USDC Cr. No. 84-3552
THOMAS v. REAGAN
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
WILLIAM THOMAS, et al
Plaintiff Pro Se
versus CA 84-3552
Judge Louis Oberdorfer
UNITED STATES, et al Magistrate Arthur Burnett
DEPOSITION OF PATRICIA BANGERT
August 22, 1986
The above-entitled matter came on for DEPOSITION OF PATRICIA
BANGERT ("B") before ARTHUR L. BURNETT, United States Magistrate
for the District of Columbia ("THE COURT"), on August 22, 1986.
On behalf of Federal Defendants:
Michael Martinez ("M")
Assistant U.S. Attorney
Richard Robbins, DOI Assistant Solicitor
On behalf of Plaintiffs:
William Thomas, acting Pro Se ("T")
Ellen B. Thomas representing Peace Park Antinuclear Vigil ("MRS. T")
C O N T E N T S
Deposition of: Patricia Bangert ("B")
Transcript by Ellen B. Thomas
P R O C E E D I N G S
THE CLERK: Please raise your hand. Do you solemnly swear
that the testimony you're about to give will be the truth, the
whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Bangert: I do.
THE COURT: Please lean forward into the microphone so Mrs.
Thomas won't have any trouble with her recording.
Bangert: Yes, your Honor.
Thomas: Good morning, Ms. Bangert.
Bangert: Good morning to you, too, Mr. Thomas.
Thomas: Could you tell us your full name, please.
Bangert: Patricia Sue Bangert.
Thomas: Could you tell us where you're employed.
Bangert: I'm an attorney with the Solicitor's office, Department
of the Interior.
Thomas: And what your position is? Well I -- and what are your
responsibilities in that position?
Bangert: Well, specifically I'm with the branch of the National
Capital Parks, and in that capacity I give advice to the National
Region of the National Park Service on a wide variety of
Thomas: How long have you been in that position?
Bangert: I've been with the Branch of the National Capital Parks
for four years, since March of l982.
Thomas: Do you give advice to the Park Police?
Bangert: Yes, I do.
Thomas: What sort of advice do you give?
Bangert: I give them advice on enforcing the laws, I give them
advice on personnel matters, I give them advice on park
regulations, a wide range of advice.
Thomas: Do you know me?
Bangert: Yes, I do.
Thomas: How long have you --
THE COURT: Okay, Mr. Thomas, you can raise the mike a little
bit, you're going to need to amplify your voice a little too to
make sure that you are being recorded so that when the answer comes
in you can know what the answer to the question is that you asked.
Bangert: I don't remember when I, the first time I specifically
met you, but I assume that I've known of your existence since the
camping regulations were promulgated, so it would have been
somewhere around June of '82.
Thomas: Then that's, that was shortly after you came to work in
your present position?
Thomas: Do you recall how many times you may have had occasion to
give the Park Police information or advice at incidents where I was
Thomas: Do you recall whether you had occasion to give the Park
Police any information with respect to an arrest in March, on March
Bangert: First of all, I wouldn't give Park Police information, I
give them advice, and as to March 13 specificially, no.
Thomas: Do you recall whether you gave them any advice on March
13 with respect to a small object on wheels as to whether or not it
was a violation of the structures regulation?
Bangert: I remember such an object, a small object, a box-type
thing on wheels with a hinged top, either being on the sidewalk, or
I saw pictures of it on the sidewalk. But I don't remember whether
the park police ever specifically asked me for advice with regard
to that box.
Thomas: Do you think that the --
THE COURT: (unclear) I assume that if they didn't ask you
for advice, you don't recall giving them any advice, was the
Bangert: I don't recall specifically giving advice on that
particular structure --
THE COURT: All right.
Bangert: -- although I might have.
Thomas: Some of the -- Is some of the advice that you're called
on to give to the Park Police related to whether or not a
particular activity might involve First Amendment consideration?
Bangert: Not so much whether or not there were First Amendment
considerations, because the police in general can tell if something
is a First Amendment activity, but if a particular activity would
be in violation of the law.
Thomas: Well, I was speaking specifically to Memorandum 14 --
Bangert: I'm sorry --
Thomas: December 6, 1982.
Bangert: -- you'll have to tell me the subject of the memo.
