October 18, 2006

New Orleans Police Dept. Arrests Washington D.C. based Attorney for Observing an Arrest

PRESS CONFERENCE 9 AM Wednesday, October 18th

City Hall, 1300 Perdido St Contact: Soleil Rodrigue, Legal
Coordinator, Common Ground Relief, 504-717-7324

NOPD Arrests Washington D.C. based Attorney for Observing an Arrest

On Monday, October 16th two New Orleans Police Officers falsely arrested
visiting Washington D.C. based attorney Miles Swanson for observing
their conduct during an arrest. Today, Common Ground joins New Orleans
residents, Safe Streets/Strong Communities and the New Orleans ACLU in
calling for a transparent and accountable police force, and calling on
Superintendent Warren Riley to take the lead in upholding citizens'
basic rights.

"Any false arrest is an egregious violation of basic rights," said
Swanson, "but even more so if that abuse of power occurs as an
attempt to terrorize and intimidate citizens away from ensuring
professional police conduct." Swanson provides free legal aid to
returning New Orleans residents, including bankruptcy counselling with
the Pro Bono Project, and civil and criminal assistance with the Free
Legal Clinic of Common Ground Relief.

"Those who are serious about transforming the image and substance of
the NOPD must welcome citizen observation of officers" conduct, and
call for the establishment of an Office of the Independent Monitor,"
states Soleil Rodrigue, Common Ground Legal Advocacy Committee
Coordinator. "Why are citizens who witness police behavior harassed
and subjected to false arrest? Why are the records of these public
servants being kept from the public? Don't the authorities
themselves say "You have nothing to worry about if you have nothing
to hide?"


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