"I was summoned down there by the officials of the Uniformed Secret Service and by members of the United States Park Police to address a problem they were encountering with a protester... and the Park Police apparently with the
permission of the Solicitor General of the United States had determined that this ... was not a placard or a sign.
"Their intentions were to inform him to abate the nuisance and move it off federal property. That's how I became involved in it." Exhibit 49, defendant Canfield Grand Jury testimony.
(By Lt. Merillat) "Myself and several officers remained in the area. I was in concert with Captain Canfield of the Second District of the Metropolitian Police Department at which time Mr. Canfield was trying to get the General Counsel from the District of Columbia to authorize him to remove the structure to abate the nuisance of having a temporary abode on the sidewalk which is District of Columbia property.... It was approximately one hour, maybe one hour and fifteen minutes before Mr. Canfield received approval from General Counsel to have the structures removed, and to abate the nuisance. " Exhibit 50, imony of Lt. Merillat, USA v. Thomas, USDC, CR 83-056, May 16, 1983 at 50.
"...I directed (Thomas) that Captain Canfield would be discussing something with him, reference to abating a nuisance, and I asked him to depart the structure... At that time, Captain Canfield opened the curtain himself, directing Mr. Thomas to abate the nuisance or he would be subject to arrest." Exhibit 51, USA v. Thomas, Cr 82-056, testimony of Merillat, transcript at 51. COMPARE Exhibit 52, Deposition of Michael Canfield, July 10, 1986; p. 66.
"We were looking at a law with regard to public nuisances, which is a common law principle." Exhibit 53, ERA, CA 83-1243, Robbins testimony, May 3, 1983, Trial Transcript, at 67.
we were there to prepare for an arrest situation should they fail to comply with that request." Exhibit 55, Robbins testimony May 3, 1983, ERA v. Watt, at 51.
"Ms. Concepcion and Mr. Dorrough were directed to remove the signs, which they did, Mr. Thomas was directed 'don't bring them back'." Exhibit 56, testimony of Lt. Merillat, USA v. Thomas, USDC, CR 83-056, May 19, 1983 at 75.
60. "The Park Police originally tried to get the U.S. Attorney to paper the case as arson, but the papering people refused, pointing out that even if they had evidence that he set the structure on fire (which apparently they do not), the structure was not a 'building,' and the D.C. Code specifically requires that a person burn a building to commit an arson. According to AUSA Dan Cisin (in an off-the-record conversation), the Park Police left, then came back about an hour later and cornered the chief papering assistant in an office for an hour and a half until the AUSA agreed to paper the case as a felony destruction of property -- White House gate, just to get rid of them....
"After I got the indictment/arraignment notice, I saw the AUSA assigned to this case in the Grand Jury room, William (J.J.) Jackson, in the hall of the courthouse, and asked him how in the world he could indict this case. He said that even though I was right that there was no evidence of malicious intention to destroy the White House gate, the Grand Jury relied on 'reasonable inferences' arising from the fire to constitute the malicious intent....
"I've had several conversations with AUSA Marc Tucker, to whom this case is assigned for trial before Judge Webber. Marc is not overwhelmed with the case, and I have told him all of the above. He says he does not think 'reasonable inferences' get you past an MJOA on destruction of property, and if that's all he has --reasonable inferences -- he will try to get his supervisors to dismiss. (The case is still very political.) -- He also told me the reason the case is in Superior Court is the Park Police/Secret Service were not having any luck in District Court getting Mr. Thomas locked up, so they decided to change courts and maybe things would improve." Exhibit 60, Public Defender Service Memorandum, Allie Sheffield to Charles Ogletree, July 26, 1983, parenthesis in the original.
groups planning to conduct demonstrations in the White House area," the very class alleged in this Complaint. Exhibit 66, Request for OMB Review, signed March 28, 1983 by defendant Fish; see inter alia para. 128.
"For example two individuals who have in the past and are presently maintaining a daily demonstration in front of the White House have had as many as twenty-five signs or placards leaning against the White House fence.... It is the judgment of the National Park Service that certain restrictions can be placed upon the stationing of signs or placards ... which would enhance the park visitor's experience in viewing the White House, and respond to security concerns without impairing the demonstrator's ability to convey a message.
"To accomplish the purpose of minimizing potential threats to the White House and the President, and for the other purposes outlined above the National Park Service is amending present regulations to prohibit signs or placards on the White House sidewalk, except those that are being hand-carried by an individual."
