Thursday, April 7, 2011

No charges were filed and they were all released

A phenomenon I'm interested in documenting is in situations where (a) a broad law-enforcement sweep is permitted, presumably because of some "emergency" or "atypical" pretext, real or not (b) A lot of people are swept up and detained (c) During the interim that it takes for law enforcement to get its act together, the people can be denigrated, humiliated, because the only people on the scene other than themselves are the cops/soldiers/officials. (d) Some are found to have been detained wrongly. No charges are filed, and these suspects are released. The point of this scenario is that there is a sleight of hand involved in putting the focus on no charges filed. By that time, the psychological damage is done. Those few days of denigration and humiliation are the main event, not a side event. Who am I talking about in particular? Bystanders in the "special area" at the G20 meeting in Toronto, to take one example squarely post 1/09. To take another example, the subset of people who were rounded up for a bounty and sent to Guantanamo despite being innocent. To take a third example, it happens in _Madam Secretary_ by George Martin, when Hoover's DOL surrounds apartments in a poor neighborhood and arrests people en masse for the purpose of immigration enforcement, only to let all but a couple of them go later. I will elaborate on the _Madam Secretary_ piece in a later post.

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