One view: Daily Kos: UTAH RAVERS TREATED LIKE TERRORISTS!
The other view: Rave Party: Utah County Sheriff’s Office shuts down Rave Party in Spanish Fork Canyon.
The accounts differ as to whether the ravers had all the permits they needed (you need a permit to have more than 250 people on private land way out in the middle of nowhere? So it seems…)
Note however, that there is little but very violent resistance that would justify the kind of force the police are alleged to have used.
Not having been there or knowing any of the participants personally, I am unwilling to rush to judgment as to which account more closely captures the truth, although I’ll say this much: if it proves to be true that the the cops were impounding cameras and trying to stop filming, I think it’s fair to suspect that they might have had something to hide.
And if the accounts of violence, or raiding-despite-a-permit-and-without-a-warrant prove true, then the Utah police are simply out of control — or worse, controlled by really bad and evil people.
Update: As is increasingly often the case, info central on this issue is the wikipedia entry. And what to make of this unsourced claim: “A source inside the Utah government reports that this action was undertaken out of fear that the Rave would be used to rally support for the protest against Bush’s upcoming Utah visit.” They couldn’t be that crazy. Could they?
There seems to be a crackdown on rave/ravers internationally, I just read in The Economist a few weeks ago about police brutality at a rave in Czechoslovakia, also in the countryside..
Some of the crowd may (or may not) have been wearing heavy coats and didn’t respond immediately when the police identified themselves (mysteriously not heard on the audio recordings taken at the scene) so the police had no choice but to treat the whole group as a bunch of criminals. It just stands to reason. Those quaint rights to freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom from arbitrary search proudly declared in the Utah state constitution are relics of an earlier age when crazed terrorists with drum synthesizers, turntables, and light shows weren’t trying to destroy our very way of life!
Utah County mass gathering ordinance prohibits the gathering of two hundred and fifty or more persons without a permit, bond, and Utah County Commission approval.
Do they require permits, bond, and county approval for marriages and funerals?
You could fill your Civil Liberties category, very easily, with multiple daily posts on injustices committed in the name of the war on drugs. An excellent weekly summary is the Drug War Chronicle, compiled by drug policy group DRCnet (stopthedrugwar.org) .
Also check out the Drug War Rant blog. It’s got some good posts on this particular case, and many others.