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ACLU settles 2 more Pittsburgh G20 suits for $215K

The city of Pittsburgh will pay $215,000 to settle two lawsuits related to its response to protesters at the Group of 20 economic summit in September 2009.

Solicitor Dan Regan earlier this year said the city planned to settle one of the lawsuits for $143,000, which the ACLU confirmed Wednesday.

The Seeds of Peace Collective, a Montana group that arrived to feed protesters, and Three Rivers Climate Convergence, a local activist group, claimed city police, parks officials and others conspired to harass them by delaying or denying permits to peaceably assemble, and by unfairly confiscating tents and other equipment.

Regan said the city paid $1.5 million for a $10 million policy to cover any claims arising from the G20 summit. “Settling these claims is a business decision by the city and its insurance carrier, and they’re prudent business decisions,” he said. The city admitted no liability and all the claims are being paid out of the policy, Regan said.

Source: http://www.canadianbusiness.com/article/106754--aclu-settles-2-more-pittsburgh-g20-suits-for-215k weiter...

G20 policing: Clayton Ruby challenges ‘backroom decisions’ not to hold disciplinary hearings

Veteran civil rights lawyer Clayton Ruby will ask Ontario’s Superior Court to overturn “backroom decisions” by three GTA police forces not to pursue complaints of officer misconduct during the G20 protests — even though the complaints have been substantiated by the province’s police oversight body.

Because the body, called the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD), took longer than six months to investigate, it directed police in Toronto, York and Peel not to launch disciplinary hearings against officers involved — even though it found that accusations of excessive use of force, unlawful detention and arrest, and illegal search had substance.

The police chiefs decided to follow OIPRD’s advice not to act on its findings, even though it was OIPRD itself that caused the delay.

Source: http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/torontog20summit/article/1283169--g20-policing-clayton-ruby-challenges-backroom-decisions-not-to-hold-disciplinary-hearings weiter...

G20 protesters settle Pittsburgh lawsuit

Two environmental groups settled a lawsuit against the city of Pittsburgh stemming from the city's policing of protests surrounding the 2009 G20 summit.

Seeds of Peace and the Three Rivers Climate Convergence planned protests at the Group of 20 summit and in the days leading up to it, sued the city alleging they were being harassed by police trying to stifle their message.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Wednesday a U.S. district court judge ruled the case resolved and closed but terms of the settlement weren't disclosed.

The environmentalists said police refused to let them feed protesters out of a bus the group had stationed in the city, charging illegal search and seizure and free speech violations. Protest leaders couldn't be reached to comment, the newspaper said.

Source: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2012/09/27/G20-protesters-settle-Pittsburgh-lawsuit/UPI-34341348772248/

G20 protestor resentenced

By Moriah Balingit

A man who was convicted of causing more than $15,000 worth of damage during G20 protests in 2009 will restart his five years’ probation after pleading guilty to summary charges of obstructing roadways and disorderly conduct stemming from another protest last year.

Common Pleas Judge Edward Borkowski today sentenced David Japenga, of Garfield, to time served — he remained in jail from late August to early December — and to restart the probation he received on his conviction of charges stemming from the G20 protests. The penalty is also for violating his previous term of probation by getting arrested.

Source: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/12017/1204082-100.stm weiter...

Appeals court: Pittsburgh can redact G20 documents

A state appeals court says the Pittsburgh Citizen Police Review Board doesn’t have a right to review unredacted police records involving arrests and police operational plans during the Group of 20 economic summit in September 2009.

The Citizens Police Review Board says it needs the documents to thoroughly and fairly investigate citizen complaints of police misconduct. An Allegheny County judge at first ordered the city to produce the records, but later agreed with city could redact some information under the state’s Criminal History Record Information Act. The law prevents city police from sharing some information with non-law enforcement agencies.

Source: http://www.ellwoodcityledger.com/news/state/appeals-court-pittsburgh-can-redact-g-documents/article_2db45e94-a1fd-5c4e-bafd-98c9a3177986.html weiter...

