In what may be the first of its kind, a man was arrested for using Twitter to notify protesters of police whereabouts in a case that shockingly violates First Amendment rights.
Elliot Madison, 41, was arrested along with another man during the G-20 summit protests in Pittsburgh in late September after police tracked them down to a motel room and discovered a makeshift communication center complete with computers, police scanners, maps and telecommunications equipment – all which are legal and available to the general public.
They were charged with hindering prosecution, criminal use of a communication facility and possessing criminal instruments.
Unless the New York Post is withholding some information, I don’t see how any of those charges can stick.
If the cops are making their whereabouts known on the public radio waves, it’s not exactly a secret nor could it be hindering prosecution if someone shares that information. It would be free speech.
The Sept. 24th arrest led to a questionable FBI raid on his Queens home last Thursday where they ransacked his home for 16 hours with helicopters flying overhead. The feds ended up seizing a pound of liquid mercury, dozens of gas masks, backpacks containing hammers, “books about poisons” and a microscope.
Madison, a self-described anarchist, also had some of his “political writings” seized.
The feds also found metal triangles that are used to puncture tires and two boxes of ammunition. Goldsmith said agents left a collection of machetes, samurai swords and daggers at the house, because they didn’t fall within the scope of the search warrants.
Madison and his wife have a long history of working for the People’s Law Collective, a group described as providing legal representation for protesters. His lawyer argued that the search was illegal and asked the judge to order the return of the property.
The judge issued a temporary order of protection stopping the feds from going through the material.