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You Have the Right to Remain Silent: NLG Guide to Law Enforcement Encounters

Posted 11 years ago on July 27, 2012, 10:28 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt

Occupy Wall Street is a nonviolent movement for social and economic justice, but in recent days disturbing reports have emerged of Occupy-affiliated activists being targeted by US law enforcement, including agents from the FBI and Department of Homeland Security. To help ensure Occupiers and allied activists know their rights when encountering law enforcement, we are publishing in full the National Lawyers Guild's booklet: You Have the Right to Remain Silent. The NLG provides invaluable support to the Occupy movement and other activists – please click here to support the NLG.

We strongly encourage all Occupiers to read and share the information provided below. We also recommend you enter the NLG's national hotline number (888-654-3265) into your cellphone (if you have one) and keep a copy handy. This information is not a substitute for legal advice. You should contact the NLG or a criminal defense attorney immediately if you have been visited by the FBI or other law enforcement officials. You should also alert your relatives, friends, co-workers and others so that they will be prepared if they are contacted as well.

You Have the Right to Remain Silent: A Know Your Rights Guide for Law Enforcement Encounters

What Rights Do I Have?

Whether or not you’re a citizen, you have rights under the United States Constitution. The Fifth Amendment gives every person the right to remain silent: not to answer questions asked by a police officer or government agent. The Fourth Amendment restricts the government’s power to enter and search your home or workplace, although there are many exceptions and new laws have expanded the government’s power to conduct surveillance. The First Amendment protects your right to speak freely and to advocate for social change. However, if you are a non-citizen, the Department of Homeland Security may target you based on your political activities.

Standing Up For Free Speech

The government’s crusade against politically-active individuals is intended to disrupt and suppress the exercise of time-honored free speech activities, such as boycotts, protests, grassroots organizing and solidarity work. Remember that you have the right to stand up to the intimidation tactics of FBI agents and other law enforcement officials who, with political motives, are targeting organizing and free speech activities. Informed resistance to these tactics and steadfast defense of your and others’ rights can bring positive results. Each person who takes a courageous stand makes future resistance to government oppression easier for all. The National Lawyers Guild has a long tradition of standing up to government repression. The organization itself was labeled a “subversive” group during the McCarthy Era and was subject to FBI surveillance and infiltration for many years. Guild attorneys have defended FBI-targeted members of the Black Panther Party, the American Indian Movement, and the Puerto Rican independence movement. The NLG exposed FBI surveillance, infiltration and disruption tactics that were detailed during the 1975-76 COINTELPRO hearings. In 1989 the NLG prevailed in a lawsuit on behalf of several activist organizations, including the Guild, that forced the FBI to expose the extent to which it had been spying on activist movements. Under the settlement, the FBI turned over roughly 400,000 pages of its files on the Guild, which are now available at the Tamiment Library at New York University.

What if FBI Agents or Police Contact Me?

What if an agent or police officer comes to the door?

Do not invite the agents or police into your home. Do not answer any questions. Tell the agent that you do not wish to talk with him or her. You can state that your lawyer will contact them on your behalf. You can do this by stepping outside and pulling the door behind you so that the interior of your home or office is not visible, getting their contact information or business cards and then returning inside. They should cease questioning after this. If the agent or officer gives a reason for contacting you, take notes and give the information to your attorney. Anything you say, no matter how seemingly harmless or insignificant, may be used against you or others in the future. Lying to or misleading a federal agent is a crime. The more you speak, the more opportunity for federal law enforcement to find something you said (even if not intentionally) false and assert that you lied to a federal officer.

Do I have to answer questions?

You have the constitutional right to remain silent. It is not a crime to refuse to answer questions. You do not have to talk to anyone, even if you have been arrested or are in jail. You should affirmatively and unambiguously state that you wish to remain silent and that you wish to consult an attorney. Once you make the request to speak to a lawyer, do not say anything else. The Supreme Court recently ruled that answering law enforcement questions may be taken as a waiver of your right to remain silent, so it is important that you assert your rights and maintain them. Only a judge can order you to answer questions. There is one exception: some states have “stop and identify” statutes which require you to provide identity information or your name if you have been detained on reasonable suspicion that you may have committed a crime. A lawyer in your state can advise you of the status of these requirements where you reside.



