Minneapolis City Council Members Gary Schiff and Cam Gordon issued a call this afternoon for an independent investigation of police actions during the Republican National Convention (RNC). Read their full statement below the jump.
Today’s call follows two earlier statements on RNC policing statements from city council corridors in Minneapolis and St. Paul. On Tuesday, Gordon and City Council Member Elizabeth Glidden decried police intimidation that chills free speech and called on authorities to provide a safe space for political expression. (Gordon also blogged on the topic that day, emphasizing press freedoms, as he did after last week’s raids.)
On Wednesday, the St. Paul City Council said in a one-page statement that charges of law enforcement overreaction had been taken out of context, but also promised that “all of this week’s actions will be thoroughly reviewed.”
Here is Gordon and Schiff’s statement.
Minneapolis Council Members Cam Gordon and Gary Schiff Call for Independent Investigation of RNC-Related Law Enforcement Actions
Throughout the Republican National Convention we have seen and heard a number of disturbing reports of actions taken by law enforcement, including the Minneapolis Police Department personnel, against journalists, observers, medics, bystanders, people engaged in peaceful protest and others.
We have also heard stories of patience and flexibility on the part of many law enforcement personnel. We thank and commend law enforcement for the service they provide and the many instances in the past few days where police as well as protesters have shown restraint and the ability to engage in healthy civic protest without incident.
Now that the convention is over, we join others calling for an independent, blue ribbon panel to conduct a thorough investigation into the events, decisions and policies surrounding security issues and the RNC, hold hearings and make recommendations for future policy changes.
The recent reports of law enforcement targeting observers and reporters, engaging in preemptive raids and questionable uses of force show a troubling pattern that is not consistent with our hopes for showing the world how our Cities respect the right to civic debate and are committed to preserving free speech during the 2008 Republican National Convention.
We believe that the health of our democracy depends [on] the ability of a free press to function and understand how our government’s actions encouraged or discouraged people to participate in political speech. While violence and property damage by protesters or others should not be tolerated we also know that safety should not be used [as] an excuse to limit a free press or stifle free speech.
Council Member, Second Ward
Council Member, Ninth Ward