BRUTAL TREATMENT CONTINUES AGAINST JAILED PROTESTERS

 

REPORT FROM LEGAL, as of Aug 7, 2000:

Total Arrests: 480
Released: 155
Still in Jail: 325
Felony cases: 36
Now on Hunger Strike: 149
Going on hunger strike if negotiations with Philly officials aren't progressing: ALL THE WOMEN, MOST OF THE MEN.
Percentage of those involved in jail solidarity: high

*Note, preliminary hearing for felony cases start Tuesday at 8pm and last until August 18.
**Note, most of those on hunger strike began last week, many on Tuesday.

REPORT FROM MEDICAL

As of 8 pm Monday August 7, reports to Medical from those released.

These are reports from debriefings of released prisoners, regarding incidents they experienced first-hand. The medical and legal team will compile and document more cases as prisoners are released. The documentation team has interviewed witnesses of multiple incidents of brutality against protestors and prisoners, some of whom are still incarcerated.

o 32 counts of excessive force, of which 7 are accounts of severe hog ties. What is meant by "severe hog ties": in less than 30 min prisoners' hands were blue, swollen and persons were on the verge of loss of consciousness. In two of those cases, people were bleeding from the wrist.

o 2 officer's names and badge numbers come up repeatedly. One is responsible for dragging a man in the nude, grabbing a protester's penis, stepping on necks, jumping on a man's back with the help of 2 other officers, slamming a face into a cell door.

The other officer's activities include saying "I'll fuck you up the ass and make you my bitch," slamming a man against wall repeatedly, punching a prisoner in the stomach, holding a prisoner's face in the trash with his knee in the prisoner's neck, throwing a prisoner against the wall.

o 4 cases of denial of access to medication: 1 person with HIV denied for 2 days, received on third day. 1 person with migraine, vomiting, denied all medicine including over the counter pain meds. 1 hypoglycemic person denied access to adequate food.

o 4 counts of sexual abuse: dragging a man naked, wrenching a man's penis, twisting a person's nipples, man subjected to random search of genitals.

o 2 threats of rape from Commanding Officers.

BAIL REDUCTION HEARINGS UPDATE

Bail reduction hearings started today. Incredibly important and horrible news: the city is levying new charges against activists after their intitial arraignment; the bail judge refuses to give a hearing to prisoners participating in jail solidarity (those who are not giving their names); outrageous bail amounts are not being reduced in some cases.

John Sellers of Ruckus Society had his bail reduced today from $1,000,000 to $100,000.

One person did not get bail reduction. His bail remains at $450,000.
Speculation: perhaps b/c of out of towner.

Of the misdemeanors presented today at the hearing, 16 people who had been participating in jail solidarity have now given their names. They will be interviewed tonight or tomorrow and have to show proof of where live and income level (to verify qualification for public defender). They will then be released on their own recognizance.

The bail judge said she will only hear cases for people who have given names as individuals. This means: prisoners who are not giving names will not have a reduction in bail amounts or released on their own recognizance.

Terrence McGuckin, Philadelphia activist and former ACT UP Philadelphia member, did not get a bail reduction hearing today. Terrence's bail is currently standing at $450,000. He's charged with multiple misdemeanors. He is facing new charges tonight of one or more felonies. Terrence comes up for a hearing 12:30 tomorrow; perhaps others charged with felonies will also be considered here.

Kate Sorensen is in quarantine until Thursday or Friday and is not allowed visitors. It's likely Kate will appear before the bail reduction hearing. Her bail is currently at $1 million. She's being charged with 10 felonies including arson, conspiracy, riot, and causing a catastrophe in connection with criminal mischief.

