According to policy testimony, Dennis Kyne put up such a fight when he was arrested protesting the Republican National Convention last summer, that it took four police officers to drag him down the steps of the NY Public Library.
“We picked him up and we carried him while he squirmed and screamed,” the officer, Matthew Wohl, testified in December. “I had one of his legs because he was kicking and refusing to walk on his own.” […] But one day after Officer Wohl testified, and before the defense called a single witness, the prosecutor abruptly dropped all charges.
During a recess, the defense had brought new information to the prosecutor. A videotape shot by a documentary filmmaker showed Mr. Kyne agitated but plainly walking under his own power down the library steps, contradicting the vivid account of Officer Wohl, who was nowhere to be seen in the pictures. Nor was the officer seen taking part in the arrests of four other people at the library against whom he signed complaints.
(10 to 1 prosecutors don’t file perjury charges against Officer Wohl.)
The New York Times reports that video evidence from the proliferation of lightweight cameras in the hands of eyewitnesses have directly led to the dismissal of charges against 400 of the 1,806 people arrested that week. In fact, of the 1,670 cases that have run their full course, 91 percent have ended with charges dismissed or a not guilty verdict.
Among them was Alexander Dunlop, who said he was arrested while going to pick up sushi.
Last week, he discovered that there were two versions of the same police tape: the one that was to be used as evidence in his trial had been edited at two spots, removing images that showed Mr. Dunlop behaving peacefully. When a volunteer film archivist found a more complete version of the tape and gave it to Mr. Dunlop’s lawyer, prosecutors immediately dropped the charges and said that a technician had cut the material by mistake.
Technical error. Yeah, right.
What we saw in the streets of NYC during the GOP Convention were the birth pangs of a nascent police state. Hundreds of peaceful protesters and innocent bystanders were herded like sheep, arrested, jailed, falsely accused, and prosecuted… all for having the temerity of trying to disrupt a presidential photo-op with a display of their First Amendment rights.
Mayor Bloomberg and his police officials proudly point to the relative lack of physical violence in which they indiscriminately swept crowds off the streets… but when we allow the Constitution to be so casually bloodied, how long before real blood flows through the gutters?