Jack-booted police stormtroopers stomp
on civilians... and their constitutional rights

Photo Credit: Paul Joseph Brown/Seattle Post-Intelligencer


Yet another WTO lawsuit, involving demonstrators who were gassed and attacked by police during the demonstrations, has been partially settled.

Seven plaintiffs who were party to this suit settled for $1500 apiece. These plaintiffs included four women, (who did not participate in any protests), who alleged that they were merely shopping in the downtown area when they were assaulted by police with chemical gasses. Three other plaintiffs said they too were gassed.

The remaining plaintiff in this lawsuit is a 51-year-old woman named "Life has Meaning", who still has not settled. Life Has Meaning alleges that she was partially blinded by a rubber bullet fired by police on December 1, 1999. As a result of being struck with that projectile, she has suffered severe and permanent loss of vision.

Life has Meaning also alleges that a police officer beat her leg with a baton the previous day, in the absence of any justification whatsoever. Video of Police dragging off Life Has Meaning after beating her in leg. Video: Real Player required - Copyright 2001 by

According to the complaint, which was filed in Federal District Court, a squadron of police officers utilized chemical weapons, pepper spray, plastic bullets, and rubber bullets to attack peaceful demonstrators near Third and Pike, an area which was outside the City's so-called "no protest zone".

All of the plaintiffs alleged that the City's indiscriminate and unnecessary use of dangerous weapons,(including chemical weapons, pepper spray, plastic and/or rubber bullets) resulted in a denial of their Constitutional rights.

These plaintiffs are being assisted in their lawsuit by the Seattle Street Speech Coalition, (SSSC), the same group that filed a class-action lawsuit last spring regarding the WTO demonstrations. $2,500.00 apiece was received by the four demonstrators named in that suit.


    *ACLU sues City of Seattle over WTO conduct.

    *Three ACLU plaintiffs settle for $5000 apiece.

    *Class Action suit over arrestees

    *Two women settle for $100,000 after being pepper sprayed.

    *Man settles for $30,000 after his arm was broken while in custody

    *Three more WTO cases settle for $97,000

    *News Photographer paid $25,000 for being pepper sprayed

    *ACLU sues Police over WTO memo

Anatomy of a Police Riot: A Critical Analysis of Police Misconduct at the Seattle WTO demonstrations

One of the stranger episodes to occur during the Seattle WTO was when over 100 police cars circled downtown Seattle with their lights and sirens blaring. Since there was clearly no immediate emergency, the only apparent purpose for this was to terrorize and intimidate the civilian population. This is what a police riot looks like.


  1. Vast majority of WTO charges are dismissed- prosecutors lack evidence that any crimes were committed

  2. Use of pepper-spray on nonviolent protesters: "That's not how we move people," asserts County Sheriff's Department spokesman John Urquhart before WTO sprayfests

  3. Sheriff's Officer pepper-sprays women filmmakers in their car: in-house Sheriff's Department unit "reviews" his attack while superiors continue to shield his identity

  4. King County pays $100,000 in damages to the two women filmakers pepper-sprayed by Sheriff's Officer.

  5. Police department refuses to comply with judges order to release documents pertaining to gas-mask ban

  6. Gas-mask possession case dismissed: Ban was over-broad, inadequately publicised, incompetently drafted, improperly authorised, and enforced prior to ratification

  7. Police attack demonstrators with gas Video: Real Player required

  8. Anonymity preserved by his superiors, the cop who kicked a non-aggressive, compliant citizen in the testicles, and shot him from one-yard range with a rifle discharging an ostensibly "less-than-lethal" projectile, finally receives his police-department-imposed "punishment": a 2 day suspension

  9. "Rubber Bullets" are lethal: Scores of Palestinians killed by Israeli rubber bullets

  10. "The figures indicate that rubber bullets are lethal and should be permitted only in life-threatening situations. 'Rubber bullets' should not be used to disperse demonstrations."

  11. "Plastic Bullets" are deadly: Used to kill many in Ireland
    "Britain does not deploy these projectiles in England, Scotland, or Wales because of the danger of serious injury and death. However, this does not prevent them from using them against the people of Northern Ireland. *** ... causing permanent blindness, skull fractures, brain damage, organ damage, disfigurement, and death."

  12. Police shoot demonstrators with rubber bullets Video: Real Player required

  13. Police Officer sprays crowd with rubber bullets during WTO demonstrations Video: Real Player required


  15. "In police academy textbooks for years to come, Example A of how to botch the job of crowd control will probably be Seattle 1999. *** Many Seattle residents were angry at the destruction and the lack of police response. 'They trashed our city, and the police didn't do anything,' said Claire Williams, an insurance adjuster. 'I've been reading for weeks and months in the papers about how this was going to happen. So why did they allow it?'" PLUS: Confirmation of hypocritical, pathetic nature of local TV: "Two local TV stations, KING (NBC, Channel 5) and KOMO (ABC, Channel 4), had announced that they would not cover what KOMO called ``irresponsible or illegal activities of disruptive groups.'' Such "good intentions" were quickly forgotten, though the newscasters injected as much bias and cant as possible

  16. Janet Reno and Madeleine Albright pressured city to "crack down" on protestors

    "...the crackdown on demonstrators was pushed hardest by the US Justice Department based on the concerns of undercover units in the streets..."
    Was vandalism catalyzed by government operatives to provide excuse for mass arrests?

