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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Legal Timeline

Timeline of the Republican Convention Arrests: A Civil Rights Catastrophe
August 1999, 2000
The city law department drafts two agreements with the Republican National Committee, giving the RNC the right of first refusal on more than 100 city venues and an omnibus special events permit. (Jeff Blumenthal, The Legal Intelligencer 7/27/2000). State police appear on Unity 2000 March organizer listservs. (Michael Morrill, Director of the Pennsylvania Consumer Action Network)

November 30 to December 2, 1999 - Seattle, WA
Anti-Globalization activists protest the meeting of the World Trade Organization. Television shows hundreds of protesters brutalized on the streets.

December 1999, 2000
Unity 2000 meets with high-ranking police representatives. Police offer to give Unity 2000 a list of objectionable organizations they have targeted. (Michael Morrill)

February 22, 2000
City denies Unity 2000 permit application, claiming that the route is already taken. All Fairmount Park areas are claimed taken for all dates during and one week prior to the convention per Republican "right of first refusal" permit. (Michael Morrill)

April 15, 2000 - Washington, DC
Amidst protests during the meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, police raid the convergence site and seize puppets. Puppets are detained throughout meetings.

April 20, 2000
As a result of a federal lawsuit, the city agrees to issue march permits to Unity 2000 and to the Ad-Hoc Committee to Defend Health Care. In the settlement, the city is forced to pay for the stage, sound system, water, toilets, Emergency Medical Services, security, and clean-up services. The city refuses, however, to grant permits to non-parties in the lawsuit, such as Philadelphia Direct Action Group and Kensington Welfare Rights Union. (Jeff Blumenthal, The Legal Intelligencer, 7/27/2000 and Michael Morrill)

May 1, 2000
Sixteen demonstrators arrested at May Day march in New York City and photographed by Philadelphia police in violation of a New York City consent decree. (Thomas Ginsberg and Craig McCoy, Philadelphia Inquirer 7/21/2000 and Abby Scher, The Nation 2/5/2001)

May 26, 2000
FBI agent Thomas Harrington announces that protesters have become a focus of FBI operations and that the FBI will gather intelligence and coordinate state and local agencies. (Thomas Ginsberg, Philadelphia Inquirer 5/26/2000)

June 29, 2000
Spokesperson for Philadelphia Police, Lt. Susan Slawson, denies that there is any surveillance of activist groups. (Thomas Ginsberg, Philadelphia Inquirer 6/6/2000). This comment was later retracted after The Inquirer informed department officials that car-registration records showed that a car used during one surveillance was owned by the force. (Thomas Ginsberg and Craig McCoy, Philadelphia Inquirer 7/21/2000)

July 12, 2000
News helicopter camera films Thomas Jones beaten by Philadelphia police.

July 19, 2000
Judge Seamus McCaffery, ex-police officer, speaks at Children's Hospital, saying that he intends to make sure the streets are cleared of protesters during the convention. (Gwen Shaffer, Philadelphia City Paper 1/18/2001)

July 20, 2000
FBI establishes Command Center at 20th and Oregon Streets to coordinate agency response to demonstrations. The FBI brings in specialists in terrorism and hazardous materials, as well as a computer network connected to central databases for the use of local agencies. (John Way Jennings and Alicia A. Caldwell, Philadelphia Inquirer 7/8/2000 and Thomas Ginsberg, Philadelphia Inquirer 5/26/2000)

July 21, 2000
Department of Licensing and Inspection raids the Spiral Q puppet-making studio at the request of the Philadelphia police, circumventing the need for a search warrant. (Gwen Shaffer, City Paper 9/21/2000 and Thomas Ginsberg, Philadelphia Inquirer 7/22/2000)

July 26, 2000
State Troopers infiltrate affinity groups and puppet warehouse at 41st and Haverford Streets.

July 29, 2000
Call to Action to Save Health Care, permitted march and rally for universal health care.

July 30, 2000
Permitted Unity 2000 march.

