Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The right of the people peaceably to assemble

Here is a still taken from an illicit video smuggled from an arrest scene on August 20th, 2005:

Arrest of a dangerous criminal

Here is the mugshot of the perp who was being busted above:

According to the Sheriff's department, she was failing to obey the police, and resisting arrest. Here's her side of the story:
"Around 11:30pm or so i noticed a helicopter flying above the main stage of the event. At this point i am confused. The chopper began to come in closer to the stage with a search light focused on the crowd. I got nervous and still very confused and walked over to find my two friends I had arrived with earlier. Just as soon as i did that I looked over at my friend and asked "whats going on". That is when I was greeted by a man in full army attire, gas mask and all. He said to leave. I said what whats going on, at which point i was brutally attacked. Thrown to the ground and in the scuffle punched in the face by swat. That was not it either. I suppose i posed some a threat as another swat member rushed over to subdue me to the ground puting his knee in my back and arresting me. At that point I am screaming to a patron "whats going on?" He is just as confused as I am. At that point another swat member came over and kicked me in the leg. Let me tell you that I also only weigh 130 pounds. I had three grown men attack and beat me and throw me to ground for absolutely no reason at all. Not to mention being dragged to a van and violently being tossed in and taken to jail. Fined for resisting arrest and another outrageous charge. I do need to mention also that while this is all happening to me at the same time my two friends, a boy and girl were trying to reach out and stop them, at that point they were attacked and arrested as well."

Here's a picture of her friends:
Alaisha's friends

Of course it's true that sometimes, SWAT teams with dogs, helicopters, and teargas are needed to maintain order in our Civil Society. Maybe there was a riot, or some trespassing going on. Perhaps there was destruction of property, or blocking of traffic. Possibly a dangerous, unlicensed gathering with seditious intent?

Nope. It was a dance party.

It was a well-advertised dance party on private property with permits, trash cans and portapotties, security officers, EMT personnel, drug and weapons searches of cars as they came in, a two million dollar insurance policy, and an attorney.

The sheriff's department's justification for the warrantless raid hangs on a claim that a "mass gathering permit" had not been obtained. It's unclear that such a permit was needed, because it applies to gatherings expected to last more than 12 hours, but the promoter says that he had the permit anyway (permit # 2005-11).

I really can't bring myself to talk about this anymore, but there's an informative writeup with extensive quotes from witnesses at Everything2.com.

This is not America. It's NOT, dammit.

UPDATE: The promoters have created a website with their "official" statement, along with some more eyewitness tales, links to media, etc. There is also a piece of night-vision video of the incident taken from the chopper.

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