Updates from May, 2008 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Pete Eyre 10:56 am on May 27, 2008 Permalink | Reply  

    Michael Badnarik Covers FTJ1 

    Michael Badnarik, self-described step-father of the Constitution and 2004 Libertarian Party nominee for president, covered the Free The Jefferson 1 incident this morning on his Internet radio show, Lighting the Fires of Liberty. You can listen to the episode (May 27th) here.

  • Pete Eyre 1:01 pm on May 6, 2008 Permalink | Reply  

    Defense Fund and Court Date Update 

    Just wanted to thank everyone who made it out to the Union Pub last Friday. Between the inexpensive entry fee and t-shirt sells, it looks like we netted around $500 for the defense fund. This brings us to just under 80% of our goal. Good stuff.

    If you weren’t able to make it out or didn’t have enough coin at the time to purchase a shirt, you can do so here. Note that the shirts make great gifts and will help show those around you that you won’t stand for State aggression.

    In other news, a few folks have asked us of the status of the court date. Well, Brooke was originally supposed to appear during the last week of April, but now she was informed it was pushed back to May 21st. Perhaps the State is scared they don’t have a case?? Stay tuned for more.

  • raylehmann 10:49 am on May 2, 2008 Permalink | Reply  

    TONIGHT! One Night Only With the Jefferson 1 

    The liberal Christopher Hitchens! The conservative First Fridays! The libertarian Bureaucrash! All that, and the Jefferson 1 herself will be on hand at D.C.’s Union Pub for a special post-partisan affair, from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. EDST. It’s $5 at the door, which covers the cost of one drink and a one-time donation to the FreeTheJefferson1 Defense Fund. If you’re in the Washington area and can make it out to Capitol Hill for a few hours, we’d love to see you there.

    Roughly $3,300 has been raised thus far to assist our own Brooke Oberwetter, as she continues to fight federal charges of “interfering with an agency function” and “demonstrating without a permit,” all brought because she had the temerity to ask U.S. Park Police why she was not permitted to bop silently in celebration of Thomas Jefferson’s birthday.

    More info here.

    • bruce majors 6:08 pm on May 2, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      where is Union Pub?

      link above nonfunctional

  • jdtalley 12:07 am on April 19, 2008 Permalink | Reply  

    Concerned DC Citizen Writes the U.S. Park Police 

    Our spirits have been bolstered by the amount of support we have received so far. We very much appreciate the blog posts, donations, and letters. We hope you’ll keep them coming because we are just some concerned citizens against a government with unlimited resources. The following e-mail was cc’d to us and it’s well worth sharing. The author does a wonderful job of illustrating the absurd situation the U.S. Park Police caused by arresting the Jefferson 1 for simply asking “why?”

    to Dwight_Pettiford@nps.gov
    cc Mary_Bomar@nps.gov, Joe_Lawler@nps.gov
    date Fri, Apr 18, 2008 at 11:11 PM

    subject Oberwetter arrest

    Dear Chief Pettiford,

    I am writing as a private citizen to express my concerns over the arrest of Ms. Brooke Oberwetter at the Jefferson Memorial last weekend. For the record, I do not know Ms. Oberwetter nor any of the individuals who were in her group, nor am I affiliated with any organization. I am just writing as a six-year resident of the District of Columbia who visits NPS sites regularly with my family. (I found your contact information via NPS.gov, since the United States Park Police website seems to have no information on online contacts.)

    All I know about the Oberwetter arrest comes from media reports and the video of the incident now available online, so the facts I am about to recount may not be fully accurate. However, there are so many troubling aspects of this incident that I felt compelled to contact you.

    The group of which Ms. Oberwetter was a part seems to have been small enough to not need a permit to gather, nor were they making noise. However, if reports are accurate, within moments of their arrival, Park Police personnel were loudly confronting them, in some cases using obscene language despite the presence of other visitors. They also reportedly made physical contact with some of Ms. Oberwetter’s friends within minutes of the group’s arrival. Ms. Oberwetter, as video shows, was swaying quietly when she was confronted by a guard who said, “Exit, exit, exit. Lady, I’m not going to tell you again.” As you may know, and as I suspect NPS Director Bomar knows, it is generally considered sexist to refer to a woman as “lady” these days. Asked what rule she was violating, Ms. Oberwetter was told, “Exit, exit now,” which is a nonsequitur at best. When she asked, “It’s against the rules to dance?” she was told, “Yes it is. Read the sign inside the memorial. It says ‘Quiet.'” When Ms. Oberwetter pointed out that she was being quiet, the guard replied, “You’re dancing in here. That’s disorderly.” It seems like he had simply decided Ms. Oberwetter must be violating some rule, and he was just going to go down the list until he found one that fit.