  18. Police drive over protestors with motorcycle Video: Real Player required

  19. Police tear gas non-violent demonstrators Video: Real Player required

  20. Amnesty International lodges protest over police conduct during WTO event

  21. Police mentality revealed: cops sell "Battle of Seattle" t-shirts in apparent attempt to rehabilitate their image

  22. Lengthy litany of serious problems within the Seattle Police Department

  23. In final week before resignation takes effect, police chief "pardons" two police commanders accused of misconduct: The "Blue Wall of Silence", (cops' version of Mafia code of "omerta") holds firm

  24. International outrage at police response to WTO protests

  25. WTO capos vs. the Gestapo: a study in contrasts
    "...the brazen use of the criminal justice apparatus to punish those expressing grievances in Seattle wasn't different in principle from what the Communist regime in China did to protesters at Tiananmen Square in 1989. The reasons for the two events were different, but both involved government use of violence against people who expressed themselves in the only way they thought politically powerful people would hear them. Viewed from the perspective that this country has more people imprisoned than does Communist China, the authoritarian manner in which police dealt with demonstrators and unlucky bystanders in Seattle isn't as surprising as it otherwise might be. Police treatment of people in Seattle was also significantly more severe than the way Rosenstrasse protesters were treated in Nazi Germany."

  26. National police association retools training courses after WTO: Focus appears to be on capturing protest leaders
    "Attendance has doubled in recent months at "critical situations" courses organized by the International Association of Chiefs of Police to deal with protests, such as the ones during the fall WTO conference in Seattle. ***

    "Some crowd-control consultants believe concern is catching up with reality and argue that the country may be heading into a new era of radical protests, this time with the help of the Internet and cell phone. *** Modern tactics call for targeting trouble-makers, not entire marches, Odenthal said. *** The cost of a typical three-day course in "critical situations" can average $300 per student, said Elizabeth Currier, training coordinator for the police chiefs' group."

  27. Seattle P-I, 2-29-2000

  28. CS spray may cause cancer
    "Three police officers are planning legal action because the spray affected them. One suffered 50 per cent burns to his eyeballs. Other difficulties have been discovered in decontaminating vehicles and buildings in which the spray has been used."

  29. The Electronic Telegraph, 9-8-96

  30. Account of another police riot; injuries from rubber bullets
    "While police defended their actions Monday, some who were at the riot scene say officers overreacted when they fired the rubber bullets and beanbag rounds -- 40 grams of leadshot sewn into fabric bags the size of tea bags -- into the crowd. Jason Leahy, 18, of Naugatuck, said police shot him on the side of his abdomen with a rubber bullet as he walked by a group of rock-throwing concertgoers on his way into the Meadows, sometime after 8 p.m. Sunday. When he complained to police inside the theater, they accused him of throwing bottles, then they arrested him, took him outside and beat him, L said. *** ...the officer punched him twice in the face, then kneed him in the groin, L said Monday morning. The skin around his eye was puffy and red, and he had a small cut inside his mouth. More dramatic was the large red and purple bruise on his abdomen, just above the belt, where he says the rubber bullet struck him. The bruise had a well-defined circle, an inch-and-a-quarter in diameter, at its center. It was surrounded by another circle, 5 inches across."

  31. "In addition to plastic and rubber bullets, (so-called non-lethal) weapons currently in use include pepper spray, flash-bang and stun grenades that temporarily blind and stun people, and 12-gauge bean-bag rounds that can be shot from conventional shotguns.
    The U.S. military is currently developing nonlethal claymore-type mines that explode out hard rubber balls instead of shrapnel, and slippery agents that make it difficult or impossible for people and vehicles to advance." ***

    "Another controversial point is whether deployment of nonlethal weapons would contravene the Geneva Conventions or violate provisions of the 1981 UN Inhumane Weapons Convention that ban the use of weapons, lethal or not—such as land-mines—that affect civilian populations. These problems are further complicated by the current blurring of boundaries between police or peacekeeping actions and conventional warfare."

    "Some civilian critics of nonlethal weapons claim more sinister motives for these weapons’ popularity with police forces and their political masters, because these technologies offer dangerous opportunities for social control. This suspicion is particularly relevant to the developing technologies of psychochemicals and biogenetic engineering, which would allow a state to modify the behavior of an enemy. "

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