Those of you who lived in St. Paul during the Republican National Convention (RNC) are unlikely to forget how half of the city was turned into a police state within a police state. Heavily armed thugs in riot gear were marching around like they owned the place and they were supposedly the good guys. Before the actual convention the FBI and St. Paul police performed a series of raids on the houses of people suspected of planning demonstrations against the RNC (thankfully they left those of us at Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty kickoff alone). The police stormed into several houses and rounded up the people there like cattle because it seemed like a good idea at the time. Well it wasn’t a good idea and the case filed against them ended poorly for them:
Three activists and their attorneys won a $50,000 settlement today in a lawsuit that challenged an August 30, 2008 police raid on a St. Paul home in advance of that year’s Republican National Convention (RNC). The plaintiffs in the case — Sarah Coffey, Erin Stalnaker and Kris Hermes — are giving most of the award to the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, the Institute for Anarchist Studies, and the formation of a national legal defense fund for political activists. The St. Paul house raid was one of several police actions taken against protesters days before the RNC began, including the search and seizure of a central political meeting space, which is also the subject of pending litigation.
Obviously I don’t see this as an amazing victory because the government basically said “Yeah we screwed up so here’s some of your tax money back.” This is always the bittersweet side of winning cases against the government, they’re not really the ones footing the bill, you and I are. Either way as a man who loves irony I really do love the fact that some of the money won by the plaintiffs is being donated to an anarchist organization. Seriously that moves just drips with delicious irony.
The big question is what will this victory symbolize? Not a damned thing. Having to pay three people $50,000 isn’t going to even make a blip on the radar of finances for the government so no lesson is likely to be learned from this. The only possible outcome could be new legislation that legalizes raids like the one performed by the FBI and St. Paul Police Department so the state doesn’t have to worry about getting sued again in the future. At least I’m happy to say the Democratic National Convention (DNC) didn’t end up here this year because we would have had all of this shit happen all over again.