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Police State, Inner Harbor, MD

Police State Inner Harbor The police state is alive and well at the Inner Harbor, Baltimore, MD. Police and hired security goons there are now claiming the right to designate public property as private; and to arrest anyone who even makes a silent, political protest.

Last April (4/4/03), police broke up a silent vigil being put on by Women in Black at the southeast corner of Light and Pratt Streets. (A Women in Black vigil consists of women silently holding signs advocating peaceful resolutions to conflicts and wearing dark clothing.) The pretext was that the Women needed a permit for their vigil, which they had been conducting every Friday for a year. No explanation was proffered by the officers as to why they needed a permit, for a clear form of Constitutionally-protected free speech.

The ACLU has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Women in Black. At this writing the lawsuit is in process. In response, Baltimore City has announced a 180-day reprieve. The agreement specifies that starting in April and for 180 days no groups of less than 25 would need a permit for their free speech at the Inner Harbor. However, the City is not abiding by its promise.

On June 21, this writer, along with two good friends (with SUSTAIN and Pledge of Resistance - Baltimore) was attempting to leaflet on a sidewalk near a fountain across from Port Discovery. It was a small, harmless leaflet announcing the upcoming (6/26/03) Ralph Nader/Dennis Kucinich talk at JHU. We were not disrupting anyone’s flow and movement, nor were we aggressive.

That’s when a female police officer and three security guards who could only be called goons instructed us that the sidewalk for an entire block was private property and we had to immediately leave or we would be arrested. The officer very reluctantly gave us her name. The security goons refused to give their names.

Neither one of us was prepared to get arrested. Nor was the crowd particularly interested in progressive ideals at that Saturday night hour. So we left.

However, it isn’t hard to remember that the Inner Harbor was constructed largely through public subsidy (e.g., tax-exempt municipal bonds, etc.) In addition, the police are paid for by our tax dollars and the security goons are probably someone’s tax writeoff.

In a nutshell, the Inner Harbor was created and is currently being maintained through public investment. However, the police under the thuggish Martin O’Malley administration no longer believe we have Constitutional rights down there.

Civil liberties must always be defended or they will be lost. There are many people in Baltimore who will not stand for losing their Constitutional rights at the Inner Harbor. Like-minded people are welcome to join us.

Pledge of Resistance-Baltimore
mailto:scottL44 at yahoo.com

Stop US Tax-Funded Aid to Israel Now (SUSTAIN)
mailto:baltimoresustain@yahoo.com, Joshua Brown
Scott Loughrey

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