Domestic Consequences of Being on Terrorist Watch List

I was very struck by this story from the periphery of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, Protester jailed, denies he’s a terrorist, in which a local police officer argued that an arrested protestor should be held without bail during the convention because he was on an (unspecified) national terrorist watch list — probably this one.

As far as I am aware, this is the first documented example of a non-air-travel-related domestic consequence of being on a ‘terrorist watch list’:

Tyson, who describes himself on his Facebook page as a carpenter with a “veggie farm,” says he has no idea how he wound up on the government’s terrorist watch list. He just wants to save the rain forest. The only dings on his record, at least as far as he knows, consist of fishing for trout out of season and driving while impaired.

The 27-year-old, known as “Jimmy” around Charlotte’s activist community, was pulled over Sunday near a building where protesters plan their demonstrations. He was charged with driving with a revoked license. And then he was thrown in jail under exceptionally high bail — $10,000.

The arresting officer asked a magistrate to keep him behind bars for the duration of the Democratic National Convention, which ends Thursday night. He advised against releasing Tyson on his promise to show up for court.

“Why do you feel suspect is a risk?” a bail sheet asked, and the officer wrote: “Known activist + protester who is currently on a terrorist watch list. Request he be held due to DNC being a National Special Security Event.”

I should note that from one prespective the system did work, after some delay.

Tyson spent Sunday night and most of Monday in jail. He called a legal hot line for protesters and was given an attorney, Derek Fletcher. The Charlotte lawyer got before a judge, Lisa Bell, on Monday and convinced her to lower Tyson’s bail to $2,500. He walked free on Monday night.

On the other hand, speech was chilled:

“I have done nothing wrong and have nothing to hide,” Tyson said as he left the Mecklenburg County Jail. “I believe this is an attempt to stifle my First Amendment rights and keep my voice from being heard.”

He said he was no longer interested in protesting during the convention, believing police had targeted him. “At this point,” he said, “I would like to go home and visit my parents and play with my dog.”

If the CNN article by Ted Metzger and Ann O’Neill is accurate, I think this small incident is actually a big deal.

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3 Responses to Domestic Consequences of Being on Terrorist Watch List

  1. Earl Killian says:

    On what list do you think they would have put this guy?:

    “We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace — business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.

    “They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob. Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me — and I welcome their hatred.”

  2. Just me says:

    The cop’s statement is telling. One of the reasons for holding him is that he is a “known activist.” If that isn’t a First Amendment flag, I don’t know what is.

  3. Vic says:

    When you allow Government to run roughshod over everything so long as they can justify it by some buzzward or unbrella phrase that nobody dares disagree with (“it’s for the CHILDREN – you don’t want CHILDREN to die to you?”), then this is what you get.

    Both parties are guilty of it. We’ve allowed our liberty to be eroded by a Government which thinks that it can regulate how much butter we put on our toast as a necessary componant of “fighting terrorism” (“you don’t love TERRORISTS do you? – if you don’t then you need to stay healthy so you can be vigilant!”).

    Yet another great argument for smaller Government.

    On the other hand, the folks that tend to engage in the kinds of protests which lead to massive arrests for doing silly things should keep in mind that if the terrorists ever actually DID win, they’d likely be among the first to be put in pits and stoned, so…

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