The Paranoids Were Right: NYC Cops Harassed Protestors at RNC Convention

Buried deep, deep inside the New York Times, right at the bottom of a page, is this little bombshell: the paranoids were right.

Records Show Extra Scrutiny of Detainees in '04 Protests: When more than a thousand people were swept up in mass arrests during the 2004 Republican National Convention, defense lawyers complained in court that the protesters had to wait much longer to see a judge than those accused of far more serious crimes like robbery or assault.

Now, newly released city records not only put precise numbers to those claims, but also show the special scrutiny the New York Police Department gave to people arrested in or near the convention protests.

At the height of the mass arrests, on Aug. 31, 2004, demonstrators — and some people who said they were bystanders just swept up by the police — were held for an average of 32.7 hours before they saw a judge, according to city statistics. For people charged with crimes that the police decided were not related to the convention, the wait to see a judge was just under five hours.

The vast majority of those arrested were held on charges of roughly the same weight as a traffic ticket, and the law does not require fingerprinting for those offenses. However, the Police Department determined months before the convention that no one would be given a summons; instead anyone taken into custody would be sent through a full arrest process, including fingerprints and criminal record checks. Police officials said that for public safety, it was important to use fingerprints to confirm identities.

Not to mention that the special detention facility the protesters (but not the murders) were shipped to was so unhealthy that 40 cops have “submitted medical reports, saying they became ill after working there.”

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One Response to The Paranoids Were Right: NYC Cops Harassed Protestors at RNC Convention

  1. BroD says:

    Acquiesence? No.

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