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Wednesday, October 06, 2004

More Harrassment

From Gloria, a regular at the Tuesday and Saturday protests in downtown Ann Arbor:
Another one of our protesters was issued a citation yesterday at the Ann Arbor Federal Bldg.

Up to last week, the feds said it was okay to stand on the red-brick plaza or sit on the concrete berm only if we were not carrying signs. Bernie Klein was standing on the red bricks not holding a sign. Two federal cops approached him and told him he had to get back on the sidewalk. Bernie said he wasn't carrying a sign. Cops said it didn't make any difference - he was part of the protest group and, sign or no sign, he had to stay on the sidewalk. Bernie stood his ground and refused to move. The cops then got out their ticketbook and wrote him up for a $50 fine. He has 21 days to pay or else appear at the U.S. District Court in Detroit.

The charge on the ticket was (non?) "conformity with signs and directions." There are no "signs" and Bernie thought the "directions" may be the cop's verbal directions.

Shirley Zempel has filed a complaint with the ACLU over Carolyn Diem's citation. She will add Bernie's to the complaint.
After 83-year-old Carolyn was ticketed for sitting down, I sent an e-mail to my two city council members and the mayor. I haven't heard from either council member (although one said he is out of the office until October 11); The mayor responded immediately:
I too have been disturbed by some of the things I am hearing regarding enforcement on the Federal Building site. I have inquired as to the role of AAPD officers in this. I have also been told that the Federal officers are "cracking down" and I am investigating this as well and I will
issue a protest if after the facts are known it is warranted. I know it was Federal Officers who ticketed Ms. Diem and we of course have no authority over them other than to issue a protest ourselves.

Thank you for writing.

John Hieftje
Ann Arbor was the first city in the nation to pass an anti-Patriot Act resolution, and later passed a more comprehensive one. It sounds like it's time for the city to step up and protect the rights of its citizens against the Washington fascists.