Clinton Protester Cleared in Philadelphia

Don Adams, a Clinton protester viciously assaulted by a mob of Teamsters during a Clinton fundraising visit to Philadelphia on Oct. 2, 1998, was found not guilty Jul. 8 of trumped-up charges of assaulting a Teamster. It was the first step toward justice in this Orwellian case.

Adams was part a large Clinton protest and held a sign calling Bill Clinton a “Liar, Pervert, a National Shame.” Teamsters wearing “TEAMSTERS FOR CLINTON” t-shirts approached Adams. Int’l Bhd. of Teamsters Local 115 boss John Morris reportedly “marked” Adams for violence by placing his hat on Adams’ head. Then several Teamsters kicked and punched Adams. He suffered two black eyes, bruises, and a concussion. The incident was videoed by TV news cameras (see

Two Teamsters, Marc Nardone and Kevin McNulty, were charged with assaulting Adams. In response, Morris claimed that he put the hat on Adams to stop him from punching two Teamsters. Then Heather Diocson, Morris’ driver, filed a private criminal complaint claiming Adams punched her. Philadelphia Dist. Atty. Lynne Abraham then charged Adams with assault, inciting a riot and reckless endangerment. Adams filed a similar complaint against Morris, but Abraham rejected it because of “contradictory statements” by participants. Adams said “Abraham added salt to the wound by approving…Diocson’s false private criminal complaint that I somehow hit her. There was no video or other evidence to substantiate that claim… In fact, the DA’s office withheld vindicating evidence, a signed statement by a Philadelphia police officer clearly indicating that I did not hit anyone.”

In Jun., Adams and his attorney met with Asst. Dist. Atty. Bruce Sagel. Sagel reportedly said, “everyone knows [Adams] did not strike anybody.” But later Sagel said he was merely stating his personal opinion and even later denied it altogether. Adams said after his trial, “I believe [Abraham’s] office owes me an apology. This is a definite case of malicious prosecution.”

Nardone and McNulty pled guilty in Jun. to criminal conspiracy, riot and simple assault. Morris and the other Teamsters haven’t been charged at all. But, Teamsters boss James P. Hoffa is reportedly considering internal union charges against Morris. As for the Dist. Atty.’s Office, Adams is considering not only a state malicious prosecution suit, but also a federal Section 1983 civil rights suit. Section 1983 provides citizens a civil remedy for law enforcement misconduct. [Wall Street Journal 7/7 & 7/9/99]

Hoffa to Start “In-House” Anti-Corruption Effort
IBT boss James P. Hoffa announced Jul. 6 the imminent appointment of Edwin H. Stier to head a new in-house anti-corruption effort. Stier successfully rooted out corruption from IBT Local 560, a N.J. local notorious for mobsters. For decades, the local was controlled by Anthony “Tony Pro” Provenzano, who was convicted of murder and who law-enforcement say had a hand in the 1975 disappearance of Hoffa’s father. Stier is also an ex-federal prosecutor.

The move, which has won praise and drawn criticism from labor “experts,” is widely seen as part of Hoffa’s attempt to end the federal government’s supervision over IBT. Stier’s job would include educating members about ethical standards and training them to investigate accusations of corruption. Such an “in-house” anti-corruption effort sounds eerily close the failed “internal reform effort” of the Laborers’ Int’l Union of No. Am. Hopefully IBT and the Dep’t of Justice avoid the errors of the Laborers’ fiasco. [N.Y. Times 7/7/99, BNA 7/13/99]