Over 400 people were arrested while protesting at the 2000 Republican National Convention (RNC) in Philadelphia, PA. This website provides information on their legal situation and the issues they are protesting.


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Insurance Assurance

09/27/01 - by Gwen Shaffer - City Paper

The host committee for the Republican National Convention paid $100,000 for a $3 million insurance policy months before the August 2000 convention, specifically covering liability claims against Philadelphia police.

Some activists are convinced that officials determined that they'd rather keep Philly streets quiet, by making mass arrests, and deal with consequential litigation later. This policy, they contend, bolsters that argument.

This insurance policy was taken out by Philadelphia 2000 and names the city as an "additional insured" party. It is a supplement to an "umbrella" policy purchased by Philadelphia 2000 for $777,400. That policy covers civil rights claims against the city and the state of Pennsylvania. Officials refuse to disclose the liability limit on that policy.

The supplemental policy recently obtained by City Paper specifically covers "personal injury" arising out of false arrest, wrongful detention, or wrongful imprisonment; malicious prosecution; assault and battery; discrimination; violation of property and civil rights; and wrongful eviction or wrongful entry.

"It is clear from this policy that the city suspended the Constitution in order to carry out an untarnished convention," says Kris Hermes, spokesperson for the R2K Legal Collective, a group working on the criminal defense of protesters and subsequent civil suits. "They did it all with the knowledge that their violations would be covered by insurance."

To date, a number of civil suits have been filed against the city and Hermes says more are certain to follow. Two alleged "ringleaders" of the protests, Terrence McGuckin and John Sellers, are each suing. A group of activists arrested while volunteering in the "R2K Medical Collective" during the convention are also suing. Potentially the largest civil case is one filed on behalf of about 70 activists arrested while making puppets in a West Philly warehouse. It is unclear how many of those arrested will sign on to the suit, but it could be dozens. Michael Graves, owner of the warehouse, is suing the city in a separate suit of his own.

Hermes speculates that Philadelphia "may suffer direct financial repercussions" if the umbrella insurance policy does not cover significantly more in damages than the supplemental policy.

The coverage specific to law enforcement covers up to $1 million for each wrongful act and an aggregate of $3 million. It was taken out by Philadelphia 2000 in January of last year from Lexington Insurance Co. in Boston.

Lexington appears to be a "member company" of American International Group, which issued the umbrella policy to Philadelphia 2000.

Earlier this month, City Solicitor Ken Trujillo stressed there is nothing insidious about taking out insurance before a major political convention. He adamantly denies police misconduct during the RNC.

"It was responsible to get insurance," he said. "That's like saying because you take out car insurance, you expect to run over someone."

Notice: All information is subject to change, it's your responsibility to confirm with R2K Legal.
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 About Us 

Who are we? The R2K Network. Why are we protesting? Here's some background.

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Please help support our Legal Fund for Camille and the Timoney 3 cases. To make a donation, contact: info@r2klegal.org


Letters of support:
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APWU Union
First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia
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National Association for Socially Responsible Organizations

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R2K Mobilization Links:
Ad Hoc Committee to Defend Health Care
August 1st Direct Action Coalition
Kensington Welfare Rights Union
NJ Unity2000
Philly Direct Action Group
Refuse & Resist
Silent March

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