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Democrat accuses Park police chief of mistreating peace protesters

RAW STORY

Cindy SheehanRanking House Judiciary Democrat Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) alleged Tuesday evening that protesters who were arrested outside the White House Monday were held in handcuffs for as long as twelve hours in cramped buses before they were released, RAW STORY has learned.

In a missive to United States Park Police Dwight Pettiford Tuesday evening, Conyers raised concern that protesters were mistreated by police.

"Some of those were released at 4:30 in the morning after being arrested at 4:00 the previous afternoon," he wrote. "Those released after midnight were unfamiliar with Washington, D.C., and had no means to travel back to their hotels once the metro had closed. Anacostia is not frequented by taxicabs after midnight."

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"Many of those held captive the longest were grandmothers and senior citizens," he added.

RAW STORY was unable to reach any of those arrested for immediate comment Tuesday. Those with additional information are encouraged to email us at tips@rawstory.com.

The congressman's letter follows.

#

Office of the Chief
United States Park Police
Dwight E. Pettiford
1100 Ohio Drive S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20242

Dear Chief of Police:

I am writing to request information regarding the treatment of individuals arrested on September 26, 2005, in front of the White House and processed at the United States Park Police Anacostia Station.

Yesterday 384 protestors, including peace activist Cindy Sheehan, were arrested outside the White House and were brought to the United States Park Police Anacostia Station. I was very surprised to learn that many of those arrested were kept handcuffed in vans and buses for up to 12 hours before they were charged and released. Some of those were released at 4:30 in the morning after being arrested at 4:00 the previous afternoon. Many of those held captive the longest were grandmothers and senior citizens. Those released after midnight were unfamiliar with Washington, D.C., and had no means to travel back to their hotels once the metro had closed. Anacostia is not frequented by taxicabs after midnight.

I have the following questions regarding the treatment of those arrested yesterday:

  1. Why was the Anacostia Station chosen as the sole location to process all 384 arrestees when there were several other Park Police stations in the greater Washington, D.C. area?

  2. In what other circumstances have arrestees been detained by U.S. Park Police for periods exceeding twelve hours before being charged with a crime?

  3. In what other circumstances have arrestees been detained by U.S. Park Police, and kept handcuffed on buses for periods exceeding ten hours?

  4. What is the established U.S. Park Police procedure for processing large numbers of arrestees in the Washington, D.C., area?

Please respond to the Judiciary Committee Minority Office at 2142 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C., 20515.

Sincerely,

John Conyers, Jr.
Ranking Minority Member

Originally published on Tuesday September 27, 2005.

 


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