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Busted for Playing Banjo on Independence Mall: Park Rangers Brutally Arrest Iraq War Vet at Anti-Syria Bombing Demo


By dlindorff - Posted on 04 September 2013

By Dave Lindorff


Independence Mall, Philadelphia -- The US has yet to launched President Obama’s latest war crime of massively bombing Syria -- a country that does not threaten this nation -- and already federal police thugs, in this case National Park Service Rangers, have brutally arrested an Iraq War Veteran who was peacefully playing her banjo in the shade on Independence Mall in Philadelphia following an anti-war protest and march.


Emily Yates, an activist with the group Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), and a professional folksinger and banjo player, can be seen in this video, peacefully standing plunking her instrument when she is ordered to move by a group of Park Rangers. When she asks them why she has to move off of federal park property that is open to the public, she is not given any explanation. Then at one point, she is grabbed brutally and slammed, bent over, across the top of a park bench, with several large rangers pinning her down, and with her hands wrenched behind her back, as they try to place metal cuffs on her wrists. 


As she struggles to breath with all that pressure on her forcibly bent-over form, a senior officer can be heard telling her to “relax” and to “stop resisting,” though with four men piled on top of her, it is clear she is not resisting.


Yates was held in a federal lockup for two days before an arraignment on Monday, at which she was charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and, most seriously, “assaulting a federal officer.” The latter charge, absurd when matched up against the video of the arrest, is a felony carrying a heavy jail sentence.


One is reminded of those black jokes about police ramming arrested persons head first into the sides of patrol cars and then charging them with damaging public property, or punching handcuffed victims in the face and then charging them with banging their heads into the officer’s fist.  It is impossible to view the above video and see any evidence of “assault.”  Nor could Yates have been assaulting the larger scrum of rangers who were all over her prone body later when she can be seen being held on the ground, screaming for help, as angry spectators shouted from the sidelines for the rangers to let her go, to “stop strangling her” and to call for a medic.


Yates’ attorney, Larry Krassner, offered TCBH! a statement on the case saying: “Emily is  a six-year military veteran who served honorably for two tours in Iraq. She has PTSD. She was arrested and injured by federal officers for no good reason. The US government owes its veterans better treatment than this, even when they happen to be opposed to further war in Syria.”...


For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF in ThisCantBeHappening!, the new uncompromising three-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative newspaper, please go to: www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/1943

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