Posts Tagged ‘RNC’

Arrested at the RNC: Still no charges?

It’s easy to forget, but just two months ago, St. Paul played host to the Republican National Convention, which resulted in, not just the hottest VP nomination since Richard M. Johnson, but some of the largest protests, and subsequently the largest mass arrests the Twin Cities has ever seen. 400 people were arrested in the weeks leading up to the convention and over the first three days, but another 400 people were arrested in one day on September 4, the final day of the convention.

It probably would not surprise you to learn that I was one of those arrested.

It’s a little late to give a first hand account of what happened leading up to the arrests, though a friend of mine who accompanied me to the protest wrote a very stirring account herself, and it’s a little late to speak out on the bully tactics that the police used in handling the protesters, though City Pages author Matt Snyders does an excellent job recounting the tale.

But it’s not too late to complain: why haven’t I had my trial yet?

I was arrested at 8:30pm on September 4, with no less than ten men in riot gear pointing their guns at me. I had flash-bang grenades and tear gas shot at me. That is to say, shot directly at me – I actually had a flash-bag bounce off of me before it went off. I was yelled at, and told that if I didn’t put my hands on my head and drop to the ground, that they will open fire on me. I was then cuffed, and forced to sit on the curb for three and a half hours, sitting right next to a 16 year old girl, an old woman walking home, and three journalists from MTV, Colorado Public Radio, and the City Pages (the very guy who wrote the above-linked article). I was finally processed and taken to the Ramsey County Jail, where I had to wait another two and a half hours until I was finally issued my citation and released.

I went through a lot. Or rather, Ramsey County has gone through a lot to make sure that criminals like me are off the streets and not exercising our First Amendment rights. And yet, I’ve just gotten off the phone with the Ramsey County Courthouse, and have been informed that, after 76 days, I have not yet been charged with anything. “Oh, you will be,” I was told, “Don’t you worry. Just call back in two weeks.”

Meanwhile, St. Paul Police Chief John Harrington is saying that while mistakes were made in the handling of the arrests at the RNC, “police tried hard to sort out innocent people and release them as soon as possible.” Yes, I was sitting next to three journalists, a 16 year old girl, and an old woman who was walking home. The old woman was carrying groceries. The journalists had RNC-certified credentials. The 16 year old girl was crying. And yet they all went to jail with me. In fact, when the City Pages journalist asserted that he was a journalist, he was ridiculed by a police officer, and told “Well, I heard that press are going to jail tonight anyway, so it doesn’t matter.”

Yup. Police sure tried hard to sort out the innocent people.

The RNC and Sarah Palin are Helping Minnesota’s Economy

By spending a shit-ton of money on clothes for Sarah Palin.

The Republican National Committee has spent more than $150,000 to clothe and accessorize vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and her family since her surprise pick by John McCain in late August.

According to financial disclosure records, the accessorizing began in early September and included bills from Saks Fifth Avenue in St. Louis and New York for a combined $49,425.74.

The records also document a couple of big-time shopping trips to Neiman Marcus in Minneapolis, including one $75,062.63 spree in early September.

The RNC also spent $4,716.49 on hair and makeup through September after reporting no such costs in August.

The RNC certainly got more bang for their buck here, with that whole no-sales-tax-on-clothes thing. $75,000 at Neiman Marcus! That’s fancy downtown shopping. Not even at the MOA or the Galleria. Suck it, Bloomington and Edina!

All the better to spank your $9000 waxed ass with . . .

A $1000 Prada belt, ofcourse.

He met her in the bar of the swank hotel and invited her to his room. Once there, the woman fixed the drinks and told him to get undressed.

And that, the delegate to the Republican National Convention told police, was the last thing he remembered.  When he awoke, the woman was gone, as was more than $120,000 in money, jewelry and other belongings. The thief’s take stunned cops.

As for me, I like the comments. 

Sarah D writes “Hotels have safes for a reason. Too bad this guy didn’t think of that.”
d-boon Chimes in “It never happened. The publicity wh@re is making it up”
John asks “Does anyone feel sorry for this man? “
The best comment yet, IMHO, comes from  “I suspect it was “Obama Girl.””
. . . . and ofcourse there are the omnipresent crazies commenting galore.
How crazy can your comment be?


