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The fallout from RNC 2008 police abuse continues to ripple through the courts and common sense – not to mention fundamental Constitutional underpinnings. No matter what you want to believe about anarchists and purported violence and the like, police and media accounts of the threats posed by anti-war activists have been shown to be little more than exaggeration designed to instill fear first, among delegates to that year’s Republican National Convention delegates, and second, among average Joes and Janes throughout the state.
Lingering police and FBI paranoia, much of it generated and unleashed by the Patriot Act and, eventually, two administrations’ Justice departments, feeds the use of federal and local law enforcement as powerful resistors to political dissent. Recently, the Obama Justice Department’s FBI has beefed up its domestic spying and organized resistance to anti-public policy protesters, continuing and expanding Bush domestic spying policies and activities. Support for Palestine gets you arrested or a grand jury subpoena in this country. Demonstrating against this President’s war policies can get you arrested and/or a phone tap. Worse, fear-mongering by both the right wing and the government is eroding support for all First Amendment rights to free speech and assembly.
So sure were both the police and the RNC that such lawsuits would probably be filed – and won – they bonded themselves against financial losses to the tune of $10 million. Much of that money has been recently paid out – mostly in settlements, not jury awards. One of those awards have gone to people whose rights were violated during raids. One of those went to St. Paul homeowner Mike Whelan and a trio of vegans who rented his duplex during the RNC. Representing Whelan and several other plaintiffs has been St. Paul Attorney, Ted Dooley.
But this overreaching by law enforcement, the violence too many cops use against average citizens, even in the normal course of duties, like traffic stops – then lying to cover it in reports and protected by other officers under the unwritten Code of Silence, has reached epidemic levels, especially in the Minneapolis Department. This culture has fed on itself and turned otherwise conscientious cops into lying and covering for their brothers and sisters in blue for over a Century. Chronicling this festering sore is retired Minneapolis police sergeant, Mike Quinn, whose book, Walking with the Devil: The Police Code of Silence, is in its second and revised printing.
TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI talk with Quinn, Dooley and Whelan (sounds like an Irish law firm) about these very serious breaches of Constitutional guarantees and what they represent in the treatment of minorities and political dissenters throughout this area and the United States as a whole.