    After Ms. Oberwetter was arrested, one of her friends told a police officer that this incident reflect poorly, to which the police officer responded, “F*** the record.” When one of the group quoted this back to the officer, the officer chastised him for using foul language, even though he was merely quoting him back! What kind of hypocrisy is that?

    According to the Washington Post (April 16, B1), the USPP “say the group was violating a federal law that prohibits disturbances in the sanctuaries of hallowed memorials.” Fair enough, if that is the case. But by using obscene language at the very beginning of their interactions with Ms. Oberwetter’s group, were not USPP personnel, who are paid to be there, creating a disturbance, showing disrespect, and sullying the sanctuary of a hallowed memorial?

    Finally, as I understand it, Ms. Oberwetter stands accused of “interfering with an agency function.” But if the “agency function” was the act of trying to clear a crowd that may not have been committing a violation, isn’t that a bit of a Catch-22 — to be guilty of interfering with something that should not have been happening in the first place? More disturbing is the possibility that Ms. Oberwetter’s simply asking USPP personnel why she was being confronted could be considered “interfering.”

    Now, I do not wish to be overly harsh. I can imagine that if I was the security guard in question, and I saw a group of 20 individuals descend on the site I was protecting at a few minutes before midnight, then begin dancing (albeit quietly), I would be alarmed and would question them. But if reports are accurate, your personnel did not question them to find out their intentions and how long they planned to stay. Instead, the guards used obscene language and physical force. Would it not have made more sense to just talk to the group first?

    The Oberwetter arrest may not be a major civil rights violation, but I have found myself deeply bothered by it. I have twin three-year-old sons. We go to the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials quite frequently. I have video of them dancing inside the Lincoln Memorial when they were less than two years old. I ask you, not meaning it facetiously: Were my sons committing a crime? Should I worry the next time we visit that they may be arrested?

    Sincerely yours,
    [Concerned Citizen]
    Columbia Heights, Washington, D.C.

    Thank you for your letter. Please rest assured that if the U.S. Park Police attempts to arrest your adorable twin sons we will stand ready to free the “Lincoln 2!”

    • Peter Orvetti 8:18 am on April 19, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      My apologies for the fact that the video is sideways. It was a new camera, and I’m not very smart.

    • raylehmann 6:36 am on April 21, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      No apologies necessary! Thanks so much for your letter and for taking the time to get involved.

    • rob 2:01 pm on March 4, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Why can’t you sign your real name to your letter?

  • blanksslate 4:16 pm on April 17, 2008 Permalink | Reply  

    Alcohol Liberation Front 5: Free the Jefferson 1 

    If you live in the D.C. area, meet the J-1 (and most, if not all, of the fine authors on this site) at the Tech Liberation Front’s Alcohol Liberation Front Monday:

    Alcohol Liberation Front 5 is happening Monday, April 21, at the Science Club, 1136 19th Street, NW, Washington D.C.

    As if the excitement of hanging around with the TLF bloggers weren’t enough, we’re making the event a fundraiser for our friend (and former co-blogger), Brooke Oberwetter. Brooke was arrested at the Jefferson Memorial the other night – for dancing. Or perhaps for asking why dancing wasn’t allowed.

    She needs funds to pay for legal fees, and you need an excuse to drink. It’s a match made in heaven!

    Many thanks to Jim Harper, Tim Lee & co. for making this happen!

    And no, she will not be able to answer specific questions about the case. (That especially applies to you, media.) Sorry. Blame her lawyer.

    If you can’t make it to the event, you can still give today!

    • Brady Westling 1:05 am on April 20, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Hey guys –

      I don’t know what’s really going on, only what you have posted here. Make sure you brush up on your federal and DC area ‘disorderly conduct laws’ – should help a bundle. If you were *peacefully* and *quietly* DANCING .. that would fall under the First Amendment Free Speech and Free Expression. DC and Federal monument and park laws are probably a good thing to look into, as well as documented court cases. If it as peaceful as the videos looked that division – I believe- had better get their hip waders out.

      Good Luck.


  • jdtalley 11:04 am on April 16, 2008 Permalink | Reply  

    Help the Jefferson 1! 

    A defense fund has been set up for Brooke. You can donate here, or find out more about the fund here.

