USDC Cr. No. 84-3552

WILLIAM THOMAS                 
      vs.                                   CA No. 84-3552
                                          Judge Louis Oberdorfer
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, et. al.          Magistrate Arthur Burnett


I, Ellen Thomas, under penalty of perjury, declare the following is true and correct to the best of my knowledge:

1. During the depositions taken August 21 and 22, 1986, Magistrate Burnett made it clear that his perception of this suit was that it dealt ONLY with William Thomas ("Thomas"), that it is NOT a class action, nor does it address the rights or issues of any other individuals.

2. During the many thousands of hours during which I have worked with Thomas on the preparation of this case, I have labored under the belief that the Court recognized we were addressing the question of whether the defendants in this case have been implementing and selectively enforcing regulations against not only Thomas, but all who choose his method and location of questioning the policies of this administration. If true, I believe that, in the words of this Court uttered on July 19, 1984, this "threaten(s) the liberty of us all."

3. In the wake of the Magistrate's remarks I am concerned that Thomas' and my efforts are being misunderstood or otherwise trivialized by limiting this action to such personal injury as he alone might have suffered.

4. Therefore I file this DECLARATION as a founding repre- sentative of plaintiff PEACE PARK ANTINUCLEAR VIGIL (aka "Co-Peace Int'l") and a member of the class of people who were formerly exempted from permit restrictions in maintaining a 24-hour long-term vigil or other demonstration in front of the White House.

5. On April 13, 1984, I quit my job as Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer of the National Wildlife Federation in order to devote myself full time to the elimination of nuclear weapons worldwide.

6. The method I chose for doing this work was a 24-hour vigil in Lafayette Park utilizing signs, literature, a speaker's platform, and my own physical presence.

7. Prior to embarking upon this expressive crusade I had always had a house to live in. I had always considered those houses to be my "living accommodations." I left my last home with considerable reluctance. I did not relish the thought of giving up my "living accommodations" to live in the streets. (See exhibit 1, pp. 37-4l, 107.)

8. Except for my conviction that a 24-hour vigil in front of the White House is the most effective means of communicating with the greatest number of people that is available to me, I would be far, far away, enjoying physical comforts rather than enduring physical hardship to express my opinions on matters of pressing public concerns. (See Washington POST article December 14, 1984, Exhibit 10 hereto; see also 36 CFR 50.19(e)(11)(12) Administrative Record (Ad.Rec.) p. 1.B.15-.22) at I.B.21, last paragraph.)

9. Three times I have been arrested for "camping," and have been accused of using Lafayette Park as a "living accommodation," as a direct result of my demonstrative actions.

10. Two of the three times I have been arrested for camping during the course of my expressive activities (June 6, 1984 and October 10, 1984) I was acquitted. The third time (June 23, 1984), the charges were dropped.

11. I had not been accustomed to being arrested. Those experiences caused me to suffer anxiety, emotional stress, physical discomfort. All in all I found the arrests to be quite unpleasent experiences.

12. More important to me than my personal unpleasant experiences, however, has been the fact that these arrests have resulted in the disruption of my expressive activities.

13. Initially it was my concern about nuclear weapons which impelled me to make the radical change in lifestyle that brought me to Lafayette Park, but my experiences in the Park have expanded my concerns.

14. Although I still consider the threat of nuclear genocide to be my first priority, my experiences of having regulations selectively and harshly applied against me and some of my friends, terminating actions which caused absolutely no harm and the sole intent of which was to communicate, has led me to the conclusion that freedom of communication must also be considered a high priority.

15. Before devoting myself to communication in Lafayette Park, I believed the police to be, for the most part, agents of good. Unfortunately many of my experiences with all too many U.S. Park Police officers since then have caused me to think differently. Now the image of the police as a powerful source of social repression is one which has come to concern me greatly.

16. For those reasons, reluctantly, I became involved in this lawsuit to the detriment of my expressive activities in the Park.

17. Up until the filing of this lawsuit, which has requiredenormous amounts of time, Thomas and I maintained a constant presence with signs.

18. Lately our signs have been in storage a great deal while we prepare to go to trial. I profoundly regret this, as I feel the urgency of the nuclear threat is such that I should be spending every minute I can working to eliminate it.

19. Perhaps the greatest source of mental anguish for me, though, has been the nightmarish thought of what it will mean to American society if an individual, pure of heart and committed to the betterment of humanity, must suffer such abuse at the hands of the police so as to discourage her (or him) from continuing to speak out against wrongs that must be righted, as I have repeatedly seen happen.

20. During the two-and-a-half years I have attempted to maintain a 24-hour-a-day vigil there have been a number of people who have also chosen this method of communicating on numerous issues, and for varying degrees of time.

