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2005-04-14

NY Law Enforcement Caught Doctoring Video of RNC Arrests

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New York law enforcement is caught doctoring video of arrests made during the Republican Convention. We speak with Alexander Dunlop, whose charges were dropped after the edited video was exposed, his lawyer Michael Conroy as well as a member of I-Witness Video who helped find the footage that eventually vindicated Alexander. And we get response from the NYPD. [includes rush transcript]

During last year’s Republican National Convention, the city of New York witnessed some of the largest mass arrests in the city’s history. 1800 people were arrested.

But now the cases against the vast majority of the arrested have fallen apart. Of the nearly 1700 cases that have run their full course, 91 percent ended with charges dismissed or with a verdict of not guilty.

The New York Times reported earlier this week that in some 400 cases charges were dropped because video recordings emerged showing that the arrested had not committed a crime or that the charges against them could not be proved.

In at least one case video evidence was doctored. During court proceedings, the police presented a video of the arrest of a man named Alexander Dunlop. It turned out that the video presented by the police was edited in two spots–images that showed Dunlop acting peacefully were removed.

We interviewed Alexander Dunlop and his lawyer Michael Conroy in our New York Studio as well as Eileen Clancy, a member of I-Witness Video. She helped find the footage that eventually vindicated Alexander.

  • Alexander Dunlop, arrested during Republican convention. He was charged with resisting arrest. The charges were dropped when videotape was produced that contradicted police.
  • Eileen Clancy, a member of I-Witness video, a project that assembled hundreds of videotapes shot during the RNC.
  • Michael Conroy, attorney for Alexander Dunlop.
  • Paul Browne, appointed the New York City Police Department’s Deputy Commissioner of Public Information in January 2004.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, yesterday Alexander Dunlop joined us in our studio, with his lawyer, Michael Conroy as well as Eileen Clancy. She is a member of I-Witness Video. She helped find the footage that eventually vindicated Alexander. I began with Alexander Dunlop by asking him to describe what happened on that day of his arrest.

ALEXANDER DUNLOP: I was trying to go to my favorite sushi place, which is on 2nd Avenue, just a few blocks away, and I took my bike and went out the door. It was about 8:45 or so. And there was an electricity in the air. I could feel it immediately as I got close to 2nd Avenue. And when I turned on to 2nd Avenue, the street was a mob scene. It was just full of people. I had never seen it like that before. And I got off my bike and I was walking around. I was asking people, "What’s going on?" No one seemed to know. There was a helicopter above, on the intersection of 10th Street and 2nd Avenue. So there was something happening. I just didn’t know what it was. And I even asked a few police officers. They didn’t know, either. They said they didn’t know. And I walked up — I kept walking up closer to 10th Street, and I heard people chanting, and the noise kept building and building and the electricity building, and then the riot police came. And they blocked off 10th Street, and then I realized to my horror that I was blocked in by the barricade on 9th Street. They had formed, I guess, a perimeter around the area with the riot police. And I could see that I was blocked in. So, I asked a police officer, I said, "How do he get out of here?" And he pointed south toward 9th Street. And he said, "Well, you walk over there." So I started walking over there, and I got up there, and I realized there was no exit point. And I turned around to find him again, and he said, "Well, I just asked you to go up here so I could arrest you."

So then, I was standing there. I was totally shocked. I didn’t believe him. It just didn’t sink in. I couldn’t believe that I was going to be arrested. Then a moment later, several police officers grabbed me behind the neck and twisted my arm behind my back as if they were going to throw me on the ground. They didn’t, but they sort of bent me down and put snips on, the white snips that they used there, the plastic handcuffs. And as they were leading me away one of the policemen was saying, "I bet you have never had these on you before," which, of course, I hadn’t, but he was just mocking me. But as they led me away and sat me down, and there was a big group of us in the intersection that they had arrested. They put me on the bus first, their police bus, and as they put me on, I could feel that they were very tight; it was cutting the circulation, and I saw the officer who was driving the bus, and I asked him, I said, "Could you take a look at these? I think they might be too tight. It’s cutting off the circulation." And as I turned around to him, he cinched them tighter. And I turned around, and I said, "Why did you do that?" And he said, "Well, because you might attack me." And I was still so astonished, I couldn’t — I couldn’t even process that I was being arrested, and that the police were treating me this way. It just didn’t make any sense to me.

