www.nettime.org
Nettime mailing list archives

<nettime> DC Police Infiltrate Inauguration Protestors
Jonathan Prince on 31 Jan 2001 04:15:44 -0000


[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> DC Police Infiltrate Inauguration Protestors


Police Infiltrate Private Gathering
of Inauguration Protestors in Adams Morgan, Washington DC
http://www.intowner.com/

The InTowner
from January 2001 issue

By David Barrows

On the evening of Wednesday, December 20, a small gathering of 
planners for the "InaugurAuction," to be held on Inauguration Day, 
was getting underway in a private Adams Morgan apartment when it was 
interrupted by a uninvited, late arrival. The well-built, dark-haired 
man in his late twenties or his early thirties of sallow complexion 
with a goatee looked familiar, and was soon asked to take a look at a 
computer screen where an image bearing a strong resemblance to him 
had been pulled up from a file. That image--his image--had been 
captured on a video taken

during the protests at the time of last April's International 
Monetary Fund (IMF) meeting here in DC. (See, "Twisted Priorities? 
Police Actions During IMF Protests Protested," InTowner, May 2000, 
page 1.).

The computer belonged to the host of the private gathering, Adam 
Eidinger, who is among the principal organizers of the 
InaugurAuction. Looking at the uninvited guest, individuals were 
already noticing similarities in the hairline and the scar-like 
blemish on his cheek matching that seen in the image displayed on the 
computer. The activist poet Elizabeth Croydon had already introduced 
herself, and he had introduced himself to her as "Nick." As she 
recalled, his voice seemed to her to smack a bit of New York, but he 
told her he was from Montreal, Canada. When Croydon did the usual, 
"Parlez-vous Franšais?," his response was, "Oh, no." She then said 
"un peu?" using fingers to signify "a little bit," and he answered, 
"No, not a lick."

Many recognized the man as having been present at the large planning 
meeting for the InaugurAuction which had been held at the George 
Washington University Law School two days prior, on December 18. He 
was remembered for having interrupted that meeting with side talk. 
However, here in Eidinger's apartment he meekly professed his 
innocence. When confronted, this man, who had introduced himself as 
Nick Ferry, could not, or would not, produce any identification.

Eidinger then asked "Nick" if he would mind posing for a snapshot. 
Seeming slightly surprised, he agreed, and a few pictures were taken 
by the host. He was

then asked to leave the apartment. "Nick" was also told that if he 
planned to return to the large planning meetings at the law school, 
he would need to bring identification. His response was that he could 
not guarantee his being able to bring identification, but that he got 
the message. After his departure, a few people commented that they 
suspected that there were at least a couple of other police 
infiltrators present at the large planning meetings.

The computer image came from video taken last April when an IMF 
demonstrator, identified as James Price, was being beaten while his 
arms were being yanked from behind with several officers 
participating. As the face of the officer straddling the demonstrator 
rose up from the victim whose face was against the sidewalk, the 
officer looks directly into the camera and becomes recognizable as 
being none other than "Nick." (This incident, and this undercover 
officer's involvement in the arrest last spring of James Price, is 
documented at www.sinkers.org.)

The day after the infiltrator's visit, Eidinger participated in a 
press conference to announce plans for the counter-inauguration 
protests, carried by C-SPAN, held at the Stewart Mott House on 
Capitol Hill. He joined several other spokespeople, including George 
Ripley of the Alliance for Democracy, as well as Brian Becker of the 
New York chapter of the International Action Center who had recently 
been cleared of a felony charge stemming from last April's IMF 
protests. (The case was thrown out of court by the presiding judge, 
due in part to a police officer's hearsay evidence, according to 
lawyer Mark Goldstone, who also told The InTowner that he is unaware 
of any of the felony charges leveled against last April's 
demonstrators as having been upheld.)

Facing eight television cameras, and being recorded for radio, 
Eidinger re-told the previous evening's incident and offered proof of 
the officer's infiltration. In a room adjoining the press conference 
he had his computer set up with images of the last April's incident 
of police brutality featuring the same man who is revealed in the 
photograph taken the evening before at the apartment. All the members 
of the press in attendance were urged to compare.

According to a Washington Post story of December 28, DC Chief of 
Police Charles Ramsey and Executive Assistant Chief Terrence Gainer 
are expecting "5,000 hooligans" to join in the protests and are 
already calling 1,500 officers into a refresher course for crowd 
control. Last April, the District's police districts were left mostly 
abandoned while officers were being drilled in skills they are now 
being questioned about and sued over, including alleged illegal 
seizure of political literature and puppets, food and medical 
supplies under false pretexts of evidence from a legal warehouse 
building on Florida Avenue which had served as the demonstrators' 
headquarters. This so-called "Convergence Center" that was closed 
down by the police was also where two, mild-mannered women 
volunteers, who fully cooperated with the police, were themselves 
arrested. Felony charges against them were dismissed immediately by 
judges before trial. Further, charges by the police department of 
Molotov cocktail preparation and pepper spray makings that made such 
a splash on local network news were later rescinded by the police.