21. The majority of those people quickly lose interest and move on to other pursuits after enduring the physical and mental hardships of being exposed to the elements, the threats, abuse, and/or arrests of police officers, and the whims of any and every person who passes through Lafayette Park.

22. Particularly during the winter, Concepcion Picciotto, Thomas, and I have been the only people consistently in the park, with the exception of a homeless woman known as "Betty" and, during the month of December, 1985, Dr. Charles Hyder (who returned Easter, 1986, and has maintained a continuous peace vigil in the park ever since.

23. It has been my experience that during the late spring, summer and fall, a variety of people are attracted to the park.

24. In the warmer months, for example, homeless people traditionally come and go, sleeping on benches or the grass in Lafayette Park. (See, e.g., photo at Complaint para. 103; see also photo at Ad.Rec. I.J.221; see also Washington POST article September 1978, Ad.Rec. I.B.28-.29, at I.B.29.)

25. In accordance with our religious beliefs and moral principles, both Thomas and I try to treat these people, who tend to gravitate around us, with care and respect.

26. Some of these people choose to make their own signs, which, as a rule, they soon abandon. (See, e.g., photo at Ad.Rec. I.J.239.)

27. Prior to the promulgation of 36 CFR 50.18(e)(11)(11) I saw Park Service workers remove many of these abandoned signs. (See, e.g., photos Ad.Rec. I.J.229, I.J.179-.180.)

28. Some people who frequent the Park during pleasant weather have stashed their bags of belongings near our signs. I have never encouraged people to store property in the Park. On many occasions I have explained to people that storage of property is frowned on by the Park Service. I have never impeded the Park Service in the removal of stored property.

29. During the spring and summer of 1984, a homeless Vietnam Veteran by the name of T.J. Jones created loud disturbances and brought in large quantities of dumpster materials, which he would dump near our signs. (See Trial Exhibit 139.)

30. During the spring and summer of 1984, Officer David Haynes frequently drove his cruiser through the park, across the grass and the brick sidewalks, to within inches of where we were sitting, standing, or lying, or came striding up with his nightstick in hand in what seemed to me to be an effort to intimidate us.

31. On June 6, 1984, at 6:00 a.m., I was one of three demonstrators assaulted and arrested by U.S. Park Police Officer David Haynes. Officer Haynes falsely charged us with assaulting a police officer.

32. Although the Grand Jury refused to indict any of us on that fallacious charge, it remains on our records. The charge has caused me problems with other police officers.

33. Just prior to Officer Haynes' assault on me I photo- graphed Officer Haynes using excessive force on my husband, Thomas, with our Chinon 35 mm. camera.

34. Thomas had used the same camera to photograph Officer Haynes, assisted by Officer Gerald Simons, punch Robert Dorrough three times in the back of the neck with the knuckle raised on his right fist while Robert knelt, unresisting, his hands cuffed behind him.

35. Thomas hollered at Officer Haynes while Haynes was hitting Robert, and Haynes whirled, saw Thomas holding the camera, and came at him.

36. Thomas tossed the camera at me only a moment before Officer Haynes grabbed Thomas around the neck and threw him against me, retaining his hold on Thomas' shirt (which ripped in the scuffle).

37. We fell against our mobile speaker's platform, which capsized.

38. Haynes then grabbed Thomas and hurled him against our large "REVELATION, THIS NEED NOT BE YOUR END, IT'S UP TO YOU -- STRIKE FOR PEACE" sign (painted with a nuclear explosion).

39. Haynes kicked Thomas, who had fallen, then grabbed him in a stranglehold briefly until several Secret Service agents arrived to put handcuffs on Thomas.

40. This all happened quite rapidly, and I too shouted at Haynes, "We've got you NOW!" as I snapped several photographs.

41. Officer Haynes stepped away from Thomas and toward me, extended his hand, and barked "Give me that" -- apparently meaning the camera.

42. Fearful that Officer Haynes would destroy the photographs, I tossed the camera toward David Manning, who was sitting on the grass.

43. Officer Haynes grabbed me around the neck in a chokehold. I couldn't breathe.

44. Fortunately, after a moment Officer Haynes loosened his hold, slung me down on the ground, and told me not to move.

45. I didn't move until I was taken into custody by a female officer who arrived with other USPP officers shortly thereafter in some force, along with National Park Service trucks which were used to remove all our signs and speaker's platform, under National Park Service permit since May 30, 1984. (See inter alia para. 51; see Trial Exhibits 137, 138.)

46. When I was being placed in the back seat of a cruiser, I asked the officers who were then holding me in custody for my camera. I was told I could have it later.

