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“RIP 1st amendment rights”: Miami SWAT raids Occupy

"They said that they had gotten a tip that we had 'long guns' and were going to use them at our protest," an Occupy Miami protester told the Miami New Times. "But we are a peaceful movement and told them that we had no intention of doing anything like that."

That "tip" led the Miami SWAT police to raid an Occupy Miami convergence center as activists prepared for a march downtown to "celebrate" Chase Bank CEO Jaime Dimon's birthday. 

Though they did not arrest anyone — because no one was breaking the law — police did bring a few people down to the station for questioning, including activist Ramy Mahmoud. Officers asked him about terrorism and whether or not he loves the United States. 

These militarized raids are increasingly common among domestic law enforcement — with special emphasis on the preemptive disruption of activist activity. As David Graeber observes, police in Miami and elsewhere have an ugly history of making up completely false stories to justify interfering with lawful protest activities.

Indeed, as Graeber shows, before the Miami Free Trade Area of the Americas meeting in 2003, Miami police distributed a piece of propaganda literature to local businesses, warning them that "Seattle tactics" would be deployed by protesters visiting to oppose the meeting. The fact that absolutely zero of these "tactics" were deployed by either Seattle or Miami protesters didn't seem to matter much to the Miami PD. But they looked pretty scary, no?

I wonder if the "tip" about the "long guns" used as a pretext for this raid was anything like that. Hmmm.

Watch video of the raid below. 

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© 2021 ACLU of Massachusetts.