July 31, 2000
March for Economic Human Rights organized by KWRU. Police detain medics and others around the city and submit them to illegal searches and harassment. Police seize a van filled with animals and announce that they were to be used in protests. This claim was later retracted. (Julie Stoiber and Linda Loyd, Philadelphia Inquirer 8/12/2000)

August 1, 2000
Philadelphia Mayor John Street tells George Magazine that convention protesters are going to get a "very ugly response." (Christopher McDougall, George Magazine 8/2000)

August 1, 2000 1:30pm
Police illegally enter Puppet Warehouse and arrest puppet makers and artists. Department of Licensing and Inspection raids the Philadelphia Independent Media Center for alleged building code violations. No violations were found.

August 1, 2000 4:00pm
Demonstrators head to center city, staging mass demonstrations throughout the city. Extensive police brutality around town and 404 people are arrested (Debbie Goldberg, Washington Post 11/30/2000). Police supporters stage a 3 hour counter-demonstration in an intersection in South Philadelphia, blocking traffic in four directions. Nobody is arrested. (Linda Harris, Philadelphia Inquirer 10/31/2000)

August 1 to August 15, 2000
Extensive abuse in the Roundhouse, Holmsburg, and PIC jails, including sexual abuse, excessive force, overcrowding, and denial of medicine, food, and sleep (Stacey Burling, Philadelphia Inquirer 8/16/2000). Four hundred people are denied arraignments for up to six days (violating Fourth Amendment limit of 48 hours)and held in jail for up to 2 weeks.

August 2, 2000
Department of Licensing and Inspection enters warehouse and destroys protesters' personal property and puppets and signs. Police extract supposed ringleaders from the streets, including Terrence McGuckin and John Sellers. Police continue to insist only 285 people were arrested (Philadelphia Inquirer 8/2/2000). That claim was finally contradicted by a statement made to the Washington Post (Debbie Goldberg, Washington Post 11/30/2000).

August 2, 2000 3:00pm
Police surround and enter the Unity 2000 and R2K Legal office building. No warrant is produced, and no arrests are made (R2K Legal Collective and Michael Morrill).

August 3, 2000
Arraignments are heard on some cases and bails are set at outrageous amounts, up to a million dollars for a case involving only misdemeanors. Stephan Presser, of the ACLU, says demonstrators' claims of abuse in jail are "highly unlikely" and says the selective arrests of "leaders" of demonstrations were "smart tactics." (L. Stuart Ditzen and Monica Yant Kinney, Philadelphia Inquirer 8/8/2000). The ACLU's disparagement and abandonment of arrested demonstrators set off weeks of bad public sentiment towards demonstrators that was not reversed until cases were dismissed in trials.

August 8, 2000
There are reports of 59 instances of excessive force within the prison, six incidents of sexual abuse, 22 examples of needs denied, including medications, and nine examples of mental abuse. (Linda K. Harris, Linda Loyd and Robert Moran, Philadelphia Inquirer 8/8/2000)

August 11, 2000
Four clergy members visit jails and report extensive untreated injuries. According to one rabbi, "I don't think, in the Roundhouse, we can doubt there was police brutality; there's no way those people could coordinate their stories." Clerics said protesters told them they saw people dragged, stomped and threatened with rape at the Roundhouse. Another minister reported, "The stories just all match up." (Julie Stoiber and Linda Loyd, Philadelphia Inquirer 8/12/2000 and Philadelphia Inquirer letters 8/22/2000)

August 14, 2000
Amnesty International sends letter to Mayor John Street citing numerous human rights violations, including violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the United Nations Convention against Torture, and the United Nations Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials. (Letter on file at R2K Legal Office)

August 14-17, 2000 - Los Angeles, CA
Numerous marches planned during Democratic National Convention. Injunctions against preemptive raids were obtained using evidence of patterns of police misconduct in and Philadelphia.

August 16, 2000
Last demonstrators are released from jail after over two weeks.

