Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Controversy Regarding 2002 IMF/World Bank Arrests

The controversy continues with regard to the 2002 arrests of peaceful protesters and bystanders in Pershing Park.  The arrests were made in conjunction with public policing of the I.M.F./World Bank meetings in Washington, D.C.  The District has paid out more than a million dollars to settle the cases of several of those arrested.  But the Distroct has drawn the ire of federal judges handling pending cases, in large part owing to its inability to produce documents and audio recordings relating to the arrests.  In particular, the judges want the District to produce the detailed log of events kept by police as a matter of course during such events.  A city report relating to the missing documents is here

One interesting note with regard to a recently settled case:  The F.B.I. was apparently involved in interviewing some of those detained in connection with the protests.  In the militarized context in which mass public assemblies now take place, it is not uncommon for multiple elements of the surveillance state to be involved in public policing efforts.  The F.B.I. may have been involved as a result of pre-protest surveillance of websites and social networking sites, which has become the norm for events like the I.M.F./World Bank summits.

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