Note: this is a recording of a live video stream.
Elizabeth Press is a producer with “Democracy Now” and is in St. Paul to help the group “iwitness Video” document any police abuses during the Republican National Convention.
She was staying in a house on Iglehart in St. Paul (949 Iglehart)
She says a Federal agent came to the door this morning and asked for someone named Fred who was involved with a bike ride a few months ago and they wanted to question him. He said it wasn’t related to the Republican National Convention. He then left.
The iwitness video group decided then to move from the house because they felt their meeting wasn’t safe.
Around 1pm about 20 St. Paul police officers surrounded the house. A few of the group went outside and were handcuffed. They had to wait for the search warrant to arrive. When the warrant arrived, it was not for their house. It was for the apartment next door. Police went into that other apartment and then busted through the attic into where the journalists were.
“They came in with pistols drawn” said Press “ I was pointing my video camera back. They said ‘St. Paul Police, put your hands on your head’ and then we were all detained for the next several hours in the back yard.
Police then searched the journalists’ belongings, unhandcuffed them and let them go.
“I feel like these are intimidation tactics. iwitness video has been in the news recently, in the New York Times and all over the internet. Their video work has gotten over 400 people’s charges dropped from the National Republican Convention in New York City and they are going to be here today and through out the week to document police behaviors at the 2008 Republican National Convention.
Three members of the group were biking away from the home at the time of the raid and were detained by police on the sidewalk. All of their belongings were searched. They went through their maps, their notes and wrote things down after viewing the notes. The police had riot gear and tasers.
One of the group members said she asked the St. Paul police how far they have to be away from somebody to shoot a taser. The police officer told her they can be any distance. She had heard that if you’re too close they can be fatal or cause heart attacks.
She also said she doesn’t know if they were targeted because they are with iwitness or because of the house they are staying in, or something totally different.