WASHINGTON (AP) — Newly produced photographs show that protests about a decade ago were recorded on video, contradicting earlier claims that no footage existed of the demonstrations where hundreds of people were arrested, lawyers said in court filings.
The pictures were taken inside the police command center during a September 2002 weekend of protests of the World Bank-International Monetary Fund meeting. Some 400 protesters were corralled at a city park and arrested.
It’s not clear exactly what the photographs show.
Lawyers for four remaining plaintiffs hope to prove the photographs, which were taken by a contractor for the D.C. government and produced last month, can bolster their argument that police and government officials have a pattern of making dishonest and contradictory statements about evidence in the case.
“These are obviously very disturbing allegations that we felt the court should be informed of in this filing,” said Jonathan Turley, a George Washington University law professor and one of the lawyers for the group. “The District has thus far not corrected the record on the recording of videotapes, and we felt the court had to be informed of the new evidence contradicting prior statements made by the District.”
Most of those arrested have settled with the city. Four plaintiffs — four former George Washington University students who attended the protests either as legal observers or as journalists for the student newspaper — are seeking policy changes in how police handle mass protests.
D.C. police spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump referred comments to the attorney general’s office. A spokesman had no immediate comment.
D.C. officials have denied that any recordings of the protests were made, except for limited footage taken by the electronic surveillance unit that plaintiffs’ lawyers say is problematic because of time jumps, gaps and other anomalies.
Multiple witnesses have testified the city recorded video footage from manned observation posts, fixed cameras and from helicopters. Photographs turned over by the contractor show the letters “REC” — for “record” — on video frames being reviewed by police officials inside the command center, lawyers for the plaintiffs wrote.
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