Public Meeting on RNC "Free Speech" Principles
The "Free Speech Work Group" formed to help preserve civil rights and community life during the 2008 Republican convention has drafted a set of Operating Principles. Residents of Minneapolis and the surrounding area are being invited to provide feedback and make recommendations on the principles.
A public meeting will be held on June 26 from 4:30–6:30 PM in the Council Chambers at Minneapolis City Hall. Written comments should be sent to the Office of the City Clerk at: Cityclerk@ci.minneapoolis.mn.us or to:
350 S. 5th Street, Room 304,
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55415
Here are the Free Speech Work Group Draft Operating Principles :
"The City of Minneapolis Free Speech Work Group is committed to insuring that all parties-delegates, party officials, visitors, demonstrators, the media and residents who wish to express their first amendment rights through free speech, association and petition during the conduct of the 2008 Republican National Convention - will be treated with dignity and respect.
(a) Security efforts should not result in overly broad restrictions or access to demonstrations and demonstrators by law enforcement personnel.
The Work Group expects that any security plan will be designed to provide a safe environment for all participants during the week-long event. This includes an opportunity for lawful demonstrations, the exercise of free speech and association rights and minimal disruption by unnecessary street closings or access restrictions to people who live and work in the City.
(a) The City of Minneapolis permitting process will be a timely, coordinated and accessible process for demonstrations, parades, and street closures during the RNC convention developed in partnership with the cities of St. Paul and Bloomington;
(b) Demonstrators will be notified of the permit requirements in a timely fashion to allow demonstrators to plan and brief participants on their rights;
(c) The permitting process will explore and incorporate the best methods for accommodating last minute applications and surreptitious demonstrations.
The Work Group will advocate for all security plans to focus on identified security threats or risk. These plans should ensure that any time/place/manner restrictions are used only as absolutely needed to protect legitimate public safety purposes. These plans should not be used to unreasonably restrict the rights of residents, delegates and demonstrators without specific information or reason to believe that the group is linked to a crime that was or is about to be committed.
Unacceptable restrictions include:
(a) The lengthy and unlawful detention, searching and fingerprinting of demonstrators accused of minor offenses;
(b) The use of pens by law enforcement personnel to detain demonstrators and others in proximity to demonstrators who become part of mass arrest;
(c) Police monitoring and surveillance of political groups and activist who are law abiding citizens engaging in legally protected activities.
The Work Group views any and all acts of violence and unlawful behavior by anyone participating in events during the period of the Republican National Convention as unacceptable."
I encourage people to attend the meeting as well as forward written comments to me and to the City Clerk. Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend the meeting. Robin will be there in my place and I will be keeping a close eye on what occurs.