THE COURT: Do you have a copy of the memorandum to show her?
Thomas: Well, it was put into evidence in deposition of Sergeant
Bradley, I didn't bring an extra copy with me today. There's also
a copy in the record.
THE COURT: All right, well, can you ask your question a
little more precisely?
Thomas: Well, I, I can remember the specific wording, I think, in
the regulation, in the memorandum--
THE COURT: Let's see if my question is a little more -- in
advising Park Police officers regarding violations of -- is it the
camping regulations you're referring to, or the demonstration
Thomas: What the memorandum said was "when an activity might
involve First Amendment expressive activity, the Solicitor's office
should be contacted before making any arrests."
THE COURT: Arrests for what type of viol-- regulation, that's
what I want to know.
Thomas: It didn't specify, it just specified "any activity."
THE COURT: Do you remember any such memorandum or instruction
which instructs Park Police officers to contact the Solicitor's
Office when they question whether a regulation is being violated
and whether a person is lawfully exercising his First Amendment
Bangert: I know that the officers have been told on several
occasions to give us a call if there is a violation of the camping
regulations and I think they were told to give us a call if there
were violations of the demonstration regulations that were in
litigation and that could be enforced one day, and couldn't be
enforced another day. I don't remember ever seeing anything that
told officers to call us before they make an arrest, period. That
would be ridiculous.
THE COURT: Let me ask you this. The instruction was in
connection with cases that were in litigation, is that your
Bangert: I would think so, your Honor, yes. For camping
regulations. They were told, especially for close cases, we're
available on a 24-hour basis, and to give us a call in close cases.
THE COURT: And in those close cases, were they to give you a
call because there was a question about whether that was a valid
exercise of their First Amendment rights, or was there some other
Bangert: Uh -- What we try to do in connection with giving advice
to the Park Police is to assure that First Amendment rights are
assured, and we asked them to give us a call in those close cases
so we can come down and primarily determine if there is a violation
-- first of all, to determine for a case in litigation, whether
there's an injunction against the enforcement of the specific
regulation, secondly whether there is a violation of the law, and
third, just a general oversight to make sure or assure that First
Amendment rights are taken into consideration.
THE COURT: You use the words "come down." Does that mean,
just to clear up the record, does that mean that somehow you
actually go to the scene yourself to look at the situation?
Bangert: Yes, your Honor. On occasion.
THE COURT: All right. Go ahead, Mr. Thomas.
Thomas: You said that your intent was to assure that First
Amendment rights were assured?
Thomas: So, is it safe to assume that you also like to help
facilitate their First Amendment rights, for example if someone is
engaged or trying to engage in expressive activity and you're
called down to the scene and the officer says "Well, I think
they're camping" and you'd say "Well, let me talk to them and see
if I can't straighten it out"?
Bangert: Going back to the first question, I do not consider it my
job to facilitate anyone's exercise of First Amendment rights.
Neither do I think the government has an obligation to facilitate
the exercise of First Amendment rights. The government has an
obligation to assure that First Amendment rights are not abused or
Thomas: Well, I'm not speaking to facilitate First Amendment
rights, I'm speaking to clarify what was within the law or without
the law. If you've been called down to give advice to a police
officer, then I'm assuming that that advice that you're giving is
to clarify for the officer what is within the law and what is
without the law. Is that correct?
Thomas: Then, does that responsibility in your mind in fact extend
to also clarifying for the person on the other side of the law, the
person the police officer has called you about?
Bangert: To the extent that that is possible I would personally
attempt to clarify to the person if there appears to be any
question of what the law is, sure -- to the extent it's possible,
to the extent that the person has not been warned many times before
and knows perfectly well what the illegal conduct is.
Thomas: Well, let's assume the person has been warned, but let's assume
that the person is, well, let me be more specific. On June 4,
1982, on June -- do you recall writing a letter or being involved
with a letter that was written for, well, let me show -- this is
Fish Exhibit No. 12.
THE COURT: Show it to Mr. Martinez before you give it to Ms.
Bangert. Fish deposition Exhibit No. 12.
Thomas: Did you assist in the preparation of that letter?
Bangert: To the best of my recollection, I did.
Thomas: Now, were you on the scene during the enforcement of that
regulation on June 17, 1982?
