Today, Tuesday May 14th, 2002, Matthew Lamont (aka Rampage) (Read about Matt's case here) had a scheduled court date in Santa Ana's Central Court. A small demonstration had previously been called for in front of the courthouse, (nothing major since it would occur early in the morning when many have work or school). The few that were going to show support decided to go inside to view court preceedings instead of having any real protest. However, when we showed up, hundreds upon hundreds of cops in full riot gear, undercover cops, sherriff's deputies, etc. were waiting for us.
We showed up unmasked, unarmed, unthreatening in every way. We walked up to the court and waited for maybe a few others to show and then proceeded inside. We were then told that Rampage's hearing was held first thing in the morning, before his scheduled appearance. THIS IS NOT A COINCIDENCE. It is obviously an attempt to lower his morale by making it difficult to appear in court and show support.
After being told this, we waited out in front a bit for some friends to show, and we were soon greeted by the sherriff's deputies. One deputy told us, "OK, people! I need to see your I.D.'s!" Only one person co-operated with them and the rest refused to show identification of any kind. They backed off when they knew they wouldnt be able to get any more information.
Not too long after that, the police started forming a line in front of the court door, and started putting on their riot helmets and gear. They then surrounded us against a wall, and one officer read a dispersal order. We decided not to fight the order and left.
As we walked back to our cars, two comrades that were putting something in their car were searched by police. When we got to the parking lot, the parking attendant told us that the police ordered him to let them into the lot to investigate for bombs.
This is a clear-cut case of repression. It seems that the Santa Ana Police are modeling themselves after the Long Beach Police, and working together to silence our civil liberties. This should not and will not be tolerated! The fact that the police greet a small number of supporters with such a large intimidating presence, and that the arraignment was held an hour before schedule so that those who wish to view preceedings would be late is just a confirmation that they are trying everything they can to silence our voices.
Please read about Matthew Lamont's case and help fight political repression!