USDC Cr. No. 84-3552
THOMAS v. REAGAN
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
vs. CA No. 84-3552
Judge Louis Oberdorfer
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, et. al. Magistrate Arthur Burnett
DECLARATION OF ROBERT DORROUGH
I, Robert Dorrough,declare under penalty of perjury:
1. I started demonstrating against nuclear weapons in front
of the White House on March 5, 1983.
2. On or about March 8, 1983 I saw a Metropolitan Police
captain coming out of the Northwest gate house of the White House
who later became known to me as Captain Canfield. He introduced
himself to William Thomas and told him that anyone found sleeping
that night on Corporation Council property in front of the Old
Executive Office Building (OEOB) would be arrested for vagrancy.
3. On March 11, 1983 Concepcion Picciotto, William Thomas and
I moved the signs from the OEOB to their usual daily place in front
of the White House in the approximate center of the fence.
4. Thomas and I then left to go use the facilities at McDonald's.
5. Returning to the signs I saw a large contingent of police
from the Park Police, the Metropolitian Police and the uniformed
Secret Service, watching as Concepcion moved the signs from the
White House sidewalk across Jackson Place to the sidewalk in front
of the OEOB.
6. At that time I again saw Captain Canfield and I first
became acquainted with Lt. Christopher Merillat of the U.S. Park
Police, and Richard Robbins and Patricia Bangert of the National
Capital Region Park Service Solicitor's office of the Department of
7. Then Thomas returned and questioned the reasons for the
signs being moved. Lt. Merillat said that they were structures and
if we tried to replace them on the White House side of Jackson
Place we would be arrested for illegal structures.
8. Richard Robbins and Patricia Bangert reiterated Lt.
Merillat's comments about structures. When asked if we could take
the other 4 x 8 signs back on the sidewalk the Solicitor's Office
representatives added that only "hand-held" signs were now allowed
on the sidewalk. Mr. Robbins motioned with his hands an
approximate size which looked to me to be about 2'x2'.
9. Several times I requested information about who had ordered
the removal of the signs. I was told by the attorneys: "We don't
have to tell you that, we don't have to tell you anything."
10. Later Captain Canfield told us that if we did not
remove the signs from Corporation Council property we would be
arrested for unlawful living abodes. Then one of the signs burst
11. Concepcion tried to comply and move the signs but the
Park Police wrested them away from her and loaded them onto a large
waiting Park Service stake body truck. Concepcion then left the
scene pushing a small cart of literature.
12. On March 13, Thomas and I were arrested for possessing
that same small cart of literature under the 'illegal structures'
regulation. Charges against us were dropped.
13. Throughout the remainder of March and on into April 1
continued my vigil communicating with passersby and displaying two
14. On April 27th I was arrested under a regulation that had
just been published in the Federal Register on April 22nd, my signs
were not in compliance with this new regulation thus I was arrested
for 'illegal signs.' This arrest resulted in irreparable damage to
my psyche because I haven't believed in freedom in America ever
15. These regulations were later scrapped and charges
against me were dropped.
16. On or about July 19, 1983 I helped remove the signs that
were on the White House sidewalk upon the insistence of Ms. Bangert
and Lt. Merillat and a number of other USPP officers. We took them
across the street to Lafayette Park facing the White House. This
move directly affected my communication in that it took me out of
the view of most of the visitors by reducing my visual exposure.
17. On May 9, 1984, I was attempting to maintain a round
-the-clock vigil in Lafayette Park. In the early morning hours,
totally fatigued, I lay down in a sleeping bag for some casual
sleep. But not for long.
18. The Park was raided by the Park Police SETT team,
dressed in camouflage uniforms, under the command of Deputy Chief
Lindsey, who was there along with Richard Robbins from the
Solicitor's office. Additionally the Park Police Identification
Unit was there. Unfortunately for them and for me I was the only
person in the area of the Thomas vigil that was asleep at the time.
19. Officers Haynes and Roofener led the charge. They came
running up to where I was lying down, Roofener pointed me out to an
Officer from the I.D. unit, who snapped a picture of me on top of
my sign with a sleeping bag pulled over my head. This arrest
caused me both physical and emotional distress.
20. On June 6, 1984 I was again attempting to maintain the
vigil in Lafayette Park.
21. At about 6 a.m. two USPP officers, Haynes and Simons,
approached Concepcion Picciotto, William and Ellen Thomas, David
Manning, Wayne Thomas, Anthony Nelson, and myself.
22. I had been lying down behind one of the signs. As soon as
I saw the officers I got up and went over to where my friends and
the officers were.
23. Before Off. Haynes could say anything to them Thomas and
Ellen popped up and said "We're awake." Off. Haynes said "I don't
care, I'm going to arrest you all anyway."
24. I said "Well, if I'm going to be arrested I might as well
put on my shoes."
