(en) Amnesty International & Eugene cops

Lyn Gerry (redlyn@loop.com)
Sun, 7 Sep 1997 18:50:16 +0000

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------- Forwarded Message Follows ------- Date: Sun, 7 Sep 1997 15:46:27 -0700 (PDT) From: MichaelP <papadop@peak.org> Subject: Amnesty International & Eugene cops

Why isn't cutting open a man's trousers and spraying his genitals with pepper spray a front-page story ?

MichaelP ============================================================================


Here's how Amnesty International, in their August 21 letter to Eugene Police Chief Leonard Cooke, describes what happened to Jim Flynn, clinging to a tree limb on the morning of June 1 at the Broadway/Charnelton site where this Friday's press conference by Flynn and Ellen Klowden of Eugene Copwatch, was held:

"The videotape also shows one protestor [Flynn] in a tree being hit repeatedly by police officers, being sprayed on his legs and genitalia [and on his face, neck and arms, as well as on his torso, according to press reports] with OC spray, after police officers had cut open his trousers." After Flynn was finally extricated from the tree whose life he was trying to help continue, "he was later taken to hospital, where he received treatment for burns to his genitals and anus."

Flynn's comments on Amnesty's adoption of a casefile against the Eugene Department of Public Safety for international law violation of his and his fellow protestor's human rights, were to the point. He announced that he was voluntarily cooperating with the Oregon State Police investigation of the events of June 1, and urged officers of the department to do the same [they are all refusing to cooperate, citing their 5th Amendment rights against self-incrimination].

Ellen Klowden of Eugene Copwatch spoke out strongly in favor of a thoroughgoing policy review, based on Amnesty's adoption of this case, which occurred after Klowden reported on and showed videotapes of the incident to the Americas meeting of Amnesty International in early August.

Klowden is also a member of the City Manager's Advisory Task Force on External Review. She feels that the parameters of criminal violations being considered should be expanded to include violations of international law. She wants civil charges and disciplinary actions, up to and including termination to be considered, and the deliberations to be publicly aired.

She has looked into the circumstances surrounding Chief Cooke's 8/29 response to Amnesty. On September 1st, Cooke commented to her, at the Police Chief's forum, that he had treated it routinely. I get a hundred letters a day. Klowden has found that, as of 9/4, Amnesty has yet to receive Cooke's reply. Apparently, the Chief located a pocket freighter to deliver his response at its earliest convenience.

Flynn's lawyer, Lauren Regan, emphasized that his cooperation is totally voluntary, and said she felt the officers involved should also, voluntarily, cooperate, and that they have a special duty, as public servants, especially if they have nothing to hide, to come forward and provide information. Her client is being prosecuted for his role in the June 1 treesit. The State Police investigation ends early next week, and we must await their report to see if any officers will similarly face indictment.

She asked why the E.P.D. has refused to acknowledge the extensive literature on the dangers of pepper spray and accused them of obfuscation of justice in an ongoing police subterfuge against attempts at external review.

Klowden wanted to know why, even though the original charge of City Manager Vicki Elmer didn't specify that protestors be investigated, the State Police has been grilling activists about fellow activists potential criminal liability. In the absence of any cooperation whatsoever from the Department, investigators have turned their attention to protestor's role that day, and we must await their report to see if they are fair and justice-seeking, or foul and vindictive.

Eugene Weekly reporter Alan Pittman asked an extremely apt question. Isn't it true, he wanted to know, that the 5th Amendment protects against SELF-incrimination only, and doesn't apply to the witnessing of other's criminal acts? The legal answer to that question may well determine if the State Police do or do not recommend indictment of officers of the E.P.D. and of the Eugene Fire Department. Stonewalling may yet prove to be a fatal tactic, if the wall ends up falling on those who chose to hide behind it.

Stay tuned to this spot for further developments, and soon.

http://www.radio4all.org http://www.radio4all.org/freepacifica

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