EXHIBIT 11- m
1906 R St., NW
Washington, DC 20005
February, 28, 1991
Washington Area Coalition to
Stop U.S. Intervention in the
2111 Florida Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20008
I am writing as per your request to describe what I witnessed at Lafayette Park on the evening of Sunday, February 24, 1991. I apologize for my delay in getting this statement to you, and I do hope that it is still of some use in your efforts to bang to light the gross display of unnecessary and unprovoked violence on the part of U.S. Park Police on that evening.
Before describing the specific incidents I witnessed, I'd like to first describe what I saw in general on that evening. At approximately 7:00 pm the U. S. Park Police began giving clear warnings to those who were drumming in Lafayette Park that they were in excess of (and thus in violation of) the maximum permissible sound pressure level and thus were risking arrest if they did not make some sort of change in their drumming. During this period when warnings were being given, many of us who were gathered peacefully to demonstrate against the war linked arms in a large circle to protect the drummers from the police (I myself did not join this circle, but continued my vigil off to the side just a few feet from the circle).
After giving three warnings the Park Police, who had formed a line facing the circle of demonstrators (and the drummers within it), forcibly broke through this circle lay marching straight into it, pushing over those people who had linked their arms together. It was upon breaking through this circle that the Park Police began to grab both drums and drummers to violently force them to stop their drumming. I did not see any drurruner-or any other demonstrator-strike any police officer in any way nor at any time during the ensuing scuffle. Nevertheless, any of the drummers who resisted giving up their drums by holding them tightly or by trying to squirm out of the grip of police officers received only violence in return for their nonviolent, albeit determined, resistance. Furthermore many demonstrators who tried to retrieve the drums once they had been tossed to the side by the police, were sharply hit by the officers' nightsticks.
To be specific, I saw one police officer-I remember only that he was a black male-leaning over and beating harshly with his nightstick the back of a drummer who was on the ground on top of and clinging to his drum. Although the drummer certainly was not cooperating by his refusal to give his drum to the officer, I never saw him strike the officer in arty way-and yet for this he was brutally pelted by the officer.
In addition, during this chaotic show of brute force by the Park Police, I witnessed another specific act of violence which I remember somewhat better. Besides treating the drummers so harshly the Park Police were also treating violently anyone who tried to come to the aid of the drummers or who resisted the police's demands that the area where ail this was taking place be cleared of all demonstrators. One demonstrator was resisting this demand by remaining in the area that police were trying to clear and was shouting at a particular police officer. I do not know exactly what he or she (i don't recall whether the demonstrator was male or female) was saying-for the most part he/she was simply refusing to move his/her person from the area which the police were forcibly cleaning. The officer he/she was shouting to grabbed the demonstrator and violently threw him/her to the ground-and I mean that quite literally. It was nor a shove to the side; the officer deliberately and harshly threw the person to the ground, The officer who did this was a member of the U.S. Park Police. He was a white male, fairly thin, with a gray moustache and graying hair. He was wearing a traditional police hat (i.e. not a helmet, nor a baseball style police cap) One of the "regulars" from Lafayette/Peace Park said his name was Cox when a member of your coalition asked him if he recognized that officer.
Absolutely none of the violence which I witnessed on the part of the U.S. Park Police that night was provoked nor was it justified. Neither the clinging to a dam of a drummer nor the shouts of a demonstrator are acts which might physically endanger a police officer. Thus the U.S. Park Police had absolutely no right nor reason to physically harm the drummers and other demonstrators gathered that evening in the way that they did.
I hope this statement can be of some help to you. Please contact me if I can be of any Further assistance.
In hopes of a peace yet to come,
/s/ Christopher J. Mcgargee
Christopher J. Mcgargee