Just received this notice:
Â From: Cfjmessage@aol.com
Subject: Two CFJ Members Endure False Arrest in San Miguel County
Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2007 15:35:14 EST
Last Thursday, two of our members – Lee Kittell and Dale Harapat – both fathers who have been unreasonably denied access to their children by the courts, were arrested along with a third person on a public sidewalk in front of District Attorney Richard Flores and Sheriff Chris Majar’s office in Las Vegas, NM (San Miguel County).
They were simply holding up posters regarding wrongdoings of Richard Flores and walking along the sidewalk. Two of the men have heart conditions and Lee was on crutches because of an injured ankle. Upon arrival at the detention center, both Lee and the third gentleman were checked by the prison nurse and an ambulance was called. The stress of the incident caused chest pains for both men.
Dale was booked into prison, and prison officials claimed they did so because “his friends said that he wanted to make a statement”. (They did not say that.) Dale was not released until Friday afternoon. We need to back up these men who are taking time away from their lives to make it known that this system is corrupt and that it is hurting children and parents.Â
Â WHAT YOU CAN DO: Â
It’s simple. Make four phone calls to the following people and voice your protest about this unlawful arrest and detainment.Â
Â San Miguel Co. District Atty Richard Flores (505) 425-6746
San Miguel Co. Sheriff Chris Majar (505) 425-7589
Las Vegas, NM Mayor Henry Sanchez (505) 425-7335 (let him know that you will avoid Las Vegas and tell all your friends to do so since you could so easily be unlawfully detained there) Governor Richardson (505) 476-2200 Read more below. Â
We may be protesting your situation the next time, and it is imperative that we fight to hang on to the right to free assembly and free speech. It’s about all we have at our disposal right now to inform the public about government official wrongdoing in our state.
Please forward this email to your friends, family, and acquaintances and ask them to do the same. This Saturday’s TV show will be Dale’s account regarding his false arrest and false imprisonment.
Over the next week or two you will see information on our website as well.
While the men were protesting on Thursday, someone came out of the DA/Sheriff’s building with a camera and stood on the sidewalk blocking their way. Then the undersheriff Benjamin Vigil came out and told them that they would have to leave. Dale and Lee politely responded that is was a public sidewalk and that they had a right under the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution to peacefully demonstrate there. (They are absolutely correct.)
None of the men badgered anyone, except that the third man disagreed with the camera person who blocked their way. There was no physical attack or threat. The men were fully clothed. There were no obscenities on their posters. They were not yelling or bothering passersby in any way.
They were charged with three crimes: NMSA 30-8-1: Public nuisance. A public nuisance consists of knowingly creating, performing or maintaining anything affecting any number of citizens without lawful authority which is either: A. Â injurious to public health, safety, morals or welfare; or B. Â interferes with the exercise and enjoyment of public rights, including the right to use public property. Whoever commits disorderly conduct is guilty of a petty misdemeanor. [They were charged with part A, but the camera guy was ACTUALLY committing part B when he blocked their way.] NMSA 30-20-1:
Â Disorderly conduct consists of: A. Â engaging in violent, abusive, indecent, profane, boisterous, unreasonably loud or otherwise disorderly conduct which tends to disturb the peace; or B. Â maliciously disturbing, threatening or, in an insolent manner, intentionally touching any house occupied by any person. Whoever commits disorderly conduct is guilty of a petty misdemeanor. [They were charged with part A above.] NMSA 30-20-3:
Unlawful assembly consists of three or more persons assembling together with intent to do any unlawful act with force or violence against the person or property of another, and who shall make any overt act to carry out such unlawful purpose. Whoever commits unlawful assembly is guilty of a petty misdemeanor.Â Â
All three men must show up this month to respond to a summons. No date or time is given for their appearance. They are ordered not to have any contact with each other in the meantime (another very clear violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution). At first, they were told to show up Monday, which was President’s Day. When Lee called to clarify, they said any time over the next month would do.
Â This whole thing smacks of cronyism, false arrest, and fascism. We will keep you informed regarding this situation, but in the meantime, please forward this email to your friends and acquaintances. We need a lot of calls to force our government officials (remember that as a New Mexican these guys work for YOU) to uphold the U.S. Constitution and remove these bogus charges from Lee, Dale, and the other guy’s records.
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