Thursday, November 13, 2008

RE: 11/10/08: "Hempstead 15" Court Arraignment - Nassau County

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: Lori
Date: Nov 13, 2008 8:06 AM


From: Spc McKay Veteran for Peace
Date: Nov 13, 2008 5:50 AM


11/10/08: "Hempstead 15" Court Arraignment - Nassau County

Photobucket


Come support the
Iraq Veterans Against the War

Nassau county courthouse

11/12/08

8:00 - 10:00 a.m.


www. pimpinturtle. com
www. IVAW. org
www. glassbeadcollective. org
www. nyfa. com








Update-Nov.
10, 2008

Hempstead 15 plead not guilty while cops defend brutalizing veterans

It was a sad day for Nassau County, but a proud one for veterans and activists nation-wide when the Hempstead 15 plead not guilty Nov. 10 in the Nassau County District Courthouse to charges of disorderly conduct while a crowd of nearly 100 supporters cheered them from in and outside the building.


The charges stemmed from an action planned by IVAW around the final presidential debate at Hofstra University Oct. 15. During the debate, members of Iraq Veterans Against the War and supporters peacefully marched into police lines blocking Hofstra’s entrance after having their voices and issues ignored throughout the election cycle by the candidates.


During the demonstration, Nassau County Police used horses to push demonstrators onto a sidewalk before brutalizing them and arresting several, including Nick Morgan, a veteran of Iraq whose face was crushed by a police horse. In total, ten veterans and five of our supporters were arrested, hence the Hempstead 15.


Following an evening of relentless harassment by Nassau County Police, including threats of rape and further brutality, the Hempstead 15 were released to appear in court today where all plead not guilty as the police defended their actions to the press.


“The protesters were trying to gain entry into the debate, and police were not going to let that happen,” said Det. Sgt. Anthony Repalone of the NCPD to Newsday. "We used necessary force in order to carry out that goal," he said, before asserting that police have yet to determine whether Nick was actually trampled.


This claim comes in direct contradiction not only to video evidence clearly showing Nick and others being trampled and brutalized on the sidewalk opposite the main gate of Hofstra, but also a statement made by Lt.
Kevin Smith of the NCPD’s Public Information Office almost a month ago where he acknowledged, “One of the defendants collided with a police horse,” before adding, “Who do you think is gonna win?”

After refusing to drop charges against the Hempstead fifteen, Nassau County once again snubbed the first amendment and our supporters by setting different court dates for our members, scattering our next appearances from this Wednesday to late January, I suspect in an attempt to complicate further demonstrations.


What these legal gerrymanderers don’t realize is they’ve just given a motivated movement a good reason to celebrate liberty and support our troops 15 more times on their front porch!

So where do we go from here?

We must keep up the pressure on Nassau County to drop all charges against the Hempstead 15.
You can do this by calling District Attorney Kathleen Rice at 516-571-2994 or contacting her here: http://www. nassaucountyny. gov/agencies/DA/contact. html

As well, you can sign the petition demanding that charges be dropped against Nick Morgan and that those officers responsible for the brutality of Oct. 15th be held accountable.
http://www. ipetitions. com/petition/justicefornick/?e Additionally, please donate money to help cover Nick’s medical bills at ivaw. org.


Please reach out to president-elect Obama however you can and demand that he condemn the trampling and arrests of Nick and others as well the eroding of our civil liberties as Americans.


Please help us spread word of the tragic events of Oct. 15th by continuing to forward information about the demonstration, Nick Morgan and the Hempstead 15 to your friends, relatives and co-workers. This REALLY makes a difference.


Adam Kokesh will be going to trial this Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. Please come out to the courthouse at 8 a.m. to show your support! 99 Main St., Hempstead, NY. The next court appearance will not take place until December which gives us some time to plan.


I’ll be appearing on Democracy Now tomorrow morning for Veterans Day and to speak about what happened in court this morning.
Please tune in or check out the broadcast on the web at democracynow. org.


We’re a long way from finished fighting. And this is a fight we will ultimately win. Simply having people in this country willing to put their bodies on the line in defense of our veterans and the constitution is proof that victory is within our grasps.


I was so moved this morning to see so many supporters gathered so early in the morning in solidarity with us. Thank you to all who turned out to make good on America’s promise to support her troops.
And thank you to all who signed the petition, donated to Nick and who’ve helped us get the word out!

Much more is to come from IVAW and the Hempstead 15.
Stay in touch to see how we’re going to end the war and ensure our troops get the care and respect they deserve!

Peace and Solidarity,

Matthis Chiroux


VIDEO OF HOFSTRA ACTION AND POLICE BRUTALITY:
http://www. youtube. com/watch?v=HvV_6OoqhVw&feature=related
http://www. youtube. com/watch?v=eupU-StpCqM&watch_response

NAOMI WOLF INTERVIEWS MATTHIS CHIROUX ABOUT HOFSTRA ACTION:
http://www. youtube. com/watch?v=ahP4Y-8_JgY

-------------------------------

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"

---------------------------------------------------------------------
Hooves of fury stampede over veterans/U.S. Constitution Oct.
15
Matthis Chiroux of the “Hempstead 15" recounts his debate experience

Wednesday, Oct. 15th, 2008, members of Iraq Veterans Against the War and supporters gathered near the Hempstead, N.Y., train station to march on the final presidential debate at Hofstra University.


