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Showboat Comes to Town at the Court Hearing for August 20 Anti-War Protestors
by L. Roberts Thursday, Sep. 29, 2005 at 10:27 PM

A view from the courtroom hearing for the A20 arrested protestors.

Showboat Comes to Town at the Court Hearing for August 20 Anti-War Protestors.

It is the opinion of this onlooker that the view from inside the courtroom at Tuesday’s preliminary hearing for the arrested anti-war protesters on August 20 very much resembled late afternoon divorce courts or “He scuffed my shoe” courts, complete with the off-Broadway theatrics of cameraman Thomas Sypula. His transparently bogus performance included gyrating for the judge, reenacting the moments in which, to his utter amazement, that after elbowing his way to the front of the protest fray and trying to capture the faces of the protestors on camera, that he would be jostled when trying to occupy space in an already high density area. He is now claiming almost nine hundred dollars in damage to his camera, the majority of which is actually payment for a rental, and he is gnashing his teeth for justice, or perhaps, just for money.

Justice and money from whom? As the testimony unfolded, it became clear that not even Sypula could say from whom, as he testified that no, he never actually saw who might have (intentionally or accidentally) struck his camera, which struck his hand, which struck his body, etc, after which he testified to sustaining no actual physical injuries. When Sypula looked up after regaining his so badly rocked balance, he testified that he looked at and pointed out the person nearest to him, which he just assumed was who had intentionally struck him. After all, who else could it have been out of the many protestors in that small space, if not the person now nearest to him, a person clad all in black (much like many of the protestors) who also happened to be black. After this Sypula went to get a police officer to arrest this individual. The defense was more than effective in driving trucks through the unsubstantiated arguments of Sypula and the officer, who couldn’t say for sure who it had been either. So what did the officer actually see, if the defense pointed out that not only is she not tall enough to have been able to see into the crowd, but that she is on videotape not even looking in that direction?

She wasn't the only officer who couldn’t seem to recall what was going on. There appeared to be considerable doubt as to who was giving orders, who was where, who was on top of whom, when anything happened and in what order. And the plain clothed or undercover officer wielding the baton? Well, no one seems to know who he was or where he came from, either. And the banner carried by the protestors? The same banner that over the course of the hearing went from definitely being a chain link fence in one officer’s testimony to being plastic construction fencing in another officer’s testimony, was that the banner that the protestors used to so violently “surge” and “charge” the police? Yes, that was the same banner that yet another officer casually acknowledged having pulled down, after which the protestors holding on came down with it.

What was exposed at this hearing is what seems to be much more than reasonable doubt and much less than a satisfactory burden of proof. It doesn’t warrant the showboating of Sypula, or the time and money that the city could be putting to a myriad of better uses.

It couldn't have been anything less than a disgracefully trumped up show hearing, he-said she-said, one that the city put on very well for a good four hours, after conspicuously changing courtrooms to one where not nearly as many people could actually fit.

In the end the city is sticking to their plan to take three young people into court for a scuffle at an anti-war protest, the cause of which was made out to be a young black man. If this is not a classic story, then nothing is. In the midst of a tragic war (yes, the country is in fact still at war) the Commonwealth and the likes of Thomas Sypula are bumbling after “justice”, just like President Bush bumbles after “justice” when he looks up from his lost balance and points to whoever is closest.

There are a variety of factors to separate and discern in this entire protesting incident: who broke what law and how, what was pretext for violence, what was excessive, and what to do with the crucially threadbare details (like witnesses). The city has another two months to come up with them, and nevertheless, when the trial ensues and more cameramen are on hand to capture the defendants going to trial, Sypula and the Commonwealth’s line of blue probably won’t be far behind, ready and willing to hang their hats on their shamefully long noses.

Hef, do you read this?
by Evildoer Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2005 at 12:51 PM

Offer that foxy ladycop money to pose for Playboy.

evasive asswipes
by Andrew McCrae Thursday, Oct. 13, 2005 at 2:56 PM

As stated, the burden is on you to prove you don't. But you can't, so you always and without fail resort to the Xeroxed yawner about COINTELPRO.

by LOL Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2005 at 9:43 AM

Posting pixels on a screen is not "stomping." Neither are empty threats. At best, it's mental masturbation. But feel free to come on over and try to *really* stomp me any time you want. I'm home right now. Come on over. Let's see what you got.

he's bad - he's nationwide
by look out Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2005 at 12:34 PM

Look out troll. He's gonna whup you real bad.

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