We first told you of MAF's announcement that they would be sending a request letter for investigation to the US attorneys office, two days ago, when they issued their press release.
BY FEDERAL EXPRESS DELIVERY
Tracking No.: 7984 0570 0813
The Honorable Joseph P. Russoniello
United States Attorney, Northern District of California
11th Floor, Federal Building
450 Golden Gate Avenue, Box 36055
San Francisco, California 94102
Dear Mr. Russoniello:
This Firm represents Move America Forward, Inc. (hereinafter “MAF”), a non-profit organization committed to supporting members of the United States Armed Forces and their families.
Our client participated in what began as a peaceful demonstration in support of the United States Marine Corps Recruiting Center, located on Shattuck Avenue in the City of Berkeley, on February 12, 2008. MAF obtained a permit from the City of Berkeley prior to the demonstration. Sadly, the peaceful demonstration was disrupted with violence. During the demonstration, several incidents occurred which the Berkeley Police Department failed to respond to adequately. MAF supporters were harassed, threatened, and intimidated by opposing groups. In addition, several acts of violence were committed against MAF supporters, and the Berkeley Police Department ignored their repeated requests for assistance. The police failed to protect its citizens during what should have been a peaceful demonstration. These incidents of intimidation, violence, and government inaction were widely reported in both the Bay Area and national media.
Our client also remains concerned that recent legislative action by the Berkeley City Council, which ultimately precipitated the unfortunate events of February 12, 2008, runs afoul of federal law. As you are likely aware, the Berkeley City Council approved a resolution on January 29, 2008, that provided in pertinent part that “the Marine recruiting office is not welcome in [Berkeley], and if recruiters choose to stay, they do so as uninvited and unwelcome intruders….” The Council then resolved to “encourage all people to avoid cooperation with the Marine Corps recruiting station, and applaud residents and organizations such as Code Pink, that may volunteer to impede, passively or actively, by nonviolent means, the work of any military recruiting office located in the City of Berkeley.” The legacy of this “encouragement” was the shameful events that transpired in Berkeley on February 12, 2008.
The City of Berkeley is actively, through the legislative action by the City Council, encouraging private organizations to disrupt the lawful governmental operations of the United States in the City of Berkeley, by encouraging groups to “impede” the efforts of the United States Marine Corps to recruit qualified young people to serve in the Corps. There is little question that Berkeley, as a college town, is an appropriate place for the Marine Corps to recruit qualified, patriotic young people to serve their country as United States Marines. By encouraging disruptive behavior patently calculated to drive the Marine Corps out of the City of Berkeley, the City Council appears to be soliciting unlawful, and quite possibly criminal, interference with the lawful operations of a federal agency operating within the City of Berkeley.
We hereby request an investigation into the timely lack of response by the City of Berkeley and the Berkeley Police Department during the events of February 12, 2008. In short, the City of Berkeley failed to protect its citizens engaged in the lawful exercise of their rights under both the First Amendment and federal civil rights laws. As you know, these laws fully protect our client’s right to participate in such peaceful expression, and they have the right to be protected from such acts of violence. Further, Move America Forward requests that your office inquire into the legal propriety under applicable federal law of the efforts of the City of Berkeley to “encourage,” through legislative action, organizations actively committed to undermining the ongoing military operations of the United States both at home and abroad to impede the lawful activities of a federal agency operating within the city limits.
Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter.
SWEENEY & GREENE LLP
James F. Sweeney
As I just finished reporting about the financial costs to the city of Berkeley, I showed a quote from Morgan, where she said, "We have been fighting them all the way and this is simply the next step," she then concludes with, "Berkeley has got to realize that we’re not going away."
The Berkeley city council has publicly encouraged and incited code pink and other organizations to commit criminal acts and the US attorneys office must investigate and prosecute them to the full extent of the law.