Occupy Chicago: Anaheim Solidarity March Against Ongoing Police Repression

Posted 11 years ago on July 27, 2012, 4:12 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt

"#1 gang here is the police"

from the Occupy Chicago for Anaheim Solidarity Group (via InterOccupy):


On Saturday, July 21, Anaheim, CA police officers murdered 25-year-old Manuel Diaz, shooting him in the back and head as he ran from them. When Manuel’s friends, family and neighbors gathered to voice outrage over the murder, police responded with continued violence, releasing an attack dog, as well as shooting rubber bullets and beanbag projectile at the crowd, which included small children. Subsequent protests have been met with additional force, resulting in multiple injuries and arrests.

The ad-hoc Anaheim Solidarity Group in Chicago calls for a march to be held in support of those facing continued police violence and state repression in Anaheim. Participants will gather this Friday, July 27th, at 8pm in Millennium Park, at 201 E Randolph, where they will create banners, signs, and chalk messages in solidarity with Anaheim. The march will step off at 9pm.

Marta Marlin of the Anaheim Solidarity Group says,

Chicago is no stranger to police violence. The Chicago Police Department is at war with our low-income communities, and communities of color. We remember Rekia Boyd, gunned down by an off-duty police officer this March, and the victims of torture at the hands of Chicago police officers, who were recently awarded millions in court settlements. Enough is enough! We stand in solidarity with the people of Anaheim, as we continue our own struggles against police violence and oppression.

Friday March Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/155049387965415/

Community activists have also called for a rally against police violence this Saturday, at 12pm, at the Daley Center, 50 W. Washington.

Saturday Event info: https://www.facebook.com/events/245411462244517/

Video of Anaheim Police Brutality:

Sign the Petition for Anaheim Families

The Anaheim Solidarity Group is an ad-hoc coalition of Chicagoans from all walks of life working against police and state violence and repression.


Legal Experts File Complaints about Widespread Rights Violations in Policing of Occupy Movement

Posted 11 years ago on July 26, 2012, 10:25 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt

protestors pepper-sprayed by NYPD

The City of New York must take immediate action to correct the clear pattern of abusive policing of Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protests, said legal experts in a complaint filed Wednesday with New York City authorities, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the United Nations. The complaint is based on a report providing in-depth documentation and legal analysis of widespread human rights violations in New York City’s treatment of Occupy protests over the past ten months.

The 132-page report—Suppressing Protest: Human Rights Violations in the U.S. Response to Occupy Wall Street—is the first in a series by the Protest and Assembly Rights Project, a national consortium of law school clinics addressing the United States response to Occupy Wall Street. The report is available at: http://www.chrgj.org/projects/suppressingprotest.pdf

“Recently, officers repeatedly yanked the broken collarbone of a protester as he begged them to stop hurting him. And just two weeks ago, a phalanx of officers removed a grandmother from a park for the ‘crime’ of knitting in a folding chair, arrested a man trying to help her leave, and then arrested another man filming the incident,” said NYU Law School Professor Sarah Knuckey, one of the report’s principal authors, who also witnessed these incidents. “These are just two of hundreds of examples we document in our report, demonstrating a pattern of abusive and unaccountable protest policing by the NYPD.”

In the report experts catalog 130 specific alleged incidents of excessive police force, and hundreds of additional violations, including unjustified arrests, abuse of journalists, unlawful closure of sidewalks and parks to protesters, and pervasive surveillance of peaceful activists. Yet, to date, only one police officer is known to have been disciplined for misconduct in the context of OWS policing.

“The excessive and unpredictable policing of OWS is one more example of the dire need for widespread reform of NYPD practices. These violations are occurring against a backdrop of police infiltration of activist groups, massive stop-and-frisk activity in communities of color, and the surveillance of Muslims,” said Emi MacLean, a human rights lawyer and primary author of the report. “This report is a call to action.”

The report calls for urgent state action, including:

  • The creation of an independent Inspector General for the NYPD;
  • A full and impartial review of the city’s response to OWS;
  • Investigations and prosecutions of responsible officers; and
  • The creation of new NYPD protest policing guidelines to protect against rights violations.

If New York authorities fail to respond, the report calls for federal intervention.

“The U.S. response to the Occupy movement – which itself emerged as part of a wave of global social justice protests—is being closely watched by other governments,” said Fordham Law Professor Katherine Glenn, one of the report’s principal authors. “In the face of this international attention, this report shows that New York City’s response actually violates international law and, as such, sets a bad example to the rest of the world. The city now has an opportunity to set this right through reforms that reflect just and accountable policing practices.”

