Countermedia arrest info (fwd)

The Anarchives (
Wed, 18 Sep 1996 21:46:57 -0500

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The TAO Media Collective
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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 18 Sep 1996 13:19:36 -0500
From: Laura Quilter <lauramd@UIC.EDU>
To: Multiple recipients of list CHIMEDIA <CHIMEDIA@LISTSERV.UIC.EDU>
Subject: Countermedia arrest info (fwd)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 16 Sep 1996 20:38:11 -0500 (CDT)
From: Willerer Greg <>
To: dharma@suba01
Subject: arrest info

Countermedia Arrest Info.

This summer groups across the country mobilized against
Democratic Party policies on criminal justice, corporate
welfare, health care, homelessness, immigrant rights, affirmative
action, and a host of other issues. Countermedia formed to ensure
that the protests, actions, and issues ignored
by conventional media sources would be documented in Chicago
and beyond. on police harassment and brutality. In many instances,
Countermedia was the only group to cover the protests. As a
result, Countermedia journalists began experiencing harassment
by the Chicago Police Department.

The first Countermedia arrests occured on Tuesday, August 27. Ed
Nix of Wisconsin was arrested at a demonstration where pro-choice
activists and pro-lifers clashed outside and abortion clinic. Jeff
Perlstein of Seattle was arrested on the sidewalk outside the DNC's
official protest pit while interviewing children from Henry Horner Homes,
the housing project adjacent to the convention center. Nix and Perlstein,
both videographers for Countermedia, were charged with disorderly conduct.
On Wednesday, August 28, during the Cash the Check march
Countermedia's communications van was stormed by CPD. Six Countermedia
journalists were thrown up against the side of the van while it was
searched and film was destroyed. No arrests were made and no tickets
issued. CPD has no record of the incident.
The bulk of Countermedia arrests happened the day of the last
protest, Thursday August 29. During the Festival of the Oppressed march,
six more arrests occured. Lee Wells was arrested while communicating by
radio with the rest of the team and charged with disorderly conduct.
Well's radio was seized. Jeff Perlstein was arrested again and also
charged with disorderly conduct. His camera was broken. Another
Countermedia video team, Neil Corcoran and Carla West of
Michigan, were arrested and held overnight. The video camera they were
using, lent by another Countermedia volunteer, was broken.
On the same day, Rob Moriarti and Mike Gedmin, who
were providing transportation to video teams into the field using Well's
vehicle, were pulled over twice. The second time they were pulled over
they were immediately arrested. Officers refused to inform
them of any charges against them and evaded questions about
which district they were being taken to. Wells' vehicle was
confiscated along with film of Gedmin's and Moriarti's arrests,
video equiipment, camera gear, 35mm film, and a hand-held radio.
Throughout these incidents, numerous rolls of still film were exposed or
confiscated, andseveral videotapes were ruined. It should be noted that many
Countermedia journalists were chased away from protest sites
and had to actively evade the CPD while in the field.
The eight Countermedia arrests were but one parcel of the 53
convention related arrests spread amongst several groups that are
we are currently aware of.

It's is particularly disturbing that the Chicago Police Department
which has a well publicized substantial -and very current- history of
brutality should be dictating to us who can participate in free speech and
autocratically determining who is media. It is doubly disturbing that
they so successfully terrorized alternative press and protestors without
disturbing a single crease from the smiles of the "I remember when" media
mutts and the corporate press who trotted after them for one week in the
Windy. But believe me, this hasn't blown over here.

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Jesse Hirsh - -
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