USDC Cr. No. 84-3552

WILLIAM THOMAS                 
      vs.                                   CA No. 84-3552
                                          Judge Louis Oberdorfer
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, et. al.          Magistrate Arthur Burnett


I, Robert Dorrough,declare under penalty of perjury:

1. I started demonstrating against nuclear weapons in front of the White House on March 5, 1983.

2. On or about March 8, 1983 I saw a Metropolitan Police captain coming out of the Northwest gate house of the White House who later became known to me as Captain Canfield. He introduced himself to William Thomas and told him that anyone found sleeping that night on Corporation Council property in front of the Old Executive Office Building (OEOB) would be arrested for vagrancy.

3. On March 11, 1983 Concepcion Picciotto, William Thomas and I moved the signs from the OEOB to their usual daily place in front of the White House in the approximate center of the fence.

4. Thomas and I then left to go use the facilities at McDonald's.

5. Returning to the signs I saw a large contingent of police from the Park Police, the Metropolitian Police and the uniformed Secret Service, watching as Concepcion moved the signs from the White House sidewalk across Jackson Place to the sidewalk in front of the OEOB.

6. At that time I again saw Captain Canfield and I first became acquainted with Lt. Christopher Merillat of the U.S. Park Police, and Richard Robbins and Patricia Bangert of the National Capital Region Park Service Solicitor's office of the Department of the Interior.

7. Then Thomas returned and questioned the reasons for the signs being moved. Lt. Merillat said that they were structures and if we tried to replace them on the White House side of Jackson Place we would be arrested for illegal structures.

8. Richard Robbins and Patricia Bangert reiterated Lt. Merillat's comments about structures. When asked if we could take the other 4 x 8 signs back on the sidewalk the Solicitor's Office representatives added that only "hand-held" signs were now allowed on the sidewalk. Mr. Robbins motioned with his hands an approximate size which looked to me to be about 2'x2'.

9. Several times I requested information about who had ordered the removal of the signs. I was told by the attorneys: "We don't have to tell you that, we don't have to tell you anything."

10. Later Captain Canfield told us that if we did not remove the signs from Corporation Council property we would be arrested for unlawful living abodes. Then one of the signs burst into flames.

11. Concepcion tried to comply and move the signs but the Park Police wrested them away from her and loaded them onto a large waiting Park Service stake body truck. Concepcion then left the scene pushing a small cart of literature.

12. On March 13, Thomas and I were arrested for possessing that same small cart of literature under the 'illegal structures' regulation. Charges against us were dropped.

13. Throughout the remainder of March and on into April 1 continued my vigil communicating with passersby and displaying two 4'x8' signs.

14. On April 27th I was arrested under a regulation that had just been published in the Federal Register on April 22nd, my signs were not in compliance with this new regulation thus I was arrested for 'illegal signs.' This arrest resulted in irreparable damage to my psyche because I haven't believed in freedom in America ever since.

15. These regulations were later scrapped and charges against me were dropped.

16. On or about July 19, 1983 I helped remove the signs that were on the White House sidewalk upon the insistence of Ms. Bangert and Lt. Merillat and a number of other USPP officers. We took them across the street to Lafayette Park facing the White House. This move directly affected my communication in that it took me out of the view of most of the visitors by reducing my visual exposure.

17. On May 9, 1984, I was attempting to maintain a round -the-clock vigil in Lafayette Park. In the early morning hours, totally fatigued, I lay down in a sleeping bag for some casual sleep. But not for long.

18. The Park was raided by the Park Police SETT team, dressed in camouflage uniforms, under the command of Deputy Chief Lindsey, who was there along with Richard Robbins from the Solicitor's office. Additionally the Park Police Identification Unit was there. Unfortunately for them and for me I was the only person in the area of the Thomas vigil that was asleep at the time.

19. Officers Haynes and Roofener led the charge. They came running up to where I was lying down, Roofener pointed me out to an Officer from the I.D. unit, who snapped a picture of me on top of my sign with a sleeping bag pulled over my head. This arrest caused me both physical and emotional distress.

20. On June 6, 1984 I was again attempting to maintain the vigil in Lafayette Park.

21. At about 6 a.m. two USPP officers, Haynes and Simons, approached Concepcion Picciotto, William and Ellen Thomas, David Manning, Wayne Thomas, Anthony Nelson, and myself.

22. I had been lying down behind one of the signs. As soon as I saw the officers I got up and went over to where my friends and the officers were.

23. Before Off. Haynes could say anything to them Thomas and Ellen popped up and said "We're awake." Off. Haynes said "I don't care, I'm going to arrest you all anyway."

24. I said "Well, if I'm going to be arrested I might as well put on my shoes."

25. "Sit down," Haynes barked at me.

