August 30th, 2008
11:40 AM ET
10 years ago

Police raid headquarters of RNC protesters

Police raided a protest group’s headquarters Friday in St. Paul.

Police raided a protest group’s headquarters Friday in St. Paul.

ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) - Police raided a rental hall used by a group organizing protests at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, on Friday.

The RNC Welcoming Committee, which describes itself as "anarchist/anti-authoritarian," accused St. Paul police of trying to disrupt their protest planned for Monday, the day the GOP convention is set to begin.

While no one was arrested, the group said police temporarily detained and photographed at least 50 people who were inside the building.

Watch: Police raid the group's headquarters Friday

St. Paul Police spokesman Tom Walsh said they were executing a search warrant.

"The cause for the search warrant is not public at this time," Walsh said.

As many as 30 police officers entered with guns drawn, according to witnesses in the building.

"The convergence center is simply a gathering place and is not used for illegal actions - it is a place for workshops and trainings," a statement from the protest group said. "Tonight, we were watching films and sharing food."

"We are now accused of a simple fire code violation," the statement said.

Oddie Miller, a 19-year-old from Fort Collins, Colorado, said it was "just a space to get food, free Internet, community organization."

"There were no bombs or anything in there," Miller said.

soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Billy

    I hope for a safe and peaceful GOP Convention.

    That said, show me the warrant or this looks like several Constitutional violations.

    August 30, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  2. Matt

    I personally would like to know what the cause for searching was. They have to let the group see that how is this not out in the public?

    August 30, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  3. Jeff

    Ah yes, the First Amendment, how quaint. To quote The Clash: "You have the right to free speech, as long as you're not dumb enough to actually try it."

    August 30, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  4. brian

    More GOP intimidation of people practicing their constitutional rights. Why is it that the second amendment is the only one that matters to the gop??

    August 30, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  5. Sherry, Atlanta



    OBAMA/BIDEN '08-'12

    August 30, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  6. Sarge in Florida


    August 30, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  7. Small Government?

    Just another example of the republicans so called "small government?" They have it so good they say we don't need "big government" when its there time to help but when its time to control I give them an A+.

    August 30, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  8. Ralph

    Obama voted for FISA?

    August 30, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  9. Von

    I thought police sweeping away anti-authoritarians in the dark of night only happened in places like China. Just goes to show that freedom of thought is only appropriate in America if you're thinking like a Republican or Democrat. Sad state of affairs.

    August 30, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  10. tai

    GOP intimidating and putting fear into what is a constitutional right, and they say they respect the constitution, thats like saying captain ahab likes whales.

    August 30, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  11. Ryan

    Only 4 comments on this. Riiight. Is anyone surprised? Hey, I wonder if they accidentally stumbled across this while listening to our phone calls in search of terrorist plots. Naw they wouldn't do that.

    Let's see the warrant!!

    August 30, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  12. Brian

    What ever happened to FREEDOM in this country?

    August 30, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  13. I used to be a Democrat

    This is a shame and beyond comprehension. CNN, you have a duty to get to the bottom of this and if the police are at fault here, keep the pressure on them. Do not let up.

    This is America and we have a constitution and a bill of rights. Don't let America down, CNN.

    August 30, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  14. steve Harnack

    aren't search warrants public records? or is this more patriot act fallout. the ability to act secretly guaranties abuse of power by those in power,especially when those in power mistakenly believe they are doing god's work. how did we allow a bunch of fantasy fanatics to hold such power over us ?

    August 30, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  15. rexx

    This is a self described anarchist group. They believe in violence. ANARCHIST which if you don't know history or what the term really means then you need to go back to school. Oh but thats right the Left thinks violence is great as long as it is aimed at the Republicans and conservatives. Haters.

    August 30, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  16. the Nightingale Sings in Berkley Square

    These jerks may have been paid by Obama's supporters. Amazing and stupid. But stupid is that stupid does.

    Obama is a loser and we don't want to gamble on an inexperienced president. Look at Bush Jr. What a waste.

    But his approval rating is higher than Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.

    Go McCain

    August 30, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  17. Barack & Roll

    That's pretty stupid. They have the right to protest, especially the RNC.

    August 30, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  18. GF

    Im afraid that we will hear many stories similar to this as the week unfolds.

    August 30, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  19. alvino

    Pretty nasty attack on their constitutional rights. They may be jerks, but I doubt they were paid by Obama's supporters. When I was young, we had a right to organize and demonstrate peacefully. How times have changed.

    August 30, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  20. David

    The Police must be Democrats.

    August 30, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  21. Dano

    Hey rexx, you are really clueless. Anarchist means opposed to organized government; it does not necessarily equal violence. Anarchists have more in common with libertarians than leftists. God, I just can't believe how ignorant some people are.

    August 30, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  22. Winkzilla

    I agree with those that are disturbed by the fact probable cause was not given. I do not agree with the anarchist ideology, but we do have a Constitution that guarantees free speech. The anarchists have a long history that goes back to our Revolutionary times, such as William Godwin; therefore, they are nothing new.

    If they can be raided without probable cause, then any of us could.

    A comment above urged CNN to investigate. I agree. Nevertheless, imagine the media response if this raid took place against a group of evangelicals without probable cause.

    August 30, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  23. Critical thought

    Welcome to the Banana Republican's Police State. Unfortunately this kind of illegal police behavior is the norm for Republican gatherings for years. Care to picket an appearance by President Shrub?–the "authorized" protest site is miles away. President Shrub's administration's interpretation of the "Rule of Law" - "We Rule, so we decide what the law is."

    I've been donating and will be voting for Obama and Biden.

    August 30, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |