- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 20, 2003

Police methods used against hundreds of protesters at Pershing Park in September violated their right to freedom of speech, an attorney for seven D.C. students said yesterday.
"The most egregious [aspect of the arrests] is the trap-and-arrest technique," said Jonathan Turley, a George Washington law professor providing pro bono representation for the seven students, who were among those arrested during demonstrations against the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
Mr. Turley said Metropolitan Police and National Park Police officers formed a human wall preventing protesters from leaving, then arrested them. "It's, on its face, an unconstitutional practice," he said.
He said several demonstrators reported that police had detained people for not dispersing without announcing they would make arrests. Four of Mr. Turley's clients were photojournalists on the student newspaper, and the three others were legal observers.
The accusations against the District, the Metropolitan Police Department and the federal government were presented in court yesterday for the first time.
D.C. Council member Kathy Patterson, Ward 3 Democrat and chairman of the Judiciary Committee, obtained an internal police report citing several questionable acts by police during the Sept. 27-29 demonstrations, in which more than 400 people were arrested.
In February, Mrs. Patterson said she found it deplorable that police arrested bystanders who hadn't participated in the demonstrations and restrained people with plastic "flexicuffs" that prevented them from standing or lying down.
Mayor Anthony A. Williams, responding to Mrs. Patterson's complaints, said police dealt successfully with a potentially explosive situation in which protest organizers threatened to disrupt and even shut down the city.
The rally erupted into a tense situation, with some demonstrators riding bicycles in groups on major thoroughfares, blocking traffic. Some area residents filed complaints, and five demonstrators were charged with destruction of property.
One protester spray-painted the words "class war" on the window of a downtown Bank of America branch.
Another protester tossed a smoke bomb toward a police line, giving way to a panic in which two objects were thrown through the windows of the Vermont Avenue Citibank branch.
Mr. Turley sought to have the court admit an internal police report about the protests that included documentation of illegal actions while executing arrests, including hogtying demonstrators and not issuing a warning about arrests.
U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan stayed the case to allow attorneys for both sides to work out a settlement. He also asked that Mr. Turley submit by Monday a detailed list of information he wanted to be admitted into court.
Mr. Turley said he would seek to have included the communication between local police and the federal government leading up to the demonstration, and the internal police report of the arrests.
"We intend to do anything we can to reach a settlement, but the obvious goal is to prevent these tactics of arrest from being repeated," Mr. Turley said.
"It's rather shocking to have these tactics practiced in the nation's capital."

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