I’d forgotten that former Speaker of the House, Phil Carruthers, is now in charge of prosecution at the Office of the Ramsey County Attorney. Most of the arrests are in Ramsey County, and in their jurisdiction, so much of how it goes from this point on is in his hands. I’ve seen some quotes from him about releasing some detainees without charges (heard a report that only about 1/3 of those who’ve been jailed are being charged, that says a lot about the grounds for arrest):

Phil Carruthers, director of the prosecution division of the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office, said Monday night that no charges against Rourke were anticipated. Rourke, held on a gross misdemeanor riot charge, was released early Tuesday. Goodman also was released without charges being filed against her.

And he’s also on the Clean Water Action board. Clean Water Action just issued this Press Release, the first of this sort I’ve seen. Instantly, I got on the horn to Ken Bradley to thank him for sending this around, THIS IS WHAT EVERY ORGANIZATION NEEDS TO BE DOING RIGHT NOW — THANK YOU CLEAN WATER:

Thursday, September 04, 2008

More Information:
Ken Bradley 612-623-3666 or 651-238-5376
David Holtz 313-300-4454 (cell)

Clean Water Action Statement On Police Actions At Republican National Convention

Minnesota Organization Calls on Leaders To Protect Core Democratic Principles

Clean Water Action is deeply concerned by the systematic suppression of free speech and the right to assembly which emerged in response to this week’s Republican National Convention held in St. Paul. Clean Water Action is Minnesota’s largest grassroots environmental organization representing 90,000 members statewide.

We have watched civil liberties rapidly erode after the tragedy of September 11. That erosion continues to spread to the heart of the Twin Cities. Minnesota prides itself in being well informed, educated and optimistic. But intimidating arrests of reporters on felony riot charges, the profiling of citizens and forced entry into homes is pushing Minnesotans towards pessimism and cynicism. These actions dishonor the founding principles of our Constitution and the residents or our state and nation.

Wednesday, David Brauer of MinnPost reported on the arrest of Matt Rourke, an Associated Press photo journalist. Rourke, forced to the ground and flexi-cuffed says he has never experienced anything like Monday’s assault. “I’ve been detained before, but never forcibly. Katrina was as bad as it got up until Monday. They’d just kind of temporarily detain you, post-9/11 stuff, asking you why you were photographing an oil refinery, taking your license and letting you go back to work quickly.”


Kathlyn Stone of the TC Daily Planet reported Tuesday that before the start of the Poor People’s March, that she witnessed the profiling of a youth on a bike who had been pulled to the curb by a group of police officers on bikes. The biker was forced to the ground, placed in white plastic handcuffs, while police riffled through his backpack even though he said, “I do not consent.” He was quickly released after 20-30 photographers and videographers were alerted to the arrest taking place.


Award-winning journalist and host of “Democracy Now” Amy Goodman and her two colleagues Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar were arrested by St. Paul Police on Monday while reportedly covering a protest outside the Republican National Convention. Though clearly identified as a member of the press, Goodman was charged with “obstruction of a legal process and interference with a ‘peace officer.'” Two of her producers were arrested for alleged “suspicion of felony riot.”

St. Paul resident Mike Whalen’s house was raided on Saturday in an apparent and serious attempt to suppress free speech. A film crew from Eyewitness was staying in the duplex he owned and reported witnessing the raid where 30 police with rifles flooded Mr. Whalen’s yard, entered the house, handcuffed him and his roommates for an hour and went through the whole duplex with a questionable warrant.

Free speech, journalistic access and the right to assemble are basic constitutional rights at the heart of our democracy. A vibrant free press is essential for maintaining the transparency necessary to curb tyranny and preserve democracy.

Arresting and detaining journalists for doing their jobs is a gross violation of free speech and freedom of the press. Physically harassing citizens engaged in peaceful assembly is uncalled for anywhere, but more unconscionable in country that considers itself to the leader of the free world.

We urge and expect our state leaders to conduct a thorough investigation and to take appropriate action in response to violations of constitutionally protected individual civil rights including the dismissal of unlawful or inappropriate charges.. Our leaders need to re-examine the laws and policies that have lead to this disturbing infringement of our most basic, constitutionally protected rights. We must ensure this does not happen again in the future. We cannot be a hopeful people, when our constitution and basic rights have been violated and our leaders stand silent!

Clean Water Action (www. cleanwateraction.org) has been empowering people for more than 36 years to take action to protect America’s waters, the health of our families and to make democracy work.


Doug Pierce
Board Chair
Clean Water Action Alliance

Ken Bradley
Minnesota State Director
Clean Water Action

308 E. Hennepin Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55414

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