquid” in the inventory sheets.
Bruce Nestor, chapter President of the Minnesota National Lawyers Guild, was present at both locations during the execution of the search warrants. “Police seized political literature, cellphones, computers, cameras, personal diaries, and many common household items such as paint, rope, and roofing nails. These items are present in almost any home in south Minneapolis and are not evidence of a crime,” said Nestor. “Seizing boxes of political literature shows the motive of these raids was political. Sheriff Fletcher has staged a publicity stunt, violated constitutional rights, and misrepresented what was seized during the raids,” he said. Another raid was carried out the evening before on a political meeting hall in St. Paul. Inventory sheets for that raid show that no contraband items were taken. Literature, computers, maps of St. Paul, and banners were the vast majority of the items seized.
In addition, during the raids, four persons were arrested without arrest warrants or formal charges. They are being held on probable cause holds for “Conspiracy to Commit Riot,” which will allow their detention until Wednesday, September 3, 2008, at noon. Two other persons were also arrested without warrants, off the streets of Minneapolis, one after she addressed a mass rally of over 200 people at Powderhorn Park. “Conspiracy to commit riot was the charge used against the Chicago 8 after the police riots in Chicago during the 1968 Democratic Convention,” said Heidi Boghosian, Executive Director the National Lawyers Guild. “Guild attorneys defended those charged in 1968 and we will do so again now.”