The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Cram, Communications Coordinator,

NLG Observes Improper Use of Force by Law Enforcement at the G-20


Lawyers Guild members witnessed first-hand yesterday the unwarranted display
and use of force by police in residential neighborhoods, often far from any
protest activity.

Police deployed chemical irritants, including CS gas, and
long-range acoustic devices (LRAD) in residential neighborhoods on narrow
streets where families and small children were exposed. Scores of riot police
formed barricades at many intersections throughout neighborhoods miles away
from the downtown area and the David Lawrence Convention Center. Outside the Courtyard
Marriott in Shadyside, police deployed smoke bombs in the absence of protest
activity, forcing bystanders and hotel residents to flee the area.

Later, while some protests were ending, riot-clad officers
surrounded an area at the University of Pittsburgh, creating an ominous
spectacle that some described as akin to Kent State. Guild legal observers
witnessed police chasing and arresting many uninvolved students.

Among other questionable tactics, officers from dozens of
law enforcement agencies lacked easily-identifiable badges, impeding citizens'
ability to register complaints.

Heidi Boghosian, executive director of the National Lawyers
Guild, said: "Accountability and chain of command is virtually impossible to
establish given the lack of visible individual identifying badges on officers.
The small, paper armband badges that law enforcement are wearing are difficult
to read, and many wore black chest coverings with absolutely no identifying
information. We've seen many law enforcement personnel, including Pittsburgh
Police Department officers, deliberately covering up the arm IDs by rolling
their shirt sleeves up over them."

The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) works to promote human rights and the rights of ecosystems over property interests. It was founded in 1937 as the first national, racially-integrated bar association in the U.S.

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