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Dismiss All Charges against the RNC 8

Category: RNC
Posted: 04/09/09 20:35

by Ross Rowley

Today Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner dismissed the counts charging the ?RNC 8? with conspiracy to commit riot ?in furtherance of terrorism?. To quote the County Attorney ?s press release: ?We believe the terrorism charges would have been a distraction at trial. Dismissing those charges will help us focus on the core illegal conduct that occurred.?

How time changes everything. The initial police conduct during the weekend prior to the RNC in Saint Paul , the pre-emptive raids on the ?Welcoming Committee? convergence center and activists? houses yielded nothing to support Sheriff Fletcher?s later professional law enforcement assessment that ?this town would have been destroyed?. Yet the pre-emptive (Bush Doctrine) arrests were made possible because of this very idea that ?terrorism? was involved, that the Welcoming Committee was a group of such dangerous anarchist kids that the police needed to act before they actually did anything. As a rule, law enforcement waits until a person actually commits a crime before making an arrest. So if you break a window, you get charged with breaking a window. If you block an intersection, you get charged with blocking an intersection. It?s the behavior?not the talk?that matters and normally evidence is needed identifying the crime and the culprit. In other words, the police don?t usually act pre-emptively because they need some proof.

Pre-emptive aggression, whether conducted by the military or by law enforcement, is only possible and will only be accepted if we as a people are scared enough. And of course we had been scared of these ?patchouli oiled protesters? for quite some time. Columnist Katherine Kersten, KTLK talk show host Chris Baker, and Sheriff Fletcher himself were very busy telling us about how violent the Republican National Convention could become. For as long as a year before the convention we had been hearing the drum beat of worst case scenarios, what happened in Seattle and why ?we can?t let it happen here?. Let?s just hand out the ax handles and machine guns and ?mow?em down baby? was amongst radio host Baker?s incitements, beginning in April of 2008, a full five months before the RNC. We couldn?t have rules when dealing with terrorists.

So what did these pre-emptive raids find? Very little. Were there stockpiles of weapons? No. Was there evidence that the activists could have effectively shut down the RNC? No. Even Sheriff Fletcher at the time was disappointed in the results. The Pioneer Press quoted the Sheriff as saying this: (what was discovered in the raids) ?is only a portion of what is out there.? Yes, indeed, to shut down the convention, one would certainly need more than what the Sheriff?s men found in the houses they raided. Sheriff Fletcher was right. And did the police find more out there? No, not really. I think they could have found more bricks, rocks and nails of some sort at my house.

So, let?s end where Susan Gaertner wants us to: the core illegal conduct. Where is it? The RNC 8 were in jail during the convention. They did nothing. The raids found nothing to suggest anywhere near a conspiracy to shut down the convention. The prosecutor?s dismissal of charges involving furtherance of terrorism is a start. She ought to go a step further and dismiss all charges.
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