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INTRODUCTORY NOTE: The following is an email post from a member of the New York 911 Truth Group who was involved in Republican National
Convention Protests in New York last week. In it 55-year-old Realtor Cathie Bell describes how she was held illegally
for 45 hours during the RNC and effectively treated like a terrorist. All this in the land of the free and the home of
the brave. – UQ Wire Editor Alastair Thompson
My Illegal Arrest And Detainment, RNC, NY
Guest Opinion From Cathie Bell
I was one of 1,800+ people who were arrested during the RNC protests. I was arrested on Tuesday evening at 7:00pm and
not released until Thursday at 4:10pm for doing nothing more than exercising my first amendment constitutional rights! I
was illegally detained for 45 hours during which time I was not informed of the charges against me (my arresting officer
said he did not know what I was being charged with), I was never read my rights and denied access to a lawyer until the
On the evening of my arrest, I was standing on East 16th Street during a spontaneous protest. There were several hundred
people protesting and several hundred observing--many people on the street were innocent bystanders simply walking
through the street on their way home. The police moved onto the sidewalk at both the east and west ends of the street
using wire netting to hem the crowd in at one end and a troop of police, many in riot gear at the other. Police directed
the crowd to keep moving in one direction while assuring us (on the sidewalk at least) that we would be permitted to
pass. When the crowd was completely hemmed in, we were told to sit down and again assured we would be 'released' after
the police gained control.
Several protesters were picked out of the crowd and handcuffed, a few suffered police brutality; musical instruments
were smashed by angry police. After this show of force, boxes of plastic handcuffs were opened and police proceeded to
handcuff ALL the people on the block. After about 3 hours, we were shuffled onto city busses and taken to a make-shift
internment camp at Pier 57, known as Guantanamo on the Hudson. I asked one officer why he was not out fighting
terrorism, he replied, "you ARE the terrorists".
We were held in busses during the unloading process, which took over an hour. Inside 'Guantanamo' we were directed into
a large wire cage with razor-wire, until we were assigned sex-specific individual cages (also headed with razor-wire).
Each cage contained a few metal benches and two portable toilets, each was extremely overcrowded so most people, tired
and exhausted were forced to sit and sleep on filthy floors. This former bus repair depot was still drenched in
diesel-oil, the stench of strong chemicals burned our eyes and what looked like open asbestos stanchions could be seen.
After 15 hours, all people were coated with black soot, complained of eye and sinus irritations as well as skin rashes
and some open sores began appearing. The police ignored constant requests for medical attention despite loud chanting,
cage rattling and other jail solidarity tactics. Medical assistance was offered hours later.
We were then handcuffed again and taken via a corrections vehicle to our new destination--the corrections facility at
100 Center Street. After passing through metal detectors and patted down by officers, we were lead to group cells where
we were fed (a slice of cheese on white bread)and settled down on tiled floors and metal benches. For the next 27 hours
we were shuffled from one cell to another, fingerprinted, photographed and consistently promised imminent release. In
all fairness, two of the 13 cells I 'visited' had thin plastic mats that could hold 8 tightly positioned sleeping
bodies--most people slept on the floor or benches. All the cells were cold with loud, large fans adding to our
discomfort--blankets were delivered on Thursday morning at 6am.
Although there was a significant presence of thug-like police inside the facility, many officers were openly
sympathetic. Many thanked us, some applauded as we were paraded single-file out of the internment camp and some voiced
their outrage; one police officer told us to settle down for a few days because it was the intention of our city
government to keep us off the streets throughout the RNC. One police officer described the usual treatment of prisoners,
comparing that to our "humane" treatment--we were the lucky ones. All the sympathizers I questioned said they were just
following orders! Although I am very grateful to these officers for their kindness and open support, I question at what
point will they stop just following orders?
On the 42nd hour, I spoke with a court-appointed lawyer who told me the courts were deliberately slowing the process of
our release. Finally, I entered my 'not guilty' plea in front of the judge. I am a 55 year old mother with two grown
daughters, have lived in the same apartment for 23 years, have a master's degree in education, currently sell real
estate in the city and have no prior arrest record so I was not deemed a flight risk and released on my own
Outside the courthouse, we were all greeted by hundreds of cheering supporters and people of conscience, friends and
family members, legal representatives from The National Lawyers Guild, the press, cigarettes, food, holistic medical
support and advice. Throughout our long ordeal, hundreds of people could be heard singing, chanting and demanding our
release. I understand many people did 24 hour vigils and all thanked us for our service to the movement. I thank all of
them for their support, kindness and service to the movement.
Although my arrest was a health hazzard, uncomfortable and inconvenient, I feel empowered through all the wonderful
people I met 'inside', the kind police officers who offered support and the hundreds of greeters 'outside'. I am now
even more committed to the movement to change the direction our country is heading and halt the US-lead war on freedom
"Liberty can not be preserved without general knowledge among people" - John Adams
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the reader finds in it inspiration to work with us further, in helping to build bridges between our various
investigative communities, towards a greater, common understanding of the unanswered questions which now lie before us.