A colleague has just pointed out to me the excellent article written by Jason Cherkis (“Boss Hogtie,” 1/17) concerning the Sept. 27 arrests of demonstrators and of the many bystanders caught up in police dragnets. I have also just read the three letters printed in the Jan. 24 edition of the Washington City Paper by readers expressing outrage at the actions of the police on that day.
Your readers should know that there are at least two civil actions that have been brought by bystanders in federal court to hold the District, the mayor, and, most especially, Police Chief Charles Ramsey accountable for the illegal and unconstitutional arrests. I am the lead attorney in the case of Jones et al. vs. D.C. My clients were photojournalism students who were simply taking pictures of the demonstrations when they were caught up in the dragnets.
The victims that Cherkis identified by name in the article, and those who have never had their voices heard, should know that they are not impotent and that they do not have to simply sit back and accept what was done to them. They can fight back, and they should, by joining suit against these officials who feel that there is no limit to their power. (Apparently, not even the Constitution is any deterrent to such arrogance.) The more voices that speak out, the stronger the message will be. Maybe the chief and the mayor will actually listen.