Election 2008

Crackdown Begins: Food Not Bombs House Among Saturday Raids Ahead of RNC

The police assault on civil liberties takes an early start ahead of the RNC.

Minnesota Indy RNC reporter Jeff Severns Guntzel is at the Minneapolis Food Not Bombs house, which was raided by police this morning. Facts are still coming in, but Guntzel says that at 8 a.m. neighbors near the home, located at 2301 23rd Avenue South, reported hearing a loud bang followed by yelling. A single police squad car was parked out front. When Guntzel arrived he saw eight or nine officers enter the house in what he says is a joint operation between officers of the Ramsey County Sheriff's Department, the Minneapolis Police Depatment, and the FBI. According to one witness who was in the house at the time of the raid, the action is related to last night's raid on the RNC Welcoming Committee's "convergence space." Several other spaces have beenraided this morning.

Around 9:20, two Minneapolis Police Property & Evidence trucks pulled up. Present were a Hennepin County Sheriffs' crime lab truck, a Ramsey County Sheriffs' squad and an MPD squad, plus at least four unmarked cars parked facing the wrong direction in traffic. Police tape is marking off the yard.
Minneapolis Police Department officers stand guard outside the Food Not Bombs house. Photo: Jeff Severnz Guntzel

Two men are released from the Food Not Bombs house as reporters, neighbors, and supporters look on. Photo: Jeff Severns Guntzel


At one point a five-year-old boy was escorted from the home by police. In what Guntzel calls a "sweet moment," the boy told police he wanted his markers, and the officer went in and came back out a few minutes later."These are the only colors I could find," the officer said."Did I get the right stuff?"

As MnIndy reported on Thursday, rumors of a weekend sweep of activist organizations have been swirling. In the last 12 hours, at least three other sites, from the RNC Welcoming Committee's "convergence space" in St. Paul to sites in South Minneapolis have been raided.
Officers and agents from the Minneapolis Police Department, Hennepin County Sheriff's Office, Ramsey County Sheriff's office collaborated on the raid.

Officers and agents from the Minneapolis Police Department, Hennepin County Sheriff's Office, Ramsey County Sheriff's office and the FBI collaborated on the raid. Photo: Jeff Severns Guntzel


9:45A woman named Heather Adams just came out of the Food Not Bombs house and gave Guntzel the following account: She arrived from Chicago at 3 a.m. this morning with plans to protest at the RNC. At 8 a.m. she woke up to find police in the house wearing riot gear and camouflage flak jackets. She says they had rifles drawn. Adams has a broken ankle, and when officers ordered her to roll over on her stomach, she says she was slow to do so and the officer, she says, pushed her with his boot.

Adams says one arrest was made. Nathanael Secor, a main organizer of FNB, was arrested on charges of conspiracy to riot, she says.

9:54:Guntzel says a Ramsey County warrant was served, and the house is now occupied only by law enforcement agents. Evidence has been taken out the back of the house. Adams said law enforcement took photos of maps of St. Paul which were present in the house, as well as house plants. Adams also said that a city inspector was on site as well. The house, according to one law enforcement official, has links to the RNC Welcoming Committee.

10:03:Guntzel has in hand a Hennepin County warrant. It indicates law enforcement was searching for incendiary devices, smoke bombs, urine and feces, and other items. See a transcription of the warrant here.
In the alley behind the house, two Minneapolis Police Department property & evidence trucks wait to be loaded. Photo: Jeff Severns Guntzel

In the alley behind the house, two Minneapolis Police Department Property & Evidence trucks wait to be loaded. Photo: Jeff Severns Guntzel


10:44: The RNC Welcoming Committee issued a press release noting that four individuals were arrested in the raids: Monica Bicking, Eryn Trimmer, Garrett Fitzgerald, and Nathanael Secor. The press release also notes that "Search warrants for 2 of the 3 raided houses listed only one name apiece, each of individuals not present at the houses and, thus, not arrested."
Paul Schmelzer is a Minneapolis-based writer and edits the website Eyeteeth: A Journal of Incisive Ideas (http://eyeteeth.blogspot.com).
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