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Equipment Provided by the U.S. Navy's Naval Research
Laboratory to Monitor Protestors on September 27,
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Newly Released Documents Show Outgrowth of 'Homeland Security' Is Corrupted Federal and Local Law Enforcement
Posted by Charleston Voice
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: May 27, 2014
Last week, the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) released a trove of some 4,000 documents it obtained under the Freedom of Information Act showing that the movements of the mostly peaceful participants in the Occupy Wall Street protests were subjected to an “enormous spying and monitoring apparatus” that included coordination between the Pentagon, FBI, Department of Homeland Security, local police, private security contractors and corporate interests.
Increasingly, Americans’ time-honored First Amendment rights to peacefully assemble and dissent are playing out as open-season on protesters and mass arrests, followed by years of evidence destruction or tampering in court cases.
As Wall Street On Parade perused the new documents from PCJF, one in particular raised red flags. Its subject line referred to the Occupy Wall Street movement as “Friggin Occupy” and it came from a veteran police officer.
The PCJF is currently representing plaintiffs in a class action on behalf of some 700 peaceful marchers who were herded like cattle on the Brooklyn Bridge on October 1, 2011 during the height of the Occupy Wall Street protests and subjected to mass arrest by the New York City Police Department.
On June 7, 2012, Judge Jed Rakoff ruled that New York Police Department officers are not entitled to qualified immunity from the mass arrests and ordered the lawsuit to proceed. The NYPD filed an appeal. A decision from the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals is expected at any time.
The red flag document from the PCJF is an email from Neil Trugman, the Deputy Chief of Police of the Amtrak Police Department, who previously worked for 31 years for the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). Trugman titles his missive dated January 19, 2012: “Friggin Occupy.” It concerns potential protests at court buildings. (See image of document at end of this article.)
The bias suggested by this email toward peaceful protestors engaging in constitutionally protected First Amendment activities is exceeded only by the role that Trugman played in a previous, outrageously corrupted court case. The lawsuit involved the mass arrests of peaceful demonstrators who were not only herded like cattle but hog-tied with their right hand handcuffed to their left ankle for upwards of 24 hours – a tactic that should be challenged as torture and is clearly meant to chill dissent.
It all started on the morning of September 27, 2002. Protesters were assembling in Pershing Park in Washington, D.C. to protest the inhumane actions of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank as well as global corporations’ exploitation of the poor. The Metropolitan Police Department turned out in riot gear and effectively arrested everyone in or near Pershing Park, grabbing approximately 400 protesters, tourists, passers-by and legal observers in the process. The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of those arrested in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
The case has become infamous in legal circles not just for police abuse but for the degree to which the police and lawyers within the General Counsel’s office for the MPD and District of Columbia’s Attorney General’s office, and potentially the FBI, would go to obstruct justice, destroy evidence and thwart discovery in a case which is costing taxpayers millions and has yet to be concluded after 12 years.
After bringing evidence to the court that there had been serious wrongdoing by the defendants in withholding and/or destroying documents demanded in discovery, the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund settled the case for $8.5 million, which would result in an approximate award of $16,000 for each person arrested, expunging of arrest records, and stiff court monitoring of the MPD’s handling of evidence going forward for a number of years.
A smaller group of plaintiffs who had been arrested on September 27, 2002, the “Chang, et al” case, went forward with their separate lawsuit under separate legal representation.
Judge Emmet G. Sullivan was so appalled by the obstructionist tactics by the police and their lawyers that he appointed John M. Facciola, a Magistrate Judge, to serve as a Special Master and conduct hearings into the sprawling evidence tampering allegations. Facciola filed his report on the matter on December 16 of last year and the revelations are nothing short of breathtaking in terms of enshrined corruption with impunity in a critical law enforcement apparatus of the United States that justifies its existence as protecting “homeland security.”
This travesty has now played out for a dozen years in the Nation’s capitol under the nose of Congress and the U.S. Department of Justice.
Trugman, author of the “Friggin Occupy” email, is mentioned more than two dozen times in the Facciola report on evidence tampering. Following are excerpts where Facciola calls out Trugman’s potential involvement in destruction of the Joint Operations Command Center’s (JOCC) detailed written account of the events on the day of the mass arrests, including missing details on who ordered the arrests, the involvement of outside entities such as the FBI and homeland security personnel, and any factual basis for ordering the arrests. The document was known internally as the “JOCC Running Resume”: Read more…