Last week, the St. Paul Police and Ramsey County Sheriff's Office asked the public for help in identifying a man who was apparently assaulted on the first day of the Republican National Convention.
Maybe they're getting somewhere. Maybe not. An e-mail today claims:
I dont know if you guys know who the victim in the RNC protest is yet but he is my husband's uncle, (name withheld). He is the man with the white shirt being assaulted by the rioters and I'm not sure if he has filed any charges yet, but I believe that he should. We are a military family and I believe that, from the sign he was holding, apparently fell to the ground as he is being assaulted, he was there to voice his opinions about military servicemen and families like us.
I'm trying to contact him today.
Update 10:09 a.m.: Bogus phone number
what a bunch of cowards, wearing masks and attacking and ganging up on someone there just to express their opinion. very ugly.
This pictures does not tell a thousand words. It's impossible to know what exactly is happening here, or what precipitated it. I'm a photographer, I've taken thousands of pictures at demonstrations and altercations, I can imagine at least a dozen different scenarios looking at this picture.
Regardless what happened here, the government engaged a deliberate public relations operation before, during, and after the convention. That operation was filled with misinformation and outright distortions. We have every indication that they are continuing this ploy, and releasing ambiguous photos with unverifiable claims and e-mails may well be part of such a program, I've seen it before. I'm not saying that's what this is, but I suggest a healthy dose of skepticism in in order.
I would thank that's why it would be prudent to find out the people involved; to find out what's happening there.
And trust me, I'm skeptical of all sides in this mess. But I want to get a long thread put together with the yin and yang, especially since both sides are cranking it up again and the blogiverse is starting to heat up on the subject.
The more I think about this the hinkier it looks. I mean, this is an interesting law enforcement technique, find pictures on the web, post them as depicting possible crimes, and ask the public to solve the crime via e-mail? Not exactly the Elliot Ness model of law enforcement. You have no complaint filed, no witness statements, but you got a picture you found on the web? I'd be interested in knowing where this picture was found, and if there were any other pictures or text accompanying it. Even if they find the guy in the white t-shirt, without corroborating statements and identified assailants they couldn't bring charges anyways. This looks less and less like a legitimate stab at law enforcement and more like PR in the face of millions of dollars of law suits. By the way, if you're seeking balance, TC Indymedia has a related press release: reduced link
I have real problems with the assumption that someone is being assaulted. It looks like actually someone is being held back from assaulting. A grab does not constitute assault, especially when the grab is meant to protect from more harm. We grab people who about to fall or walk in front of a moving bus. So it would be really hard to claim that harm was intended if all that was happening was a grab to stop an assault.
This looks like a media hunt for an action that never happened.
Photos are useful, but they are photos, snapshots. They rarely give much insight into the dynamics of the event they portray, and as has been alluded to, needs to be interpreted in the context of everything else known.
I remember watching a documentary on "The falling man" of 9/11 fame with my wife about a year ago. It showed the picture that had everyone mesmerized, and mentioned how it was described as calm, serene, peaceful, etc. I looked at my wife and said, there is no way they can know these things, or say that the actual event was these things, because it was a photo.
Sure enough, later they showed a video of the same event. I could even see the point which corresponded to the snapshot. But let me say that no one could reasonably describe what the video showed as calm, peaceful, or serene. Full stop.
Even video can be deceiving -- if not all of it is available. (See King, Rodney)
or Goodman, Amy? (g)
Why should the police be so concerned about this individual? He looks like an intelligent person who would have filed a police report if he wanted to. Leave him the f--- alone!