Our intent was made clear in a letter to Bob Schieffer, the debate moderator, one week prior. We wanted two members of our organization inside the debate where they would ask one question of Obama and one of McCain. If CBS and the candidates failed to meet our demands, we would march on Hofstra at 7 p.m. in a peaceful attempt to enter the debate to have our voices heard.


I planned on asking Barack Obama if he would back up his assessment of the occupation of Iraq as illegal by supporting servicemembers who would thus be required to refuse service there. Kris Goldsmith planned on asking McCain about his history of failing to vote in favor of V.A. funding, especially since the beginning of the occupation of Iraq.


Non-violence was stressed in every stage leading up to this action. It was stressed by me and Kris to Det. Thomas J. Calvert and Det. Robert Annese of the Nassau County Police Department the day before the action. Calvert and Annese were in charge of security for the debate, and they assured us they would instruct their officers to respect the non-violent spirit of the action by using restraint towards peaceful veterans and demonstrators.


In every stage of planning, IVAW made every effort to keep all planned tactics and actions “above the table” so that the candidates, the media, the police and the country would know exactly what would happen if our demands were not met.


We were at Hofstra to force the issue that veterans and servicemembers are not being cared for or heard from by our government, and the candidates, CBS and the Nassau County Police Department couldn’t have proved us more correct.


We, the veterans and our supporters, stood together in solidarity, knowing the stakes were high. But a resolve echoed deep from with us to stand our ground and be heard. Twice these candidates had brushed us off, and thrice just wasn’t going to happen.


So at seven p.m. when we’d heard nothing from the moderators, IVAW made good on its promise to the candidates and Det. Calvert. We marched to the front gate of Hofstra, read our questions and peacefully proceeded into police lines.


Because these candidates cared more to hear from “Joe the Plumber” than veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, ten veterans went to jail and five civilian supporters joined us.


This upsets me, but I knew the risk, and if I must fall in defense of democracy, peace and justice, I offer my sacrifice willingly.


What infuriates me is the GROSS MISCONDUCT of the police in the process, much of which I believe to be illegal.


After my arrest, the police charged their horses onto a sidewalk and unprovokedly knocked my friend Nick Morgan, a veteran of Iraq, to the ground and trampled his face. They then arrested him, put a piece of gauze on his facewound and loaded him onto a bus headed for jail with the rest of the Hempstead 15.


After they brought Nick onto the bus and we the veterans identified him as exhibiting signs of a concussion and as needing immediate medical attention, our arresting officers laughed at us and told us Nick would receive no help unless he himself asked to go to the hospital, though Nick was barely conscience and completely disoriented at the time AND THE COPS KNEW IT!

We pointed out that as a result of a serious head injury, Nick wasn’t aware enough to speak for himself. The police responded with, “too bad.


After Nick stirred enough for us to instruct him to ask for medical attention, he was taken to a hospital, diagnosed with a fractured cheekbone, given nothing more than Motrin for the pain and brought to the Police Station where he sat chained to a bench for 5 hours with no further medical attention at all.


Additionally, police pulled other members and supporters of ours from the sidewalk and arrested them while horses spun in circles causing injury to most who couldn’t escape their paths.


All of this, I observed after arrest through the large windows of a bus we were detained in which was parked parallel to the demonstration and subsequent atrocities.


While on the bus, the officers mocked us, calling us idiots and whiners. When we arrived at the Nassau County Detention Center, the hazing did not cease.


One officer, when I brought up the prospect of speaking to a lawyer, threatened to, “put me in the back (jail),” where, “the big boys will pop your cherry!” When I asked this officer if he had just threatened an honorably discharged veteran of Afghanistan with prison rape and told him I wanted his name and rank, he refused and told me to look it up on the police report which the Nassau County Police Department has refused to provide us a copy of.


While detained, the three females who were arrested with us, including Marine Reserve Capt. Marlisa Grogan, were sexually harassed by the police who went so far as to hold Ids next to the chained womens' faces and make comments like, “you look like you came out of a Barbie magazine.


All night, they didn’t stop. “You’re cowards, you’re idiots,” they said. The hostility was thick and unwarranted.


“This non-violent protest stuff is retarded,” they said (as if they’d prefer the alternative).
“See how it got your friend’s face fucked up?”

Literally, they said this when they brought Nick in and chained him to the bench. The harassment only increased from there.


“Look at you friend’s face,” said one officer. “You’re responsible for that.” As if I gave to order to charge horses onto a crowded sidewalk.