BAIL FUND UPDATE
HOW TO MAKE A TAX-DEDUCTIBLE DONATION

As noted, a high percentage of R2K prisoners are part of a jail solidarity campaign prisoners and demanding that all bail requirements be rescinded and all charges dropped. If your money is specifically for a group or individual, please specify that in the memo field of your check. Make your tax-deductible check out to "ISMCH" (they're the Fiscal Sponsor, The Institute of Social Medicine and Community Health), and mail it to the Philadelphia Direct Action Group (P-DAG). Information for wiring money will be made available as soon as soon as we get it.

P-DAG
P.O. Box 40683
Philadelphia, PA 19107-0683

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO WIRE MONEY to ACT UP PHILADELPHIA (not tax-deductible but you can use your credit card.)
Account number: 31 00 20 557
Routing number: 036 001 808
Commerce Bank
1900 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA
Commerce Bank phone 215-568-0900

Please be sure to send an e-mail to rbecca@critpath.org to alert her of the donation and if you would like the money to be used for a particular individual.

For more information on making donations or helping with fundraising:
Call: 215-748-1887 BOX 7, Visit site: www.thepartysover.org , or
E-mail: salynch@durban2000march.org

 

Female Protesters Embark On Water Strike

Over 300 Republican Convention Protesters Still in Custody:
High Bail and Ludicrous Charges Levied by Philadelphia D.A.

(August 09, 2000: Philadelphia) Today at 12 noon 40 protesters being held at the PICC correctional facility will raise the stakes in their battle with the city by halting their consumption of fluids until 4 major demands are met.

After 24 hours of a hunger strike by 149 male and female protesters, 40 women being held at the PICC vow to begin refusing water as well starting at 12 noon today. The activists are angry at the city's refusal to negotiate with R2K lawyers and are pressing forward with the strike in hopes the city will be forced to comply with their demands. "We are not afraid to put our lives on the line" said one activist only known as Homecookin, in a phone call to friends.

The women want the following demands met before they will avert the water strike:
1. DA Lynn Abraham must enter into negotiations in good faith with lawyers representing the protesters.
2. Release without bail of all prisoners held on misdemeanors.
3. Bail for those being held on felonies must be reduced to 1% of present level.
4. Adequate medical attention must be provided to those who need it.

Freed activists expressed concern for the women but also support. "I am deeply worried about my friends at the PICC" said R2K member Dan Murphy "but I know they understand the risks and hopefully the city does too."

FAX NUMBERS:
police commissioner timoney -- 215-625-0612
d.a. lynne abraham -- 215-686-8049
mayor john street -- 215-686-3162
city council pres ann verna -- 215-563-3162


What the news isn't reporting about GOP protesters

This week during the Republican National Convention, massive protests took place in Center City, and hundreds were arrested. We are volunteers who are working in legal centers, and as the jailed protesters call in, we have received reports of serious physical torture and mental abuse inside the jails, including:


Although much has been reported in the media on the police's restraint and professional manner, non-violent protesters have been brutalized inside the jails and continue to be denied access to lawyers, telephone calls and medical help. We need your help to see that these people are released to receive medical care and due process of law. The August 3, 2000 Issue of the Village Voice contains a photo of girl with major black eye recieved at the hands of Philadelphia Police: >>> http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0031/dubya9.shtml

There has been much criticism of who these protesters are, and what they did. We know that you have questions about this as well. Here is what weíve heard on the street and in the news, and some of our replies:

1. "What exactly were they trying to do? I couldn't even tell what their 'cause' was!"

During the Republican Convention, thousands of people came together for several days of demonstrations, about issues being ignored in election-year coverage and debate -- such as the death penalty, poverty and health care. Tuesday, Aug. 1st was a special day of action to expose problems with the criminal justice system, including the death penalty, police brutality, and political prisoners. The plan for the day included a permitted rally near City Hall, and several publicly announced, non-violent civil disobedience actions. Protesters aimed to make sure Republican delegates could not travel from Center City to the convention without getting the message that thousands of people oppose their criminal justice policies. Naturally, it was hard for onlookers to understand what Tuesdayís protests were about, since police arrested 88 people who were making puppets for the protests before the day even started, and confiscated the signs designed to get the message across.

