The overwhelming majority of protests around the city during the Republican National Convention were peaceful, but the police tactics used against them were not. More than 1,800 people were arrested. Police officers on motor scooters and horseback rode into peaceful groups of protesters. Police officers in riot gear forced their way through crowds as helicopters flew overhead. Police officers with dogs reminiscent of those used at 1960s civil-rights protests in the South were seen at numerous locations in lower Manhattan. Plastic netting was used to corral protesters and bystanders alike.

There were many reports of peaceful protesters violently taken down and injured, even though they did not resist arrest. The arrested protesters were crowded in pens in an abandoned bus garage on the far West Side, and held for hours without food, water or bathroom breaks in a building filled with used motor oil and other toxic substances. Some of them were not allowed access to medications. Many of them were held for periods far exceeding the 24 hours allowed by law, despite a judge’s order.

In at least one case, police presented doctored videotapes in court as evidence against some protesters, only to back
down when other videographers produced evidence that exposed the fabrication

Mayor Bloomberg’s administration has not announced any investigation into who created the false videotape. The mayor has on several occasions stated that he supported the police tactics and methods used against protesters during the RNC.

Why, then, have the mayor and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly not been held responsible for what took place? It has been virtually impossible to find TV or print reporting on who was responsible for those tactics and actions. Why haven’t the Democratic candidates for mayor made the violations of protesters’ civil rights an issue?

We often hear that single-issue voting is unwise and impractical. However there are some issues that are just plain deal-breakers. As a member of a minority group, a victim of police and judicial abuse of power and authority, for me abuse of that authority is a deal-breaker.