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BTC Special Digest

Reports of random and inconsistent citation and arrests of citizens for merely being at the wrong place at the wrong time are still being defined a week later after hundreds of arrests took place September 4th during the RNC in St.Paul, Minn.

Protest arrest totals are currently approximating around 800, among them AP Reporters, network producers, bloggers and anyone else unfortunate enough to be on the wrong side of the freeway. Professional journalists are still gathering current totals and details of the arrests. Most arrests fell under the offense of “unlawful assembly” after marching permits had expired. September 4th, arrest criterion were simplified for officers making instantaneous decisions on who to detain and cite on the basis who was “north of I-94 past the blockade” after 4 PM prior to McCain’s acceptance speech.

The unconfirmed total of credentialled journalists arrested are over 30. Uncredentialled reporters blogging, twittering and videotaping are estimated to be in the hundreds. 2 Fox new people and one Variety journalist were detained on Marion bridge Thursday while reporting the fracas of police trying to disperse and contain crowds.

We asked local reporters from Pioneer Press to give account of reporting the week of the arrests.

“As a journalistic professional, I’m still trying to gather as much information I can to scrutinize the most violent police tactics. As for saying “civil liberties infringement,” I guess that really gets to the question of whether folks “deserved” to be arrested, since an arrest, by its nature, is law enforcement’s declaration that one’s civil liberties are being revoked. Some arrests and police actions obviously require further scrutiny, ” said Minnesota Pioneer Press Reporter, David Orrick.

Orrick categorized the worst accounts of the seemingly arbitrary
arrest environment into several categories such as: dousing apparent passive resisters with pepper spray, deploying tear gas, flashbangs and other aggressive crowd-dispersal agents into masses that are retreating or otherwise appear to be in basic compliance with police orders and engaging in mass arrests, including those of journalists, when it appears some, if not many, of the arrestees were merely trying to observe a protest and still follow police orders.

According to Oreck best place to look for actual arrest accounts and footage of the RNC will be on some of St.Paul and Minnestoa’s television websites and, “You won’t find it on YouTube.” Oreck refuted arrests being politically motivated after witnessing Obama supporters screaming in the face of St. Paul police officers without threat of arrest or challenge by police during approved marches. However, such grace was not extended to fellow local reporter, Ben Carvin when he was arrested while documenting a protest last week.

Journalists embedded with police contacted were not available for comment.
Ruben Rosario of reported an
unprecidented agreement {with the City of }St. Paul reached with the City’s attorney John Choi in January of 2007. The agreement stipulated the RNC committee to pay $1.1-million to insure it against any lawsuits ariving out of alleged police misconduct, excessive force, up to $10-million. The other was adoption of the use of a mobile police field unit that would focus on those outside peaceful protestors who planned or carried out acts of vandalism, violence.

“{The}City of Denver took out its insurance policy rider and paid for it through the $50-million fed grant both cities got to pay for convention. St. Paul did one better by having the RNC host committee foot the 1.1-million premium for the $10-million policy in the event of lawsuits arising out of police-related behavior. Both cities purchased their polices through Boston-based Lexington Insurance Co.”
– Ruben Rosario,

No confirmed word yet on a class action lawsuit against the city, the current number of individual suits filed, or suits and insurance claims filed against the RNC.

In the last two weeks we have experienced the vicarious troubles of citizens, media and then citizen media attempting to assemble reports on police-to-protest interactions during both the Democratic and Republican National conventions.

Tear Gas & Twittering : BeatTheChip, chose to follow Freeople’s AxXiom during the RNC who gave a report late last week that she and others avoided arrest by Twittering. She had seen 5 Austinites pulled over for “looking bad” – punk-rock styled protestors – and arrested before they got out of the car. We chatted from a St. Paul bathroom where she told me for the first time in her life she had witnessed American’s being tear gassed. Real ID activists were targeted, leaflets were confiscated, according to Ron Paul activist, Brady Wright. Some of her friends claimed that arrests appeared to be politically motivated.

Riot police team harassing wheelchair bound protestors.