AMY GOODMAN: And so what happened then?

ALEXANDER DUNLOP: What happened then was I was transferred to another police van. Everyone else was loaded on, and they kept us waiting for an hour or so, and then they drove us to the piers, Pier 57, whatever it was, the temporary holding facility they had. And, I mean, they took their time putting us — processing us, and they kept us in the holding cells, which the floors were really dirty, grimy, and people were sleeping on the floors. They were waking up in the morning, and they were all covered in grease. But I didn’t — I refused to sit on the floor. I refused to lie down. And in the morning, they took us to central booking to the Tombs.

AMY GOODMAN: How were you able to reach your friends or tell anyone where you were?

ALEXANDER DUNLOP: Well, I wasn’t. Well, that was the thing, too, is that I was supposed to meet friends in the morning to get on a flight. My flight was at 6:00 a.m. to go to Reno, and I wasn’t able to reach them. And they were worried sick, needless to say, because I was supposed to be in the cab with them to get on the plane. And they had no idea what happened. Maybe I died; maybe — they didn’t know what happened to me.

AMY GOODMAN: And so, talk about the course of this case. So you’re arrested, what were you charged with?

ALEXANDER DUNLOP: Okay, so after I was held in jail, I came out at about 6:00 p.m. on Saturday. And it was then that I met a public defender who told me what my charges were. It was the first time I heard the charges against me. And I was being charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, parading without a permit and obstructing government administration, which I had never heard of before. Then I appeared in court, and I heard a prosecuting attorney say that we offer a plea of disorderly conduct with time served. And I said, "Absolutely not. I’m not taking the plea." And then, luckily, through a mutual friend, I was able to find my current attorney, and we went back and forth to trial, pretrial hearings many times from there.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, we are joined by your attorney, Michael Conroy, attorney for Alexander Dunlop. We are also joined by Eileen Clancy, a member of I-Witness Video, which assembled hundreds of videotapes during the convention, much of it used by defense lawyers. Eileen also found the video of Alexander’s arrest. Can you talk about where you found this?

EILEEN CLANCY: Alright. I-Witness Video coordinated a large project to gather video material for criminal cases to help defend people who were arrested during the Republican Convention. We did this in partnership with the National Lawyers Guild. So, what we have been doing is reviewing the videotapes with the defendants to try to see if we can find them on it, so we can establish the circumstances of their arrests and what happened at these scenes. Alexander came in to view videotapes of what happened at that scene, and he was unable to find himself on it. But because I had spent some time with him, and I was aware that there was no footage of him that we had, I kept a lookout for it. And when I received some police videotapes in another case, so these were tapes that were given over by the District Attorney to a lawyer as evidence in another case, I reviewed those, and I spotted him in a couple of places. So, I took a look to see when he was coming up for trial, and it was about a day-and-a-half. So I called his attorney right away, Michael Conroy, and said, "I have your guy on tape in a couple of places, including the arrest." And he said, "Really?" And I said, "Yes." So he said, "Well, I better come look at that." And I said, "Well, do you have any tapes? Because we’d like to also see, you know, what other tapes are out there." He says, "Well, I have a tape. It’s not helpful, particularly," I think is what he said. So, he came in the next day, and I said, "Well, let’s take a look at your tape." And I said, "Gee, it looks an awful lot like my tape. Well, I wonder what the problem is." So we kept looking. I thought, "Maybe there’s two cameras that are nearby. It just looks the same." But he said, "But what you are describing is not on my tape."

AMY GOODMAN: And, Michael Conroy, this was police tape?