25. "Sit down," Haynes barked at me.
26. "I didn't join your army," I replied, turning away to get
27. Off. Haynes ran up behind me and grabbed me around the
chest, then Off. Simons hit me from behind. I landed on the ground
on my hands and knees. Off. Haynes then hit me with his fist three
times. Each blow seemed to me to be progressively harder, the
blows landing at the base of my skull. Off. Simons slapped the
handcuffs on me and as I looked up I saw Thomas recording the event
with a 35mm camera.
28. Off. Haynes jumped up yelling "Give me that!" He
grabbed Thomas in a choke hold, Thomas threw the camera to Ellen.
Haynes threw Thomas into a permitted structure knocking it over,
then threw him into the abutment of the park's grassy area, then he
reared back and kicked Thomas in the ribs.
29. Ellen, who had been snapping pictures as fast as
possible, said "Ooo, you`re going to get it now!"
30. Off. Haynes then turned and grabbed Ellen briefly in a
choke hold then tossed her to the ground. Many Park Police cars
pulled up to the curb, some uniformed Secret Service officers came
running over to the scene.
31. We were taken from there to the D-1 Park Police
substation where, after a long processing, the seven of us that
were arrested that morning were placed in a paddywagon in the hot
sun and were kept there one hour and forty-five minutes before Off.
Jackson brought some water.
32. While we were in the wagon Sgt. Malhoyt came out and
explained to Thomas that he should have cooperated with the
fingerprinting process because if he had he and his friends
wouldn't have to be spending so much time in the back of this hot
33. I asked the Sergeant if I was supposed to understand
that we were being punished; he abruptly ended the conversation and
closed the door. This arrest caused me not only physical abuse and
injury, it also intimidated me from engaging in conduct which was
intended to be expressive.
34. I was acquitted of all the charges. However, Officer
Haynes lodged a false charge of "assault on a federal officer"
against me which remains on my record to this day.
35. On June 23, 1984 I awoke and made my way to the park and
the signs only to discover that once again there had been a police
raid and the demonstrators had been removed from the park.
36. The signs were still there so I claimed responsibility
for the signs and attempted to take possession of them but was
refused and told that the signs were being confiscated as abandoned
property. I again said I would claim them. "No," I was told, they
were being confiscated as prisoner property.
37. The signs were broken up with sledgehammers by Park
Service employees under the supervision of Park Police.
38. This time, even though I was not arrested, I suffered
mental distress agonizing over the fate of my friends, their
immediate futures, and the future of the country which insists that
we must have nuclear weapons to protect freedom. I left Washington
that afternoon. I felt that I had had enough. I suffered a minor
nervous breakdown. I was stressed-out.
39. I returned to
Washington about a month later and found that I could no longer
continue a twenty-four hour presence in Lafayette Park. I was just
unable to take the pressure of constant police harrassment, the
threats of arrest, the sleep deprivation, the unending
surveillance, not to mention the elements and the ignorant
passersby. They all combined to become too much for me to bear any
longer. I believe that to vigil twenty-four hours a day seven days
a week is the good, true and right thing to do, but after the
physical and mental abuse I had to suffer in order to do just that
I'd become too weak to go on any longer. By August of 1984 I had
all but ended my association with the Thomas', Concepcion's, and
the White House Anti-Nuclear Vigil from August, 1984 until April,
40. On April 4, 1986, I was arrested under a brand new set of
regulations regarding signs. Some of the same signs that had been
on the White House sidewalk prior to being moved by the Park Police
to Lafayette Park in July, 1983, were standing in the park that
day. Believing the new regulation to be part of an the ongoing
effort to remove the vigil from in front of the White House I did
all that I knew how to do to fight what I believe to be wrong: I
interposed my body betwixt the police and the signs to register my
41. When I first came to Washington, D.C. in 1983 I believed
I had a right to maintain my presence on a twenty-four hour basis.
Judging from my repeated arrests for 'camping' I no longer have
that right and even if I did I have been unduly chilled from its
exercise and am too intimidated to continue.
42. When I started out on this course everyone had a right
to have signs of various sizes and shapes in Lafayette Park. Now
I fear that right has been forever lost.
43. I know that I have lost these rights -- arrests testify
to that fact. I know that prior to the onslaught of regulations my
behavior, necessary for a free-thinking society, was
Constitutionally-protected. I believe that I have only been
trying to communicate in a peaceful manner I have spent time in
jail and still face up to one and one-half years for sticking up
for the time-honored traditions of the FIRST AMENDMENT.
44. Therefore, for the reasons stated above, I ask to join in
this suit CA-84-3552, to become a party with the present
Respectfully submitted this _____ day
of _____________, 1986.
1440 N Street NW, #410
Washington, DC 20005
Case Listing --- Proposition One ---- Peace Park