The police department has acknowledged that it is currently 
infiltrating groups that are organizing Inauguration Day protests. 
When The InTowner asked Reverend Walter Fauntroy, who has obtained a 
permit for a massive protest on January 20 in Stanton Park, if he had 
concerns about infiltration, he replied, "We have come to expect 
that."

The police department has refused to confirm or deny whether there 
was an infiltrator at Adam Eidinger's apartment. When a Washington 
Post reporter specifically confronted Chief Gainer regarding 
Eidinger's complaint about the infiltrator, Gainer responded, "What 
nefarious things are they up to that they need to keep tabs on 
police?"

All participants in the InaugurAuction meetings have unanimously 
voted for the rules of non-violent protest: not to use violent 
language nor engage in either vandalism or any other destruction of 
property.

As reported last fall by this newspaper ("ACLU Lawsuit Exposes 
Serious DC Police, Fed Constitutional Wrongs," InTowner, September 
2000, page 1), Chief Ramsey is among those named as defendants in a 
massive lawsuit brought by the DC chapter of the American Civil 
Liberties Union and the New York chapter of the National Lawyers 
Guild, among the more prominent law groups. Other defendants included 
the FBI, U.S. Park Service, U.S. Secret Service, the Treasury 
Department's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and the DC 
Corporation Counsel--all for having violated both the First and 
Fourth Amendments, among other charges.

Regarding this lawsuit, Goldstone, who, following last spring's IMF 
demonstrations, defended Brian Becker and the two ladies who had been 
arrested at the demonstrators' Florida Avenue headquarters, provided 
The InTowner with the following statement:

"Based on 15 people who broke windows in Seattle in November 1999 
[during the fall meeting of the IMF], the DC police, in cooperation 
with numerous other police and law enforcement agencies, decided that 
it wasn't going to happen in DC. They were not going to allow the 
demonstrators to achieve their stated goal of 'shutting down the 
World Bank and the IMF' on April 16, 2000. So, they conspired to 
deprive them of their cherished First Amendment right to speak, to 
gather, to protest. They did so by military-style tactics, 
intimidation, surveillance, infiltration, disinformation, 
unconstitutional pre-emptive and pretextual arrests. It was sad to 
watch how quickly everyone accommodated themselves to this new police 
state so quickly--and allowed the actions of the few in Seattle to 
give the police an excuse to turn our nation's capital into an armed 
camp--with a suspension of civil liberties and the Constitution."

DC Police Actions Seen Part of Larger Pattern

Shortly after police infiltrator "Nick" had left the Adams Morgan 
apartment, Eidinger revealed to the group how, when he had been 
protesting the Republican national convention in Philadelphia last 
August, he and several fellow demonstrators had been arrested by an 
undercover policeman who was posing as a member of Adam's group and 
was driving their van, and that he had been imprisoned for 10 days 
before he could participate in the anti-death penalty rally at the 
Republican convention. (So far, all felony charges connected with the 
Philadelphia protesters have been dropped when finally coming to a 
hearing.)

Eidinger was to later tell this reporter that their 15-foot-tall 
skeletal puppets, which took months to make and which cost them lots 
of money in materials, were thrown into trucks never to be returned. 
Their literature, expensively printed, was destroyed by the police. 
Pennsylvania state troopers have acknowledged infiltration, even 
though Philadelphia does not permit its police to infiltrate 
organizations.

According to a report issued by the Seattle chapter of the National 
Lawyers Guild, "Waging War on Dissent" (available from the National 
Lawyers Guild's website, www.nlg.org), which compares police actions 
against demonstrators in Eugene (Oregon), Seattle, Los Angeles, 
Philadelphia and Washington, DC--among other cities, the FBI and 
other law enforcement agencies, having successfully concluded their 
efforts to go after the militant right-wing groups, have been for the 
past year turning their energies toward peaceful protest groups on 
the left, while using their new militarized "armor" of chemical 
sprays and tear gas grenades. Concluded the report's author:

"A disturbing trend is developing regarding police pre-emptive 
response to mass protest. In numerous situations since the protests 
against the World Trade Organization in Seattle in late 1999, police 
have issued misinformation claiming unsubstantiated evidence of 
violent plans by protesters gathering for mass actions. The false 
information is then used as a pretext for unwarranted police actions.

"The misinformation concerning protester plans have ranged from 
chemical weapons to bomb making. None of the claims of violent plans 
have been substantiated. Nonetheless, many media outlets appear to 
have been predisposed to repeat information provided by police 
without fact-checking or seeking responses from the organizations 
accused."

The writer concluded that the introduction of this false evidence 
enables the police to sabotage the protesters' plans and to 
confiscate their literature.
-- 

..
Jonathan Prince
jonathan {AT} killyourtv.com
http://KillYourTV.com  - it's bad for you
http://GWBushSucks.com - he's bad for everyone
http://USoutofColombia.org - stupid wars are bad
........................................................
'When I was coming up, it was a dangerous world, and you
knew exactly who they were. It was us versus them, and
it was clear who them was. Today, we are not so sure who
the they are, but we know they're there.' - GW Bush

#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: majordomo {AT} bbs.thing.net and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: nettime {AT} bbs.thing.net