"Further the proposed rule would apply only to sidewalks contiguous to the White House. A substantial number of alternative forums exist close to the White House sidewalks where these restrictions do not apply." Exhibit 68, Fed. Reg. April 22, 1983; compare inter alia para. 76; emphasis added.
69. "On April 22, 1983, the Park Service published new 'interim regulations' regarding demonstrations and the placement of property on the White House sidewalk. 48 Fed. Reg. 17352. Although promulgated without prior public notice, or opportunity for public comment these interim regulations were effective immediately. On April 27, 1983 (Concepcion Picciotto, Robert Dorrough, and William Thomas) were arrested for violating the interim regulations. Two days later the (ERA) suit was filed challenging the
regulations on both procedural and constitutional grounds.
"On May 3, 1983 an evidentiary hearing was held on the plaintiffs' first motion for a Temporary Restraining Order enjoining enforcement of the regulations. At the conclusion of this hearing the Court granted the motion on the ground that 'good cause' had not been shown for waiving the notice and comment requirement for informal rulemaking se' forth in the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 USC 553. Subsequently, on May 17, the interim regulations were republished by the National Park Service as a proposed rulemaking with an additional comment period extending to May 31. 48 Fed. Reg 22248.... These final regulations were to become effective eighteen days later on July 4. . .
"A hearing was held on June 30th and on July 1st the Court issued a Memorandum and Order on the ground that 'good cause' had not been shown for shortening the 30 delay in effectiveness required by the Administrative Procedure Act 5 USC, 553." Exhibit 69 , ERA v. Clark, USDC CA 83-1243, Memorandum and Order, J. Bryant, filed April 26, 1984.
71. "On April 27, 19&3 at approximately 1320 hours the undersigned officer observed Ms. Picciotto and Mr. William Thomas sitting on the fence line in the 1600 block of Pennsylvania Avenue with three demonstration signs next to them. They were both asked by Sgt. Weber if the signs belonged to them, and they stated yes. They both were advised that they were in violation of 36 CFR 50.19(e)(9) for signs on the White House sidewalk, and were advised to take the signs and carry them, or they would be arrested for the violation. They both sat by and did not move the signs and both of them at approximately 1327 hours were placed under arrest by the undersigned, and transported to D-1 for processing." Exhibit 71, Cilvanus Woods report, April 27, 1983.
"Recently the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Park Police have alleged that protest signs leaning against the White House fence pose a threat to the life of the President in that they might be used to scale the fence.
"In order to clearly demonstrate that 1) any determined individual with a desire to climb the fence could do so without the aid of a protest sign, and 2) that the Secret Service's Executive Protective Division is well prepared to deal with any individual who does climb the fence, I climbed to the top of the fence, with no intention whatsoever to set foot on the White House grounds, before jumping back to the sidewalk." 2/ Exhibit 75, Letter from Thomas from SS files, May 5, 1983.
2/ After almost two years, and many inconveniences, charges against Thomas were dismissed without show of probable cause upon motion for dismissal on the grounds of destruction of evidence by Secret Service.
Q: (By Mr. Vanderstar, counsel for ERA plaintiffs) "Now, with respect to the comment in prefatory comments in the Federal Register of June 17, 1983, I believe there is a reference to editorials in the local newspapers which are
critical of some of the activities that have taken place on the White House sidewalk in recent months.
"I was wondering how those articles came to your attention."
A: (By Mr. Robbins) "I have read them in the news paper."
Q: "Which newspaper?"
A: "Washington Times is the one that comes most readily to mind."
Exhibit 80-A, Robbins deposition ERA v. Clark, CA 83-1243, November 30, 1983, p. 53; See also Letter to the "President's News" (Exhibit 80-B), and letter to/from defendant Reagan himself (Exhibit 80-C).
been kicked in the "head" or on the "foot." Exhibit 85, testimony, Officer Sherba, USA v. Thomas, USDC, CR 83-243, December 3, 1983, transcript at 73.
"No signs or placards shall be permitted on the White House sidewalk except those made of cardboard, posterboard or cloth, having dimensions no greater than three feet in width, 20 feet in length, and 1/4" in thickness." Exhibit 87, 36 CFR 50.19(e)(9).
that structure, a black cylinder approximately eighteen inches by twenty feet simulating a missile..." which was perfectly within the dimensions prescribed by "law" Exhibit 89-A, U.S. Park Police report, Officer Guentz, July 25, 1983. COMPARE Exhibit 89-B, Lt. Clipper testimony.
