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Minnesota police raid “criminal” RNC protesters

News of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Hurricane Gustav has eclipsed a series of police raids that took place in the Twin Cities over the weekend, in which FBI agents and local law enforcement detained six people on suspicion of conspiracy to riot at the Republican National Convention. The detainees have not been formally charged with any crime and their lawyers are in court on Monday, Labor Day, seeking their release. There were no similar pre-emptive arrests of protesters at the Democratic Convention in Denver last week.

The raids started Friday night in downtown St. Paul, with armed officers entering an anarchist headquarters, known as a “convergence space.” The occupants, who were ordered to lie on the floor, demanded to see a warrant — as heard on the audio on this not-very-revealing video.

Bob Fletcher, the Ramsey County sheriff, whose jurisdiction covers St. Paul, said the action was part of an investigation of the RNC Welcoming Committee. He was described the group as “

The search warrant for the raid said police were looking for “assembled, improvised incendiary devices” and urine and feces, apparently to be used in protests. Fletcher said the urine had been seized. Lawyers for protesters said the material identified as “unidentified liquid” was actually gray water used to save water in an ecologically correct toilet. The officers did find 37 “caltrops” in the garage of the home, according to MnIndy’s Molly Priesmeyer who reviewed the police inventory of material seized in the raid.A caltrop is a nail-like device used to stop traffic or puncture wheels.

On Sunday morning, The National Lawyers Guild said a total of six people had been detained but none had been formally charged. Police have 72 hours to charge detained suspects. Guild lawyers said they would seek judicial review on Monday of the “probable cause holds” used to detain the six activists.

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