Bangert: As to that specific date I don't recall, I don't recall.
Thomas: Do you recall how many people in the Solicitor's Office
at that time, June 17, 1982, may have been called by the Park
Police to participate in the enforcement action.
Bangert: Mr. Thomas, I don't remember a spec-- I remember that
there have been enforcement actions under the camping regulations.
I don't remember specific dates on which they occurred, so if
you're going to ask me about a specific date, anything about a
specific date, I just can't recall.
Thomas: Well, I can understand that, I have trouble remembering
THE COURT: Why don't you make, why don't you make the
question broader. Does she recall in June of '82 being on the
scene when any arrest was made or the regulation -- people don't
necessarily unless they walk around with their diary, necessarily
recall precise dates --
Thomas: I understand that.
THE COURT: If you want to broaden your question as to whether
or not she had any recollection at all of June of, or something,
that's the proper way to proceed, in case she can't recall the
Thomas: I can never remember dates myself, so -- Do you recall
any time during, in June?
Bangert: I recall --
Bangert: -- a time shortly after the revised regulation was
promulgated when you were arrested (unclear).
Thomas: And you were on the scene at that time?
Bangert: Yes, sir.
Thomas: That was after people had been given this warning letter?
Bangert: I don't recall specifically who was given copies of the
warning letter, but yes, that would have been after the date of
this warning letter, June 4, 1982.
Thomas: You were here yesterday for Mr. Fish's deposition --
Thomas: Do you recall when Mr. Fish said that this letter was
directed to a group of people who were using temporary structures
on the Ellipse?
Bangert: Yes, I recall that testimony.
Thomas: Do you recall being on the scene of that situation on the
Ellipse for temporary structure?
Bangert: Yes, I do.
Thomas: Were you there with the police?
Bangert: If I remember correctly, I was on the Ellipse with Sandra
Alley, the Public Affairs person for the Capital Region, and the
Park Police officer's name I don't remember.
Thomas: Do you recall being there during the nighttime on the
Ellipse during June of 1982 on the Ellipse?
Bangert: I don't recall being there after dark, I recall that it
was light when I was there, so to that extent, I was there.
Thomas: Did you prepare this letter?
Bangert: To the best of my recollection, I at least had a hand in
preparing it with Mr. Robbins, but I can't say that I prepared it,
I just don't remember.
Thomas: Do you know Dianne Kelly?
Bangert: Yes I do.
Thomas: Could she have been involved in the preparation of this
Bangert: I don't think so. I think she was gone from the office
Thomas: So is there anyone else who might, if she was out of the
office by then is there anyone outside of you and Mr. Robbins who
may have prepared the letter?
Bangert: There may have been somebody from Region -- Sandy
Alley,for example, may have helped prepare it, but the most I
remember is that I did have a hand in it. Mr. Robbins had a hand
in it. Whether Sandra Alley did or not I don't know.
Thomas: Sandra Alley. Is Sandy Alley ever involved in giving
advice to the Park Police on the enforcement of regulations?
Bangert: No. Sandra Alley is the Public Affairs and permit person.
To the extent that she is in charge of the permit system or the
application system she gets involved in these types of things, but
she does not advise the Park Police as to the enforcement of
Thomas: So she wouldn't accompany the Park Police in the
enforcement of regulations.
Bangert: To the extent that, for example, they're making a mass
arrest and we know about it ahead of time because the organizers
have said there's going to be a mass arrest, Sandra Alley may be
there in her capacity as a Public Affairs official or her capacity
as the overseer of the permit system, so she may be on the site of
Thomas: So you know of arrests in advance, sometimes people tell
you they're going to do something and so you know you're going to
have to arrest somebody?
Bangert: Oh, sure, sure. A lot of times, well, sometimes yes,
people will say, we plan mass arrest, we plan to have it, we plan
to do it at this time, and yes, we know about the plans ahead of
Thomas: Are there other occasions that you may know about an
Bangert: Um -- there are occasions when someome has been engaged
in conduct that violates regulations and have been warned on a
number of occasions and they're alerted to that by Park Police, and
we'll advise the Park Police as to the best way to make the arrest,
that is, how to build the best case, and they would go there, and
if the person is still engaged in conduct, in illegal conduct that
they've been warned about many times before, we'll make an arrest,
and in that sense we know that it's going to happen ahead of time.
