community-based, non-corporate, participatory media
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
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(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.
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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.
|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|