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Full-text: August 28 2003
Protest zones: “No War for Oil” (October 24 2002)

United States District Court for the District of South Carolina Columbia Division

Filed, AUG 28 2003, Larry W. Propes, Clerk, Columbia S.C.


Criminal No. 3:03-0309

Defendant’s Exhibit 4, CR 3:03-309 PTC
United States of America)
Brett Bursey)

Affidavit of Eric Sirotkin

I Eric Sirotkin, hereby swear upon oath as follows:

1.  I am an attorney in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

2.  I have been practicing law for over 22 years and have taught law at the University of New Mexico School of Law.

3.  In April 2002 I was serving as a Legal Observer at a Demonstration that was taking place on a street across from the Holiday Inn Pyramid in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

4.  At the time I was wearing a suit and had a badge indicating that I was a legal observer.

5.  At first the group off {sic: of} demonstrators, perhaps 50 people, were gathered along the sidewalks across from the hotel parking lot. I spoke to an officer who informed me that they had “an area all arranged for you all.” I asked what he meant and the officer replied that demonstrators were supposed to be kept in this small roped off area across the street. I looked at the area and noticed that it was being {sic: behind?} a solid fence and totally out of sight from the door of the hotel or from those attending the fund raising dinner inside.

6.  I informed the officer that the group did not accept that you could rope off free speech and that they weren’t going to use the free speech zone, but would walk peacefully across the street on the public sidewalks.

7.  At the time the street in front of the hotel was totally closed to traffic and at no time did the motorcade pass down the street.

8.  As the group proceeded to walk on the public sidewalk toward the end of the block a Captain Gonzales of the Albuquerque Police Department arrived on {p.2} the scene and informed us that the group would have to move west back toward the roped off “demonstration area.” I told him that they could not rope off free speech and that the group wanted to stay on the sidewalks. I pointed out to him that others were using the sidewalk who did not seem to oppose the President’s policies and that it was illegal to rope off dissent out of sight. Captain Gonzales said that his orders came from the Secret Service and that he could not have any demonstrators anywhere but in the roped off area.

9.  As the group walked west along the sidewalk the APD officers then brought in horses and riot patrolmen and the horses began herding the people down the sidewalks toward the roped off area.

10.  I was pushed myself by horses as we tried to dialogue with the officers. There were children and disabled people being pushed by the horses and when one person had his sign torn away by an officer he was arrested when he tried to reach down and pick it up.

11.  During this time there were others on the sidewalk just watching the hotel who appeared not critical of the President who were allowed to stay ont eh {sic: on the} sidewalk.

12.  As we reached a point directly across from the roped off area the horses were called back and the riot police were placed in the middle of the street.

13.  The demonstrators were told that if they stepped off the sidewalk into the closed off street they would be arrested. I tried to dialogue with Captain Gonzales, but he ignored me and shouted back “Send me a letter.”

14.  While the group was detained by the riot police, dozens of people who appeared to be heading to the President’s event were allowed to walk in the street and pass into the hotel parking lot. No officers questioned them or asked them any questions. The only difference appeared to be that they were not speaking up in opposition to the President.

15.  Several other individuals who were no part of the demonstration were allowed to go into the median and watch the hotel. People protesting the President’s policies were immediately arrested and pushed with clubs when they went over to the median. {p.3}

16.  In later discussions with Captain Gonzales after the event he indicated that his hands were tied because of the directives from the Secret Service.

Further affiant sayeth naught.

Signature: Eric Sirotkin


Eric Sirotkin

State of New Mexico)
County of Bernalillo)

Subscribed and Sworn before my {sic: me} by Eric Sirotkin, on this 26th day of August, 2003.

Signature: Jeanette ?


Notary Public

My commission expires:



Source: Photocopy of a duplicate original (the court’s file copy), scanned to pdf.

By CJHjr: Converted to text (OCR: FineReader 6.0), formatted (xhtml/css), links, text {in braces}, highlighting, boldface.

This case: United States v. Brett A. Bursey (D.S.C., No. 3:03cr309 {175kb.html}, criminal information filed March 7 2003, jury trial denied June 4 2003, bench trial Nov. 12-13 2003, bench trial Nov. 12-13 2003, verdict Jan. 6 2004: guilty, $500 fine (Bristow Marchant, U.S. Magistrate Judge), district appeal docketed Jan. 13 2004, affirmed Sept. 14 2004 (Cameron McGowan Currie, U.S. District Judge), circuit appeal docketed Oct. 7 2004, affirmed July 25 2005 {64kb.pdf, 64kb.pdf}, rehearing denied Sept. 8 2005 (4th Cir., No. 04-4832), petition for certiorari docketed Dec. 14 2005, certiorari denied Jan. 17 2006 (U.S., No. 05-767).

See alsoOther Secret Service protest zone cases” on the docket-sheet page. Brett Bursey

This document is not copyrighted and may be freely copied.

Charles Judson Harwood Jr.


Posted Dec. 13 2003. Updated June 4 2008.


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