47. At the substation on Hains Point I again asked for my camera. I was told I could retrieve it from the property office when I was released.

48. We were detained for a very long time at the substation. Shortly after noon all seven of us who were arrested were taken out to the paddywagon, and held there for nearly two hours in brutal heat. We were delayed so long that we didn't arrive at the Central Cell Block until it was too late to be brought before the Magistrate. This delay resulted in our being held overnight.

49. Concepcion Picciotto and I were handcuffed together in the back of the paddywagon while being transported to D.C. Jail that afternoon when it became clear that we weren't going to get before the magistrate. This was physically painful. When I complained about the discomfort to the officers driving the paddywagon, they ignored me.

50. On June 12 Thomas and I were finally able to obtain a ride from a friend and went out to the property office, where we found several of our signs and much of our literature tossed into two dumpsters.

51. Our mobile speaker's platform, under NPS permit since May, had been totally destroyed and was in paint-splattered pieces in the dumpster.

52. We inquired at the office for the camera, and were told by Property Manager A.C. Thomas after a search that he didn't have it.

53. Subsequently both Thomas and I asked our attorneys to inquire into the whereabouts of the camera.

54. Finally, some months later, my attorney (Steve Milliken) notified me that the camera had been found. We were told that it had been stolen by a Park Service employee named David Harley.

55. I notified the prosecutor that I was the owner of the camera, and I was subpoenaed.

56. I appeared in Court November 20, 1984, February 22, March 12, April 8, and May 22, 1985. Each time I appeared the case was continued after several hours of sitting and waiting.

57. During one of those waiting periods I talked with David Harley, who told me his story.

58. He couldn't understand why he was being prosecuted, he said, because Park Service employees often found all sorts of valuables when cleaning up the parks after public gatherings, and sometimes took them home.

59. He said he found the camera stuck underneath some tools in a hard-to-reach nook of the truck cabin while preparing to do some work out on Hains Point, where the truck had been sitting, unlocked, for some days. He said he had taken the camera home to his daughter when he found it. He told me she hadn't been able to take good pictures with it, and he thought it was broken. However, it was obvious when I questioned him that neither one of them understood how to set 35 mm. cameras.

60. I told him the circumstances of my arrest, and that I thought he was being prosecuted because this was a political case.

61. I told both him and his attorney I was going to testify to that effect in Court.

62. After over a year, but before the final disposition of David Harley's case, Sergeant Jerry Jones brought the camera to Lafayette Park and released it to me. The lens cap was missing as well as the (36 exposures of 35 mm 400 asa Kodak) film.

63. I immediately photographed a roll of pictures, which came out fine (although the rewind mechanism was now dysfunctional). I had set the speed and F-stops for the lighting conditions before handing the camera to Thomas on June 6, and as an ex-professional photographer I can state with assurance that if we had been able to keep the film of the June 6 arrest, the photos may have been slightly out of focus, but we would have had adequate photographs.

64. On July 18, 1985, I again went to the Superior Court to testify in the case against David Harley.

65. I spoke with the prosecutor. I told him I planned to testify that I thought David Harley was being used as a scapegoat for Officer David Haynes, who had every reason to want the camera lost since it had contained condemning evidence.

66. When I went to the Courtroom shortly thereafter I was told by the Clerk that the case had just been dismissed by the Government. I have since obtained a copy of the computer printout which indeed confirms that to be true. (See Trial Exhibit 148.)

67. At or about 6:00 a.m. on June 23, 1984, Thomas and I were leaning against one of our new signs reading when we were arrested by Officer Haynes and charged with "camping." Our signs and literature were again confiscated.

68. We spent the weekend in jail because of a lengthy delay in taking us to the Central Cell Block. Charges were later dropped.

69. During September of 1984 Officer Haynes spent five days testifying under oath trying to assign to us responsibility for the truckload of T.J. Jones' junk which Officer Haynes had confiscated along with our signs at the time of our arrest on June 6.

70. At the end of those five days, U.S. District Court Judge Joyce Hans Green dismissed the case against us. I heard her say that Officer Haynes' testimony was, at best, questionable, and that "to continue further with this trial would turn prosecution into persecution." (See Trial Exhibit 142.)

71. Although Officer Haynes was definitely the most obvious of the Park Police officers who were opposed to our presence in the park, he was not the only one. Other officers frequently threatened us with arrest for simply lying down near our signs. More than one officer has told me he or she was only following orders.

72. On July 17, 1984, a friend by the name of Casimer Urban Junior, while protesting the recent Supreme Court decision in CCNV v Clark, was arrested in my presence for pretending to be asleep in broad daylight in front of a sign which read "WELCOME TO REAGANVILLE, 1984, WHERE SLEEP IS CONSIDERED A CRIME." (See Complaint filed November 21, 1984, para. 100.) (See exhibit 1, pp. 67-70, for an accurate representation of what I observed July 17, 1984.)

