October 6, 2004


NEW YORK--In response to a request from the New York Civil Liberties Union, the office of District Attorney Robert Morgenthau today announced it would dismiss the criminal prosecutions of 227 people arrested on August 31 at a Republican National Convention demonstration near the World Trade Center.

"We are pleased that the district attorney has agreed to our request to dismiss these cases," said Donna Lieberman, Executive Director of the NYCLU. "None of these people should have been arrested in the first place, and it is particularly disturbing that some of them remained in police custody - including at Pier 57 - for nearly two days."

The NYCLU contacted District Attorney Morgenthau's office within days of the arrests. On September 13, the NYCLU sent a letter to Morgenthau to repeat the request and to inform him of a videotape in the NYCLU's possession that established that those arrested had been engaging in wholly lawful activity.

The NYCLU's Lieberman and Associate Legal Director Christopher Dunn met with senior members of the district attorney's office on September 22 to discuss the videotape. At that time, the NYCLU reiterated its request that all the cases be dismissed, and the DA's office stated it was giving the request serious consideration. The district attorney's office then interviewed a senior member of the NYCLU staff who witnessed the arrests. Today's announcement about the dismissal of the cases marks the culmination of this process.

"During the Republican National Convention, the NYPD used mass-arrest tactics to arrest hundreds of demonstrators and bystanders who were doing nothing illegal," said Dunn. "The district attorney's action today should send a strong signal to the NYPD that it must stop using these tactics."

For more information on the right to protest, go to /FreeSpeech/FreeSpeechlist.cfm?c=86

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