May 6, 1984; Exhibit 93-C, "Thomas Demonstration," Clark report, May 8, 1984.
(Thomas) whether the property that was on the sidewalk was to be removed, and he said 'yes,' and he began to separate the signs which he intended to keep for the signs which he intended to remove." Exhibit 97, U.S. Park Police report, Officer Manso, May 31, 1984.
"Officer Haynes ... while he spoke with precision, and exactitude, and painstaking care had selective memory ... and unable to remember even testimony that he clearly
specifically had given in the court hours earlier, failed to remember making, on some occasion=, earlier arrests of the defendants, contradicted representations of the manner in which he inventoried the property....
"Now, the Court's ruling today does not mean that ...it has ... become unnecessary ... to reach the several most significant constitutional questions that someday, someway, with perhaps other defendants, perhaps the same will be addressed.
"To continue with this trial would transform the trial from a prosecution into a persecution, and accordingly the respective motions for judgment of acquittal are as to each of the defendants granted." Exhibit 105, USA v. Thomas, USDC 84-255, September 25, 1984 transcript at 1025.
Lafayette Park. Exhibit 106-A, letter from defendant Lindsey to defendant Robbins, June 14, 1984, emphasis in the original; compare to Exhibit 106-B, Officer Smallwood report, June 14, 1984.
109. "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. 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 said again I would claim them. 'No,' I was told, they were being confiscated as prisoner property. The signs were broken up by the Park Police with sledgehammers." Exhibit 109, Declaration of Robert Dorrough.
117. "When Thomas was removed from the tree (October 10, 1984) and arrested, people under the supervision of Deputy Chief J.C. Lindsey of the U.S. Park Police prepared to remove the signs. Lindsey was talking with Richard Robbins, Assistant Solicitor of the Department of the Interior. I had seen and talked with both men in the park many times. I went up to them and told Mr. Lindsey that Thomas had asked me to watch over the signs; that I was an associate and supporter of the vigil of which these signs were a part; that I had an interest in the survival of the vigil and of mankind; to please leave the signs alone; that I was prepared to take care of them.
"With a smirk and a sarcastic tone, Mr. Lindsey said that it was his responsibility to protect Thomas' property while Thomas was under arrest. I said that I had been asked to look after the property and would do so. Mr. Lindsey asked if I had anything in writing. I said that I did not, but that many people had heard Thomas ask me to watch the signs. Mr. Lindsey ignored me, and continued with his work, which by this time had begun to involve the destruction of the signs. Mr. Robbins smiled.
"I ran over to Thomas' mobile speaker's platform and began pushing it off through the park. I was stopped. Mr. Lindsey told me that if I 'continued to interfere' I would be arrested. Watching Mr. Lindsey's workers battering one of the large signs into pieces (by smashing it with long poles, and crowbars), I told Mr. Lindsey it was obvious he
was not interested in 'protecting Thomas' property,' but that, quite to the contrary, his interest was in destroying the anti-nuclear vigil of which I was a part and which I was trying to protect. Again he threatened me with arrest and I stepped aside. " Exhibit 117, Affidavit of William C. Wardlaw, December 21, 1985.
Adjacent to Ellen Thomas, and in physical contact with her was a sign/banner being held by a small piece of wood trim. The banner appeared to be made of cloth. The sign banner was well within the restrictions for items in that area. Car 31 was notified and responded, after reviewing the applicable sections of 50 CFR concerning demonstration activities in and around the White House area it was determined that the Thomases were not in violation of any of the sections. Based on this no action was taken." Exhibit 122, Case Incident report, Sgt. Moyer, June 8, 1985, 0019 am, emphasis added.
from the public. Exhibit 131, 36 CFR 50.19(e)(11)(12), final rule published March 5, 1986, Vol. 51, No. 43 Fed. Reg., pp. 7556 - 7566.
States v. Sunrise (aka Semple), USDC CR 88-235, filed December 8, 1988. Memorandum J. Oberdorfer,
William Thomas, pro se
Peace Park Antinuclear Vigil
1440 N Street, N.W. Apt. 410
Washington, D.C. 20005