The police in St. Paul were well prepared for the protestors / anarchists at the Republican Convention in that City, because they had infiltrated the group. They knew their intentions to destroy property and attack police and delegates with wooden rods, and feces and urine, There is a question whether ACLU attorneys participated in planning these crimes. There is no question that the ACLU is trying to get the protestors off, and then sue for damages against the City.
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The facts for this article, but not the legal conclusions, come from an article on the website of Minnesota Daily on 8 September, 2008. During the Republican Convention in St. Paul 800 “protesters” were arrested. Now the ACLU has 55 lawyers on the ground there to defend those arrested, and later to seek cash benefits for “illegal” arrests.
Because of prior history of demonstrators swarming the streets at other conventions being rounded up and then seeking damages, in April the City took out a $10 million insurance policy to cover damages from such protests. The article noted that New York City has paid out $600.000 in damages to protestors rounded up at the 2004 Republican Convention.
Of those arrested, 120 were charged with felonies according to the “legal cooperative” which is organizing the defenses and presumably will file the claims for damages for all defendants that “get off” one way or the other.
According to other press accounts, the police had infiltrated the RNC Welcoming Committee and had informants inside it. That is how the police knew to expect attacks on delegates with urine and feces and damage to private property which the TV reports clearly showed. There was also, allegedly, a plan to kidnap one or more of the delegates to the Convention. The friendly-sounding RNC Welcoming Committee was in fact an anarchist group within the general protestors. These were the ones who came equipped and armed for fighting and inflicting property damages. They wore masks like Jesse James.
This report said that these demonstrators “broke shop windows, threw newspaper boxes into the street, assaulted police and media and spread caltrops to impede traffic before authorities broke up the impromptu riot.”
The rest of the week followed suit as protesters used makeshift smoke bombs, flares, feces, urine and caltrops in their protests.” What makes this description interesting is that Minnesota Daily is a fringe paper, sympathetic to the demonstrators, and it had some of its own reporters arrested in the melee.
The police responded to these attacks with pepper spray, tear gas and concussion grenades. Police may or may not have fired rubber bullets. The level of organization of the anarchists (organized anarchists, now there’s a concept) included writing the phone number of the Coldsnap Legal Collective on their arms, so they’d have immediate legal assistance once they were allowed their one phone call.
In addition to the 55 lawyers, the ACLU had 75 “spotters” at the places where the anarchists were planning their confrontations with the police.
The ACLU is setting up to get protestors off and bring civil claims for wrongful arrest, but local prosecutors could reverse the process. Since authorities have evidence of pre-planning of violent and illegal acts, all who participated in those acts should receive the maximum charges, and fined the maximum fines. That includes the ACLU lawyers if it can be shown that they knew in advance about illegal activities and took steps to forward them.
Note to non-lawyers who read this: When a client tells his lawyer after the fact that he has committed a crime, attorney-client privilege applies and the attorney should not, and cannot be compelled to testify about that crime. However, if the lawyer knows in advance that a crime WILL be committed, and he both remains silent and takes steps to facilitate the crime, the attorney-client privilege does not apply, and the attorney can and should be prosecuted as a partner in the crime.
In addition to the actions of the ACLU in supporting the anarchists’ attack on the Convention and St. Paul, they were assisted by another well-known organization which thinks like the ACLU.
The other organization is the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees. The AFSCME is part of the AFL-CIO union. According to the National Defense Examiner, published out of Atlanta, this Union, which represents staff members at the University of Minnesota at St. Paul, some of its members who are University employees held meetings on campus to assist the anarchists in their planning to clog the streets of St. Paul and shut the Convention down. This article, published on 7 September, 2008, names the people and organizations, and the places and dates where the meetings were held, on campus.
Source for original story on the Net:
The University of Minnesota source on the Net: