Bloomberg: Protestors = terrorists?

Fuck the election. How do we impeach him?

From the NY Times:

"It is true that a handful of people have tried to destroy our city by going up and yelling at visitors here because they don't agree with their views," Mr. Bloomberg said. "Think about what that says. This is America, New York, cradle of liberty, the city for free speech if there ever was one and some people think that we shouldn't allow people to express themselves. That's exactly what the terrorists did, if you think about it, on 9/11. Now this is not the same kind of terrorism but there's no question that these anarchists are afraid to let people speak out."

The city was fined for contempt of court for violating habeas corpus. Here is a picture inside the pier for holding protestors, from Indy Media.


More from the NY Times:

A state judge in Manhattan yesterday angrily ordered the city to release more than 550 protesters who had been detained without seeing a judge - some for as long as 60 hours - after they were arrested at demonstrations against the Republican National Convention. When not all the protesters had been released by 6 p.m., he held the city in contempt and ordered a fine of $1,000 for each person still held, without setting a time frame.

The judge, John Cataldo of State Supreme Court in Manhattan, demanded during a noon hearing that the city immediately process the demonstrators. Throughout the afternoon, knots of exhausted but relieved-looking protesters with disheveled clothing and grime-covered hands and arms emerged onto Centre Street from the Criminal Courts Building.

Many raised their hands in triumph and were greeted with boisterous cheers, whistles and sometimes even flowers from hundreds of onlookers who had gathered. Others looked on nervously, waiting to hear news of relatives and friends.


Yesterday's abrupt release of the detainees and the threat of tens of thousands of dollars in fines capped a dramatic episode surrounding the convention, as more than 1,000 protesters who were swept off the streets Tuesday night were sent in handcuffs into the city's criminal justice system.

The city said it had cleared court dockets and opened additional courtrooms to handle the expected flood of protesters, but on Wednesday only a trickle of those arrested the night before appeared in court.

Judge Cataldo held another hearing at 7 p.m. to check on the city's progress and was not satisfied. "We're coming back again until this is settled," he said. "Once again, the order is, release these people."

Defense lawyers and protesters said something was amiss in the Police Department's detention process. City officials had maintained that those arrested were not being held for longer than 24 hours - the legal limit - without seeing a judge and that they were being given access to lawyers.

The defense lawyers and protesters claimed the police were using long detentions as a tactic to keep the streets clear until the convention was over.

Yesterday, during the noon hearing in Judge Cataldo's courtroom, the city conceded that some protesters were held too long. "We couldn't get everyone processed as quickly as we liked," Mr. Cardozo said.

He said the police had been overwhelmed by the number of arrests within a four-hour period on Tuesday, when about 1,200 people were taken into custody at different locations in Manhattan for offenses that ranged from disorderly conduct to resisting arrest to various degrees of assault. "We're doing our best" to move people through the system, he said.

Judge Cataldo replied, "I'm ordering that."

At one point, clearly exasperated, the judge told Mr. Cardozo, "These people have already been the victims of a process. I can no longer accept your statement that you are trying to comply."

Judge Cataldo referred to a list produced by the court at 8 a.m. indicating that 120 people had been in police custody for more than 38 hours, and that 440 others had been in jail for a day and a half without having had an arraignment - the hearing at which charges are brought and bail is set. The State Court of Appeals ruled in 1991 that anyone arrested in New York who is not arraigned within 24 hours is eligible for immediate release.

The city and police officials said they could not pinpoint the cause of the delays. "I'm presuming it's volume," said Paul J. Browne, the chief spokesman for Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly. "What I'm assuming is that the volume caused some delay. I'm not prepared to say where in the process the delays were."

He denied that the long holding time was a deliberate tactic to keep protesters behind bars until the convention ends.


During the hearing, Norman Siegel, a veteran civil rights lawyer, told the court that one client, a 17-year-old Trinity School student, had been in jail for 42 hours. "There is no reason, I submit, that this process had to take this long," Mr. Siegel said. The charge against the student was not known.

Mr. Siegel, along with lawyers from the Legal Aid Society and the National Lawyers Guild, filed writs of habeas corpus and began arguing in court on Wednesday that some protesters must be released. They said the vast majority of protesters were being held not for felonies but for misdemeanors like disorderly conduct that should have been processed in a few hours.

Mr. Siegel complained to Judge Cataldo that the protesters were being treated worse than criminals. "The only people being disadvantaged here are the protesters," he said. "We're arraigning robbers who have only been in 10 hours."

One lawyer, Elizabeth Fink, contended in court that some protesters in custody were wrongfully arrested in the first place. Accounts from people who said they were going about their business on the streets when they got caught in mass arrests seemed to back up her claim.


The center [the pier pictured above] has been a focus of steady complaints; many detainees said they were covered in oily grime from the floors. Without conceding conditions were poor, city officials said yesterday that the holding area was carpeted on Wednesday.

Ms. Ingber said the officers told them the process would not take long. In her account, as they sat outside the detention center in the bus, several of the men complained that their handcuffs were too tight; one was yelling that he could not feel his hands, which another man said looked blue. Two officers came aboard. "What do you want me to do?" said one, "I'm not a doctor." The other one said, "You were the ones who had to riot. This is what you get."

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Published on September 3, 2004 1:58 PM.

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