[DP] Fwd. human rights news---USA ----death penalty implications
Laura and Bill
lkb4003 at labs.tamu.edu
Fri Mar 15 20:36:16 CST 2002
Date: Wed, 13 Mar 2002 16:03:29 -0600 (CST)
From: Rick Halperin <rhalperi at post.cis.smu.edu>
Subject: human rights news---USA ----death penalty implications
Denver police accused of keeping illegal files on peaceful protest groups
The American Civil Liberties Union has accused the Denver Police
Department of keeping illegal files on peaceful protest groups
including Amnesty International and the Nobel Peace Prize-winning
American Friends Service Committee.
The ACLU's Colorado legal director, Mark Silverstein, showed reporters
files he said came from the police department.
Silverstein wouldn't say how he obtained the files. He said they were
marked as permanent, not simply reports that would be discarded at the
end of the day.
''These are a small sampling of documents we have that show Denver police
are monitoring peaceful protest activities of individuals and law-abiding
groups,'' he said at a news conference Monday.
The ACLU has asked the mayor to stop all monitoring, make all files
available to their subjects and have police disclose who has been given
the information, Silverstein said. He threatened to sue if the practice
Andrew Hudson, spokesman for Mayor Wellington Webb, said Webb had asked
police for a full report to answer the group's concerns.
''The mayor thinks their concerns are legitimate,'' Hudson said.
Denver Public Safety Department spokeswoman C.L. Harmer said police would
comply with the mayor's request.
Stephen B. Nash, who was identified in one of the files as an event
organizer for Amnesty International, said police could not say the files
were needed for security because of the Sept. 11 attacks.
''My file goes back to 2000, well before Sept. 11,'' Nash said.
The American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker group, ''acts in the
best tradition of nonviolence,'' said Barry Leaman-Miller, who was
identified in one file as a member of the ''American Friends Service
Committee (criminal extremist G).''
There was no immediate explanation for the ''criminal extremist'' note.
Harmer said people named in the files were not considered criminals and
the files were collected because legal gatherings are sometimes the scene
of illegal actions.
''Law-abiding groups sponsoring lawful assemblies can be unwitting
magnets for unlawful activity,'' she said.
''If you go to a peaceful demonstration, is your name going to come up
when you get a traffic ticket? The answer is no, because the data isn't
shared,'' she said. ''I don't think this is a retreat to the era of J.
Harmer said that although the intelligence-gathering started before the
terrorist attacks, the attacks illustrated the need for such files.
Among the events mentioned in the files were a protest of an Italian-led
parade honoring Columbus, protests of a killing by a police SWAT team
that went to the wrong house, protests against the International Monetary
Fund and World Bank, and demonstrations by the Chiapas Coalition against
alleged civil rights violations in Mexico's poorest state.
source: Associated Press)
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