Monday, October 8, 2012

ACLU to host post-RNC forum in Tampa

Posted By on Mon, Oct 8, 2012 at 3:38 PM

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We're not sure if anything new will be unearthed at this confab, but the American Civic Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida announced that it will hold what its calling, “The Afterparty: Reviewing Speech and Privacy After the RNC,” Tuesday night in Tampa.

The ACLU hosted several well attended forums leading up to the convention, as expectations were prominent that there would be arrests — perhaps hundreds if not thousands — as had been the case at conventions of both political parties throughout the past 12 years.

But as everyone knows, there weren't too many activists in Tampa protesting (nor in Charlotte for the DNC), making all those concerns about the "clean zone" seem rather quaint in retrospect.

The civil liberties group said some of the items on the agenda include what worked and what didn't work regarding individuals rights during the convention, and oh yeah, more talk about those surveillance cameras in downtown Tampa.

Perhaps more people will come out and express their opposition to them.

That's happened twice already in the past month at the Tampa City Council. But it's all been for naught.

That's because Mayor Bob Buckhorn has the final authority on whether the cameras will stay or go, and he and his police department say they want to keep the surveillance equipment, purchased through a federal government security grant at just less than $2 million.

Last week, several members of the Tampa City Council expressed serious concerns about the use and potential abuse of the cameras, and ultimately voted to have their attorney look into an ordinance to regulate police use of the cameras.

Among those scheduled to speak at the ACLU forum include Hillsborough County Public Defender Julianne Holt; Tampa City Attorney Jim Shimberg; Deputy Chief of Police John Bennett; James Michael Shaw Jr., Chairman of the Legal Panel for the Greater Tampa Chapter, ACLU of Florida; and Cheryl Schroeder with the West Central Florida Federation of Labor.

The event takes place at Stetson University College of Law from 6-8 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 9. The location is 1700 N. Tampa St., Tampa.

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