26. "I didn't join your army," I replied, turning away to get my shoes.

27. Off. Haynes ran up behind me and grabbed me around the chest, then Off. Simons hit me from behind. I landed on the ground on my hands and knees. Off. Haynes then hit me with his fist three times. Each blow seemed to me to be progressively harder, the blows landing at the base of my skull. Off. Simons slapped the handcuffs on me and as I looked up I saw Thomas recording the event with a 35mm camera.

28. Off. Haynes jumped up yelling "Give me that!" He grabbed Thomas in a choke hold, Thomas threw the camera to Ellen. Haynes threw Thomas into a permitted structure knocking it over, then threw him into the abutment of the park's grassy area, then he reared back and kicked Thomas in the ribs.

29. Ellen, who had been snapping pictures as fast as possible, said "Ooo, you`re going to get it now!"

30. Off. Haynes then turned and grabbed Ellen briefly in a choke hold then tossed her to the ground. Many Park Police cars pulled up to the curb, some uniformed Secret Service officers came running over to the scene.

31. We were taken from there to the D-1 Park Police substation where, after a long processing, the seven of us that were arrested that morning were placed in a paddywagon in the hot sun and were kept there one hour and forty-five minutes before Off. Jackson brought some water.

32. While we were in the wagon Sgt. Malhoyt came out and explained to Thomas that he should have cooperated with the fingerprinting process because if he had he and his friends wouldn't have to be spending so much time in the back of this hot wagon.

33. I asked the Sergeant if I was supposed to understand that we were being punished; he abruptly ended the conversation and closed the door. This arrest caused me not only physical abuse and injury, it also intimidated me from engaging in conduct which was intended to be expressive.

34. I was acquitted of all the charges. However, Officer Haynes lodged a false charge of "assault on a federal officer" against me which remains on my record to this day.

35. On June 23, 1984 I awoke and made my way to the park and the signs only to discover that once again there had been a police raid and the demonstrators had been removed from the park.

36. The signs were still there so I claimed responsibility for the signs and attempted to take possession of them but was refused and told that the signs were being confiscated as abandoned property. I again said I would claim them. "No," I was told, they were being confiscated as prisoner property.

37. The signs were broken up with sledgehammers by Park Service employees under the supervision of Park Police.

38. This time, even though I was not arrested, I suffered mental distress agonizing over the fate of my friends, their immediate futures, and the future of the country which insists that we must have nuclear weapons to protect freedom. I left Washington that afternoon. I felt that I had had enough. I suffered a minor nervous breakdown. I was stressed-out.

39. I returned to Washington about a month later and found that I could no longer continue a twenty-four hour presence in Lafayette Park. I was just unable to take the pressure of constant police harrassment, the threats of arrest, the sleep deprivation, the unending surveillance, not to mention the elements and the ignorant passersby. They all combined to become too much for me to bear any longer. I believe that to vigil twenty-four hours a day seven days a week is the good, true and right thing to do, but after the physical and mental abuse I had to suffer in order to do just that I'd become too weak to go on any longer. By August of 1984 I had all but ended my association with the Thomas', Concepcion's, and the White House Anti-Nuclear Vigil from August, 1984 until April, 1986.

40. On April 4, 1986, I was arrested under a brand new set of regulations regarding signs. Some of the same signs that had been on the White House sidewalk prior to being moved by the Park Police to Lafayette Park in July, 1983, were standing in the park that day. Believing the new regulation to be part of an the ongoing effort to remove the vigil from in front of the White House I did all that I knew how to do to fight what I believe to be wrong: I interposed my body betwixt the police and the signs to register my complaint.

41. When I first came to Washington, D.C. in 1983 I believed I had a right to maintain my presence on a twenty-four hour basis. Judging from my repeated arrests for 'camping' I no longer have that right and even if I did I have been unduly chilled from its exercise and am too intimidated to continue.

42. When I started out on this course everyone had a right to have signs of various sizes and shapes in Lafayette Park. Now I fear that right has been forever lost.

43. I know that I have lost these rights -- arrests testify to that fact. I know that prior to the onslaught of regulations my behavior, necessary for a free-thinking society, was Constitutionally-protected. I believe that I have only been trying to communicate in a peaceful manner I have spent time in jail and still face up to one and one-half years for sticking up for the time-honored traditions of the FIRST AMENDMENT.

44. Therefore, for the reasons stated above, I ask to join in this suit CA-84-3552, to become a party with the present plaintiffs.

Respectfully submitted this _____ day of _____________, 1986.

Robert Dorrough
1440 N Street NW, #410
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 462-3542

Case Listing --- Proposition One ---- Peace Park