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FSRN Radio segment on the Pittsburgh police taser abuse at a counter-recruitment protest
by andalusia & matt, rustbelt radio Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2005 at 8:48 PM
radio@indypgh.org (email address validated)

(audio: 3:15) A report on the events in Pittsburgh on August 20, 2005. Counter-recruitment demonstrators were met by police with tasers, dogs, pepper spray and batons.

audio link: MP3 at 4.5 mebibytes

Flash player: Embed this audio player:

Originally aired on Free Speech Radio News, Tuesday August 23, 2005.

Written and produced by Andalusia Knoll and Matt Toups of Rustbelt Radio.
Special thanks to: Roger Hill and Vince Eirene.

On Saturday in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the efforts of Anti-War demonstrators to
shut down a military recruiting center were met with police violence. 

For the second time this month, the Pittsburgh Organizing Group and supporters shut
down the Army Recruiting station adjacent to the University of Pittsburgh campus.
On both dates, instead of facing protestors, military recruiters cloesd their doors
and stayed home.  While previous counter-recruitment actions encountered little
resistance from the police, this weekend two protestors were hospitalized after
police used tasers, pepper spray, dogs, and batons.

Before the confrontation, a crowd gathered at a rally that kicked off the march to
the recruiting center.  Announcing the shutdown of the center, Protest Organizer
Jeremy Shenk declared victory.

    "We can win. The war machine blinked today.  They shut down
   today.  Theres going to be no one from Oakland, the east end and our
   neighborhoods being tricked into fighting this war today.  So we should
   be really proud of ourselves. Way to go everybody!"

The campaign to shut down this recruiting station is a part of a larger campaign to
counter recruitment efforts.  Literature has been distributed at local high schools,
recruiting tables at colleges have been picketed, and the Pittsburgh Board of
Education is considering a policy that would let students more easily opt out of
providing their information to military recruiters.

 After the march protestors gathered on the sidewalk in front of the
recruiting station.  While speakers addressed the crowd, a freelance Fox News
cameraman was allegedly shoved.  He complained to the police who then chased and
arrested several people. Officers fired pepper spray at the crowd, which included
young children. Later a police dog bit a sixty eight year old woman from behind.
Without warning one officer fired a taser several times at demonstrators. Deanna
Caliguiri, who was hospitalized after being shocked by a taser, described her
experience:

    "I was taken to the ground by a police officer during that time
   I was pepper sprayed the officer picked up my glasses sprayed my face
   with the pepper spray. Once I got to the ground I was then tasered in
   the thigh for what felt like an eternity. It was the most excruciating
   pain I have ever felt.  I felt like I was burning. My hand reached
   down to feel what was on my leg and I felt an electrical shock running
   through my entire body. I could not stop myself from screaming. It was
   horrifying. I could not believe that after I had already been sprayed
   and on the ground they would then proceed to taser me."

 The use of tasers on demonstrators is unprecedented in Pittsburgh. But while
activists called the taser guns "torture toys", Taser international describes them
as a safer weapon for police use.

    The Taser x26c fires two probes up to a distance of 15 feet
   transmitting patented shaped pulse energy into the cenral nervous
   system of the target safely causing immediate incapacitation

David Meieran of People against Police Violence disputed Taser
International's claims.

    "These so called less lethal weapons have been responsible for
   more than 150 deaths.  There are five suits pending of taser
   international we demand an immediate moratorium on the use of tasers"

Also, protest organizers have called for the suspension or dismissal of the officer
who fired his taser three times, and for all charges to be dropped.  At least nine
people have filed complaints with the city's Citizen Police Review Board for
excessive force and unbecoming conduct.

From Rustbelt Radio, this is Andalusia Knoll and Matt Toups for Free Speech Radio News.

LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 8 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
Enemies? Chris Anderson Wednesday, Sep. 28, 2005 at 6:21 PM
Anti-War? Guess Again Wednesday, Sep. 28, 2005 at 5:07 PM
Saddam Lives! Officer Down Wednesday, Sep. 28, 2005 at 1:53 PM
What??? The Heck's comment is ridiculous. Angry Tuesday, Sep. 27, 2005 at 10:30 PM
The heck dumass Sunday, Sep. 18, 2005 at 9:46 PM
What the heck is going on?! Aaron Kiely Sunday, Sep. 18, 2005 at 9:03 PM
Police Unbecoming Conduct, Excessive Force Rust Best Tuesday, Sep. 13, 2005 at 4:55 PM
I saw the video... Dominic Friday, Aug. 26, 2005 at 12:39 PM
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