NYCLU Welcomes City Council Hearing on Police Practices During the Republican National Convention

Affiliate: ACLU of New York
September 14, 2004 12:00 am

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NEW YORK — The New York Civil Liberties Union today welcomed the New York City Council’s decision to hold an all-day hearing dedicated to investigating police practices and poor treatment of protesters during the Republican National Convention. The NYCLU said that while the NYPD generally respected the rights of protesters, there were some serious questions raised over police tactics that stifled dissent and political debate.

“The NYCLU welcomes this inquiry by the City Council that also will address the issues of indiscriminate and pre-emptive arrests of protesters during the RNC,” said Donna Lieberman, Executive Director of the NYCLU. “While the Council is taking this important first step, the NYCLU will also pursue litigation to challenge these policies in order to compensate those individuals hurt by these disturbing tactics.”

At the hearing today, Deputy Majority Leader William Perkins and the Government Operations Committee will hear testimony and debate on:

  • Wrongful and indiscriminate arrests of protesters;
  • The use of pens and barricades and orange netting that often engulfed uninvolved bystanders;
  • Dangerous police tactics involving the use of scooters as a form of crowd control;
  • Disturbing conditions of confinement at Pier 57, which appeared to be contaminated with harmful chemicals;
  • The excessive delays in processing arrestees, which caused a state judge to threaten the city with huge fines; and
  • Pervasive police surveillance used to record lawful activity, which may result in political dossiers or files of critics of the government.

In addition, the NYCLU will provide footage at the hearing of many of these incidents and issues in an 8-minute videotape, some of which was produced by Michael Schiller who was part of a mass arrest of protesters on August 31st. Schiller was shooting a documentary for Outkast’s Andre Benjamin, also known as Andre 3000.

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