2. "Whether I agree with their causes or not, how can I support them, after the violence & property destruction?"

The media has painted a picture of Tuesday's protests as dominated by vandalism, and violence against police officers. However, almost all of the protesters being held were arrested because they participated in completely non-violent civil disobedience, or because police suspected that they might take part in it and wanted to stop them before they started. Still others were arrested who were not even taking part in demonstrations, including legal observers, peacekeepers, and bystanders. Although only a few of the hundreds of jailed protesters have even been accused of violence or vandalism, police and guards have become 'judge and jury' within the jails -- arbitrarily deciding who they canpunish with brutal force. When demonstrators came to spotlight the justice system's systematic violence, police administrators jumped on the chance to paint all the demonstrators as ìterroristsî.

3. "These are outsiders -- a bunch of white college kids making trouble in our city and then whining about it when they have to face consequences."

It's easy to read the papers and come away with this misconception. But almost 500 people have been jailed -- of all different ages, backgrounds, and economic classes, from around the country and from right here in Philly. These people arenít here to "make trouble"; they are carrying on a historic tradition of nonviolent civil disobedience to get a message across. And these are no reasonable 'consequences': they are facing not only exaggerated and false charges, but bails which may be the highest in history for mere misdemeanors. Those who have been identified (often wrongly) as protest organizers have been punished with bails as high as $500,000 and $1 million dollars. Puppeteers who never stepped out onto the street before being arrested are facing conspiracy charges. The grantmaking foundation Bread & Roses has had its funding threatened by the city government for funding progressive groups who organized the demonstrations. The government is testing the waters to see if it can forcibly silence its critcs.

4. "If itís so bad in the jails, why can't they just give their names, like normal, and get out?"

The John and Jane Does you may have heard about are practicing 'jail solidarity', a tactic used throughout history, in which people in jail insist on sticking together and not attempting to be released until basic human rights demands have been met and all arrestees are safely released together. Some of the demands sought by those doing solidarity here include: an end to solitary confinement; access to telephones, toilets and essential medication; equal treatment for all arrestees, including dropping bogus felony charges; and access to their lawyers. About 150 of the protesters are now also on hunger strike.

We need your help! Here's what you can do, in or out of Philadelphia:

CALL THESE CITY OFFICIALS, and tell them you oppose the outrageous penalties these activists are facing.
Demand that the protesters be released, together, to recieve medical treatment and due process of law.
Ask everyone you can to do the same.

District Attorney Lynn Abraham phone: 215-686-8701
Mayor John Street phone: 215-686-2181 fax: 215-686-2180
City Solicitor Ken Trujillo phone: 215-575-7260


Dear Friends and Fellow Activists:

I wonder if you have been following the protest news during the last week in Philadelphia.  I have, because I live and work there, as an AIDS activist--I am a member of ACT UP Philadelphia.  We are a non-violent direct action AIDS activists.  And these days, in the city where democracy was born, identifying yourself that way is enough to get you arrested just walking down the street.

I know because that is what happened to my fellow ACT UP members during the week of non-violent protests against George W. Bush and his cronies at the GOP convention.  ACT UP is still reeling in the wake of the sweeping, brutal arrests, and the terrifying conditions of detainment sustained by the protesters.

As you may have heard, the Philadelphia police saw fit to quell free speech by arresting a handful of activists "pre-emptively," in order to eliminate people labeled as leaders from the streets.  Several of those outrageous arrests-arrests based not on peoples' criminal actions but on peoples' beliefs-were of core ACT UP Philadelphia members.

The egregious actions of the city of Philadelphia do not bode well for the future of radical AIDS and queer activism--unless we respond now.  And I would argue that, given the horrific track record of Governor George W. Bush on AIDS and queer issues, protesting in response to his reactionary policies will become an increasingly important tactic for people with AIDS as the country meanders toward Election Day.

