National Lawyers Guild Issues New Report on Unlawful Police Tactics

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Paige Cram, Communications Coordinator, 212-679-5100, ext. 15

National Lawyers Guild Issues New Report on Unlawful Police Tactics

WASHINGTON - The National Lawyers Guild has released its third comprehensive
report on government violations of First Amendment rights on the
one-year anniversary of the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh. “The Policing of
Political Speech: Constraints on Mass Dissent in the U.S.” documents how police over-reaction to protected speech
has informed unlawful police tactics at National Special Security
Events, such as the 2008 Republican National Convention and the 2009
G-20 Summit.

The report lays out age-old government tactics that have been
reintroduced under new anti-terrorism policies and legislation. Spying
on and infiltration of activists’ meetings, the use of agents
provocateurs, raiding organizers meeting spaces and the misuse of grand
juries to collect information are some of the practices that are backed
up with recent incidents observed and being challenged in court by
National Lawyers Guild members.

Much of the report deals with recent prosecutions of activists on
terrorism-related charges based on fabricated evidence and the attaching
of inflated meaning to protest rhetoric:

"Protesters' calls to "crash the convention" or "shut down the
convention" are political rhetoric and are not direct calls for the
commission of crimes. Despite a body of Supreme Court decisions holding
that hyperbolic political speech is protected by the First Amendment,
and law enforcement's own awareness that there is no threat posed,
police continue to justify vast intelligence initiatives based on such
protected speech."

Copies of the report are available by calling the National Lawyers
Guild at 212-679-5100, ext. 15, or by downloading it from from our publications page.

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The National Lawyers Guild is dedicated to the need for basic and progressive change in the structure of our political and economic system. Through its members--lawyers, law students, jailhouse lawyers and legal workers united in chapters and committees--the Guild works locally, nationally and internationally as an effective political and social force in the service of the people.

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