COINTELPRO IN PHILADELPHIA IS STILL GOING STRONG!
PHILADELPHIA POLICE BEAT AND STOMPED A BLACK MAN WHO "SHOT" AT THEM, BUT THEN IT TURNED OUT HE NEVER SHOT! Click.
PHILADELPHIA IS NOW FACING THE MUMIA DEATH PENALTY PROTEST. MUMIA CLAIMS HE DIDN'T SHOOT A COP.
PHILADELPHIA HAS A HISTORY OF COINTELPRO ACTIVITIES.
IN 1985, THE PHILADELPHIA POLICE BURNED DOWN "MOVE" HEADQUARTERS. MOVE CLAIMED IT DIDN'T SHOOT!
THE BURNING OF "MOVE" - URBAN WARFARE IN PHILADELPHIA. Click.
INTERVIEW WITH RAMONA AFRICA. Click.
NOW, ARRESTED (RNC) DEMONSTRATORS CLAIM THEY ARE BEING TORTURED BY THE PHILADELPHIA POLICE. In light of the Jones beating, and Move history their claims have automatic credence. Cointelpro is alive an well in the City of Brotherly Love.
UPDATE ON ARRESTEES IN PHILADELPHIA - ACTION URGENTLY NEEDED
by Leslie Cagan © 2000
It's Saturday morning (August 5th) and I just got off the phone with someone working with the legal support team in Philadelphia. The situation remains extremely serious and needs national attention!
Here is a quick review of what's been happening:
As the Republican Party met in Philadelphia this past week, protest demonstrations were held every day. On Tuesday, August 1st, almost 400 people were arrested as non-violent direct action tied up downtown Philly during the afternoon rush hour. About a dozen people had been arrested before then, and more have been picked up since, but the majority of arrests happened on Tuesday. Not everyone arrested was actually involved in any direct action: 75 people were taken into custody at the space where puppets were being put together for use in the protests; others have been picked up just walking the streets. (There continue to be conflicting reports on the number of people arrested, an indication of the problems people have faced since being taken into custody.)
As of this morning, more than 250 of those arrested are still in jail. They are engaging in jail solidarity, demanding that everyone be treated equally and that all have access to food, water and bathrooms, as well as access to their lawyers. Stories about what has unfolded have come to light as people have been released, and several people still have possession of their cell phones and so more information is being passed along that way.
The legal support team have reported extremely disturbing instances of misconduct by police and prison guards. Actually, misconduct is much too weak a word and some are calling it torture, including:
Sleep deprivation by overnight handcuffing in awkward positions;
The use of pepper spray to coerce arrestees into attending arraignments;
Stripping of prisoners' clothing;
Denial of essential medication, including for people with diabetes and asthma;
Denial of food, water and access to the bathroom for extended periods.
There are numerous accounts of arrestees who have been isolated, verbally abused, punched, kicked, thrown against walls, bloodied, and dragged naked across floors, in one instance through a "trash trough" containing refuse, spittle and urine. There has been a reported sexual assault by a female officer who pulled and twisted a prisoner's penis, as well as reports of people dragged by their genitals and nipples being twisted by guards. Seven witnesses saw one woman dragged naked and bleeding.
Many of the arrestees have been held since Tuesday without arraignment, some without phone calls or contact with their lawyers. There are reports of missing paperwork, and arraignments with incomplete or slipshod records and lawyers have been allowed only very limited visits. And to make matters even worse, excessively high bail has been set for many of those arraigned, with most bail ranging from $15,000 to $30,000, and several set at anywhere between $100,000 and
$500,000. Two people have had their bail set at $1,000,000: Kate Sorenson an activist with the Philadelphia Direct Action Group and Philly ACT-UP (she faces 7 felony charges) and John Sellers from the Ruckus Society which trains people in creative non-violent direct action tactics. He was standing on a sidewalk when arrested. The 75 people arrested at the puppet site have all been given $15,000 bail for obstructing traffic charges, and they were not even in the street when arrested.
To make matters worse, the Philadelphia police are being hailed as models of restraint by the mainstream media in Philadelphia and in signs all around town. As people have called the police, district attorney's office and other officials they are being told that everything is fine and there are no problems--blatant lies. The news of what's happening inside the jails is hardly getting out. People around the country are encouraged to call Philadelphia officials and an effort is underway to get Amnesty International into the jails.
In the face of all this, reports from inside indicate that those arrested are tired and harassed, but for the most part in good spirits and continue to practice jail solidarity. As they demand their release, people inside are singing, chanting, telling stories and about 150 people are on a hunger strike, some for almost three days now.