MICHAEL CONROY: This was a police tape that was provided to me by the District Attorney’s office as part of the discovery process in Alex’s case, and it was represented to me to be the complete unedited tape of the incident that was done by that person at that scene.

AMY GOODMAN: And what did it show?

MICHAEL CONROY: That tape showed the demonstration. It showed what was going on. Then, the tape pans to the ground, and at that point, my tape jumps to a shot of a street sign. Unfortunately, between the time that it demonstrates the tape going to the ground and the scene of the street corner, that’s the point which Alex should be on the tape. It’s the point in which he is on the official tape that I was never given, and it shows that Alex is actually approaching a police officer to ask for directions, to ask what is going on, and it shows Alex being arrested very calmly, very quietly and not resisting arrest, and obviously, those are two key pieces that had I had earlier, I would have had a much better fight with the District Attorney’s office to get this dismissed in the fall as opposed to eight months later.

AMY GOODMAN: So, the raw footage showed what you described. The edited footage just showed —

MICHAEL CONROY: Just showed Alex at the end with a group other people, basically insinuating guilt by collective thought, but it never showed the pieces of the tape where he was actually active on the tape. And the District Attorney’s office represented to me that it was a mistake. But they have not explained how the mistake was made yet.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, what’s the significance of this? The fact that you had, what, an edited tape?

MICHAEL CONROY: In any criminal case, there shouldn’t be an edited tape. They shouldn’t have an edited tape lying around the District Attorney’s office, because, quite frankly, if they are going to give this to a police officer to testify on the stand, and that police officer is going to state under oath this is a complete tape, one, that police officer is going to be lying, but two, you have evidence that’s beneficial to my client that was left out, and under the United States Constitution, they have to provide that. They should have provided that, and they didn’t.

AMY GOODMAN: So what was their explanation?

MICHAEL CONROY: The explanation is that it was a mistake. It was edited by mistake. It never should have happened.

AMY GOODMAN: Edited by who?

MICHAEL CONROY: That we don’t know. That we do not know, and that’s really the question I’d like to know is whether it was the District Attorney’s office internally or whether this was done by the police officers. If it was done by the police, I have a bigger problem here, because I would like to know whether those police officers were involved with what happened that night, whether any of them were related to the arresting officers. That’s what I really would like to know.

AMY GOODMAN: Attorney Michael Conroy, his client Alexander Dunlop, and Eileen Clancy of I-Witness Video. We’ll come back to them in just a minute, and then we’ll get police response. Stay with us.

[break]

AMY GOODMAN: I’m Amy Goodman here with Juan Gonzalez, continuing the interview we did in our studios yesterday with Alexander Dunlop, who was arrested by police during the Republican Convention. Ultimately, the charges were dropped when the District Attorney — when they had to admit that the videotape was edited of Alexander Dunlop. We’re also joined by his attorney, Michael Conroy, and Eileen Clancy, who is with I-Witness Video. I asked Eileen how she gets all these tapes, and how many cases her group, I-Witness, is working on.

EILEEN CLANCY: We’ve been dealing with hundreds. Hundreds of defendants have come in to view videotapes. The videotapes were made by some people that work specifically with our group, and then we actually set up workshops and had 200 people go through our workshops to train them how to shoot to make — to record videotapes that would be valuable for the legal process. And there’s certain things that you want to do to keep in mind that make it more useful for the legal process. So, we — in partnership with the National Lawyers Guild, also a certain number of legal observers also carried video cameras. And then Indymedia was very kind to kind of try to corral some of their material that they thought would be valuable for us. So that’s been a wonderful resource, independent videographers out in the streets there, and they’re making their own films, but they’re also able to share copies with us. And we’re not making films, so it’s not really a — there’s no competing interest. In fact, they’re sharing their material with us, and then we’re able to basically link up the people who were arrested, witnesses, and attorneys; and it’s that collection of information that’s really valuable to understand what went on in these scenes.

AMY GOODMAN: Now, because of these cases, you have a whole new treasure trove of tapes, is that right? And that’s from the police, because they have to hand it over.

EILEEN CLANCY: Bit by bit, we have some new — we have some tapes that have — that were generated by the police, yes. We know — that’s a — they haven’t handed over to the defense attorneys very much videotape compared to what they actually recorded. I don’t know what the numbers are, but they certainly recorded a tremendous amount of videotape.

AMY GOODMAN: How does their tape compare cinematically?

EILEEN CLANCY: Well, we’re — You know, because this is — almost all the footage we’re looking at is amateur footage. It’s in with like kind of cheaper cameras, and it’s not high quality. But the police certainly have an advantage when they’re videotaping in that they can walk into the middle of any area, and they can be very calm about what they’re doing. But if you’re an independent videographer, when you’re out there, you may get pushed back by the police. You may not be able to get the shot. The police may be blocking your picture and all that, or you — or have actually a quite a valid concern that you may be arrested if you’re standing near the scene where someone else is being arrested. So, it’s a bit more treacherous for the other people. So, I think some of the police tapes are — they’re a little more calm than our independent videographers who sometimes have to sort of scoot away.

AMY GOODMAN: Is other police footage that you’ve gotten in other cases, is it edited?

EILEEN CLANCY: We don’t know. It really hadn’t occurred to us that they were making these kinds of edits. It was really shocking. I mean, when we had to put these two tapes on monitors next to each other and run them at the same time, and we sat there and you saw the — when we saw the cut, I think — I mean, I was astonished that this happened. This is — I mean, it’s just absolutely outrageous. They took out the parts that basically prove he’s innocent. So, I mean, it was — it’s quite extraordinary this happened. So, what we’re going to have to do now is we’re going to have to take police tapes that we had things that we knew that were duplicates, copies — you know, what we assumed were copies — and we’re going to have to set them all up and laboriously put them up against each other and review them and see if there were other edits in other tapes that were provided to lawyers. I mean, these are tapes that came from the state, from the government, that are handed over to defense attorneys and they are supposed to be for a particular case. So, does that mean that the tapes then are going to be tailored in such a way for each defendant? That they’re looking for each defendant and they’re just going to give you certain bits that they deem useful to their side? And that’s really not how it’s supposed to work.

AMY GOODMAN: Michael Conroy, if you didn’t have Eileen Clancy noticing that Alexander was in other tapes, would you have won this case?

MICHAEL CONROY: I still think we would have won the case. I still believe that my client taking the stand, we would have won this case. I was also disturbed, quite frankly, at another comment I saw in the Times. When this hit The New York Times, there was an additional comment in there that the police officer is changing her mind as to exactly the specifics of what happened that night. That’s something that should be told to the defense, too, and that was never told to me in court.

AMY GOODMAN: Explain that.

MICHAEL CONROY: Apparently the police officer who was assigned the arrest was one Myra Gomez. We’ve looked at the video tapes. I have not seen her anywhere near my client. Alex has told me that she was not there at the time of the arrest.

AMY GOODMAN: Were any women police officers there, Alex?

ALEXANDER DUNLOP: Not that I saw. And that’s the other interesting thing about the edited part of the video is, it shows who my arresting officer actually is, which was not the same person who I was assigned to, not the same officer who signed the sworn statement against me. So, they edited that out of the video, as well.

AMY GOODMAN: Not the one who told you to go to another street to get out and then told you he sent you there because he wanted to arrest you. Is he the same guy who tightened the handcuffs?

ALEXANDER DUNLOP: He was the same one in the video who you can see is arresting me. And then several other police officers grabbed me, as well.

MICHAEL CONROY: And you want to, you know, you want to believe the police. As a society you want to believe the police, that when they’re doing this kind of situation, that they’re doing it accurately, and if they can’t do it accurately, that they’re going to say: You know what? We can’t do this accurately; we’re not going to make the arrest. But this complaint was signed. Now the officer is apparently changing her story, and I shouldn’t have to hear about that from The New York Times, that should have been told in court by the District Attorney’s office to me, and that was never told to me in court. It was never told to me in any correspondence; and if their case all of a sudden becomes weaker because a witness is changing their story, or the witness’s recollection is changed, that is something that should always be told to the defense attorney, and I was not told that, and that, I find very disturbing

AMY GOODMAN: What would these charges have meant in your life, Alexander?

ALEXANDER DUNLOP: Well, any charges — So, they did offer me a plea bargain of disorderly conduct with a time served, about 24 hours in jail. But even that, quite literally, could have ruined my life. I wouldn’t have been able to get the job that I wanted, perhaps. Any background check, the record would have come up, the criminal record would have come up. And I graduated from Harvard, and then I would have had a criminal record, and I wouldn’t have been able to go to work at any bank or law firm that I might have wanted to. I’ve heard stories where this kind of criminal record comes up when you try to cross a border. A friend of mine was telling me about a friend of his who had a visa denied to go to another country because of a disorderly conduct charge coming up at a political protest. So, it really restricts what you’re able to do, and what job you can get, the travel you can do. It might have ruined my life. It really might have.

AMY GOODMAN: Eileen Clancy, how did these videos that you have now seen changed the perception of what happened on the streets in that week of the Republican National Convention?

EILEEN CLANCY: I mean, I think one of the most interesting things about this is that what we’re doing is we’re trying to bring a level of basic information and facts to these situations, to the legal side of it. Instead of it being just a he said/she said kind of situation, we’d like to know how many people were on the scene. Where were they standing? Was a police command given? If a command to disperse was given, was there sufficient time for people to leave? These types of basic questions which are just the basic facts. And these are often in these criminal cases, at protests, the thing at which — the thing which the whole case turns on. So, we’ve had this experience before, and we know that if you can bring the basic facts in, then you see — then the court can make a decision that’s based on something that’s a little bit more solid than everybody’s recollections and whatever testimony that people may sort of craft a certain way or another. So, it actually is quite important to bring this in. I mean, I was talking to a law professor about this, and he used the expression "truth-telling." And I think that’s something that — that we really want to see here. In a situation where people are just exercising their rights to either just walk around as Alexander was doing or participate in events where they’re exercising the right to free expression, that needs to be protected. And, so, if we can shed a light on what’s going on there, and what the police practices are and all of that, I think that’s a good service for people.

AMY GOODMAN: Alexander, are you planning to sue?

ALEXANDER DUNLOP: We have filed suit, and it remains to be seen what comes of that. But —

AMY GOODMAN: What are you asking for?

ALEXANDER DUNLOP: We haven’t put — we haven’t said what we’re asking for. I mean, we’ve just started the preliminary process, and frankly, we started that process before this story blew up and before my case was dismissed. We had no idea that this would all transpire. We had no idea there was a cut video. We had no idea of any of that. We just were planning to file motions, mainly, you know, for false arrest, and the small punitive damages. I had to change my flight. My vacation was altered. My bicycle was impounded and other inconveniences that I suffered.

AMY GOODMAN: Michael Conroy, you’re a Republican attorney here in New York.

MICHAEL CONROY: That’s correct.

AMY GOODMAN: Will this change the way you do your work in the future?

MICHAEL CONROY: Well, this case was disturbing to me. To see what happened, to see that — and I’ve never had this situation before. I served for ten years as an A.D.A. I actually served on the. board of directors of the National District Attorney’s Association at one point in time for five years. This is not something that should happen. It’s not a war of us against them. It shouldn’t be. The police, the prosecutors should be open when they have a case. They should be open with discovery. They should be open with their evidence and work hand in hand with the defense to make sure that an innocent person is not convicted. And in this case, providing me with the tape that was maintained was an unedited tape certainly did a disservice to Alex, but it did a disservice to the criminal justice system as a whole. It certainly threatens the basis of trust that should exist in the courtroom between D.A.s and defense attorneys; and the comments that were made later with regard to the police officer that I never heard about, I should have heard about from the District Attorney’s office.

AMY GOODMAN: So, you have served very closely with police? I mean, you’re the attorney; they’re the people who provide the evidence. Has this changed your view of police and of protesters?

MICHAEL CONROY: I’ve always had a questioning view of the police, even when I was an assistant D.A. I believe that you need to question the police very carefully and very closely to make sure that what they’re telling you is the truth. It certainly has hurt my perspective with respect to the Police Department. I am certainly more or less saying I’m less trusting of the police now than I was years ago, when I began in this business from having dealt with the police on a regular basis. I certainly don’t trust them as much as I did when I was in law school; and, unfortunately, it deteriorates on a regular basis, and that’s not good. That’s a problem in the city.

AMY GOODMAN: And finally, Eileen Clancy, is there going to be some kind of class action lawsuit filed that will release all of the police videotape over that entire period?

EILEEN CLANCY: My — well, I wouldn’t have anything to do with that. I’m not an attorney. But my understanding is that moves have been made to file class action suits and that there are numerous civil suits. And my understanding is that in the discovery process, in the civil discovery process, that then police videotapes and other materials will have to be turned over by the city to those civil attorneys. Yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: Eileen Clancy of I-Witness. Alexander Dunlop was arrested during the Republican Convention. Ultimately, the charges were dropped when doctored video was proven. And Michael Conroy, his attorney, they came into our studio yesterday to discuss what had happened.

JUAN GONZALEZ: We’re now joined on the phone by Paul Browne. Paul is the New York City Police Department’s Deputy Commissioner of Public Information. Welcome.

PAUL BROWNE: Thank you, Juan.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Paul, we’d like to get your response to this particular case, the Alexander Dunlop case, which definitely raises some questions in terms of law enforcement procedure. And also, you know, Jim Dwyer’s article, in general, and the reality that usually prosecutors have an 85% or 80% conviction rate in normal crimes but here it’s almost been reversed. More than 90% of the cases that were brought during the Republican National Convention have now either been dismissed or the people found not guilty.

PAUL BROWNE: Yeah. Well, first, on the — there were statements said about the police editing tapes. That’s just untrue. There’s an accusation in the Times piece that a tape was edited by a technician in the District Attorney’s office. I refer you to them as to whether or not that was an edit or a mistake, or whatever. But the Police Department edited no tapes. They presented them as they were and as requested. As to the broader question, you’re talking about conviction rates. You’re talking about serious felony crimes; that’s true, very high conviction rates. Typically in something where there isn’t a felony or somebody isn’t hurt, it’s very common and expected, as a matter of fact, for somebody to get what’s called an A.C.D., an "Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal." I sit down and block traffic, for example. I have no criminal record. It goes before the court of the D.A. And they will say, "Okay, here’s the deal, basically: If you don’t get arrested for sitting down in traffic in the next six months, we’ll dismiss the case. But we’re going to wait six months to do that." That’s what over 64% of these cases are, and that’s been lumped into this kind of big, misleading, I think purposefully so, number of 90% being dismissed. Anybody who is familiar with the — I mean, you had, for example — was it Mr. Dunlop complaining about having an arrest record, that it may damage his future? You had, on August 29th, the biggest demonstration, which the Police Department worked with the organizers for months to do in a successful way, and it was very successful with a few minor incidents. There were groups that two days later said they were unhappy, they felt that the United for Peace and Justice had co-opted by agreeing to a march, and that they were going to engage in civil disobedience or direct action and planned to get arrested. When they get arrested, then they complain that an arrest record may be trouble for them in the future. But in many instances on the 31st, if not most, people had communicated openly that was their intent, to either as a form of — traditionally we all see it, traditional — traditional civil disobedience or in more recent phenomenon, direct action, with the notion of trying to actually stop the convention from proceeding.

