Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Randy Rowland, from PepperSpray Productions, here. Instead of sending you an announcement about a screening, this email is unusual for us, it is a call for help.

Two PepperSpray collective members, Lambert Rochfort and Joe LaSac, on assignment in St Paul covering the protests associated with the Republican National Convention, were both arrested on Sunday while covering the story. Both are still being held without charges or an opportunity to go before a judge.

Lambert was swept up in a mass arrest of peaceful citizens who were surrounded by cops and all arrested. Joe was arrested about the same time as Amy Goodman and two other journalists from "Democracy Now!" were arrested. In fact if you watch the footage of Amy Goodman standing in handcuffs, the fellow sitting on the ground at her feet is Joe.

Lambert and Joe had covered the DNC in Denver, and were in St Paul to cover the protests. They both had their cameras with them when arrested and were clearly doing nothing illegal, just trying to get the story that corporate media tends to overlook. There have been several other attacks on journalists there, including a raid on an indymedia hospitality center, and a raid on the house of a group that documents police brutality. It goes without saying that there is no freedom of the press if reporters are jailed for covering the story.

We want our people released without charges, and we want our equipment back. If you value indymedia and the role of independent journalists- -and I know you do, or you wouldn't be on our announcement list--then please take some or all of the following actions to secure the timely release of these PepperSpray videographers.

If you are in the St Paul area or can ask those you know who are in that area, please join the 24 hour vigil at the Ramsey County Jail, 425 Grove St., St Paul (24 hour vigil)

Please call some or all of the following numbers, demanding that our reporters be freed:

Chris Coleman, St. Paul Mayor: 651.266.8510
or Chris Rider from Mayor Coleman's office at 651-266-8535
Ramsey County Jail at 651-266-9350 (press extension 0)
Ramsey County Sheriff: 651.487.5149

Here are the names and numbers of St Paul City Council people to call as well:
Melvin Carter - Ward 1 - 651- 266-8610
Dan Thune - Ward 2 - 651-266-8620
Pat Harris - Ward 3 - 651-266-8630
Russ Stark - Ward 4 - 651-26-8640
Lee Helgen - Ward 5 - 651-266-8520
Dan Bostrom - Ward 6 - 651-266-8660
Cathy Lantree - Ward 7 - 651-266-8670

PepperSpray Productions is an all-volunteer independent media collective based in Seattle, WA. Among other things, we produce a weekly access TV show called "Indymedia Presents" which airs on 20 channels, from Seattle to New York, including in St. Paul and Minneapolis.

For more info about our work, we invite you to visit our website: www.peppersprayprod


Randy Rowland
PepperSpray Productions

No comments: