DeeDee Halleck on Wed, 19 Apr 2000 08:59:22 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> This is what democracy looks like

Photographer Beaten after Documenting Police Misconduct on A17
                          by Rob Fish 7:51pm Tue Apr 18 '00
                          phone: 973-347-4789

On Monday, April 17th, 2000 at about 8:30 am near the corner of 18th and
K I was beaten by a plainclothes officer after photographing him going
crazy down a sidewalk hitting demonstrators exiting the area and beating
them down with his baton. At the time I didn't even think it was a cop!
I thought he was angry motorist! The footage has escaped and can be
found at  I was
treated and release from GW Hospital with 7 stitches closing a head
wound and a concussion. On Monday, April 17th, 2000 at about 8:30 am
near the corner of 18th and K I was beaten by a plainclothes officer
(notsure if fed or mpd) after photographing him going crazy though the
streets hitting people over the headwith his baton.  At the time I
didn't even think it wasa cop! Wearing my Independent Media Center
badge, I photographed this man, who I believed was an motorist angry
about the traffic disruptions. After seeing me about to take the
photograph of him, he lunged towards my neck with his hands and
proceeded to club me at least two times with this club like device and
pushed me to the ground. He then hit me several more times andwrestled
the camera from my hands. I called for police to arrest this man still
believing this was a case of road rage. Upon arrival the police officer
(not sure if MPD,secret service or another agency) informed me that the
man was a plainclothes officer.  The camera at this point had been
knocked to the ground and the plainclothes officer attempted to stomp on
it. He was able to crack the frame, but the camera slipped out from
under his foot. As he was about to stomp down a second time I was able
to swipe the camera and throw it back into the crowd. The footage
escaped and while damaged the photo of this man attacking me did turn
out. Check it out at  The officer was
extremely unhappy that he was unable to destroy the camera and, in turn,
I received several more blows to the head.  This continued for I believe
about 20 seconds. I have little recollection of this time period and
believe I may have briefly lost consciousness. My glasses were ripped
from my face and i yelled for them back as they dragged me away yelling
for medical attention after realizing the extent of my head wound and
thrown into a pile of people that the police may have intended to

They made no effort to get me medical attention more or less smirking
when I made this request. (medical attention was only offered later on
after I had called a cab and was speaking to the media) As I laid
bleeding extensively huddled in the fetal postion the medical team for
the collective pulled me away to the sidelines and treated me for severe
head wounds. I was bandaged up to stop the bleeding (by this point I had
blood running down my face into my ear and onto my pants) and then
helped to the opposite corner where we called cab to bring me to the
hospital. At this time I was extremely dizzy and shakey.  At the
hospital, I was treated and released. As a result of the attack I
required 7 stitches and have a minor concussion.

The man was in a beige trench coat with a pin stripe dress shirt
underneath. He was older and larger and apparantly had a chain with id
hanging from his neck.  He was away from any police line and just going
crazy. I need you help - I know some of the witnesses from the event
were from NY (syracuse I believe) and the medics who treated me were
from NYC. I was wearing jeans and a green shirt covered by a black
trashbag - well, before the cops ripped it off me and had on glasses
with black plastic frames. If any of you out there think you saw this
take place, please email ASAP .  Below is some info on the media
coverage - if any of this sounds like something you may have witnessed,
please email me.

Immediately after my attack I was interviewed by the Washington Post
(see Tuesday, April 18's paper), C-SPAN, and CBS News and possibly
others.  C-Span aired my complete statement about the incident while I
sat there in a bloody and bandaged mess while the CBS Nightly News aired
a brief quote from me stating that the the attacked was entirely
unprovoked. David Montgomery of the Washington Post presented the
following account in the April 18 edition of the Post:

"In one, near K & 18th Street NW, Rob Fish, 21, of Stanhope, NJ., said
he was taking pictures of police activity. He said an undercover officer
hit him with a billy club, knocking him down. 'I got thrown to the
ground and hit over the head,' Fish said.  Fish was left with a stream
of blood running down his face, straining his jeans and green shirt.
Several friends tended to his wounds."

Later in the day, I took part in a closing press conference called by
the protest "organizers". At the conference I told my story and was
interviewed byseveral other media outlets. The press conference was also
broadcasted in full on C-Span. There may also be video footage of the
beating that was broadcasted in the NYC area. Tuesday morning my story
aired on "Democracy Now" with Amy Goodman.-

Currently, I am still feeling dizzy and have a major headache. I may
seek further treatment if these symptoms continue into tonight. Please
email if you witnessed this attack or have any information!

                           Rob Fish

                           add your comments

                          C-span footage
                          by Xanana 8:46pm Tue Apr 18 '00

I have a videotape of part of your beating and interview, done by a
local DC station and carried on C-SPAN. I will send you a copy if you
e-mail me. Also, your statements at the Press Conference later that day
are also on tape. Hope you are OK and can identify this cop.  

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