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Saturday, November 08, 2003

Land of the Free?
This letter was forwarded to me through the Kucinich campaign. You may find it interesting.

This is from Frank Amrose and Marie Mason of Sweetwater Alliance, those who have received the subpeonas for the grand jury. This was about a protest at Ford on Friday, Nov. 7 from 4:00-6:00 PM in Dearborn. Kucinich folks, were you there? If so, please tell what happened in the protest.

Protesting is illegal in Dearborn, MI according to the police. We (Marie, Andrei, and myself) showed up at Village Ford this evening (friday) to have a peaceful picket as part of the national day of action at Ford. We did not even have our 3 foot by 4 foot banner unfurled when a police car came screeching up the sidewalk and nearly hit Marie. It scared her and caused her to drop her camera. The cop jumped out and yelled at us to leave now or be arrested. He said we could not protest here. I said, "where, in America?" He did not respond. He asked for our ID's aggressively, which we refused to give him. In the US, you are not required to have or show an ID on your person or show ID while walking on the sidewalk, no matter how gruffly the request is made. In the meantime, Marie called our attorney, Buck Davis. While he was on the line, the cop tried to illegally search me. I told him that I did not consent to a search and unless I was under arrest, he did not have that right. He told me he did. Marie told him that he should talk to our attorney, as there have been supreme court cases guaranteeing the right to not be unreasonably searched.

We ended up leaving, as we did not want to get arrested. We figured the grand jury subpoenas and Marie's court cases were enough to deal with for one week. As we were trying to drive away, they pulled us over. Again the police tried to get all of our ID's, but everyone but Andrei (who was driving) refused, as is our right. The cop said that he wanted our ID's as a part of an investigation. We told him that unless we were under arrest, then we would not identify ourselves or show our ID's.

We still had our attorney on the line, and offered again to the officers to talk to Buck. They said they did not want to talk to him. We then told him that we wanted to leave because we didnt have anything to say to them regarding their investigation of the attempted picket at the Ford Dealership. He then took the drivers info down and gave Andrei his license back and told us we were free to go. They followed us until we left Dearborn.

It is a pretty surreal experience to be run out of town. It just goes to show who really calls the shots in Dearborn--Ford. We are not sure if others tried to come to the protest and were similarly run out, but hopefully not.

Since Village Ford would not let us talk to the public for the hour we planned to picket, we are encouraging people to call Village Ford at 313-565-3900 (they are closed on the weekend). Please tell them to stop selling gas guzzling cars and trucks and start selling fuel efficient hybrids. Also tell them to respect people's first amendment rights. It is reprehensible for them to call the gestapo out to prevent a peaceful protest.

Frank and Marie and Andrei

Massasauga Earth First!
PO Box 44173
Detroit, MI 48244