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PROTESTERS ARRESTED IN SAN MIGUEL COUNTY

by Mike Blessing, guest contributor.  [February 26, 2006]

 

 

On February 15, Lee Kittell and Dale Harapat -- both fathers who have been unreasonably denied access to their children by the courts -- were arrested along with a third person on a public sidewalk in front of District Attorney Richard Flores and Sheriff Chris Major's office in Las Vegas, NM (San Miguel County). They were simply holding up posters regarding wrong-doings of Richard Flores and walking along the sidewalk. Two of the men have heart conditions and Lee was on crutches because of an injured ankle. 

Upon arrival at the detention center, both Lee and the third gentleman were checked by the prison nurse and an ambulance was called. The stress of the incident caused chest pains for both men.  Dale was booked into prison, and prison officials claimed they did so because "his friends said that he wanted to make a statement." (They did not say that.)  Dale was not released until Friday afternoon.

We need to support these men who are taking time away from their lives to make it known that this system is corrupt and that it is hurting children and parents.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Make four phone calls to the following people and voice your protest about this unlawful arrest and detainment. We may be protesting your situation the next time, and it is imperative that we fight to hang on to the right to free assembly and free speech. It's about all we have at our disposal right now: to inform the public about government official wrongdoing in our state.

Please forward this email to your friends, family, and acquaintances and ask them to do the same.

 

San Miguel County District Attorney Richard Flores -- 505-425-6746

San Miguel County Sheriff Chris Majar -- 505-425-7589

Las Vegas, New Mexico Mayor Henry Sanchez -- 505-425-7335 (let him know that you will avoid Las Vegas, and tell all your friends to do so, since you could so easily be unlawfully detained there)

Governor Richardson -- 505-476-2200
 

While the [three arrested] men were protesting on Thursday, someone came out of the DA/ Sheriff's building with a camera and stood on the sidewalk blocking their way. Then the undersheriff, Benjamin Vigil, came out and told them that they would have to leave. Dale and Lee politely responded that is was a public sidewalk and that they had a right under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to peacefully demonstrate there. (They are absolutely correct.)

None of the men badgered anyone, except that the third man disagreed with the camera person who blocked their way. There was no physical attack or threat. The men were fully clothed. There were no obscenities on their posters. They were not yelling or bothering passersby in any way.

They were charged with three crimes:

 

NMSA 30-8-1 -- Public nuisance.

A public nuisance consists of knowingly creating, performing or maintaining anything affecting any number of citizens without lawful authority which is either:

A. injurious to public health, safety, morals or welfare; or

B. interferes with the exercise and enjoyment of public rights, including the right to use public property.

Whoever commits disorderly conduct is guilty of a petty misdemeanor.

 

[They were charged with part A, but the camera guy was ACTUALLY committing part B when he blocked their way.]

 

 

NMSA 30-20-1 -- Disorderly conduct consists of:

A. engaging in violent, abusive, indecent, profane, boisterous, unreasonably loud or otherwise disorderly conduct which tends to disturb the peace; or

B. maliciously disturbing, threatening or, in an insolent manner, intentionally touching any house occupied by any person.

Whoever commits disorderly conduct is guilty of a petty misdemeanor.


 

[They were charged with part A above.]

 

NMSA 30-20-3 -- Unlawful assembly

Unlawful assembly consists of three or more persons assembling together with intent to do any unlawful act with force or violence against the person or property of another, and who shall make any overt act to carry out such unlawful purpose.

Whoever commits unlawful assembly is guilty of a petty misdemeanor.
 

 

All three men must show up this month to respond to a summons. No date or time is given for their appearance. They are ordered not to have any contact with each other in the meantime (another clear violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution).

At first, they were told to show up Monday, which was President's Day. When Lee called to clarify, they said any time over the next month would do. This whole thing smacks of cronyism, false arrest, and fascism. Please forward this email to your friends and acquaintances. We need a lot of calls to force our government officials (remember, these guys work for YOU) to uphold the U.S. Constitution and remove these bogus charges from Lee, Dale, and the other guy's records.

[* Please forgive my ignorance of the convoluted system of statutes that passes for a legal system in New Mexico, but it sounds like the individual(s) who told Lee, Dale and the as-yet-to-be-identified third guy to take a hike were in violation of another state statute:

 

30-20-13. Interference with members of staff, public officials or the general public; trespass; damage to property; misdemeanors; penalties.

A. No person shall, at or in any building or other facility or property owned, operated or controlled by the state or any of its political subdivisions, willfully deny to staff, public officials or the general public:

(1) lawful freedom of movement within the building or facility or the land on which it is situated;

(2) lawful use of the building or facility or the land on which it is situated; or

(3) the right of lawful ingress and egress to the building or facility or the land on which it is situated.

B. No person shall, at or in any building or other facility or property owned, operated or controlled by the state or any of its political subdivision [subdivisions], willfully impede the staff or a public official or a member of the general public through the use of restraint, abduction, coercion or intimidation or when force and violence are present or threatened.

C. No person shall willfully refuse or fail to leave the property of or any building or other facility owned, operated or controlled by the state or any of its political subdivisions when requested to do so by a lawful custodian of the building, facility or property if the person is committing, threatens to commit or incites others to commit any act which would disrupt, impair, interfere with or obstruct the lawful mission, processes, procedures or functions of the property, building or facility.

D. No person shall willfully interfere with the educational process of any public or private school by committing, threatening to commit or inciting others to commit any act which would disrupt, impair, interfere with or obstruct the lawful mission, processes, procedures or functions of a public or private school.

E. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent lawful assembly and peaceful and orderly petition for the redress of grievances, including any labor dispute.

F. Any person who violates any of the provisions of this section shall be deemed guilty of a petty misdemeanor.
 

 

But then again, these rules are for us, the private citizens, but not for them, our "public servants" -- no doubt the instigator's boss will claim "sovereign immunity" or some slipshod variant of such -- a "compelling state interest," "in the scope of performing his duties," etc.

As I keep saying -- we don't like what they do, we get to vote and write letters.  They don't like what we do, they send out SWAT with the snipers and armored vehicles.

 

Mike Blessing has two MySpace accounts: 
http://www.myspace.com/mikewb1971 and http://www.myspace.com/kcufmedia.

 

 

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