Video of Spokane protest arrests shows lack of respect for free speech
Posted by Arroyoribera on January 20, 2008
Though the event occurred on June 27, 2007, I have just come across this video and commentary about the arrest of two protesters during then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’s secret meeting with Spokane area law enforcement. The importance of this information falls in two areas — 1) the text reprinted below is an excellent statement by a Spokane journalist on Spokane police acting arbitrarily against peaceful protesters, and 2) it includes an exceptionally revealing video of the arrests of both the wheelchair-bound Rebecca Lamb and local populist Dan Treecraft. (Note: as of 1/24/08 Frank Sennett will be a Chicago journalist, having just taken over the position of editor for Time Out Chicago.)
But the Spokane Police Department can’t just let the proceedings play out calmly. Instead, an officer moves to arrest a woman in a wheelchair–Rebecca Lamb–after she refuses to move behind an arbitrary free-speech line officers are setting up with traffic cones and yellow tape. That’s even though the group is showing no tendency toward disorder or disruption.
With this capricious exercise of police authority (and authority granted by whom?–certainly not the Constitution), the officers turn the heat up on the proceedings and earn some chants along the lines of “No more cops.”
The SPD leadership must set a much higher threshold for triggering arrests of peaceful protesters in Spokane.
This is not a police state nor a security state.
People require the latitude to express themselves peacefully under the law without being bullied and ordered around by officers who somehow perceive 55-year-old, wheelchair-bound activists as threats to public safety.
UPDATE: Here’s another video of the arrests, forwarded by a reader.