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News ::
FTAA Miami- "A Blue Print for Homeland Security" (english)
23 Nov 2003
Modified: 04:26:04 AM
Police brutality in Miami as in Genoa!
A National Lawyer's Guild Student Organizer writes this update from Miami on beatings and ongoing arrests. Also attached is an open letter from the NLG to the Mayor of Miami.
Laura Raymond, National Lawyer's Guild Student Organizer, has just sent this update from Miami:

I can't emphasise how crazy we all feel this is. People who have been doing legal support for mass demonstrations for years and years--even R2K legal
folks who have dealt with Timoney before--are amazed at how unprecedented and overwhelming it is.

The unusual thing is that there are no mass arrests! Arrests are mostly being made of small groups or individuals for seemingly nothing. Random
people are being pulled behind police lines that may be 3 rows thick and legal observers can't access them for names and descriptions, nor can medics access people who are hurt in the process. Also undercovers are snatching random people in the crowds and pulling them away. A huge thing is the tactic of unmarked "snatch squads" patrolling the city and grabbing people off the streets. We have 3 LO's that have been picked off thisway in
separate inc! idents, and for these we have we have witnesses reporting that the LO's were beaten by the police. It is really eery and frightening. Many
arrest reports we receive include brutality, beatings and such--tasors,wooden and rubber bullets, many cops beating one person, concussion grenades,electrical shields, etc.--so it seems as though arrest
numbers are down but the intensity of the arrest and the complexity of defending all these cases is high. This seems like a good media tactic on the part of the police-the small arrest numbers won't put the actions in
much mainstream media.

Legal Observers and defense and support people are overwhelmed and we have a lot on our plate. We have a big problem coming up as many of us areleaving
this weekend and we will have alot of unresolved legal issues remaining.

Plus the precedent all these new tacticsset-especially this quote in our press release that this is being referred to by city officials as a "blueprint for homeland security."

As is the case with nearly everyone here, I got 45 minutes of sleep last night and 2 hours the night before. We are so maxed out but we just cannot
stop. I am going to becareful and try to not get arrested but if I do they know to call you.

November 21, 2003


Open Letter from the NLG to the Mayor of Miami:

November 20, 2003

Mayor Manuel A. Diaz
City Hall
Miami, FL 33133

Dear Mayor Diaz:

The actions of the Miami Police Department this week have violated the fundamental due process and First Amendment rights of thousands of peaceful protesters gathering to voice their opposition to the Free Trade Area of the Americas summit. We call on you and City Attorney Alejandro Vilarello to respect the Constitutional rights of these defendants. We also demand a full-scale, independent investigation into the police officers’ alarming behavior, with the results to be made public.

The National Lawyers Guild is on site observing numerous illegal practices that Miami City leadership has referred to as a “blueprint for Homeland Security,” including:

Indiscriminate, excessive force against hundreds of nonviolent protesters with weapons including pepper spray, tear gas and concussion grenades, and rubber bullets;
Singling out of NLG Legal Observers wearing highly visible neon green caps. We have confirmed reports that five Legal Observers were arrested, and four of those assaulted by police officers;
Police stopping and snatching protesters, seemingly at random, into unmarked vehicles;
Police shooting protestors with rubber bullets and trapping them by police lines, resulting in major injuries. Police repeatedly refused to allow Medics into these areas to treat the injured.
Such paramilitary tactics are ill-conceived and self-defeating and have no place in a democratic society. Such tactics are not only in direct violation of the constitutional rights of protesters, but also make young and inexperienced police officers more nervous, increasing the likelihood of serious bodily injury to many.

The National Lawyers Guild, founded in 1937, comprises over 6,000 members and activists committed to fighting social injustice in this country and the rest of the world. We are dedicated to defending the First Amendment.

We urge you to immediately put an end to unconstitutional police practices and policies.


Michael Avery

cc: Chief of Police John F. Timoney
City Attorney Alejandro Vilarello


See also:

Arresting The Future

By Tom Hayden, AlterNet
November 21, 2003

Democracy Now!'s report:

And Indymedia:

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hoy dia (spanish)
23 Nov 2003
desaparecidos en los estados unidos....