By Paul Schmelzer 9/2/08 4:39 PM
Youth in iconic RNC protest photo was later beaten by police, according to his mother
The following is a comment left at the Minnesota Independent by Melissa Smith-Tourville, who is the mother of 17-year-old Keith Smith, shown above in a photograph taken yesterday by MnIndy’s Paul Demko and published later in the day. The comment came this afternoon in response to Demko’s story from earlier today, “St. Paul Police Chief Harrington: Cops ‘did heroic work yesterday’.
My seventeen-year-old son is the young man in the photo, peacefully sitting in the street in front of an entire force of swat officers. He was later brutally beaten by five St. Paul police officers. Police Chief Harrington, your officers beat my son instead of protecting him when he was apart from the protesters and doing nothing illegal, dangerous or inappropriate. If this was not an overreaction on the part of your officers, I fail to know what would be defined as an overreaction! This is his story:
Just five weeks ago our seventeen-year-old son Keith was being celebrated by our community and beyond as a hometown star. The regional press covered him repeatedly. He single handedly organized the Music for Peace Festival, in Menomonie, Wisconsin which was attended by about 400 people. The family-friendly event included booths, seven bands and entertainment for all ages. He coordinated the event to raise money for a charity near and dear to his heart; the Red Cedar Peace Initiative. We were very proud of our son then, as we are now.