Mayor Chris Coleman is on Midmorning. Here are the salient points.
9:20 a.m. The city of St. Paul has been put on a map it has never been on before. Cites a cop in St. Louis who said “he can’t wait to bring his family here.”
9:21 a.m. Caller who says he was swept up yesterday even though he wasn’t a protester. “These guys trained for a year and had all these toys and they were itching to use them.”
“Fully comfortable with the methods used?” Kerri asks. Yes/No question not answered with a yes/no. Coleman recounts information the cops had about the protesters. “I want people to understand, this was not just a couple of people who were mouthing off. It was one of the most coordinated efforts in the history of the country to shut down political dialog.”
Kerri asks her question again. No yes/no answer yet. The mayor says the protesters violated the 5 p.m. limit of the protest. Says cops didn’t just shut it down, for four hours the police “very patiently waited for this thing to move.”
Kerri presses on the caller’s contention that he was heading for his car when he had a gun pointed in his face. Coleman says “it’s hard for the police department to tell who is who?”
“Are you entirely comfortable with all of the methods?” Kerri asks. “We’ll do a review,” Coleman said.
“This morning, how do you feel?” she persists.
“This morning I feel great,” the mayor said.
Is that a ‘yes”?
9:27 a.m. Caller says she’s proud of St. Paul. “Last night I was terribly sad and heartsick. It was a peaceful protest. The intimidation use was frustrating. How do you plan to pay for lawsuits.”
Coleman says officers acted within their lawful authority. Coleman says the city isn’t liable because the Host Committee purchased a lawsuit to cover liability. (Some people say that gave the police license to be tougher than they had to be.)
“People need to understand; this was not a soft threat. They were going to throw everything they had at us. That’s the duty of public safety.”
9:31 a.m. Business owner on Grand says not a single delegate came in. Charter buses between the X and Grand were empty.
“You have to focus in on the four days of the convention. Some businesses did not have benefit but many did. Says Meritage, Heime’s and Keys had best week’s (most of the articles I’ve seen about Meritage were so-so. What’s the story here? In the last half hour of the show, Kerri is looking for businesses to call in.)
Coleman says construction crews, Host Committee were here for months ahead of time, shopping, eating and having drinks. It’s a slow week for retail anyway. He repeats the story of the police officer who can’t wait to come back. Coleman’s message appears to be that whatever businesses didn’t get this week, they got in the weeks leading up to the convention.
Laura Yuen and Brandt Williams assess this.
9:35 a.m. – Coleman on Coleman. Kerri plays Norm Coleman’s remarks to the convention which seemed to suggest St. Paul was Flint, Michigan before Norm. Coleman took office.
Chris Coleman says he disagrees that “he was the engine. A lot of people had been toiling for years.” Says NC was able to rely on a steady increase in state aid, and Clinton Cop money. “He made the city increasingly reliant on other sources of revenue that, in the end, dried up and went away; it became much more of a challenge,” the mayor said.
“It’s a consistent challenge to the Republican message that you can get something for nothing.”
9:38 a.m. Coleman departs.
9:44 a.m. – Bruce Nestor of the National Lawyers Guild says the militarized presence of the city “was all out of proportion.” Kerri asks if some responsibility for that falls with the people who were bent on destruction? “Whatever change in tactics was carried out regardless of what was occurring in the crowd,” he said. He says they “chose to grab an independent journalist prepared to do an interview with somebody” at the Mears Park protest.
9:46 a.m. – Caller asks about “journalists” who were detained without having done anything. Specifically asks about Iglehart raid. Nestor says targeting journalists started in Minneapolis last week when the Glass Bead Collective journalists were grabbed when they got off a bus. “Iit raises serious questions about what type of intelligence was used to carry out the raids.
Kerri asks about Coleman’s assistance that there were lots of announcements to disperse. “Journalists also want to be present to cover arrests and see how police behave,” Nestor said. “Even if they heard a dispersal order, there was no opportunity to disperse.”
9:50 a.m. Caller says people didn’t respect other businesses. “There was no capability to shut down the RNC,” Nestor said. “Even if it could happen, does that requiring militarizing the entire city?” He says last night was a “forceful way to suppress dissent.
9:53 a.m. “How dloes it reflect on the city of St. Paul when you’re walking down the street with kids and there are officers on top of cars with guns?” a caller asks.
“In fairness to the St. Paul Police, I think a lot of this was driven by … federal agencies, Secret Service. On a national security event like this, there’s a model that’s been used locally — Seattle, Miami — which relies on the militarized approach and the use of force. The tone was set on Friday night with the raid on the Convergence Center,” Nestor said.
9:56 a.m. Asked about police infiltrators of these groups who heard plans, “They had paid confidential informants who are paid on the value of the information. The more scary, the more valuable,” he said.
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