Maker of loud device used by Pittsburgh police during G20 disputes ACLU's hearing loss claims


A company that makes the Long Range Acoustic Device that Pittsburgh police used to control protesters during the Group of 20 economic summit two years ago disputes the scientific claims contained in an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit filed last week.

San Diego, Calif.-based LRAD Corp. wasn’t named in the suit which claims a visiting college professor suffered hearing loss when the loud device was used to issue police commands and to amplify loud sounds meant to disperse protesters.

The company says the professor’s was far enough away that the noise level she was exposed to would have been less than sounds created by emergency sirens and custom car stereos and, therefore, not loud enough to have harmed her hearing and she and the ACLU claims.

Source: http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/c790c0bdc23c404bb64705cf1967efaf/PA--G20-Hearing-Loss-Lawsuit/

Bystander sues Pittsburgh police over hearing loss allegedly caused by sonic device at G20

A university professor says in a federal lawsuit against the Pittsburgh police that her hearing was damaged when officers used a giant speaker to disperse protesters during the Group of 20 economic summit two years ago.

The American Civil Liberties Union is representing Karen Piper, then a visiting professor at Carnegie Mellon University. The lawsuit says Piper was a bystander when protests occurred near the university on Sept. 24, 2009.

That’s when officers used the Long Range Acoustic Device. The suit says the device “emits harmful, pain-inducing sounds over long distances.”

Piper says it damaged her hearing. Police have called it an effective crowd-control device.

City police referred a call for comment to the city Law Department, which didn’t immediately return a message.

Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/bystander-sues-pittsburgh-police-over-hearing-loss-allegedly-caused-by-sonic-device-at-g20/2011/09/21/gIQAbCuIlK_story.html

G20 protester on probation arrested again in Pa.


PITTSBURGH (AP) — A man already on probation for causing $14,000 worth of damage during window-smashing protests near the Group of 20 economic summit two years ago has been charged with resisting arrest and other crimes following an impromptu gay rights protest in the city.

David Japenga, 22, also was charged by city police Thursday with obstructing a sidewalk and failing to disperse hours after he was one of five people arrested in the Wednesday evening protest. Online court records don’t list an attorney for him.

A police news release said arrests were made when about 100 people blocked traffic and failed to disperse during the protest, which it said “appeared to be a rally against violence” toward the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Source: http://www.chron.com/news/article/G20-protester-on-probation-arrested-again-in-Pa-2141040.php weiter...

David Japenga Found Guilty Of Breaking Windows In Oakland

Pic: Pittsburgh

David Japenga got six to 18 months from Allegheny County Judge Ed Borkowski on Tuesday morning, plus five years of probation. The 21-year-old man was also ordered to pay $15,000 restitution.

Many people were arrested during the global economic summit in September 2009, but police said Japenga caused the most damage, breaking about 20 windows and doors in Oakland and causing damage at the local Citizens Bank branch.

His arrest was caught on cell phone video and posted on YouTube.

Source: http://www.thepittsburghchannel.com/allegheny/25891887/detail.html

ACLU plans to sue city over arrests during G-20 summit

Pic: G20 Pittsburgh

By Moriah Balingit

The American Civil Liberties Union announced Tuesday that it is preparing a suit against the city on behalf of some of those arrested during the “Oakland sweeps,” the night following the close of the G-20 summit in which riot police descended on hundreds of students, protesters and passers-by who had assembled in Schenley Plaza.

The announcement came during an Thomas Merton Center awards ceremony that recognized state ACLU legal director Witold “Vic” Walczak and seven other attorneys for their efforts to help protesters work out legal issues before, during and after the G-20.

All were given the New Person Award at a ceremony at the East Liberty Presbyterian Church Tuesday night.

Source: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10139/1059137-84.stm weiter...

