Prosecutors detail protest charges

By Paul Demko
Wednesday, September 03, 2008 at 5:34 pm

Twenty one people have been charged with felonies stemming from Republican National Convention protest activities, according to the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office. This includes eight individuals affiliated with the RNC Welcoming Committee who were the target of pre-convention police raids and face second-degree conspiracy to riot charges. Seven of them are being held on $75,000 bail, while the remaining individual is at large.

“We have watched as a few lawless people tried to overshadow a peaceful protest and the exercise of free-speech rights by thousands of law-abiding citizens,” Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner (pictured) said at a press conference this afternoon detailing the charges.

Prosecutors were initially provided 71 potential felony cases by police investigators. Six cases are undergoing further review, while the evidence in 44 potential cases was deemed insufficient to warrant felony charges. Of those 16 were referred to the St. Paul City Attorney’s Office for consideration of lesser charges, while 27 were dropped outright. For protesters arrrested on the opening day of the convention, authorities had to either charge them by noon today or release them.

Roughly 300 people have been jailed since the start of the RNC. Gaertner defended the large number of arrests, stating that under the circumstances it’s not surprising that a significant percentage of potential cases proved meritless. “Given the fact that these anarchists are trained to create as much confusion, as much of a melee as possible — to conceal their identity both on the street and while they’re brought through the process — it’s not surprising that every single one of these arrests cannot result in a prosecutable crime,” she said. 

In addition, 47 protesters have been charged with gross misdemeanors through the St. Paul City Attorney’s Office, primarily third degree conspiracy to riot and obstructing the legal process. “A lot of these individuals are from out of town who have come here to create mayhem and it’s our intention to hold those offenders accountable,” said City Attorney John Choi.

Dozens of other protesters have been issued misdemeanor citations and released. In one incident alone on Shepard Road during Monday’s protests, more than 100 people were written up on charges of remaining at an unlawful assembly, according to a criminal complaint.  



fats terminal
Comment posted September 3, 2008 @ 7:23 pm

Allow me to translate Ms. Gaertner's comments into reality:

“Given the fact that our police officers are trained to militarize their response to protest marches, to create a climate of confrontation–while at the same time concealing their identifying badge numbers under kevlar to deter brutality complaints–it's not surprising that a large number of innocent people whom our officers indiscriminately detained and roughed up did not in any way, shape, or form commit a crime, much less a misdemeanor.”

Comment posted September 4, 2008 @ 8:47 am

I wonder how many of these anarchists actually know the definition of the word “anarchy”. Reporters should walk up to them with mikes and ask for the definition-would be good for a laugh.

Comment posted September 4, 2008 @ 3:52 pm

Might this be a little like the steam cooker which, when left alone, would vent steam out its top as your veggies cooked inside, but, if its top were blocked by a black-clad helmeted steam-blocker, would soon explode?

Comment posted September 4, 2008 @ 4:28 pm

Where is the real violence ? In Iraq ? Afghanistan ? Wall Street ? or two smashed windows of two big corporate ?

Son of Liberty
Comment posted September 13, 2008 @ 7:12 pm

Gentlemen may cry, “Peace! Peace!” — but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!

Patrick Henry – March 23, 1775

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