The Minnesota Secretary of State’s website has complete results from yesterday’s primary. Warning: data porn. I thanked my polling place volunteers. Did you? Mary Lahammer on the primary’s biggest winners and losers.

If you follow the Minnesota Historical Society on Twitter, you will receive a “this day in Minnesota history” tweet and alerts about other MHS events.

While Northeast Beat the Website has been assimilated by the TC Daily Planet, Northeast Beat lives on in a Ning group! (FYI, Ning is a service providing DYI social networks.) It has 138 members at the moment.

Tom Elko at MnIndy: “McCain connected 35W bridge collapse to Palin’s pork.” Money quote from McCain: “‘Maybe if we had done it right, maybe some of that money would have gone to inspect those bridges and other bridges around the country,’ McCain said at a campaign stop in Ankeny, Iowa on Aug. 4, 2007. ‘Maybe the 200,000 people who cross that bridge every day would have been safer than spending $233 million of your tax dollars on a bridge in Alaska to an island with 50 people on it.'” Zing!

If you enjoy playing the hockey, check out You can find games and sign up yourself/your friends/a team to play. Ice hockey (indoor), pond hockey, roller hockey, adult, youth, etc.

Opposite of hockey: Are you a surfer? Or at least interested in protecting our beaches and lakefront? Graeme Thickins is helping startup the Minnesota chapter of the Surfrider Foundation.

Webdigs is yet another local real estate brokerage. They’re pimping their use of technology/teh internets and some sort of rebate program. It’s pretty to look at. I haven’t done enough house shopping to know how their user interface compares. Also, having not done much by way of homebuying I appreciate their “How Buying Works” and “How Selling Works” info. And they have a pretty good blog going (which I’m not just saying because they linked us once).

I’m completely RNCed out, but the fallout continues. Y’all know where to go (The Uptake and MnIndy). If you need some handholding, Thinkery’s early-September archive has some most excellent aggregation of independent and MSM coverage. (Yeah, I’m rounding up a roundup. Meta!)

People fret about gas prices, wish they could get away with driving less, but not everyone is hearty, hale, and brave enough to bike. So naturally scooters are the next best thing. We are totally planning on buying a scooter next summer.

Did you know there’s a Holy Land Exhibit in Stevens Square? And that it’s 50 years old? Me neither. It’s not affiliated with the restaurant/deli/imported grocery biz.

Rhubarbarism describes for you the archetypes of Twin Cities cyclists. (Yeah, this one is ancient in internet years, but it’s still funny.)

“The unassuming gazillionaire”: The Strib’s Patent Pending blog talks to Saint Paul native Jawed Karim (PayPal and YouTube co-founder) about his latest project, Youniversity Ventures, which helps fund internet software startups founded by college students.

“If I had 4 days in St Paul…” Where Jen would eat, drink, and shop.

I’m not familiar with Big Quarters, but I want one of their “From the Home of Brown Babies and White Mothers” t-shirts (even though my dad’s the white one). Lake City Browns! w00t! Here, watch one of their music videos. (via MPLSSTPL)

Dave Barry on Saint Paul

Dave Barry on St. Paul:

Anyway, the Republican convention is over, and the friendly, picturesque city of St. Paul now will take down the roughly 63,000 miles of really high security fence that protected the delegates and news media from ever coming into direct contact with the friendly, picturesque city of St. Paul.

I suppose the fence was necessary, but I feel bad for St. Paul. I mean, this is a city with a fascinating history. The first inhabitants were Native Americans, who came here more than 1,500 years ago, then died and formed burial mounds. After that, pretty much nothing happened until this week, when the Republican convention showed up.

This was supposed to be St. Paul’s big moment to shine, but the fence kept most of the visitors inside the convention center. When they left, they were bused out of St. Paul, most of them back to restaurants and hotels in Minneapolis, a fact that really frosted St. Paul’s civic shorts. Minneapolis is St. Paul’s bitter arch-rival city, because Minneapolis thinks it is just so sophisticated and “hip” with its slick Minneapolis ways.

