Peace Activist to Sue Police
Thursday 17th August 2006
Peace Activist to
"Peace activist to sue police after charges dismissed in court" A Wellington peace activist, cleared of all charges in the district court last week, plans to sue police after being violently arrested. John Jeffrey, a self-professed computer geek, was charged with wilful damage and resisting arrest after resulting a peaceful protest at the US embassy on March 18th this year.
He was part of a group, "Geeks for Peace", protesting outside the US Embassy on March 18th, the anniversary of the Invasion of Iraq. Three other protesters also arrested, have had all their charges dropped by police. Mr Jeffrey suffered concussion and a fractured rib, and was off work for two weeks as a result of injuries sustained during his arrest. Photos taken by witnesses to the arrest appear to show Mr Jeffrey being thrown to the ground by police after taking part in a non confrontational protest.
Mr Jeffrey says the force used by police was totally out of proportion and unnecessary and therefore he is taking legal action against them. "The judge found that the police had used excessive force, which I certainly experienced", he said.
"The Judge accepted that I was a non-violent protestor so I feel vindicated by the verdict" said Mr Jeffrey. "I cannot understand the level of force that the police displayed at an otherwise peaceful demonstration, it’s an outrage. Luckily the judge agreed with me".
Geeks for Peace represents all peace minded technical people who have an interest in non-violent solutions to conflict situations. "I really believe that Geeks, so-called intellectuals, have constantly contributed to peaceful solutions. Possibly the archetypal geek was Albert Einstein and he was very much a peace activist, without having to wave banners. We just wave ideas" said Mr Jeffrey.
Geeks for Peace plans further peaceful protests, "All geeks are welcome "said Mr Jeffrey "you know who you are, its time to come out of the bedroom" he added.