Houses, spaces raided throughout the Twin Cities
Five-year-old child handcuffed and terrorized; activists allege program of intimidation
MINNEAPOLIS — In an outrageous series of state-sanctioned actions, police raided an activist “Convergence Space” and several homes in the past 24 hours, detaining multiple people on extraordinarily flimsy pretences, arresting several, confiscating computers and laptops, and even handcuffing a small child.
Beginning at 9:17 p.m. last night, with the raid on the St. Paul Convergence Space, and continuing throughout the day today, police harassment and brutality towards the local community has proceeded at an alarming pace. At least five separate raids have been reported throughout the Twin Cities, with the primary focus appearing to be the confiscation of computers and personal affects.
“These actions are clearly intended to have a chilling effect on dissent prior to the launch of the Republican National Convention,” said Natalia, a local activist and mother of two, who asked that her surname be withheld. “The message being conveyed is: ‘If need be, we will terrorize your children to dissuade you from voicing your opinion.’”
Here are the facts as we know them:
• Last night, police raided an activist meeting location. All occupants, including a five year old child, were detained, handcuffed, and photographed. Computers were removed from the space, and some personal property (like notebooks) were seized;
• A private residence on 17th St. was raided this morning and had its door kicked in. The same five year old child was again terrorized by armed law enforcement. The police continue to threaten to board up the house unless minor code violations (like a broken door) are remedied;
• A private residence in St. Paul, occupied by local residents and out-of-town journalists, was raided on the basis of an identical search warrant to the one presented last night at the Convergence Space (it specified “bomb-making materials,” though nothing of the sort was apparently seized);
• A private residence on Harriet Ave. was raided and has been threatened with being boarding up.
Other, similar actions are being reported, but fuller details are not yet available.
Coldsnap Legal Collective and other groups stand opposed to this program of intimidation and terror. It is evident from all reports that there was no real concern about “bomb-making materials” or anything similar. On the contrary, these actions were taken to suppress dissent and detain activists. We call on all residents to contact their local elected officials, express their deep concern, and be prepared for the apparently draconian tactics the police seem to currently favor in their efforts to silence the voice the people in the run-up to the RNC.
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