Well over a hundred people were arrested for allegedly violating "60 decibels" in a city scope where the normal background noise level never dips below 62 decibels. Personally, I was arrested three times for playing drums which the president couldn't hear. Notwithstanding Mr. Robbins' supervision of these arrests, the charges were quickly thrown out of court but the arrests did disrupt and discourage peaceful expression.
Ultimately, on February 2 and 3, 1991, Mr. Robbins and other agents, under color of the existing storage of property regulations, seized our lawful signs and literature and incarcerated Concepcion and I. These charges were also swiftly thrown out of court.
So, we believe, 1) orchestrated enforcement of Interior Department regulations inhibits the free flow of ideas and information in violation of the First Amendment; 2) we have been subjected to a pattern and practice of malicious harassment, 3) various agency personnel, and possibly the President himself, conspired to extinguish constitutional and statutory rights.
Of course one regulation might not a conspiracy make, hut our "24 hour vigil, has also been the target of three earlier regulations, each of which was drafted by Richard Robbins. SEE, Fed. Reg., Vol. 47 No.103 pg. 24299; Vol. 48 No. 118 pg. 28059; Vol. 50 No. 161 pg. 33571; Vol. 51 No. 43 pg. 7555.
Under color of these very regulations law enforcement officials have sustained an almost constant conflict against us arising from our exercise of First Amendment rights. This conflict has, been waged under color of several regulations, and threats, harassment, assaults, and imprisonment. As a result our signs, literature, and other expressive articles being seized and/or destroyed, and our expressive activities being disrupted and suppressed.
Two of these regulations have withstood judicial review. Clark v. CCNV, 468 U.S. 290, White House Vigil for the ERA v. Clark 746 F.2d 1518. But the question of whether these regulations have been selectively enforced to punish First Amendment exercise has never been heard by a court.
The "camping regulation" (Clark v. CCNV) is a good example of how this selective enforcement may have escaped judicial notice. In the beginning the Park Service purported a clear regulatory policy which would allow for "one's participation in a demonstration as a sleeper." CCNV v. Watt, 703 F.2d 586 at 589.
During January and February, 1991 -- at the same time Park Police agents began seizing and attempting to seize our signs and literature, under the supervision of Mr. Robbins -- another section of the Park Police, also under direct supervision of Richard Robbins, began dictating a definition of "camping" which changed at least four times in one month.
The videotape submitted with this statement documents that Park Police Sgt. Rule agreed, "24-hour vigils are permitted, there's no question about that," but also discussed enforcement of the "camping" regulation with Mr. Robbins. Subsequent to those discussions, between February 3 and March 7, 1991, Sgt. Rule progressively and arbitrarily defined "camping" as: "sleeping for longer than two (2) hours" "sleeping longer than one (1) hour," and finally that merely sitting on a blanket would be "cause" for a "camping, arrest. The videotape also indicates that the arresting officer did not want to make the arrest, but was only following orders, and that the officer also characterized the situation as being "just a game. (A)11 they wanted was to get people out of" the park.
I have DOT/Park Police documents and District Court transcripts which conclusively show that, 3 few years earlier in 1988, Mr. Robbins perjured himself in testimony that sent me to federal prison for purportedly violating the "camping regulation".
Thus we believe , the object of the government's "game" was to remove our persons from a traditional public forum because of opposition to the content of their message. Through a concerted effort, the government achieved its object by justifying a pattern and practice of harassment, detention, and intimidation.
I could present numerous other examples of questionable "law enforcement" operations, but, the four page limit for this submission allows only one more.
"In a memorandum, dated 13 January 1983, then Secretary of the Interior James Watt to an aide, Moody Tidwell, Watt Requested 'a briefing on the regulations that allow demonstrations and protesters in Lafayette Park and in front of the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue. My intention is to prohibit such activities and require that they take place on the Ellipse.' In March 1983 Watt received a briefing from the principal drafter of the new regulations and told him To 'keep up the good work'....In the circumstances, it would appear that plaintiff's claim in this regard in no wise can be characterized ass frivolous, however, in light of this court's disposition of this case, it need not resolve this particular issue." White House Vigil v. Clark, 746 F.2d 1518, 1527, and Exhibit 11.
On March 11, 1983, very shortly after he met with Mr. Watt, Mr. Robbins, "the principal drafter", kept up the good work" by participating in a prearranged scheme--in concert with agents of the U.S. Park Police, U.S. Secret Service, and D.C. Metropolitan Police--to remove Concepcion's and my then-legitimate signs from the White House sidewalk--even though no regulation justified the action.
Government agents did persecute me--through arrest and inaccurate testimony--which ended in a criminal conviction. In that case, thank God, justice finally prevailed, when the District of Columbia vindicated me:
"the ultimate issue in the present case is the actor's subjective state of mind." Thomas, supra 557 A.2d at 1300.
With my vindication a reasonable person must ask,"What was the 'subjective state of mind' motivating the government agents on March 11, 1983?" Obviously, I wanted the signs on the White House sidewalk; they specifically intended to take the signs off the sidewalk. Were Mr. Robbins, and agents of the Park Police, Secret Service, Metropolitan Police, et al, performing as thugs?
If you think there are problems in Tiannanmen Square, but you do not measure Lafayette Square with the same yardstick, you have not succeeded in removing the beam from your eye.