Pittsburgh’s Citizen Police Review Board Demands G20 Police Records, Faces Dismantling
Pittsburgh’s City Council is worried that if the city’s Citizen Police Review Board are allowed to scrutinize secret records of officer conduct during the G-20 economic summit, more protesters will sue and possibly jeopardize a $20 million liability insurance policy the city bought before the International Summit last year. “We could lose our homes over this,” said City Councilwoman Theresa Smith, chairwoman of the public safety committee. “If we don’t have insurance, then it falls to us.” The Seeds of Peace Collective and Three Rivers Climate Convergence have filed a joint federal lawsuit against the city charging that police violated their 1st and 14th Amendment rights at two events. Meanwhile, City hall has started the nomination process to remove most of the members of the Pittsburgh Citizen Police Review Board.
The Pittsburgh Citizen Police Review Board does have subpoena power and when they initiated their inquiry last October, a general request of a number of documents to be turned over so we could begin the inquiry. The city resisted providing that information.
In December the chair of the Citizen Police Review Board issued a subpoena demanding that police reports specified by number be turned over in addition to operational material and documents.
On March 18, the courts issued an order directing the city to provide the documents. They finally gave us a stack of more than 300 pages of police reports that were so heavily redacted they were substantively illegible.
We went back to court seeking that they would have to provide the information in an un-redacted form and that has led to this controversy with city council.
The Pittsburgh City Council is coming forward with a document called “the will of council” urging the police review board to slow down its inquiry.
What has happened now is that the request of these G20 documents is really the vehicle that the city has now created to challenge the board’s right of access to any document.
Protesters hit with OC Vapor – Invisible Vaporized Pepper Spray
Guest – Elizabeth Pittinger, Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Citizen Police Review Board
Senator Lieberman and Senator Susan Collins have the attention of civil liberties and privacy experts as they craft a bill that would allow the takeover of the civilian internet network during an emergency. After initial outcry, Senator Lieberman told the media the Internet Kill Switch bill is a matter of national security, and a kill switch is needed to disconnect immediately from a foreign nation in case of an attack. He continues, “Right now, China, the government, can disconnect parts of its Internet in a case of war. We need to have that here too.” Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010 is the name of the bill, and supporters argue that it is not a kill switch, but a way to divert traffic away from another country. It is added that the President already has broad powers to shut off any and all regulated telecommunications in the 1934 Telecommunications Act.
- I think its clear by the way the bill is currently written, the president could target political groups, but that’s not the intent of the bill. It doesn’t mean it couldn’t be used in that fashion. The information sharing is quite similar to what happened after 9/11. It potentially creates a situation where corporate providers basically rat out parties at the instructions of the government. That could certainly be directed at political viewpoints.
- Internet sites could potentially be shut down. Information about who is posting to them, who is reading them and who owns them will become the property of the federal government.
- Another motivation behind the bill – litigation and liability protection for internet companies.
- Internet use in China is considerably compromised
Guest – Tracy Rosenberg, Executive Director of Media Alliance since 2007. She has organized and advocated for a free, accountable and accessible media system, focusing on the protection and sustainability of alternative media outlets from Pacifica Radio to low-power FM, public access and Indymedia, monitored the mainstream media for accuracy and fair representation and facilitated the training of numerous nonprofit organizations and citizen’s groups in effective communications.
The Supreme Court’s decision to preserve a vague prohibition on aiding and associating with terrorist groups severely reduced the First Amendment rights of American citizens. The decision could have serious impact on lawyers, journalists and academics who represent or study terrorist groups. The new decision came from a case by the Humanitarian Law Project that challenged the law of prohibiting “material support” to terror groups. The Humanitarian Law Project wanted to provide advice to two terrorist groups on how to peacefully resolve their disputes with the United Nations and international law. The Supreme Court ruled that the peaceful assistance is aiding terrorism.
- A number of Justices were skeptical about the ways this law may be applied to journalists, to lawyers representing unpopular clients. “Speech discouraging violence can be banned under the First Amendment.”
- Solicitor General Kagan was asked if a lawyer is entitled to represent someone on the Foreign Terrorist Organization list.
- Kagan says if you have some Constitutional right to be in court then the statutes should be interpreted in a way to allow the lawyer to represent someone in those circumstances.
- If you think about it, it took the Guantanamo lawyers 7 years to establish if there was a Constitutional right to challenge your detention if you’re a non-citizen.
- Kagan is saying that lawyers were taking their chances to represent Guantanamo clients in the first place.
- Lynne Cheney’s group: Keep America Safe
- You couldn’t send books on Federalism to the Tigers of Tamil Eelam who are on the FTO list.
- The law defines material support to be more than tangible things like guns and money, but also things like personal services, expert advice and assistance. Those terms are so broad.
- (Treating a wounded person with your medical skills) Humanitarian aid during crisis at risk.
- That’s one of the fundamental problems with vague statutes. They give too much discretion to law enforcement; if everything is prohibited than law enforcement is going to be selective on who they choose to prosecute. The government likes that. Greenpeace would easily qualify.
- President Clinton was the first to use this law directed at whole nations such as Nazi Germany or Cuba and instead direct them at political organizations.
- The government has used this law 150 times since 9/11. Statute of limitations of 8 years.
Guest – Shane Kadidal, senior managing attorney of the Guantánamo Global Justice Initiative at the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) in New York City. He is a graduate of Yale Law School and a former law clerk to Judge Kermit Lipez of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.