OK, I’m exaggerating. Nobody here is bitter or angry. As far as I can tell, nobody in Minnesota ever gets riled up about anything. Minnesotans really are, as the expression goes, “Minnesota nice.” They are beyond nice. They make Mister Rogers look like Hitler. If you drove your car at 85 mph into a Minnesota family’s house, their reaction, once they pulled you out of the wreckage and gave you some hot cocoa, would be to apologize for building their house in a location that you would eventually want to drive through.

Which may be why no Minnesotan has ever been elected president.


So, who got arrested last night?

MnIndy’s Paul Demko writes up his experience getting detained while covering the protests

Star Tribune says 818 people were arrested over the 4 days of the RNC, including 396 last night

The UpTake’s volunteer coordinator Suzanne was shooting video of a police-protester confrontation when she got caught up in the melée and was arrested.

Video of WCCO photojournalist Tom Aviles being arrested

What’s your story?

Three Lessons from the Twin Cities’ Response to the RNC Unrest

Watching the last few days of unrest in the Twin Cities surrounding the Republican National Convention unfold, a few things have made themselves evident to me in a way that I’d heard of and thought a little about but never personally witnessed before.

  1. Law enforcement may be hurting more than they are helping.
  2. Our local independent media’s coverage has been a good complement to the traditional media’s coverage.
  3. Volunteer opportunities abound.


Rage Against the Machine RNC – 09.02.08 (Performs Acapella in Crowd)


Courtesy of Above the Fold

Back home again

I made it back to the liberal stronghold that is Minneapolis, although it took me longer than normal. Definitely longer than it took me to get to St. Paul this morning. Granted, when I boarded the 94 eastbound bus, it was during rush hour, and coming home, I stopped at Innuendo for Happy Hour first. The 7:46 schedule 94 bus never came, so I caught the 16 instead, at 8pm. It got me to Minneapolis at about 8:45. I probably should’ve waited for the 94 at 8:16, but I figured I’d still get home around the same time.

My overall impression of the day, though, was…meh. In a phrase that would’ve made Yogi Berra happy, “if you didn’t know it was happening, you wouldn’t know it was happening.” Now, that’s not to say that there weren’t events, that there weren’t rallies, that there wasn’t stuff that was newsworthy. What I mean is, if you didn’t live in the restricted area, if you didn’t work near the zone, all you would see is a lot of people, and a lot of cops. In other words, it would look like you were living or working in a city. Now, for St. Paul, that’s a bit of a change. In fact, I’d say that St. Paul seemed a lot more like Minneapolis today, in terms of general activity.

There was lots of conversation. As you walked through the skyway, or rode the bus, you’d hear people say things like, “Did you see that guy with the bullhorn?” or “Man, there were loads of cops in riot gear at the park!” But unless you went looking for it, or by misfortune, lived or worked in the specific areas, it didn’t really affect you.

And there were lots of cops, both in St. Paul and in Minneapolis. At every street corner, there is a police presence. I don’t know that I necessarily felt safer. I mean, no one is going to mug me with a cop right there, but if someone did mug me, I don’t know that the cop would’ve done anything. If I had a placard denouncing the government, I think the cops would’ve done something. Not necessarily violently, but there would’ve been a reaction. I just didn’t feel like they were there to police “normal crime”. You could probably blow a stoplight without too much worry of getting a ticket, unless your car was decorated to protest something.

Mears Park rally quiet so far

I took a break from work and checked out the crowd gathering in Mears Park, along with the police presence in full riot gear across the street. I didn’t actually go into the park, but stood outside my building on 5th Street, between Jackson and Sibley. The cops were gathered on the corner next to where I was standing, taking up the whole sidewalk (pedestrians were allowed through, but had to step into traffic to get around them). I could also see more riot cops in front of the TPT Building on 4th, by looking down the alley. Vehicle traffic was busy for even rush hour, with extra motorcycle police driving around the block. More than once I saw people get out of vehicles with cameras and other recording equipment and head towards the park while the vehicles waited in traffic.

I couldn’t hear anyone speaking, and only the occasional burst of a siren as they kept traffic flowing.

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