Authoritarian Police State in North Carolina

I am writing to tell you about an abuse of power in Asheville, NC by a police sergeant.

I occasionally stand on an interstate overpass near my place of work in the mornings and hold a sign that says ‘IMPEACH BUSH / CHENEY’.

On Wednesday August 15, I was standing alone with my sign for about 10 minutes, when I was approached by Police Officer Russell Crisp. He asked me how long I was planning to stay there and I told him just a few more minutes because I had to go to work at 8:00. He asked for my ID and I obliged. I asked him if I was doing something wrong, and he said that his Sergeant was on the way and he was going to wait for him. SO, I went back to my sign holding over the interstate. <more…>

After reading this account of a peaceful and cooperative protester being arrested in North Carolina, I am shocked and dismayed. For peacefully and unobtrusively displaying an “Impeach Bush/Cheney” sign on an Asheville sidewalk, this man was cited, handcuffed and arrested. This outrageous behaviour by the police is a dangerous and chilling impediment to free political speech. It is my sincere hope, that when this matter is resolved, if the above account is true, that all the police officers involved, and any other officials that gave then their marching orders, are fired and put on trial for their unconscionable actions.

The very essence of democracy is the ability to speak your mind and express your views without fear of reprisal.  To slander this right is an egregiously infamous act repugnant to all believers in a free and democratic republic.  This is not a politically partisan issue, except to the most corrupt and bloody-minded miscreants.  While one may strongly disagree with the views stated by this protester, one must vociferously support his right to speak if one is to consider oneself a good citizen.  Only by keeping officials accountable, like these officers, for such outrageous actions, can we hope to maintain a free and just civil society.

And, uh, oh yeah, impeach Bush/Cheney.

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