73. Casimer, who asked to represent himself, was over protest assigned an attorney, one Charles Chisholm, who recommended that Cass be committed to St. Elizabeth's Hospital.

74. Mr. Chisholm refused to return our phone calls.

75. As a result of our concern for Casimer, we made many attempts to obtain a different lawyer for him (including leaflet- ting traffic on Pennsylvania Avenue, for which I was arrested in August).

76. We rebuilt the speaker's platform, destroyed during the June 6 arrest (supra. para 51), and obtained an amplifier, two microphones, and four speakers. We used this sound system during September to talk about Casimer's hospitalization resulting from his attempts to communicate, as well as about nuclear weapons. We would wheel the speaker's platform to the center of the Park during the hours we were allowed under our permit to hook it up to the electrical outlet (see Ad.Rec. photo at top of I.J.2), then wheel it back to our other signs in the southeast quadrant of the park in the evening (see photos at page 76 of the Complaint).

77. For the first couple of days we were told by different police officers a variety of sound levels at which we could broadcast. We tried to comply with their orders.

78. Nevertheless Patricia Bangert and Carolyn O'Hara came to the park and told us, in the presence of a Park Police officer, that we could broadcast at "4" (out of a possible volume of "10"). We complied.

79. Shortly after Ms. Bangert and Ms. O'Hara left, Thomas and I ran an errand, leaving another demonstrator in charge of the amplifier; a half hour later we returned to find that he had turned the volume back up. We turned it down again, and told him if he didn't comply with the Park Service instructions he couldn't use the amplifier.

80. To the best of my knowledge there was no recurrence of the problem. We received no more complaints from the police.

81. We had no functional amplifying system in the spring of 1984, although we did have a speaker's platform; and since fall 1984, we have only used the amplifying system once or twice, each time within the limits set by Ms. Bangert.

82. We had been in daily telephonic contact with Casimer Urban Junior while he was in St. Elizabeth's, and were informed that he was being forceably injected with a drug named Prolixin. After doing some research on this drug (made from jellyfish poison), I became intensely concerned for my friend's welfare. On October 3, 1984, I climbed a tree in Lafayette Park trying to attract attention to Casimer's plight. I was successful.

83. As a result of my action attorney John Copacino took over the case, and in late November 1984 Casimer was finally brought to trial after 5 months of incarceration, and (reluctantly) found not guilty of camping by Judge Norma Johnson, and released.

84. I was removed from the tree by a SETT team in the early morning hours of October 10, 1984. When I returned to our signs later that day I discovered Thomas had been arrested and all of our signs and the NPS-permitted speaker's platform had once again been confiscated. (See Complaint para. 117; see also Affidavit William C. Wardlaw, Trial Exhibit 163.)

85. On October 15, 1984, Thomas and I brought to the park two light-weight cotton banners which read "Hey, King Ronnie, the Police stole our signs!" and "There they go again!" I hung them with light string along the Pennsylvania Avenue side of the snowfence which had been erected between our signs and the sidewalk in September. Within an hour several police officers began cutting the banners down. When I attempted to salvage one of the banners, it was sawed out of my hands by one USPP officer with a dull pocket knife, while two other officers held my arms. (See photos, Complaint page 89, para. 118; compare Trial Exhibit 164.)

86. When we retrieved the speaker's platform in November 1984 we discovered it had been partially (and unnecessarily) dismantled. (Compare inter alia para. 97; compare photo Complaint p. 88.)

87. In November 1984 we were told by the National Park Service to move our signs back into the northeast corner of Lafayette Park, where we were virtually penned behind snow fences and, in January, behind a chain link fence. There was virtually no traffic past the signs and we felt quite invisible (and bitterly cold). But we persevered. We were finally allowed to move back to the Pennsylvania Avenue sidewalk in late February, 1985.

88. In the spring of 1985 William Hale arrived and, like T.J. Jones the summer before, discovered the delights of D.C. dumpstering. He turned the park into a dump. He also built a very large sign on the grass which, for the most part, he left unattended for nearly a year. (See, e.g., Ad.Rec. I.J.77 (at exhibit 2 herewith).)

89. The Administrative Record compiled by Ms. Bangert and Mr. Robbins as justification for 36 CFR 50.19(e)(11)(12) eloquently provides documentation of William Hale's activities as the mainstay of their argument. (After 36 CFR 50.19(e)(11)(12) was published, William Hale left town.)

Case Listing --- Proposition One ---- Peace Park