A New York City judge will consider a wide-ranging inquiry into the city’s prolonged detention of hundreds of people arrested on minor charges during last summer’s Republican National Convention, reports the New York Times. Judge John Cataldo of State Supreme Court will hear arguments tomorrow on issuing subpoenas to force testimony from city and state officials on police detention tactics. Cataldo responded to a request from lawyers who said they were acting on behalf of hundreds of people arrested and held at a former bus depot, in some cases for two days or longer, even after the judge had ordered their release.
The police arrested 1,806 people during the convention; as of Tuesday, 77 percent of the cases had been dismissed or adjourned in contemplation of dismissal, and 8 percent had pleaded guilty or been convicted. About 1,100 of those arrests were made in a six-hour period two nights before the end of the convention. The city said the Police Department was overwhelmed; the prisoners said the police were using the pier to detain them until after President Bush spoke on the last night of the convention. Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly has called that a “patent lie” and said police had made it possible for hundreds of thousands of people to protest without incident.