Thursday, October 16, 2008

IVAW members arrested while attempting to present questions to Obama and McCain




From the page: "Neither of the candidates have shown real support for soldiers and veterans. We came here to try and get serious questions answered, questions that we as veterans of the Iraq war, have a right to ask, but instead we were arrested. We will continue to ask these questions no matter who is elected. We believe that the time has come to end this war and bring our troops home, and we will be pushing for that no matter what happens in this election." said Jason Lemieux, a former Sergeant in the US Marine Corps and member of IVAW who served three tours in Iraq."


Dear friends and supporters,

Yesterday Veterans For Peace Long Island was privileged to march in
solidarity with the Iraq Veterans Against the War to the front gates
of Hofstra University. As I am sure you are aware, the peaceful march
to express concerns to the Presidential candidates was meet with
unprovoked violence and brutality by the Nassau County Police.
Following a mounted police assault in which we all peaceably moved
back from the front gate of Hofstra, the Police abusively sought out
and arrested members of IVAW. Three veterans were injured in the
assault and taken to local hospitals. In all fifteen demonstrators
were arrested, twelve of them Iraq War veterans.

The Hempstead 15 will be arraigned on November 10 and VFPLI will be
there to stand in solidarity with those who continue to sacrifice so
much for our country. Please remember them and join us
to support our courageous brothers and sisters and to demonstrate to
our representatives that such police brutality will not be tolerated
on Long Island.

Peace and justice for the Hempstead 15.

The following photos are of Nick Morgan, IVAW member, after the above described police assault targeting Iraq veterans exercising their rights to freedom of speech and assembly. His injury is a result of being trampled by one of the police horses. He suffered a broken cheekbone.

The photos were taken by Vietnam Veterans Against the War member Bill Perry.







You can see more on the IVAW site and watch the full coverage on Democracy Now.

Here is an update on the Hempstead 15 from Kris Goldsmith of IVAW, one of the veterans arrested at Hofstra.

On Wednesday, October 15th 2008, a peaceful protest outside the third Presidential Debate at Hofstra University on Long Island was met with violence and misconduct by police.Iraq Veterans Against the War had a clear mission that night: to ensure that the issues most important to Veterans would be at the forefront of the debate. With over 4,183 service members having been killed in Iraq (at the time of the protest), it's unforgivable that the candidates have been allowing the Occupation of Iraq and it's casualties to fall into avoidable talking points instead of focused attention.At 7:00pm the night of the debate, IVAW members led a contingent of a few hundred peaceful protesters to the main gate of Hofstra University. As per our letter to Moderator Bob Scheiffer, because we hadn't received notice that two of our Veterans would be allowed to enter the debate to address the candidates, a small, uniformed contingent of Veterans physically attempted
entry.Immediately police began arresting those who "crossed the line". They then began using horses to physically knock protesters back away from the Hofstra gates.As the order to get back on the sidewalk was being complied to at least one officer charged his horse up the curb, and onto the sidewalk- directly resulting in at least three injuries- including two Iraq Veterans.Nick Morgan, a former Army Sergeant was trampled, knocked out, and had his face crushed by the hoof of a horse.Witnesses say that police left him unconscious on the sidewalk for up to ten minutes before arresting him. Nick, disoriented and obviously suffering a concussion, was initially refused medical treatment beyond a simple piece of gauze taped to his face.When Morgan was escorted onto the bus in handcuffs, he didn't know where he was, or why he was arrested. Police initially refused to bring him to the hospital irregardless of his potentially life threatening condition. It
wasn't until other members of IVAW demanded he be allowed to see a doctor, that the police hesitantly put Nick into an ambulance.At the hospital Morgan received stitches, and it was discovered after an x-ray that his right cheek bone was clearly displaced and pushed back into his skull.After treatment, the semi-conscious Veteran was brought to Nassau County's Headquarters Jail and shackled to a bench with the rest of us. With fifteen in total sitting in the jail, the officers and detectives began taunting and harassing Nick, with all of us witnessing this misconduct by police.We, the "Hempstead 15" were issued the same summons and case number for "disorderly conduct" and "failure to obey a lawful order".On November 10th 2008, the Marine Corps Birthday, and one day before Veterans Day, we will be heard in court. We would like to invite you to come out in support of the very Freedoms granted by the United States Constitution that we swore to uphold and
defend when joining the military.First District Court, County of Nassau, Arraignment Part, 99 Main Street, Hempstead New York 11550 (Room 268)I hope to see you all there, for a Peaceful action.

-Sergeant Kristofer Goldsmith
Iraq Veterans Against the War
"1 of the Hempstead 15"

For those who would like to support the Hempstead 15, here are some suggestions from IVAW

So what can YOU do about it? My fellow veteran brothers need you. We need to call the NY police department and ask them why they would trample IRAQ WAR VETERANS exercising their FREEDOM SPEECH in a peaceful manner. Is this the way members of the military who don the uniform and make an oath to defend the constitution, America, and it's people are treated? We MUST NOT ONLY hold the Police Department accountable but the Presidential Candidates as well for allowing this to happen. THIS IS NOT DEMOCRACY, THIS IS A POLICE STATE.

Below are the numbers. Call now and anytime until November 10th when the court date is set for the detained veterans. Stay posted for a possible action then.

LAWRENCE MULVEY
COMMISSIONER OF POLICE
Public Information Office
516-573-7135
516-573-7138 (24 hour)
516-573-7118 FAX
And the complaint line
Call 516-573-7000 and ask to be connected to the Desk Officer where the incident occurred (Hofstra University).
NC Police Internal Affairs Unit: 516-573-7120
NC District Attorney’s Office, Special Investigations : 516-571-2100
NYS Attorney General, Civil Rights Division: 1-800-771-7755

Thank you for your continued support,

Wendy Barranco
President
IVAW - Los Angeles
Combat Medic
SPC, USA
OIF 05-07
Tikrit, Iraq

Here are the names of those veterans arrested at Hofstra.

A total of ten veterans were arrested during the action, including Matthis Chiroux (Army Sergeant), Kristofer Goldsmith (Army Sergeant), Adam Kokesh (Marine Sergeant), Mike Spinato, Geoff Millard (Army Sergeant), Marlisa Grogan (Marine Captain), Nathan Peld (Navy, 1998-2004), Nick Morgan (Army Sergeant), James Gilligan (Marine Corps, 6 years) and Jose Vasquez (Army & Army Reserves, 1992-2007).

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