Our Constitutional Freedoms at work in Minneapolis and St. Paul

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Chilling story out of Minneapolis today. From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:
Police raid RNC protest sites in Twin Cities
Ramsey County authorities conducted raids across Minneapolis and St. Paul Friday and Saturday as a pre-emptive strike against disruptive protests of the Republican National Convention.

Five people were arrested and more than 100 were handcuffed, questioned and released by scores of deputies and police officers, according to police and elected officials familiar with the raids.

In a statement Saturday morning, Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher said the St. Paul raid targeted the RNC Welcoming Committee, a group he described as "a criminal enterprise made up of 35 self-described anarchists...intent on committing criminal acts before and during the Republican National Convention."

"These acts include tactics to blockade and disable delegate buses, breaching venue security and injuring police officers," Fletcher said. Deputies seized a variety of items that they believed were tools of civil disobedience: a gas mask, bolt cutters, axes, slingshots, homemade "caltrops" for disabling buses, even buckets of urine.
While I completely disagree with those who were going to demonstrate (and their methods), this action just handed them a lot of valid ammunition. Better to monitor their behavior and nip it in the bud the first time they do something actionable. This May 21, 2008 article in the Minneapolis, MN City Pages should have been a big heads up:
Moles Wanted
In preparation for the Republican National Convention, the FBI is soliciting informants to keep tabs on local protest groups

Paul Carroll was riding his bike when his cell phone vibrated.

Once he arrived home from the Hennepin County Courthouse, where he�d been served a gross misdemeanor for spray-painting the interior of a campus elevator, the lanky, wavy-haired University of Minnesota sophomore flipped open his phone and checked his messages. He was greeted by a voice he recognized immediately. It belonged to U of M Police Sgt. Erik Swanson, the officer to whom Carroll had turned himself in just three weeks earlier. When Carroll called back, Swanson asked him to meet at a coffee shop later that day, going on to assure a wary Carroll that he wasn�t in trouble.

Carroll, who requested that his real name not be used, showed up early and waited anxiously for Swanson�s arrival. Ten minutes later, he says, a casually dressed Swanson showed up, flanked by a woman whom he introduced as FBI Special Agent Maureen E. Mazzola. For the next 20 minutes, Mazzola would do most of the talking.

�She told me that I had the perfect �look,�� recalls Carroll. �And that I had the perfect personality�they kept saying I was friendly and personable�for what they were looking for.�

What they were looking for, Carroll says, was an informant�someone to show up at �vegan potlucks� throughout the Twin Cities and rub shoulders with RNC protestors, schmoozing his way into their inner circles, then reporting back to the FBI�s Joint Terrorism Task Force, a partnership between multiple federal agencies and state and local law enforcement. The effort�s primary mission, according to the Minneapolis division�s website, is to �investigate terrorist acts carried out by groups or organizations which fall within the definition of terrorist groups as set forth in the current United States Attorney General Guidelines.�

Carroll would be compensated for his efforts, but only if his involvement yielded an arrest. No exact dollar figure was offered.
Considering that a lot of those arrested were not Minneapolis residents, it looks like they didn't do their homework...

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on August 30, 2008 4:58 PM.

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