  • Pete Eyre 7:42 pm on April 14, 2008 Permalink | Reply  

    Choice Comments from Bloggers Thus Far 

    From Julian Sanchez:

    Given that my friend’s immediate social circle is largely composed of journalists, bloggers, and constitutional lawyers who sue the government for fun, I predict hilarity.
    Under District of Columbia law, ‘disorderly conduct’ occurs when a person: ‘with intent to provoke a breach of the peace, or under circumstances such that a breach of the peace may be occasioned thereby;..(2) congregates with others on a public street and refuses to move on when ordered by the police.’ Twenty people grooving along quietly with their iPods probably wouldn’t be in anyone’s way at noon, never mind midnight.
    Megan McArdle over at The Atlantic penned that:
    As a resident of DC, I’m certainly overjoyed to hear that violent crime has fallen to a level where we can spare valuable police resources to fight the silent scourge of . . . dancing.
    Suetonius from FreedomAndShit.org noted that:
    Photographs, video and eyewitnesses aplenty, this should be a slam dunk against the government — but that does not mean that this is all ok. An arrest is still an arrest and our friend faces consequences for doing absolutely nothing wrong. She was polite, cooperative and stone-cold sober. Her crime, in addition to “bopping” (as overheard spoken by one of the arresting officers), was apparently inquiring as to what exactly she was doing wrong. For that, she was thrown up against a pillar in front of about 20 friends and summarily arrested — for quietly celebrating TJ’s birthday.
    Radley Balko from the infamous The Agitator stated:
    Everyone I spoke with says there was no noise, there were no threats, and no laws broken (the park police I spoke with–including the arresting officer (who, oddly enough, denied to me that he was the arresting officer)–declined to say why she had been arrested).
    The police refused to answer any questions, referring all calls to the communication number of the Park Police, which at this hour is closed. They also refused to give their badge numbers.
    Of course, the real irony here is that all of this happened at the Jefferson Memorial, in observance of Jefferson’s birthday. Go out to celebrate the birth of the most hardcore, anti-authoritarian of the Founding Fathers, get hauled off in handcuffs.
    Jason Talley stated:
    So in the 2008 version of the USA you cannot dance at the Jefferson Memorial without being disorderly it seems.
    The wrong people and ideas govern us and we need to change the direction we’re heading in. Not by electing different politicians but by electing to take charge of our own lives and removing a government that controls us to the point where we can’t dance to celebrate the birthday of our hero on public property.
    From James Joyner at OutsideTheBeltway:
    The days when the police spoke to the general public — whom they are paid to serve — with polite deference are long gone. Instead, most have adopted a bullying attitude and demand to be treated with unearned deference. We’ve gone from Joe Friday and Andy Taylor to ‘Cops’ and ‘The Wire.’
    Fark‘s teaser was:
    Apparently getting a couple of friends together and dancing quietly to your iPod at midnight at the Jefferson Memorial gets you a face plant in the concrete then a trip to detention courtesy of the US Park Police.
    Peter Suderman at TheAmericanScene reported:
    the crowd in question was composed largely of professional libertarians who’re bound to make a stink about this. I still wonder: What does an arresting officer in any circumstance like this possibly think he or she is going to accomplish?
    Peter Eyre (author of this post) at LibertyIsMyHomie noted:
    I guess the State actors never bothered to look up and read the words chiseled into the stone above them: ‘I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every from of tyranny over the mind of man.’
    • Wolf37 6:25 am on October 23, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Thus, consideration of the cumulative reductions would favor either adaptation approach, because unlike mitiga- tion, adaptation will also reduce present-day climate-sensitive problems in the near-to- medium term, and will start to provide a steady stream of benefits in the very near term. ,

  • jdtalley 9:51 pm on April 13, 2008 Permalink | Reply  

    Link Roundup 

    Perhaps in the order they were posted:

    Julian Sanchez: Hijinks Ensue

    Megan Mcardle: Dancing Fools

    Freedom and Shit dot org: Midnight Dance Party Arrest and Midnight Dance Party: Bopping is NOT a Crime

    The Agitator: So About That Tree of Liberty… and Jefferson Arrest Update

    J.D. Talley: Free the Jefferson 1

    Outside the Beltway: DC Police Arrest Dancing Libertarians

    Below The Beltway: Jack-Booted Thugs At The Jefferson Memorial

    Fark: Apparently getting a couple of friends together and dancing quietly to your iPod at midnight at the Jefferson Memorial gets you a face plant in the concrete then a trip to detention courtesy of the US Park Police

    The American Scene: D.C. Monument Menaced by Libertarian Dancers!

    Get Fixxed!: Quiet Booty Shakin is a Threat to the Citizens of D.C.

    Flying Hedgehogs: illegal peaceful assembly

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