The Public Eye - Winter 2007- Vol. 22, No. 4
Police tactics are increasingly suppressing free speech.
By Heidi Boghosian and Abby Scher
Miles Swanson was a legal observer at the 2003 protests in Miami against the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas when he became victim of a “snatch squad,” a new police tactic where officers drag protestors off, having singled them out based on their perceived political ideology. It is unconstitutional to target someone for arrest based on their political views, but snatch squads are only one of many new government tactics that are chilling Americans’ free speech rights. These measures are rarely passed by Congress or a state legislature, but are devised and adopted informally through expanding networks of police agencies. Now lawyers are learning from past abuses to try to protect protestors attending the Republican and Democratic conventions next summer.
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