Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Macalester Dorm Raided in Connection With RNC Protests

From TC-IMC:

According to a search warrant and first-hand account submitted to Twin Cities Indymedia, St. Paul Police executed an RNC-related raid on February 13 at a Macalester College dorm room, with the cooperation of Macalester staff. Although it appears the occupant of the room was not the initial target of the investigation, political literature was seized and has yet to be returned. SPPD Sargeant Julie Maidment prepared and executed the warrant for the residence of a person with “tattoos on both arms”; the person living in the room has none.

The warrant listed common household items and clothes including torn blue jeans, a black jacket or shirt, and black shoes with red laces. Click here for a copy of the search warrant and below, read the first-hand account.

Maidment, pictured, is part of the joint SPPD-Ramsey County Sheriff's Office political investigation squad that has been analyzing photo and video evidence in an attempt to create more RNC-related arrests and justify to the public the massive police brutality and expenditures during the RNC.

The warrant was signed by Ramsey County Judge James H. Clark, who authorized a nighttime search and “entry without announcement of authority or purpose,” the same terms as the RNC convergence center raid on August 29, 2008.

The first-hand account follows:

At 10:50 on Friday the 13th of February 2009, I received a phone call from the Dean of students at Macalester College informing me that there were police outside my room preparing to enter. I arrived at my dorm to find two uniformed police officers, two officers in plainclothes, and a black case they termed “the raid kit”. I was informed that the school had been subpoenaed for my room information, that a search warrant was being signed as we spoke, and that I could not enter my room before it was searched. I refused to grant them entry to my room before the warrant was physically present. They refused to give me any information regarding the reasons behind the search, but I was told that my face was a familiar sight from the pictures they had at the station. After receiving reassurance from the head of Macalester Security that he would contact me should they enter my room, I withdrew in order to secure legal counsel.

After the better part of half an hour, the case officer, Srgt. Julie Maidment, Arrived with the search warrant to my room, a copy of which is attached. She explained that the search was in relation to the protests of the 2008 Republican National Convention. After examining the warrant, I noticed an item stipulating that I would have tattoos on both arms. As I have no tattoos, this was a clear indicator that I was not the target of the warrant. I mentioned this to my dean of students who was looking extremely concerned by that time. In response, one of the plainclothes officers told me in a raised, aggressive, and forceful voice that I was in no position to question the contents of the warrant, that my input was not welcome, and that there would be no discussion of whether or not they would enter my room. I refused to consent to the search, and the head of Macalester security unlocked the door to my room. He and the dean of students remained present at my request.

Once Inside, I was made to sit down in the common room while they searched my bedroom, and then moved to my bedroom while they searched the common room. The police were extremely thorough, going through every part of my room, every single book and CD. They took a copy of the communist manifesto, a copy of the book Dancing in the Streets, a number of anti-war flyers and stickers, a guide to the organizing behind the Seattle WTO protests, a copy of the rebel workers organizing handbook, and attempted to take an ink drawing before I pointed out that it did not constitute “anarchist material”, and thus not covered by the search warrant. I was given a receipt for these items, and the police left my room in a state of complete disarray.

One week later, I received a phone call from the case officer, informing me that I could pick up the items they had taken. I was then told that they would like to ask me a number of questions, and that a car would be sent to my dorm later that day. I immediately contacted legal counsel, and a lawyer called the police to tell them not to send a car, and that I would not be coming downtown. My case officer called me back to tell me that my items had not be placed at a depot, but kept in her office, and that I would need to schedule a time to see her in order to reclaim them.

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