Another CA City Passes Resolution Opposing the USA PATRIOT Act

February 25, 2003 12:00 am

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RICHMOND, CA–The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California today applauded the unanimous passage of a resolution by the Richmond City Council calling on Congress to repeal specific provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act that violate the civil rights and liberties of Richmond residents.

The resolution also calls upon city employees to not cooperate with “investigations, interrogations or arrest procedures, public or clandestine, which are in violation of individuals’ civil rights or civil liberties.”

“As an American and a Richmond resident, we can not tolerate what our government is doing,” said Peter Cleveland, a neighborhood activist. “The Bill of Rights and the Constitution must not become a casualty in the ‘war on terrorism.’ I’m very proud that our City Council is the first in Contra Costa County to pass this resolution.”

Richmond, a city of 102,000, is located approximately 20 miles northeast of San Francisco and today becomes the 48th city in the nation to oppose the USA PATRIOT Act.

Richmond residents are particularly concerned about provisions in the USA PATRIOT Act and related executive orders that:

  • Significantly expand the government’s ability to access sensitive medical, mental health, financial and educational records about individuals;
  • Lower the burden of proof required to conduct secret searches and telephone and Internet surveillance;
  • Give law enforcement expanded authority to obtain library records and prohibit librarians from informing patrons of monitoring or information requests;
  • Limit disclosure of public documents and records under the Freedom of Information Act and;
  • Give the U.S. Attorney General and the Secretary of State the power to designate domestic groups, including religious and political organizations as “terrorist organizations”;
  • Grant power to the Attorney General to subject citizens of other nations to indefinite detention or deportation even if they have not committed a crime;
  • Authorize eavesdropping communications between lawyers and their clients in federal custody.

Richmond’s Human Relations Commission, the Library Commission and the Richmond Neighborhood Coordinating Council have already adopted the resolution’s language in their respective governing mandates.

“I think this is another example of how people are standing up to defend the Constitution and the Bill of Rights,” said Sanjeev Bery, an advocate for the ACLU of Northern California. “We can be safe and free without sacrificing our civil liberties and rights.”

The resolution will be sent to President Bush, elected federal representatives, the Governor of California and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland.

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