JUAN GONZALEZ: But Paul, there’s no doubt that there were people that were determined to be arrested as part of the protest of the convention, but we have also had incidents like the situation with Mr. Dunlop, not only that he claims that he was just an observer, and people caught up in these sweeps, you also have the reality that there was a police officer who filed a sworn complaint that she arrested him, and it turns out she wasn’t even on the scene, so that there is a question as to how the Department handled some of these arrests. I’m just wondering whether you are conducting any kind of a review of your policies and whether you’re fully satisfied with how you dealt with it?

PAUL BROWNE: I think we’re very satisfied overall with the conduct of the police during the convention. You mentioned, and I think part of the theme of this — of the program was the notion that with so many video cameras and just this enormous amount of material that can be checked, the only serious assault that occurred on tape by anybody was that of a police officer being kicked unconscious by a demonstrator. It was witnessed by members of National — at least one observer of the National Lawyers Guild. And the National Lawyers Guild was mentioned as filming a lot of this. Not one of those individuals — I saw a tape provided by a freelance journalist — not one of them either came to the aid of that police officer or volunteered or produced videotape afterwards, although the Lawyers Guild that claims to be objective observers, but when you had a violent assault on a police officer, kicked unconscious, everybody kept their mouth shut. No videos were produced, except by a bona fide journalist as opposed — as opposed to an advocate.

AMY GOODMAN: Paul Browne is a New York City Police spokesperson. He is Commissioner of Public Information, the Deputy Commissioner of Public Information. But we’re talking about the more than 1,800 people who were arrested, now 91% of these cases don’t hold up.

PAUL BROWNE: Wait, wait. I just told you that 64% of the cases — you cannot have 64 and 91 and get to 100. That is the big lie. 91% don’t hold up. That’s — that’s just untrue. And the more times it’s stated doesn’t make it any truer. The fact of the matter is Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal, if anything, may indicate that the arrest was valid, and the person taking the A.D.C. is essentially agreeing if I don’t do the same thing over the next six months, I’ll have my charges dropped. And that happens all the time.

JUAN GONZALEZ: But, Paul, on that point, I mean, I’m familiar with the A.C.D.s, and I think you would agree that quite a few people take those A.C.D.s, because they just don’t want to keep coming back to court on a case over and over again, for instance, as Dunlop did many times. That, while it’s a possibility that many of those people were guilty, it’s also a possibility that they just agreed to the A.C.D. because that was the fastest way to resolve this issue and move on.

PAUL BROWNE: Okay, fine, but don’t translate that into 91% of these cases are without merit. That’s just not true.

AMY GOODMAN: The majority.

PAUL BROWNE: I mean, you had — I’m not even saying the majority. The majority — I would indicate just by the stats alone that they were valid. You have hundreds of people who would say, for example, the most recent demonstration in New York, they actually met with us ahead of time to tell us exactly when and where they were going to break the law in sort of a classic civil disobedience effort, but in the case of direct action, a lot of these people were doing it spontaneously, hoping to, in some cases, like prevent delegates from coming out of hotel lobbies, for example, or in the hopes of stopping Wall Street from doing business. These were a number of the ones on the 31st. They resulted in arrests. Now, admittedly, a lot of the people engaged in this are not, you know, John Dillingers. They don’t have big criminal records, and when they go to court, they’re going to be offered an Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal, but those arrests were valid. These were individuals who wanted in the main either to symbolically object to either the war or the convention or whatever their statement was, or in other cases attempt to actually prevent the delegates from attending the convention or from the process that week from going forward. It was irrelevant to the Police Department what their motives were. But however, if they break the law, and they’re arrested, then they go through the system, and they’re processed. And in most cases, and this has happened in demonstrations for the last 30 years, A.C.D.s are offered. Now, what’s different here is this kind of post campaign propaganda campaign — post-convention propaganda campaign, that tries to translate that information, those A.C.D.s, into meritless arrests.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, we’re going to have to leave it there for today, but we hope to continue this discussion.

PAUL BROWNE: Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: We want to thank you very much for joining us, Paul Browne, New York City Police Department’s Deputy Commissioner of Public Information.

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