April 14, 2005

NYPD - RNC: interview with a wrongfully-arrested bystander

Never mind the Chomskyites; Democracy Now had an interesting set of interviews today featuring Alexander Dunlop, arrested during the Republican national convention, whose charges were dropped when videotape was produced that contradicted the police:

I was trying to go to my favorite sushi place... And I could see that I was blocked in. So, I asked a police officer, I said, “How do he get out of here?” And he pointed south toward 9th Street. And he said, “Well, you walk over there.” So I started walking over there, and I got up there, and I realized there was no exit point. And I turned around to find him again, and he said, “Well, I just asked you to go up here so I could arrest you.”

Here is Eileen Clancy, a member of I-Witness video, a project that assembled hundreds of videotapes shot during the RNC:

So I called his attorney right away, Michael Conroy, and said, “I have your guy on tape in a couple of places, including the arrest...” I said, “Well, let's take a look at your tape.” And I said, “Gee, it looks an awful lot like my tape. Well, I wonder what the problem is.” So we kept looking. I thought, “Maybe there's two cameras that are nearby. It just looks the same.” But he said, “But what you are describing is not on my tape.”

And defense attorney Michael Conroy:

This was a police tape that was... represented to me to be the complete unedited tape of the incident... That tape showed the demonstration....Then, the tape pans to the ground... Unfortunately, ...that's the point which Alex should be on the tape. It’s the point in which he is on the official tape that I was never given, and it shows that Alex is actually approaching a police officer to ask for directions, ...and it shows Alex being arrested very calmly, very quietly and not resisting arrest, and obviously, those are two key pieces that had I had earlier, I would have had a much better fight with the District Attorney's office to get this dismissed in the fall as opposed to eight months later.

You can read and listen to the interviews, plus a response by Paul Browne, NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Public Information here.

You can read more blawg commentary on Crime and Federalism, Discourse.net, and Objective Justice.