Last night, members of the St. Paul police department and the Ramsey County sheriff's department handcuffed, photographed and detained dozens of people meeting at a public venue to plan a demonstration, charging them with no crime other than "fire code violations," and early this morning, the Sheriff's department sent teams of officers into at least four Minneapolis area homes where suspected protesters were staying.
If you don't trust Glenn Greenwald's impartiality (why would you?), here's the Minneapolis Star-Tribune story, which elaborates a little more on the reasons for the raid. The cops say that they suspected more than just protesting - that they actually suspected that the groups would act to disrupt the convention, and that they raided pre-emptively to stop that.
One still wonders if the St. Paul police department hired the precogs from Minority Report.
Look, I understand the desire to keep order. But you don't raid someone's meetings and arrest them because they might do something illegal. That's just too awful for words. Police - and here I include the overzealous Denver cops as well - need to calm down. Not every protest is going to devolve into violence. Few do, in fact. No one wants another 1968 Chicago, but the chances of that actually happening are remote at best. We need to make the cops remember that their job in a protest is to stand by and jump in only if things get out of hand.
One last thing. Here's my reaction to the news that Sarah Palin's daughter is pregnant. Ready? Here goes...