Free For All
Police Surveillance, Violence Increases Across Country
(FFA)Early last May, a jury acquitted Madison police officer Fred Fuller of assault charges. He was accused of beating a woman who was postering for a Rock Against Racism (RAR) benefit. In the trial, Fuller admitted chasing the woman across State St., but said it was an accident that he pushed her head into a parked car.
Five witnesses testified for the prosecution. They all said they saw Fuller push the womans head into the car in a determined and conscious manner. When asked if the confrontation was politically motivated, Fuller answered that, "I saw the word racism on the poster the woman was putting up, and I thought she shouldnt do that because there is so much strife in the world."
This incident occurs against a backdrop of increasing political activity and attacks against political activists across- the country.
On June 6, Shirley Story, member of the Coalition for Direct Action at Seabrook was critically injured when she was hit by a car near the New Hampshire Clamshell Alliance office. One activist from Seabrook, referring to other attempts on Story's life and redbaiting by local media, called the "whole week a continuous and concerted campaign of psychological terrorism. 11
On May 15, police in Flint, Michigan broke into the offices of the Flint Voice's printer. The Voice had exposed political kickbacks orchestrated by the mayors office, and denounced U.S. policy in Iran, nuclear energy, and illegal and racist acts by the mayor while he was police chief.
These recent attacks and others are not isolated from the attack on a member of Madison Rock Against Racism coalition. A national organization, Rock Against Racism is, according to its organizers, "a movement aimed not only against racism but against the whole system of repression." As for government harassment against RAR, one organizer states, "The police have generally restrained themselves to trumped-up pot busts against concert goers and an occasional case of confiscating RAR organizing materialslike one case in a Detroit high school last year."
In Fred Fuller's case, his thirteen years on the force find him no stranger to accusations of brutality. Several years ago he was charged with beating up someone for kicking over an MNI newspaper box. Before that incident, he built a reputation for Violence against anti-war demonstrators.
Jack McManus, Fullers defense attorney, dominated the trial. McManus waved copies of revolutionary newspapers around the courtroom and questioned witnesses about their political affiliation. The prosecutor, Deputy District Attorney Selk, said he could not counter McManuss emotional appeal: "thats just not my style." However, the judge was often forced to remind the DA to object to blatant cases of red-baiting, and Selk failed to explore Fullers attempts to cover up the incident. In fact, Selks interest in the prosecution appeared limited.
Rock Against Racism will be happening again this summer. Organizers are anticipating further incidents with Madison police, but they claim, "The struggles of the people to put an end to this oppressive society will growwe will produce a culture of life, not of imperialism."