Thursday, May 11, 2006
In Cleveland Heights, Ohio, Carol Fisher has been charged with a major felony for putting posters on public lamp-posts. Fisher was hanging "World Can't Wait, Bush Step Down" posters on Lee Road telephone poles January 28 when some cops pointed out to her that the city has a law against that. They asked for an ID. She didn't have one with her. Fisher turned and walked toward the poster, in compliance with the officer’s warning. But instead of allowing her to take it down or just issuing a citation, the cops attacked and according to testimony one was “grinding his
knee into [Fisher’s] back and [her] face into the sidewalk.”
The following is from The World Can’t Wait.
Judge Orders World Can't Wait Activist to Jail Psych Unit
Judge Timothy McGinty forcibly incarcerated Carol Fisher in the psych unit of the Cuyahoga County Jail in downtown Cleveland, where she now sits for an indefinite period of time.
In a hastily called hearing yesterday, Judge McGinty made a highly unusual and outrageous decision to force Carol to undergo a state psychological exam as part of her pre-sentencing investigation. From the very start of Carol's case, the judge has openly said that she must have mental problems for resisting an unlawful and brutal encounter with Cleveland Heights police. He went even further in yesterday's hearing, saying that her opposition to the Bush regime makes her "delusional."
The small courtroom on the 21st floor of the Justice Center was ringed with 5 armed court bailiffs. McGinty started off the hearing by making Carol stand up and had one of her attorneys read her t-shirt, which said:
"Wanted for Illegally Crossing Borders: The Bush Regime
"If you are going to insist that crossing borders illegally is a crime which cannot be tolerated, how about George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice (and yes, Colin Powell) and the rest of that gang, with their highly illegal, and violent, 'crossing of the border'-into Iraq, among other places?!"
McGinty then said this was proof of her delusion! He also kept saying Carol "wants" to go to jail, and that she has a "martyr complex." When Carol tried to explain why she wouldn't take this test, the judge's only response was, "I do not negotiate with felons."
Does Carol really want to go to jail? No! But she is not willing to comply with a vindictive court ordered test to "prove" her sanity. And more than that, she is taking a stand for everyone who is angry and fearful of a government that, under the rubric of "national security and the war on terror," willfully and unapologetically tramples on the most basic rights of privacy. Think about this in light of the NSA spying scandal, and now Bush wants to install the head of the notorious NSA to be CIA chief! As Carol said before she went to jail, "I'd be crazy to go along with this shit! That which you will not resist and mobilize to stop, you will learn--or be forced--to accept."
Just look at this whole case: a woman posts a "Bush Step Down" poster on a telephone pole, being brutalized by the police in the process, and now not only faces 3 years in prison but also a mandatory psych exam. As Terry Gilbert, one of Carol's attorneys said, "This is Gulag stuff--saying that people who are dissidents are crazy." He further added that in his 33 years of practicing law, he has never seen anything like this.
Is this the kind of country you want to live in?
On the phone this morning, Carol Fisher stated that, in addition to sending her to the psych unit, McGinty has also put her on "suicide watch"! They have taken away her eyeglasses. And if she refuses the psych exam, she will be forcibly sent to North Coast Mental Institute for a 20 day evaluation.
Legal challenges are continuing, including seeking a writ of habeas corpus.
When the transcripts are available to the public, they will show how outrageous this hearing was.
*Donate to Carol's legal defense. It costs a lot of money to get transcripts, file appeals, etc. Make checks payable to “Carol Fisher Defense Fund” and mail to “NION/WCW PO Box 609034 Cleveland, OH 44109.