Response to “Police anarchists”

Daily Editorial Board misses key points in RNC protest debate

by Peter J. Wruck, Guest Columnist

Unfortunately, in its recent commentary on the Republican National Convention in 2008, the Minnesota Daily Editorial Board completely ignored several important facts and instead relied on an emotionally charged, uninformed and rudimentary interpretation of only a small selection of events. Here are several points that the editorial board missed: First, there was no reason to believe that anyone gathered on Shepherd Road during day one of the convention was actually trying to attend concerts on Harriet Island. How were they planning on getting there? By swimming across the river? They were nowhere near any access to any bridge nor were they moving towards one. Second, the gathering of several hundred individuals was in violation of court-ordered and court-approved procedures for assembly during the convention. In a preemptive challenge brought by several groups before the convention against the protest permit process used by the St. Paul Police Department, the court held that it was entirely legal and constitutional for government and police to regulate when and where protests could occur using the permit process. Thus, those protesting and gathered outside of these prescribed conditions were in violation of city ordinance and subject to arrest. Third, the âÄúraidsâÄù conducted preemptively by Sheriff Fletcher were executions of legally issued search warrants issued by the courts and signed by a judge. This intelligence was not âÄúslapdashâÄù nor based on âÄúperceptions.âÄù I encourage everyone to actually read the sworn depositions of FBI informants and undercover sheriffâÄôs deputies who were involved at the highest levels of the anti-convention and anarchist organizations, rather than making âÄúslapdashâÄù conclusions of your own based on no facts at all. Furthermore, had these warrants not been executed and something catastrophic had occurred at the convention, the public would have demanded to know why preventative proactive investigation and enforcement measures were not taken. Finally, the editorial ignores the realities of the laws that were broken by anarchists and the actions they took to disrupt the convention. I witnessed feces and urine thrown on police officers, vehicles being vandalized, tires slashed and windows broken, runaway garbage dumpsters being used as battering rams against police, freeway signs and other debris thrown from bridges near police officers and innocent bystanders, vandalism of downtown businesses and public facilities, and other riotous activity. These individuals can and must be prosecuted for the imminent danger in which they placed themselves, officers and the public, as well as the thousands of dollars in wanton destruction they caused to downtown businesses, newsstands, and public, tax-payer funded property like bus shelters and public benches. These are not behaviors that are condonable or even understandable under any circumstances. I sincerely hope that in the future the editorial board of this paper and the readership will take these points into consideration and seriously think about them as we continue the conversation of how to effectively balance the need for public safety and free speech. Peter J. Wruck is a University graduate student. Please send comments to [email protected]