Pittsburgh Affidavit Released…

Pic: G20 Pittsburgh

Finally the state of Pennsylvania has decided to unseal the affidavit which lead to the arrests of the “Twitter 2″ at the Carefree Inn outside of Pittsburgh, PA on September 24th during protests against the G-20.

The affidavit which is signed on September 24th, 2009, by State Troopers Glenn D. Hopey and Gregg J. Kravitsky (who also signed off on affidavits during the 2000 RNC protests in Philadelphia) has been kept under seal since the arrests meaning that neither our lawyers our us were able to have access to it.

Source: http://friendsoftortuga.wordpress.com/2010/03/12/pittsburgh-affidavit-released/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=ping.fm weiter...

Toronto's G20: The summit of all fears

Pic: Pittsburgh

If history is any guide, city councillor Adam Vaughan might have a point: June’s meeting gives Toronto a platform to strut its stuff, but it also might bring the city to its knees

Siri Agrell and Anna Mehler Paperny

Concentric circles of security surrounding Front Street, ringed with barbed-wire fences three metres high. Bay Street, University Avenue and Yonge Street closed off to pedestrians, above and below ground. Designated protest zones and inaccessible subway stops. Condo residents flashing ID while their vehicles are searched by sniffer dogs. Business closings. A barricaded Gardiner Expressway. Peter Mansbridge getting the pat-down on his way to work at the CBC.

Those are just some scenarios for this June, when Toronto’s Metro Convention Centre plays host to the G20, an international summit that will flood the downtown core with foreign leaders, their handlers, security details – and the throngs of media and protesters who follow them.

Source: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/toronto/torontos-g20-the-summit-of-all-fears/article1474992/ weiter...

G-20 summit protest groups sue PIttsburgh for legal fees

By Adam Brandolph

Six activist groups that successfully sued the city after being denied protest permits before the G-20 summit filed a federal lawsuit Friday seeking to have Pittsburgh officials pay their $127,000 in attorneys’ fees.

“The city pushed us to the point where we needed legal counsel,” said Francine Porter, coordinator of the local chapter of Codepink Women for Peace. "I think everyone in the city should be mad about it, but point the blame where blame lies: from (Mayor Luke) Ravenstahl all the way to (Pittsburgh police Chief) Nate Harper.

Source: http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/pittsburgh/s_664841.html weiter...

A New Year, A New Tortuga House Update January 27, 2010

It has been several months since our last communication regarding the “situation” here at Tortuga House, but with nothing more than the seemingly interminable filing of legal motions by our defense to unseal the secret affidavits authorizing the raids in Pittsburgh and New York, counter-motions by prosecutors to keep these affidavits sealed, and judicial providence obviously favoring the side which signs their checks, we may as well be submitting a blank sheet of paper for all the real news we have. With the affidavits in our case remaining sealed—the motives and strategy of the state remain in the realm of speculation and will obviously not do for any public statement. However, a recent court date in Pittsburgh has since brought us several scraps of useful information that we felt it was important to share with others.

Source: http://friendsoftortuga.wordpress.com/2010/01/27/a-new-year-a-new-tortuga-house-update/ weiter...

ACLU Sues Pittsburgh For Harassment, Intimidation

Pic: Pittsburgh

Civil Rights Group Says City Suppressed Free Speech During G-20

PITTSBURGH — The American Civil Liberties Union has announced it’s suing the City of Pittsburgh over official’s treatment of protesters gathered for September’s G-20 economic summit.

Protesters and police clashed during the event, which brought world financial leaders to the city’s downtown for meetings about issues affecting the global economy.

According to a news release from the ACLU, the group is suing the city and police officers for what they say were efforts to thwart peaceful protest.

Source: http://www.thepittsburghchannel.com/news/21962373/detail.html weiter...

Chicago police reprimand two officers for conduct during G-20

Pic: Pittsburgh

By John Manganaro

Police officers who allegedly forced a Pitt student to pose on his knees during a G-20 Summit protest received something besides a photograph to commemorate the tempestuous global event — a formal reprimand from their commanding officers.