August 20, 2000
Police retract outrageous claim that jailed protesters covered themselves in feces in order to make officers' work more difficult. (Thomas Ginsburg, Philly Inquirer 8/20/2000)

August 22, 2000
Human Rights Watch, an international human rights monitoring group, sends a letter to Mayor John Street and Police Commissioner John Timoney asking for an investigation of abuse complaints (an investigation has not happened). (http://www.hrw.org/press/2000/08/phil-ltr0822.htm)

September 6, 2000
Search warrant for puppet space finally unsealed, revealing infiltration and allegations of communist ties to protesters. The search warrant bases itself on the Maldon Institute report, written by a man the Philadelphia Inquirer called "an imaginative latter-day Joe McCarthy." (Linda Harris and Craig McCoy, Philadelphia Inquirer 9/7/2000 and 10/26/2000)

September 26, 2000 - Prague, The Czech Republic
Anti-Globalization activists protest meeting of the International Monetary Fund. Demonstrators are stopped at Czech border stations based on pictures and fingerprints supplied to border guards by American and British agencies. The information on demonstrators was collected by the FBI at the Seattle, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia demonstrations. (Amelia Hill, The Guardian 9/24/2000 and Abby Scher, The Nation 2/5/2001)

September 30, 2000
Hundreds of defendants turn down offer of probation in order to stand in solidarity with 42 felony defendants.

October 12, 2000
Felony charges from Police Commissioner Timoney incident are reduced to misdemeanors. The D.A. has appealed this ruling, delaying these cases for up to two years.

October 19, 2000
Congressional Black Caucus Member Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) joins Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, John Conyers (D-MI), in a call to drop all charges against the RNC protestors, and to "urge the city of Philadelphia to end its campaign to cast non-violent, peaceful protestors as violent criminals." (http://www.r2klegal.org/support)

October 24, 2000
"Drop the Charges" letters delivered to Mayor John Street and District Attorney Lynn Abraham from labor leaders, clergy, and over 80 local and national organizations. The District Attorney denied the request for a meeting. (http://www.r2klegal.org/support)

October 30, 2000
Judge dismisses all charges for SOA Watch defendants on the basis of selective prosecution. (Linda Harris, Philadelphia Inquirer 10/31/2000). The District Attorney is appealing this decision.

November 14, 2000
The state drops all charges against alleged ringleader John Sellers. Sellers was held in jail on a bail of one million dollars, which is unprecedented for a person accused of solely misdemeanors. (Linda Harris and Craig McCoy, Philadelphia Inquirer 11/15/2000)

November 15, 2000
Police admit that six undercover officers were arrested as part of street blockades. The identities of infiltrators are withheld, except for one. (Linda Harris and Craig McCoy, Philadelphia Inquirer 11/16/2000)

November 27, 2000
Judge DeLeon dismisses charges for 38 demonstrators in one shot, saying "You're going to have to have somebody come in here and testify that somebody did something wrong." (Linda Harris, Philadelphia Inquirer 11/28/2000)

December 2, 2000
Judge DeLeon denies Motions to Dismiss for puppet cases, but cases are eventually thrown out for lack of any evidence.

December 7, 2000
Troopers fail to identify any puppet warehouse defendants as having committed any crimes; half of the cases are dropped (Philadelphia Inquirer, Linda Harris and Craig McCoy 12/7/2000)

December 7, 2000
Clark Kissinger dragged to jail for alleged violation of parole for having come to Philadelphia to protest on behalf of Mumia on August 1. (Jim Smith, Philadelphia Daily News 12/7/2000)

December 13, 2000
D.A.'s office withdraws charges against the last 33 people arrested at the puppet warehouse. (Linda Harris and Craig McCoy, Philadelphia Inquirer 12/14/2000)

January 9, 2001
State drops charges against felony defendant Andre Simioukov, who was not a protester. He had been accused of attacking an officer. The accusation, it turned out, was a total fabrication. (Linda Harris, et al, Philadelphia Inquirer 1/14/2001)

Compiled by the R2K Legal Collective - 215-925-6791 - www.r2klegal.org

Notice: All information is subject to change, it's your responsibility to confirm with R2K Legal.
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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:
Activist Organizations
APWU Union
First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia
Members of Congress
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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