Second Ward, Minneapolis

This is the public policy forum of Minneapolis Second Ward (Green) City Council Member Cam Gordon and his staff. We use this space to talk about some of what Cam’s working on, explain his positions, and share a little of what life in City Hall is like. Please feel free to comment on posts, within certain ground rules. See our disclaimer, including ground rules, here:

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Continued Concerns about RNC security

I continue to be disturbed by the emerging pattern of law enforcement intimidation of journalists covering the Republican National Convention, including the arrests of Amy Goodman, Nicole Salazar and Sharif Abdel Kouddous of the Democracy Now! news show, the photographer from the New York Post, other journalists and the confiscation of equipment from the Glass Bead Collective last week.

As someone who worked very hard throughout this year to see journalists, observers, protesters and law abiding by-standers as well protected as the delegates here to participate in RNC, many of the reports I have been reading and hearing about, as well as the images I have been seeing, are discouraging.

The incidents involving the targeting and harassment of observers and reporters shows a particularly troubling trend that is not consistent with my hopes of showing the world how our Cities value nonviolence, respect civic debate, and are committed to preserving free speech.

I believe that the health of our democracy depends of the ability of a free press to function and that it is the obligation of all of us to help protect that ability.

How ever we have gotten here -- the level of police and military we apparently need so one of our major political parties can meet to select its candidate for president saddens me. It is not the vision I have for our democracy.

During the last days of the convention I urge a focus on creating a secure atmosphere of nonviolence that will allow and encourage people to participate in political speech. While violence and property damage by protesters or others should not be tolerated and I hope all visitors and residents will refrain from violence and property damage, and that safety will not be used an excuse to limit a free press or stifle free speech.

I do acknowledge our police and other public employees for their hard work to prepare for this event, for their many instances of patience, flexibility and retraint, and hope that they will focus their future efforts on helping all residents and visitors to feel safe and welcome to express themselves, and all journalists (main stream or independent) to continue doing their Constitutionally-protected and vitally important work.


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