According to Chicago Police Department spokesman Roderick Drew, the Department issued two reprimands on Nov. 25 following an investigation into a video that appeared online.

In the video, Pitt student Kyle Kramer is led before about 15 police officers in riot gear on Forbes Avenue near Hemingway’s Cafe. Kramer kneels while one officer snaps a picture.

Source: http://www.pittnews.com/article/2009/12/01/chicago-police-reprimand-two-officers-conduct-during-g-20 weiter...

Tortuga House Update: Pennsylvania Drops All Charges Against Madison & Wallschlager for Twittering

Pic: Logo

In the face of a PR nightmare, Pennsylvania authorities have withdrawn all charges against two members of Tortuga accused of using Twitter to aid protesters at the G20 summit in Pittsburgh. At a hearing today, instead of oral arguments regarding a defense motion to unseal the secret 18-page affidavit authorizing the arrests of Elliott Madison and Michael Wallschlager at a motel just outside of Pittsburgh, the prosecution immediately moved to withdraw all charges against the two before the defense had a chance to argue its case. Although clear from the beginning that these charges were absurd based on the State’s very own laws, our housemates were incarcerated for 36 hours, had their van towed and belongings confiscated, and one house member was given $30,000 in straight bail.

Source: http://friendsoftortuga.wordpress.com/2009/11/03/tortuga-house-update-pennsylvania-drops-all-charges-against-madison-wallschlager-for-twittering/ weiter...

Case against alleged G-20 protest coordinators dropped

Pic: G20 Pittsburgh

Allegheny County prosecutors withdrew criminal charges today against two New York men accused of using cell phones and the Internet messaging service Twitter to direct the movement of protestors during the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh.

Police arrested Elliot M. Madison, 41, and Michael Wallschlaeger, 46, both of Jackson Heights, N.Y., after they found them Sept. 24 in a Kennedy hotel room full of computers, police scanners and Pittsburgh-area maps, according to a state police criminal complaint.

Prosecutors withdrew the charges after an attorney for the men asked Common Pleas Judge David R. Cashman to unseal police affidavits that backed search warrants used in their case. Cashman previously sealed the warrants.

Source: http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/breaking/s_651135.html weiter...

G20 Legal Support Update

Pic: Pittsburgh

One month after the G20 protests in Pittsburgh, many still face felony and misdemeanor charges. Chief among these are the two people arrested for sending Twitter messages during the protests, whose home was subsequently raided by the FBI, and David Japenga, the young man ludicrously accused of being “single-handedly responsible for most of the $50,000 in damage” anarchists inflicted on corporations during the summit.

In addition to the felony charges filed in Pittsburgh and the house raid, the Twitter defendants—and perhaps others?—are apparently being targeted by a secretive federal grand jury.

Source: http://www.crimethinc.com/blog/2009/10/25/g20-legal-support-update/ weiter...

A day of lies and poses: Pittsburgh Magistral Court hears G-20 arrests: Day 2

Pic: G20 Pittsburgh

To know a cop's lying in court is painful, but nowhere near as bad as knowing that he's wrong. Watching an entire case of prosecution made with it for over a dozen people is almost unbearable.

It's also how Friday was spent at the Pittsburgh Magistrate Court, with a Detective William Friburger of the Pittsburgh NARCO describing the LRAD and police tactics on Sept. 25th in a mix of sports and football metaphors. Friburger is built like a football player, a center or somebody who eats the living. Among his greatest hits:

"The LRAD is like a big bullhorn. It's like when you're at a football game..."

Source: http://www.examiner.com/x-20026-Pittsburgh-Nonpartisan-Examiner~y2009m10d23-A-day-of-lies-and-poses-Pittsburgh-Magistral-Court-hears-G20-arrests-Day-2 weiter...