Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Response Statement: Police Raid of the SWAMP Collective

Feb. 19, 2011 Anarchist News

In the recent five months, tensions between the Fort Lauderdale Police
Department and Food Not Bombs activists have escalated. Within this time,
The FLPD has not only prevented multiple groups from sharing in Stranahan
Park, but has installed a police surveillance tower in the park amidst
repeated verbal assault against Food Not Bombs activists.

On Thursday, February 17th, an FPL electricity inspection led to the power
being turned off at the home of activists frequently the target of police
harassment. The electricity bill had been paid prior to this. Several
hours later, all tenants had left the house while a few guests remained.
During this time, an unwarranted police raid took place under the premise
of 'uninhabitable' living conditions. The house was deemed 'uninhabitable'
due to the lack of electricity, which had been turned off that morning.
House guests were pulled from the house and searched by over a dozen
officers, who kicked in unlocked doors and, with a K-9 unit, searched the
house with no specific intent. One female guest was frisked and
inappropriately touched by a male officer. More troubling still, officers
were questioning the political orientation of the house guests. They asked
if the house was a 'militant training camp', and whether or not the guests
were "terrorists" or affiliated with "black bloc". Before the FLPD left
the house, they threatened to repeat raids weekly.
[Stop. Lawyer time.]

The Food Not Bombs activists in Fort Lauderdale are not involved in any of
the activities suggested by the police. Rather, activities organized out
of the house include free bike repair, FNB gatherings and sharing of food
with the homeless, animal rights activities, candle making workshops,
foreclosure & civil rights activism, etc. We, Fort Lauderdale Food Not
Bombs, strongly condemn the intimidation tactics which include the police
surveillance tower in Stranahan Park, unwarranted police raids, and the
criminalization of community activism. Broward County officials have
already targeted the poor and disenfranchised. Now the range has been
expanded to include those who dare to help them. We call on South Florida
activists to stand with us in solidarity as we struggle against the city's
efforts to repress the homeless and community-based activism.

In solidarity,
Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs

For more information, send an email to WDirect08@aol.com or

UPDATE: Fort Lauderdale Police returned to the activists home on Saturday,
February 19th at around 9:00PM. The two officers did not attempt a repeat
of Thursday's raid, but rather briefly insulted and intimidated one of the
tenants and their guests. The police entered the house, with permission
from the tenant but then left shortly afterward.

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