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Camcorder Owners: Take to the L.A. Streets!

by Andrea Buffa Monday, Aug. 14, 2000 at 9:29 PM
ma@igc.org 415-546-6334 x309 814 Mission Street, SF, CA 94103

Media Alliance, a San Francisco Bay Area media activist organization, sent out a "call to action" today for grassroots video coverage of police civil rights violations against non-violent protesters at the Democratic Convention. "In the age of Rodney King and the Ramparts scandal, police misconduct can and will be documented and televised," said Andrea Buffa, Media Alliance’s executive director.

For immediate release: Contact:

August 13, 2000 Andrea Buffa (415) 546-6334 x309

Media Alliance Calls for Camcorder Owners to take to the Streets

to Document Police Civil Rights Violations in Los Angeles

Scant media coverage of police misconduct at the Republican Convention

prompts media activist organization to call for grassroots video

activism at the Democratic Convention.

Media Alliance, a San Francisco Bay Area media activist organization,

sent out a "call to action" today for grassroots video coverage of

police mistreatment of non-violent protesters at the Democratic Convention.

"In the age of Rodney King and the Ramparts scandal, police misconduct

can and will be documented and televised," said Andrea Buffa, Media

Alliance’s executive director.

Media Alliance sent out the following alert today by email and fax

to activists and media outlets throughout California:

Calling anyone who owns a video camera! Take action next week in

Los Angeles!

Media Alliance has received troubling reports of civil rights violations

by the Philadelphia police against individuals who peacefully protested

at the Republican Convention. One report, from the legal director of

the Center for Constitutional Rights, describes as "frightening and

disturbing" the willingness of the Philadelphia Police Department and

other public officials to disregard the Bill of Rights.

"We accuse the City of Philadelphia of arresting hundreds, often

without a reasonable basis; of holding those people for long periods

of time without arraignment or access to their attorneys . . . and,

worst of all, doing these things as a way of punishing those who merely

want to express the obvious—that there is much in our society that

requires healing, that is not being addressed by our pathetic, plastic

political system," wrote William Goodman, legal director for the Center

for Constitutional Rights, on August 8.

On the same day, Media Alliance was emailed information gathered by

the Philadelphia Direct Action Group about "reports of serious physical

torture and mental abuse inside the jails." These reports included

prisoners being hog-tied or beaten until some have gone unconscious,

and then given no medical care; a woman seen dragged, naked and

bleeding, by guards; a man handcuffed, crucifixion-style to his cell

door as guards smashed his hands with metal handcuffs; and a prisoners

being denied essential medication for life-threatening ailments, as

well as food, water and use of toilets.

These reports do not bode well for the individuals who are preparing

for non-violent protest at the Democratic Convention this coming week,

considering the abysmal record of the L.A. Police Department and its

already aggressive stance toward them.

In the hope of protecting demonstrators from police harassment and

violence, we call on all Californians in the vicinity of the Democratic

Convention to become video journalists and document instances of police

misconduct. Any such footage may be sent to Media Alliance at 814 Mission

Street, Suite 205, San Francisco, CA 94103 for distribution to the media

and the general public. Unfortunately, video cameras will not be allowed

into jails to document the abusive conditions to which individuals may be

subjected behind closed doors.

We also encourage grassroots videographers to join the Independent

Media Center in Los Angeles (www.indymedia.org), where independent

journalists will gather to create media about the serious social

problems that have prompted demonstrations against corporate globalization

from Seattle to Washington, DC to Philadelphia to Los Angeles.

##

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