RNC 8 arrestee argues to suppress search

Max Specktor’s attorney said police searched the vehicle illegally by failing to obtain a warrant.

Labour dispute

Stephen Maturen

Labour dispute

by Andrew Mannix

Counsel for University of Minnesota student Max Specktor argued Tuesday that authorities illegally searched a minivan in which he was passenger in September 2008 and that evidence seized should be suppressed in SpecktorâÄôs upcoming trial. Specktor and seven others, collectively dubbed the RNC 8, each face multiple felony counts for allegedly plotting to aggressively disrupt the Republican National Convention, held in St. Paul last year. Minneapolis police stopped the van Sept. 1, 2008 âÄî the first day of the RNC. Minneapolis and St. Paul police officers testified in Ramsey County court Tuesday that they were operating under a âÄúprobable cause pick-upâÄù order for Specktor. After police arrested Specktor, Minneapolis police Sgt. Patrick King drove the van to a nearby police precinct. Ramsey County SheriffâÄôs Department Commander Richard Clark said they found several potentially dangerous items in the van upon searching it at the precinct, including illegal fireworks, gasoline, blades and caltrops âÄî pointed, nail-like weapons designed to have a sharp side always facing up. Larry Leventhal , SpecktorâÄôs attorney, said police searched the vehicle illegally by failing to obtain a warrant. âÄúLaw enforcement was trying to make up rules as it went along,âÄù Leventhal said. Clark said the vehicle stopped in an illegal parking spot upon being pulled over. He said they could not wait for a tow truck to haul it away for police safety reasons, citing a hostile crowd gathering around the arrest site. The RNC 8 are scheduled for a hearing Oct. 8 that will determine whether they are tried as a group or individually.