UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
Declaration of David Jackson
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
William Thomas, et. al. | C.A. No. 94-2742
Plaintiffs pro se, | Judge Charles R. Richey
The United States, et. al. |
DECLARATION OF DAVID JACKSON
I, David Jackson, hereby declare under penalty of perjury that the following is true and accurate to the best of my knowledge and recollection:
- As of december 25, 1993, with my brother Gregory, I have regularly maintained a continuous demonstration with signs outside the White House in Lafayette Park and symbolically since 1991. In the fall of 1994 we were joined by my younger brother Daniel.
- The purpose of our vigil and demonstration has been to address grievances with the federal government concerning sensitive national security matters.
- None of us has ever been arrested for camping.
- None of us had even been a citation violation notice for violating any Park regulations, until December 19, 1994, when the Park Police issued a violation notice to my brother Gregory.
- For sometime some Park Police expressed dislike for our demonstration. In June, when our signs were under the magnolia tree, one officer asked me, "Why don't put your signs on the Canadian border?" Around the same time a different officer said that it was his "First Amendment right to protest protesters."
- Even though my brothers and I have always acted as law
abiding citizens in the Park, we regularly experienced harassment from a small group of Park Police officers, notably Officers O'Neill, Hill, Keness.
- Occasionally we have been harassed by a few other officers too. I have reason to suspect at least some of those incidents have been influenced by some of the regular harassing officers.
- For example, the first time I saw Officer Christianson, which I believe was December 19, 1994, he was on the White House sidewalk with Officers O'Neill and Keness. I didn't recognize him and went across the street to the sidewalk to find out who he was. When I got to the White House sidewalk and was about twenty feet away from the three officers, they did something that I can only describe as bizarre.
- When they saw me, the three of them, standing side by side. put their arms around each others shoulders and took several quick goose-steps toward me. They moved as a wall, in lock-step, each wearing a menacing grin. When the three of them were standing directly in front of me Officer Christianson, who was standing in the middle with the others on either side of him, broke away from the others and thrust his chest against my own with such force that I was pushed backwards; he advanced on me again, repeated the same move, pushing me back again; advanced a third time, and repeated the move with such force that I was almost knocked to the ground.
- I found this incident very frightening. When I first saw the three uniformed figures goose-stepping toward me, I couldn't help but think of Nazi stormtroopers. When Officer Christianson,
deliberately and with a menacing grin, hit me in the chest the image was greatly reenforced.
- I knew Marcelino Corniel, who was shot by an unidentified Park Police officer on the White House sidewalk, December 20, 1994, for about three months..
- I was very surprised to learn that Marcelino chased Officer O'Neill with a knife, for two reasons. First, except for a few days when he didn't come to the Park, I saw Marcelino everyday and spent hundreds of hours within a few feet of him. During the time I knew him he was always friendly. I never saw him even act rudely. On the contrary, he got a disability check, and he was generous in sharing the little he had with others.
- Second, Marcelino had suffered burns over some seventy to eighty percent of his body. His hands were grossly deformed and couldn't even hold a pencil. Although he did artistic drawings he sometimes had to tape the pencil to his fingers. His feet were mangled, one foot didn't even have toes. His feet were injured so seriously that he had to wear slippers, because shoes hurt his feet. I saw blood coming through his socks from the soles of his feet.
- On December 21, 1994, the morning after Marcelino was killed, I noticed Officer O'Neill standing in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue. Officer O'Neill was talking to several other officers. Officer took off his hat and put it in the car.
- After a few minutes Officer O'Neill, still not wearing a hat, with four or five other officers, walked from the street into
the Park. The other officers stationed themselves around the sign and watched Officer O'Neill go over to our signs, where my brother Daniel was laying down.
- O'Neill went directly to Daniel, and repeatedly kicked Daniel's feet, hard, in a very deliberate manner that I would describe as a controlled rage.
- I felt fearful and threatened, however I put fear behind me, went over to Officer O'Neill and asked, "What are you doing?"
- Officer O'Neill stopped kicking Daniel, looked at me, smiled, and walked away. I was surprised, some officers, like Officer Hill, just do things and walk away, but Officer O'Neill usually wanted to rationalize what he was doing. It was unusual for him to just walk away with a "what are you going to do about it" kind of smile. The officers who had been watching him followed.
- Officer O'Neill left the Park and I didn't see him for the rest of the day. It seemed as if he wasn't on duty in the Park that day, and might just have been there, out of uniform, to kick Daniel as some kind weird statement.
- On or about December 21, 1994, my brother Gregory And I had been using a small hand portable sound amplification devise to speak to the general public, about the shooting of Marcelino Corneil, and other Park Police harassment. In the afternoon Gregory told me that while I was briefly out of the park three Park Police officers ordered him to stop using the devise, and threatened to arrest him if he used it again. Gregory stopped.
- When Gregory told me the police said we couldn't use the sound amplification devise without getting arrested, I couldn't understand why they ordered him to stop.
- I went to talk to the two police officers who had threatened to arrest Gregory, and who were seated in a car in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue to ask why we couldn't use the devise.
- One officer had a copy of the CFR, he read:
- "(A) Sound amplification equipment may not be used on the White House sidewalk"
- See, 36 7.96 CFR (g)(xii)(A).
- I pointed out that we weren't on the White House sidewalk, reading over his shoulder I also pointed out that the remainder of section (A) reads:
- ", other than hand portable sound amplification equipment which the Regional
- Director determines is necessary for crowd control purposes."
- First the officer rationalized that it "was really the White House area."
- I said, "the regulation says 'the White House sidewalk,' not 'Lafayette Park'."
- The officer started to become impatient and belligerent, adamantly stating, "No it's section (B)." 
- He also said that I needed a permit.
[1 Section (B) reads "The Regional Director reserves the right to limit sound amplification equipment so that it will not unreasonably disturb non-participating persons in, or in the vicinity of, the area."]
- I said I didn't need a permit because of the small group permit exemption, and I was not on the White House sidewalk. I asked him to let me see the book He refused and told me that I would have to speak to his Sergeant. The Sergeant also said it was illegal for us to use the devise, and we would be arrested if we continued to use it.
- In November or December Officer O'Neill told me that a miniature speakers' platform (approximately 7 inches x 18 inches x 15 inches) which I was using in my demonstration violated 36 CFR (g)(x)(A)(2) or (3).
- I told him that I believed that was the wrong Section because 36 CFR (g)(x)(A)(2), which applies to groups "over 100," and (3) which applies to groups "under 100."
- I told him the Section applicable to my demonstration relate to "groups of 25 or fewer:"
- "Individuals or groups of twenty-five persons or fewer demonstrating under the
- small group permit exemption of paragraph (g)(2)(i) of this Section are not
- allowed to erect temporary structures, other than small lecterns or speakers'
- platforms. This provision does not restrict the use of portable signs or banners."
- 36 CFR 7.96 (g)(vii)(E).
- Officer O'Neill didn't seem to care about legal niceties, not many days later he came by and just seized my speaker's platform, without issuing a citation or anything.
- I believe these examples show some of the abuse of dissenters, indicating a lack of supervisory policy to insure that people exercizing freedom of expression are not subject to arbitrary abuse by individual police officers.
- Although security surrounding the executive manision is of great concern, these incidents cannot be justified under a "security" rationale. Therefore these incidents illustrate a need to protect this important public forum, and the people that come to Lafayette Park.
- I was in courtroom on January 6, 1995, prepared to testify to the matters in this declaration.
- This Declaration does not all include all incidents of harassment and abuse which have occurred in the Park, and should not be construed as limiting my own personal complaints independant of this particular case.