A federal judge has ruled that the New York Police Department illegally arrested large numbers of demonstrators at a protest in Lower Manhattan during the 2004 Republican National Convention. But the judge upheld aspects of how the city had handled the protesters’ arrests.
A judge said the city did not have probable cause to arrest more than 200 antiwar demonstrators in Lower Manhattan on Aug. 31, 2004.
The judge, Richard J. Sullivan of Federal District Court, said that the city had lacked the required probable cause because the police were unaware of whether each individual protester had broken the law.
“An individual’s participation in a lawbreaking group may, in appropriate circumstances, be strong circumstantial evidence of that individual’s own illegal conduct,” the judge wrote in a 32-page opinion. “But, no matter the circumstances,” he added, “an arresting officer must believe that every individual arrested personally violated the law. Nothing short of such a finding can justify arrest. The Fourth Amendment does not recognize guilt by association.”
Ironically, Sullivan was appointed by W. Bush in Bush's sescond term, the one facilitated in some measure by the thuggery of the NYPD and then-Republican Mayor Mike. Sullivan filled the seat vacated by that noted destroyer of civil liberties, Mike Mukasey.
If anyone can point me to a blogpost from Instacracker decrying these arrests when they occurred, or even linking to an article about Sullivan's recent ruling, I'll donate 50 USD to the ACLU.