Thomas: You came to work in this position in 1982. Do you recall
the first time that you became involved in such a situation?
Bangert: What situation?
Thomas: That type of hypothetical situation that you just
described, wherein individuals engaged in certain conduct for long
Bangert: I guess it would be, to the best of my recollection, the
Ellipse situation, that is, there, there had been a number of
tents, well there was an actual encampment down on the Ellipse with
tents, and they laid floors down, and they were actually living
down there, and when the revised camping regulations went into
effect, we did that sort of thing. In the morning we went down and
tacked, no one was around so we tacked it on the trees and put it
on the tents to, to warn the people, and then I think the next day
we came back and found the warnings to be gone, and wrote another
little warning that said "Please get the stuff out of here or we're
going to have to take it," tacked that on the tents, and then later
on the material was cleared.
Thomas: Was that a situation where arrests took place?
Bangert: I, I don't remember, I don't think I was there at the
culmination, I don't remember.
Thomas: So then it wasn't a case where you helped them to, it
wasn't an instance where you helped the Park Police to build a
case, you were just involved in the warnings.
Bangert: No. To, to the extent that we advised them to give the
warning, to let the people know what the regulations were
beforehand, we helped them to build a case.
THE COURT: Provided a case actually later resulted -- She
testified to that, she didn't know whether people were arrested or
not, that's why she couldn't say that.
Bangert: That's right, your Honor.
THE COURT: Certainly that would be the evidence of their
being warned and given knowledge of what the regulations were.
Thomas: To the best of your knowledge, was I involved in that
situation down on the Ellipse?
Bangert: No, I don't remember you being involved, no.
Thomas: I'm sorry, I don't recall...
THE COURT: Are you saying you know she didn't recall you
Thomas: No, that I recall. I just don't recall whether you said
you were aware, or whether I even asked whether you were aware of
my arrest in June of 1982.
Bangert: I'm aware that you were arrested for camping after the
revised camping regulations went into effect, but whether that was
June or July, I couldn't tell you for sure. But I am aware that
you were arrested.
Thomas: Were you on the scene of that arrest?
Bangert: I was on the scene when you were arrested on several
occasions, and I think one of them was shortly after the camping
regulations went into effect.
Thomas: Were you asked any advice--
THE COURT: By the Park Police?
Thomas: -- By the Park Police as to whether or not you thought
the activity in which I was engaged at that time, at the time of
that arrest, was a violation of the camping regulation?
Bangert: I don't recall whether I was asked any specific advice.
At that point I was relatively new on the job and I doubt if I was
asked then for advice.
Thomas: Did you think personally, did you make any observations
Bangert: As to?
Thomas: As to, as to the activity I was engaged in.
Bangert: No, not any particular, particular observations.
Thomas: Any observations?
Bangert: I saw people on the sidewalk engaged in what looked like
Thomas: And what made it look like camping?
Bangert: If I remember correctly, and again these type of situa-
tions tend to merge after a while, if I remember correctly there
were people on the sidewalk that were sleeping in sleeping bags, in
fact they had sleeping bags pulled all the way over them, over
their heads, some of them, personal belongings all around, some of
that containing like water jugs, foodstuff, and prior to that I
read reports that indicated that they were in that state day after
day, in effect using the area for living accommodation.
THE COURT: Just for the record, Mr. Thomas asked about seeing
him, you're talking about generally, was he one of those people?
Bangert: I know that he was arrested, your Honor, and I--
THE COURT: Do you distinctly recall today whether he was one
of the persons?
Bangert: No, your Honor, I don't.
THE COURT: All right.
Bangert: I mean, you have to understand that I dealt with the
criminal cases and I dealt with this case and I've gone back and
read his accounts, and I don't actually remember.
THE COURT: All right, that's why we need to effect a clear
record, the Court doesn't expect you to have an encyclopedic
computer, and they could very well have merged, and that's why we
try to get a clear answer, and that's why I asked you today if you
remember whether he was one of the persons.
Bangert: No, your Honor.
THE COURT: All right, go ahead.
Case Listing --- Proposition One ---- Peace Park