I saw this same officer in the Colony diner where we went to eat after we were charged with disorderly conduct and released. He was with the one who threatened me with prison rape, and when I approached them respectfully and again asked for their names, he leapt to his feet, threw his finger in my face and began threatening to “beat my ass” if I didn’t drop it.


Afterward, one of his friends, also a police officer, approached me, accused me of being drunk and said I was about to get arrested again. I retorted that his accusations were false (considering I’d only gotten out of jail 30 minutes prior) and that I was only interested in learning the names of the officers who arrested and harassed us as I have the legal right to do. He responded with only his name, which he said was Peter Sikinger, but refused to reveal the names of his partners, though to his credit, he did back down from threatening me with arrest.


I am outraged at the egregious conduct of the Nassau Country Police Department and the failure of Det. Calvert to make good on his promise to “make things go as smoothly as possible.


But mostly, I must put this on the candidates.


Barack Obama and John McCain, you have failed to properly address the occupation of Iraq and veteran and servicemember issues in this campaign. You failed to hear from us, the veterans and servicemembers, at the conventions. Your overwhelming concern for “Joe the Plumber” at the final debate while veterans are killing themselves at a rate of 18 per month is inhumane to say the least.


The fact that you allowed your veterans to be arrested, brutalized and harassed for simply trying to be heard by you is inexcusable. Forever should your consciences be scarred for what you allowed to take place to veterans on American soil.


But our questions still stand, and we still demand answers.


Obama, are you ready to support members of the military refusing to participate in the occupation of Iraq which you have termed “illegal?”

McCain, as a veteran, how can you account for your abysmal failure to vote in favor of post-2003 legislation to fund the V.A.
which provides life saving services to men and women who gave all to serve this nation?

Besides which, you both owe the Hempstead 15 an apology. You owe Nick Morgan an apology for the reconstructive surgery he’ll be receiving and the permanent, violent altering of his face that is a result of your failure to hear from us.


You owe every veteran in history a public statement condemning the sidewalk trampling of Nick and Carlos Harris, an Iraq veteran, who also had his foot broken by a horse. As well Geoff Millard, a disabled veteran of Iraq with degenerative spine disease who was knocked to the ground, dragged from the sidewalk and arrested, and Nadine Lubka, one of our supporters, who was kicked in the face by a horse.


And we the people are not done forcing this issue.


I encourage every person who reads this to contact both the Obama and McCain campaigns and demand they answer our questions and condemn the actions of the police Wednesday night.


They don’t own this election, the media doesn’t own this election, we the people own this election, and we deserve to have our voices heard. Any candidate who disagrees with that statement is unworthy the Presidency of the United States of America.


Peace and Solidarity,

Sgt.
Matthis Chiroux
One of the Hempstead 15

----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Questions which we, the Veterans, wished to ask
----------------------------------------------------------------------


Senator McCain, on July 9th 2008 you were quoted saying "I've received every award from every major veterans organization in America but the reason why I have a perfect voting record from organizations like Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, and all the other Veterans Service Organizations is because of my support of them.
"
However, there are non-partisan Veterans Organizations such as the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), and the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) who've noted that you've consistantly voted against important issues such as increased VA funding in 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007. This summer, another Veterans Organization, Veterans for Common Sense filed suit against the VA and discovered that approximately 1000 Veterans under their care are attempting suicide each month, with an average of 17 succeeding every 30 days. Government surveys conclude that over 300,000 21st Century Warriors are currently suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, while only 67 thousand have been diagnosed with with PTSD, and less than half of those are collecting disablity benefits. Doctors and Nurses at the VA are struggling to treat the 2 million American Troops who've deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.
What promises are you willing to make, as a Veteran, as a Senator, as a Presidential Candidate, to the Veterans of the United States to prove that you will ensure the VA is fully funded, staffed, and capable of preventing Troops from suffering as they are now, after they've served our great nation overseas?

-Sergeant Kristofer Goldsmith
Operation Iraqi Freedom III Veteran

------------

Senator Obama, you have said that the War and Occupation of Iraq is illegal. If by your words, it is illegal, then it is not only the right of service members such as myself to refuse deployment and participation in Iraq, it is also our responsibility.
Sir, as President, are you willing to go by your own words and back them up, and support servicemembers refusing to participate in what you have, in your own words, termed an "Illegal Occupation"?

-Sergeant Matthis Chiroux
Operation Enduring Freedom Veteran

---------------------------------------------------------------

The Hempstead 15:
Matthis Chiroux (Army Sergeant)
Kristofer Goldsmith (Army Sergeant)
Adam Kokesh (Marine Sergeant)
Mike Spinnato (Marine Corporal)
Geoff Millard (Army Sergeant)
Marlisa Grogan (Marine Captain)
Nathan Peld (Navy, 1998-2004)
Nick Morgan (Army Sergeant)
James Gilligan (Marine Corps, 6 years)
Jose Vasquez (Army Staff Sergeant)
Ryan Olander
Paul Blasenheim
David M.
Disimino
Lianne Gillooly
Megan Day
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