Kate Sorensen, Terrence McGuckin, and Paul Davis were all targeted by Philadelphia's "pre-emptive" GOP convention arrests on August 1.  Each also were key participants in a recent ACT UP office takeover and lockdown at the United States Trade Representative's office in November 1999.  The action was designed to send Charlene Barshefsky-the US Trade Representative-off to the doomed Seattle WTO Rounds with a clear image of domestic opposition to US trade policy blocking international access to cheap, generic AIDS drugs.  Only weeks after the protest, President Clinton announced a change in trade policy in favor of "flexibility," given the ramifications of the global AIDS crisis.  Al Gore-still haggard from the activist zaps along the campaign trail-told the UN Security Council in February 2000 that "the AIDS activists were right"-the Administration should have done more about AIDS in Africa.

Direct action results in major shifts in the terms of debate, in favor of people with AIDS.  So when public officials equate blocking traffic, clogging transportation routes, blocking hotel entrances, and stopping business as usual with "terrorism," "rioting," and "conspiracy," we must fight back.  In the history of the AIDS crisis, and the history of the queer liberation movement, we have never won anything by asking.  Every positive advance has been the result of struggle.  But the tools of struggle and resistance are being taken from our hands.

There are several concrete steps you can take to help rectify this crisis: Get our comrades out of jail! We have many members among the 350 who remain in Philadelphia jail.  One is ACT UP activist Kate Sorensen, a community organizer of unmatched caliber on a variety of issues. Kate's bail is set at $1 million; she is charged with ten profoundly trumped-up felonies-from arson, to conspiracy, to inciting a riot.  Police Commissioner Timoney describes her as one of "a cadre of criminal conspirators." Donate to her bail fund--our community activists must be returned to the community.
>>> --Asia Russell of ACT UP Philadelphia

see latest update > > >

 


PLEASE CALL:

Mayor Street's office at 215-686-2181
District Attorney Lynn Abraham: 215-686-8000
Mayor's Chief of Staff 215-686-7508
Councilman Nutter 215-685-3416--ask for help
Councilman Blackwell 215-685-3418--ask for help
The Roundhouse Jail 215-686-1776, 215-685-8574

Some things you could ask: Why are the demonstrators being held? Why on such high bail? Even people who give names and contact info are receiving high bails that they cannot possibly meet.... Point out that this is an outrage. Further questions: Why haven't they been arraigned? Please note: 30% of demonstrators have given their names and are still in jail. They haven't received due process--we haven't heard from them, so they haven't been given their right to a phone call Legal observers are telling us that people are being denyed bathroom privileges, medicine, and food--what can you say about this?

If you can contribute to the bail fund, please send needed money.

DONATIONS & LOANS:

Because of the torture and the denial of access to medications, it is extremely important that bail be raised. The organizers and the arrestees are committed to seeing the charges through, and we are soliciting loans/donations with the full intention of returning the money. We do need some straight-out donations since in Philly the court takes 30% of the bail money as a "service charge" (outrageous but true.) Donations ARE tax-deductible.

The nature of bail: to be released, we must post 10% of the bail amount...70% will be returned 31 days after the case is completely over. The nature of loans to the bail fund: If requested, total amount will be returned to lender. (Of course donations are preferred to loans.)

Make your tax-deductible check out to "ISMCH" (our Fiscal Sponsor),
The Institute of Social Medicine and Community Health, and mail it to:

P-DAG
POB 40683
Phila, PA 19107-0683
___ Thanks!

If your money is specifically for Act Up members please specify that on the check and by sending an e-mail to:
ACT UP Philadelphia treasurer Rebecca Ewing, rbecca@critpath.org

Questions? call Jen Flynn at (718) 940-3964 , or e-mail her at flynn@dti.net

 

 

 

 

back to ACT UP @ Republican National Convention, Philadelphia July/August2000

 



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