August 26, 2005
-- by Thomas Leavitt
The helicopter dipped lower and lower and started shining its lights on the crowd [...] I saw a guy dressed in camoflauge walking by, toting an assault rifle. [...] A few "troops" rushed the stage and cut the sound off and started yelling that everyone "get the fuck out of here or go to jail". [...] They had police dogs raiding the crowd of people and I saw a dog signal out a guy who obviously had some drugs on him. The soldiers attacked the guy (4 of them on 1), and kicked him a few times in the ribs and had their knees in his back and sides. As they were cuffing him, there was about 1000 kids trying to leave in the backdrop, peacefully. Next thing I know, A can of fucking TEAR GAS is launched into the crowd. People are running and screaming at this point. Girls are crying, guys are cussing... bad scene.Now, this is all I saw with my own eyes [...]
One of the promoters friends (a very small female) was attacked by one of the police dogs. As she struggled to get away from it, the police tackled her. 3 grown men proceeded to KICK HER IN THE STOMACH.- The police confiscated 3 video tapes in total. People were trying to document what was happening out there. The police saw one guy filming and ran after him, tackled him and his camera fell, and luckily.. his friend grabbed it and ran and got away. priceless footage.
This in person account of a SWAT team raid on a legally permitted rave in Utah just came across my inbox, via Dave Farber's Interesting People list. What happened is just flat out friggin' insane. Unfortunately, I can't honestly say "I can't believe this is happening", but I'm still outraged. If you don't like what you read, hear and see below, I've included information about how you can take action at the end of this posting.
Take a look at this two minute video (quicktime and wmv). I just downloaded it... you can hear the helicopter, hear the dogs barking, see the cops in full camo storming the stage, shouting threats, waving assault rifles around (not just holding them)... at least two people getting the crap beat out of them, video is abruptly cut off, not clear why (unless this is the individual referred to in the first quote).
According to the promoter's statement the event had full permits, and was widely advertised in advance, and every effort had been made to comply with the law. The email quote above also says they did not have a warrant (no independent verification of this).
"Dozens of Men in Full Camo, Kevlar Vests, Gas Masks MP5 Navy's AUG's and many other fire-arms. Attack Dogs, were barking somewhere ahead of me. Suddenly I saw the sight that disgusted me. A person whom I had met before was on the ground face first, 4 Reservists had their guns pointed to his head, and were handcuffing him. Their attack dog was mauling his: Shoulder, Neck and Torso areas. I was quickly shuffled along but was very disgusted. I had attempted to record the man on the ground with my Camera-Phone, but a soldier approached me and took my phone and said "move Along" I still have not recovered it." (source: discussion thread below)
More personal accounts of the mayhem, like the one above. One of the first ones discusses how the police went after anyone and everyone with a video camera (not to mention beating the crap out of people on the slightest of pretexts).
Here's a feature article on the raid from stopthedrugwar.org: PLUR Meets SWAT as Utah Cops Attack Electronic Dance Party.
Salt Lake City resident member Jonathan Meander, the Utah director of DanceSafe, a harm reduction group that works with the dance culture, was one of the hundreds who had arrived at the party before the big bust. "About 11:30, a helicopter circled the party and people started to scatter," he told DRCNet. "The cops started coming in with cammo gear and assault rifles and dogs and tear gas, and they were yelling and pushing and hassling people. If you tried to get your stuff, you got hit. I saw people get beaten to the ground. They were also trying to prevent people from filming them. The way we got the footage that has made its way to the Internet is that one guy was filming and a cop knocked the camera out of his hand, and one of his friends grabbed the camera and ran away," Meander said.
"I am disgusted. I saw a lot of stuff that just wasn't right," said Meander. "We wanted to go dancing in the desert, and they come with their assault rifles and beat us up."
From the promoter's statement:
To the people who were not in attendance
1. Be it local or international, it does not matter; WE NEED YOUR HELP! Not only to spread the truthful word about what happened, but to do whatever possible thing you can assist us with. People in the media, public relations, internet related business, people who can provide additional legal help, financial assistance, or people willing to help with leg work are of great necessity to us, please contact Loki801@comcast.net –or- Dimitri801@comcast.net All other music and event lovers keep talking! You have our never ending gratitude, you guys are so amazing!
Ultimately to prevent something like this ever happening again, it is up to ALL OF US. We must have teamwork and solidarity – having unity goes without saying. This fight is neither going to be short nor easy; we want to ensure that it is not you who needs our help someday. In order to have good teamwork, we need to be able to communicate so please visit the website, do what you can do, and please feel free to contact the people below as needed.
Brandon Fullmer Loki801@comcast.net
Phone; (801) 363-7955 Fax (801) 363-7943
For all matters related to needed legal statements contact-
Dimitri Mumulidisz Dimitri801@comcast.net
Phone: (801) 577-8281
For all internet related issues -
For all press related issues please contact-
Justin Kahn email@example.com
Phone: (801) 755-9300
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Sounds a lot like the good old days to me, except I don't recall any helicopters. Attack dogs, assault weapons, beating and kicking and beating the shit out of people at random. Almost makes me nostalgic for the 60s. It doesn't matter if what you're doing is perfectly legal or not. Couldn't matter less whether you're male or female, young or old, white or black, there by accident or not. One of the more spectacular police riots I got caught in, I'd just stepped out of the library. My car was right behind a cop -- who wouldn't let me get in it and drive home. You can't have a "riot' if the crowd goes home.
So who's gonna get put on trial for this? It's a safe bet it isn't gonna be the police! You'd better believe this has happened before, folks, and it's definitely going to happen again. the "law" is NOT on your side. Watch your back.
Perhaps Bush classified them as enemy combatants. I wonder how the Utah stations that recently refused to run an anti-Bush ad are going to cover this story? Any bets on whether the Sunday Funny shows will even mention this in passing?
It won't get as much coverage as run away white girls.
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