Community Resolution for Coventry, CT

August 23, 2005

Approved by: Coventry Town Council

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WHEREAS the Town of Coventry is committed to protect its residents' and visitors' constitutionally guaranteed civil rights and liberties, which are essential to the well-being of our democratic society; and

Recognizing that Federal, state and Local Government have a responsibility to protect the public from attacks such as those that occurred on September 11, 2001, accompanied by a responsibility to ensure that any new security measures enhance public safety without impairing constitutional rights or infringing on civil liberties; and

Emphasizing that the Town Council supports the premise that there is no inherent conflict between national security and the preservation of liberty;

Concerned that various provisions of the USA Patriot Act, the Homeland Security Act, and recent draft legislation entitled Domestic Security Enhancement Act (also known as Patriot II) provide sweeping intelligence-gathering and administrative powers, many of which are not related to terrorism, that could undermine the basic constitutional rights of Coventry's people; and

Noting especially provisions that permit detention of persons without the bringing of legal charges, denial of detained persons' right to counsel; expansion of authority to conduct unregulated surveillance of lawful activities; expanded video, electronic and other information gathering about persons without any demonstrated evidence of criminal behavior and without court order; secret military tribunals and immigration hearings; unregulated ethnic profiling of individuals; circumvention of the Freedom of Information Act by limiting access to public documents; and measures that deliberately conceal such actions from public knowledge;

Now therefore, the Town Council of Coventry

Affirms the fundamental constitutional rights of all residents and visitors to the town;

Strongly supports the right of all individuals not to be singled out for scrutiny based upon their ethnicity, language, religion, country of origin or other group or personal attributes;

Calls upon all employees of Town-supported services to continue to preserve every person's constitutional rights including freedom of speech, assembly, and religion; counsel and due process in all legal and judicial proceedings; protection from unreasonable search and seizures; protection from racial profiling and from detentions without charge;

Reiterates the privacy rights intrinsic to intellectual freedom, and encourages librarians, booksellers and other communications dealers to take measures to protect those rights;

Urges our state and federal representatives to refuse support for new legislation that violates American rights and liberties, and to work toward repeal of the constitutional provisions of the Patriot Act and the Homeland Security Act; and

Directs the Town Clerk to transmit a copy of this resolution to all town employees and agencies, to our representatives in the state Legislature and the Congress, to the Governor of Connecticut and to the President and Attorney General of the United States.

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