Charge Was Not Accidental

RECEIVED Fri., Feb. 6, 2004

Jordan [Smith],
   Thanks for the coverage of the case with APD and the "DC Five" ["Democracy Five Appeal Case," News, Feb. 6] – there are a lot of fine details to this case which would take a great deal of your time to review, but I wanted to point out one fact I consider important in relation to your statement:
   "An APD horse either charged or was spooked and bolted into the demonstrators."
   Part of the evidence of the case is that the mounted police were ordered by APD to charge the protesters. It came across the APD radio, heard in the video that is in evidence. I feel this is an important fact as it paints an entirely different story than an "accidental" charging or a lone officer deciding to charge on his own accord. I do contend there could have been a premature charging (hence not all the horses going in) and that officers were still deciding whether to comply (you may have heard their testimony in the first case that they didn't want to hurt anyone/comply with the order) when one got spooked or one officer complied while others didn't – but the fact remains that the order was given ... and that is part of the APD policy in question here.
   This fact is very much tied to why the jury didn't find for the plaintiffs previously; what jury would convict an officer who is merely carrying out his orders? That is precisely why we want APD/the city held accountable for its policies and why we are appealing: so this won't happen again.
   We feel very strongly that the outcome of this case will greatly affect the public at large, and thank you for recognizing that and for keeping up with it.
PLUR, Debbie Russell
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