Whatever you think of the Entrada or the protesters, the police actions were completely unnecessary and could easily be understood to be saying to the Native community and its supporters: You have no rights here. Imagine how that resonates within the Native community.
Since yesterday’s post, I spoke with a civil rights attorney who told me that if he were representing those arrested, he would certainly want to work into the court record any official actions taken by the Mayor or City Council condemning police actions. So while it may be that the Council will not formally rebuke the police, it is important that the Council and the Mayor hear from us and that they answer our questions:
- Who authorized the initiation of the arrest process? At the point that arrests began, all the protesters save about 10 had entered the ‘free speech zone’ and those who had not were about 5 feet from the zone. All the protesters had peacefully moved 100 feet. Given this, why were arrests made? Who was being threatened by protesters still being 5 feet from the zone?
- Who approved of the concept of a free speech zone in the first place? How was it that the Fiesta Council’s permit for the Plaza led to the city limiting free speech and allowing the police to arrest a tourist merely for wearing a bandanna?
- Why have the Mayor and City Council been largely silent about the police actions? Where is the leadership calling for an investigation of the entire process?
- Will the City Council entertain initiating a resolution condemning the police department for its actions or encouraging the District Attorney to drop all charges against any of those arrested?
Public Safety Committee meeting, on Tuesday, Sept 19 at 4pm at the City Council Chambers at 200 Lincoln and Calls & Emails. Regardless of how you feel about the Entrada, the police behavior was uncalled for and a public investigation should be conducted. We would like Retake supporters to email and call their City Councilors and the Mayor and ask that they launch an investigation and pass a resolution apologizing for the wrongful arrests of eight individuals who were rightfully exercising their freedom of speech. Click here for contact information for all City Councilors and the Mayor. We also want to encourage our supporters to come to the next Public Safety Committee meeting. The agenda includes a report from Police Chief Gallagher. There is also an agenda item, Comments from the Floor. I will be there. I hope you will, too.