This report is the first in a series by the Protest and Assembly Rights Project. This report focuses on New York City, and was authored by the Global Justice Clinic (NYU School of Law) and the Walter Leitner International Human Rights Clinic (Fordham Law School). Subsequent reports will address the responses in Boston, Charlotte, Oakland, and San Francisco. Participating law clinics are at NYU, Fordham, Harvard, Stanford, Rutgers-Newark, Charlotte, and Loyola-New Orleans.

See below for the executive summary of the report:



Everywhere is Anaheim

Posted 11 years ago on July 25, 2012, 5:23 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt

Anaheim kids give firsthand accounts of police brutality

Last Saturday in Anaheim, California, police on routine patrol killed an unarmed person of color (Manuel Diaz), shooting him in the back in broad daylight. As a crowd of concerned neighbors gathered at the site to demand justice, they in turn were attacked by heavily armed police, who were recorded on video firing rubber bullets and pepper balls at close range into the crowd, which included women and children. In the ensuing chaos, an unrestrained police dog charged the crowd, mauling two people. Although police claim this was an accident, neighborhood witnesses disagree. Witnesses further report that, even as the events were still unfolding, police offered to buy footage from people's cell phones, apparently to cover up the incident. Later that same night, Anaheim PD shot and killed another person under suspicious circumstances. This is at least the sixth "officer-involved" shooting in Anaheim this year alone.

These are not isolated incidents; police violence is pandemic across the nation, and indeed the world. For people of color, poor people, immigrants, LGBTQ people, drug users, and other marginalized communities: EVERYWHERE IS ANAHEIM.

Although statistics documenting the number of "officer-involved shootings" (doublespeak for killings and attempted killings committed by police) are nearly impossible to find (we looked), marginalized communities everywhere know they are commonplace. We have not forgotten Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, Duanna Johnson, Rekia Boyd, or the countless other victims of police violence. As long as power is concentrated in the hands of an (overwhelmingly racist, sexist, classist, and homophobic) elite, we continue to see police violence used against those of us at the margins.

Terrorized communities are left to ask: who polices the police, and why are police able to deploy lethal and potentially lethal force against unarmed people in the first place? In the wake of the horrific tragedy in Aurora, Colorado, where police were able to arrest a heavily armed suspected mass murderer without injury, why are police empowered to act as judge, jury, and executioner when it comes to people of color, poor people, immigrants, LGBTQ people, drug users, and other marginalized communities?

Enough is enough. Terrorized communities are standing up. Demonstrators, including members of Occupy Orange County and other regional Occupiers, have rallied outside the Anaheim Police Department headquarters and at Anaheim City Hall, in spite of the menacing presence of riot police throughout the city.

Manuel's parents have held vigils with hundreds of their primarily Latin@ neighbors and have pledged to file a lawsuit, saying their son was merely out with friends when he was murdered by the police – even as corporate media parrot phrases like "suspected gang member" (a label applied liberally by police to further profile, criminalize, and incarcerate people of color), and villify protesters by flashing images of property damage that pale in comparison to videos of police wantonly brutalizing civilians that instantly go viral online but are rarely shown on for-profit news outlets. Two officers have been placed on paid leave and the city has said they are conducting an independent review – but we know that justice rarely comes when the State is allowed to police itself.

We demand real justice and accountability; power must be restored to the people! From Anaheim to New York and beyond, the people must respond: No justice, no peace, disarm the police!

In Anaheim – even amidst escalating police violence – spontaneous demonstrations numbering in the thousands have continued to grow nearly every night since Manuel's murder. We encourage solidarity demonstrations everywhere else! See below for more info on actions:



Support Rent Strikers: Don’t push the 99% out of NYC + #OWS Events 7/25-8/3

Posted 11 years ago on July 25, 2012, 4:28 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: nyc, rent strike

Something big is happening in Sunset Park. Tenants are demanding liveable conditions and a response to the 400 documented housing violations in their building. For years residents in these three buildings have been living in fear of fires, electrical blackouts and disease-triggering agents like mold, cockroaches and rats. Despite numerous complaints made to city agencies and politicians’ offices, these violations continue to threaten the lives of dozens of residents.

All over New York City, landlords like Orazio Petito are trying to displace residents from their homes because they can gentrify the buildings and raise rent. Read more about how this courageous community is standing up to defend their home.

Occupy Sunset Park asks you to join them to show ongoing support for the rent strikers by stopping by for a nightly vigil from 6pm to 7pm on 46th Street between 5th and 6th Ave. in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, near the R train at 45th St.

