Skip to comments.Videos Challenge Accounts of Convention Unrest
Posted on 04/12/2005 6:53:00 AM PDT by Mr.Pinette
Dennis Kyne put up such a fight at a political protest last summer, the arresting officer recalled, it took four police officers to haul him down the steps of the New York Public Library and across Fifth Avenue.
"We picked him up and we carried him while he squirmed and screamed," the officer, Matthew Wohl, testified in December. "I had one of his legs because he was kicking and refusing to walk on his own."
Accused of inciting a riot and resisting arrest, Mr. Kyne was the first of the 1,806 people arrested in New York last summer during the Republican National Convention to take his case to a jury. But one day after Officer Wohl testified, and before the defense called a single witness, the prosecutor abruptly dropped all charges.
During a recess, the defense had brought new information to the prosecutor. A videotape shot by a documentary filmmaker showed Mr. Kyne agitated but plainly walking under his own power down the library steps, contradicting the vivid account of Officer Wohl, who was nowhere to be seen in the pictures. Nor was the officer seen taking part in the arrests of four other people at the library against whom he signed complaints.
A sprawling body of visual evidence, made possible by inexpensive, lightweight cameras in the hands of private citizens, volunteer observers and the police themselves, has shifted the debate over precisely what happened on the streets during the week of the convention.
For Mr. Kyne and 400 others arrested that week, video recordings provided evidence that they had not committed a crime or that the charges against them could not be proved, according to defense lawyers and prosecutors.
Among them was Alexander Dunlop, who said he was arrested while going to pick up sushi.
Last week, he discovered that there were two versions of the same police tape: the one that was to be used as evidence in his trial had been edited at two spots, removing images that showed Mr. Dunlop behaving peacefully. When a volunteer film archivist found a more complete version of the tape and gave it to Mr. Dunlop's lawyer, prosecutors immediately dropped the charges and said that a technician had cut the material by mistake.
Seven months after the convention at Madison Square Garden, criminal charges have fallen against all but a handful of people arrested that week. Of the 1,670 cases that have run their full course, 91 percent ended with the charges dismissed or with a verdict of not guilty after trial. Many were dropped without any finding of wrongdoing, but also without any serious inquiry into the circumstances of the arrests, with the Manhattan district attorney's office agreeing that the cases should be "adjourned in contemplation of dismissal."
So far, 162 defendants have either pleaded guilty or were convicted after trial, and videotapes that bolstered the prosecution's case played a role in at least some of those cases, although prosecutors could not provide details.
Besides offering little support or actually undercutting the prosecution of most of the people arrested, the videotapes also highlight another substantial piece of the historical record: the Police Department's tactics in controlling the demonstrations, parades and rallies of hundreds of thousands of people were largely free of explicit violence.
Throughout the convention week and afterward, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said that the police issued clear warnings about blocking streets or sidewalks, and that officers moved to arrest only those who defied them. In the view of many activists - and of many people who maintain that they were passers-by and were swept into dragnets indiscriminately thrown over large groups - the police strategy appeared to be designed to sweep them off the streets on technical grounds as a show of force.
"The police develop a narrative, the defendant has a different story, and the question becomes, how do you resolve it?" said Eileen Clancy, a member of I-Witness Video, a project that assembled hundreds of videotapes shot during the convention by volunteers for use by defense lawyers.
You mean, an Officer of the Law lied? Noooooo! It can't be!
As stupid as these DUmbocrats are, the police should still not lie about their arrest. I say the officer should be arrested for perjury.
The goons have been back in control ever since JulieAnnie started busting the heads of your friendly windscreen washer person.
I have no problem with getting the rabble off the street, and likewise no problem with charges being dismissed against the rabble.
The police, as cited in the article, did not use force or excessive force. When brought up on charges evidence proved the arrested were innocent, justice at work.
The moral is--be nice to the police if you are beng arrested, and hope someone is there as a witness.
It's better than who was in control before Giuliani... nobody at all.
Ala Bill ... Depends on what the definition of 'is' is.
The protester 'is' behaving violently.
"Is" could mean anything by now.
Intersting. Wonder what the dummies over at du make of this? Silly me, I can answer my own question. It's all Bush's fault.
I have ZERO sympathy for any "officer" who has become a rentathug. If the tape exists, the officer should be fired and prosecuted.
Hold it right there!
Lack of excessive force notwithstanding, nobody should have to "hope someone is there as a witness". If I get arrested and the case against me is so fraudulent -- so wholly fabricated and trumped up -- that the charges get abruptly dropped when REAL evidence turns up, that's an arrest that never should have been made by any LEO with a semifunctional conscience. Such an arrest ought to be grounds for civil action against the officer(s) involved, and no such arrest ought to be remotely tolerated by said LEO's Watch Commander or CoP.
Cops like that, Americans don't need.
Agreed, police officers committing perjury is totally unacceptable under any circumstances. It undermines the rule of law.
And you would be correct. Here in Dayton OH a Democrat has already posted this story on a local chat forum laying the blame on the RNC!
When I told her the RNC does not run the NYPD, she insisted that it does thanks to Guiliani!
"Lack of excessive force notwithstanding, nobody should have to "hope someone is there as a witness". If I get arrested and the case against me is so fraudulent -- so wholly fabricated and trumped up -- that the charges get abruptly dropped when REAL evidence turns up, that's an arrest that never should have been made by any LEO with a semifunctional conscience. Such an arrest ought to be grounds for civil action against the officer(s) involved, and no such arrest ought to be remotely tolerated by said LEO's Watch Commander or CoP. "
I agree. But what further irks me is that the tape was edited. This indicates that the entire department was complicit.
"The moral is--be nice to the police if you are beng arrested, and hope someone is there as a witness."
Sure, be nice to the police, I agree with that. But
"hope omeone is there as a witness?" That is absurd. The video tape provided by the police was edited. That is just straight up fraud.
I got arrested (as a youth) for drinking in public. I wasn't drinking in public. I was with friends who were. In any case, the prosecuting attorney tried to get me to plea out to some very minor charge. I refused. the policeman testified that I WAS drinking in public. I called my friend to the stand who said I was not drinking in public. Not guilty, case closed.
In this case the police lied and the DA was a snake. It's something to be expected. Mind your manners and if you have have a case that proves you are innocent, justice should prevail.
"In this case the police lied and the DA was a snake. It's something to be expected. Mind your manners and if you have have a case that proves you are innocent, justice should prevail."
Pardon me for saying, that is just moronic. It should not be "expected" that the police will lie under oath. You are extremely lucky that you had a witness, otherwise you could have been wrongly convicted.
You mean humidorgate? As I recall, it wasn't the tobacco, but the repository that was the scandal! ;-P
It really doesn't bother me that the officer "mistakenly" testified against me. In general I cut the police a lot of slack....enforcing stupid laws, getting involved with domestic disputes, etc..In general cops are stand up people.
Honestly, If I were cop in NY I would have loved to pummel some of the stupid liberals! So call me sympathetic.
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