Occupy these Actions and Assemblies

Wednesday, July 25, 6:00-8:00pm
Tech Training: Civi and Wiki
33 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn
Come to this Tech-Ops/Occupy training in wiki or Civi use, meet Occupy movement techies, and have a beer with us. Civi is a Constituent Relationship Manager (CRM) to gives you tools to send email blasts to your groups, sign up new people, accept donations and more. Wikis are a type of website that is easy for a large and decentralized group of people to use to share information.

Wednesday, July 25, 6:30pm - 8:00pm
Farmworker Justice Rally
Chipotle at 17th St & Broadway (864 Broadway)
Join Occupy’s 99 Pickets and Community/Farmworker Alliance to demand Chipotle stand true to your "sustainable" image and Sign the Fair Food Agreement with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. There will be a wall of postcards, rally and a chance to get your picture taken for chipocrisy.tumblr.com.

Wednesday, July 25, 5:00 - 9:00pm (and Every Wednesday)
Freedom School Community Night
195 Maujer St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Everyone Wednesday night the Freedom School welcomes the community to a potluck and tour of the school. Come visit and see all the renovations: the OWS Library, the brand-new Media Center, and more! Found out more about the school at paulrobesonfreedomschool.org.

Friday, July 27th, 3:00pm
March on Wall Street
Liberty Plaza (Zuccotti Park) to Wall Street
Join us in meeting the bankers and brokers for the closing bell as we issue our grievances and stand in support of workers everywhere.

Friday, July 27th, 7:00pm
Sunset Park Food For Thought Film Series: Broken on All Sides
La Casita, 414 45th Street, Sunset Park
Next Friday's Food For Thought FIlm Showing will be BROKEN ON ALL SIDES, a timely exploration of mass incarceration and the racist nature of the criminal justice system as explored in Michelle Alexander's THE NEW JIM CROW Join us for film and discussion! Friday, July 27, at La Casita in Sunset Park. FREE.

Saturday, July 28th, 7:30am
Stop the Frack Attack. Rally in DC (bus leaving from NYC)
Liberty Plaza (Zuccotti Park)
OWS Environmental Solidarity joins other New Yorkers in the fight against Fracking. Now is the time to bring the stories of the people truly impacted by oil and gas development to the legislative and regulatory entities that can—and must be pushed to—make a difference in the way that the fossil fuel industry operates in this country and the energy options the nation pursues.

Saturday, July 28, 11:30am
Premiere of Occupy Brooklyn TV
Brooklyn cable TV & streaming
Occupy Public Access TV is launching a new OWS TV show this week. It will air on TW channel 35, Cablevision channel 68, and RCN channel 83 in Brooklyn, and on Verizon cable channel 43 throughout NYC. A special edition of the show, with extra footage, will be published on occupypublicaccesstv.com.

Saturday, July 28th, 1:00pm
Radical Walking Tours - Gowanus Canal & Brooklyn Transect
Union Street @ Gowanus Canal
Engage the city, your body, and others, by putting yourself in motion to engage the political, ecological, and your embodied urban environment – New York City.

Saturday, July 28th, 2:00pm
S17 Education Planning Assembly
Washington Square Park
September 17th, Occupy's one-year anniversary, is just around the corner. This is a call for all groups planning education-related activities to come together and coordinate actions, resources, needs, etc. If you aren't involved in a group, but want to help plan educational events for S17, this meeting is also for you.

Sunday, July 29th, 2:00pm
Strike Debt Strategy Session
33 W 14th St New York
Join us as we strategize about the next steps in this movement to transform, challenge and re-think debt. As Strike Debt gains momentum and as debt emerges as a key theme among many organizers, we gather to ask some major questions about debt and movement-building.

Tuesday, July 31st, 6:30pm
Occupy Astoria Movie Night - The New Jim Crow
Church of the Redeemer, 30-14 Crescent Street at 30th Avenue
Join Occupy Astoria for our ongoing Film Series. The New Jim Crow, litigator turned legal scholar Michelle Alexander's recent book, challenges us to place mass incarceration at the heart of our struggles for racial justice in America.

Friday, August 3, 4:00pm
Wake Up Wall Street: Money Out, Voters In
The 3rd in a series of condemnations of CITIZENS UNITED. As long as our democracy is hijacked by big corporate money, there will be no business as usual.

Daily #OccupyUnionSq Info Table
Every day Occupy Union Square has an info table open and staffed, acting as a hub to promote the constant flurry of events and meetings occurring across OWS.


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