Arrested today (in Off-topic)
This is copy/pasted from my friends blog, just an interesting read, good thing I had to work tonight, or I also would have been arrested. Bad words have been replaced with *edit*.
July 4th, 2007
I no longer believe that any civil rights I may have once had exist anymore. I had so many of my Constitutional rights taken from me this evening, it's ludicrous.
A large group of protesters of all ages and demographics (NOT just a bunch of teens like what's being portrayed by the news) met under the bridge in Peaceful Valley today (Spokane Wa). A few speeches were read aloud, reading off statistics of deaths by police brutality as compared to deaths of police on the job. An older gentleman gave an inspiring speech about standing up for our First Amendment rights on our Independence Day, and how important this march was to raise awareness of the ever increasing level of police brutality and stripping of civil rights all across the country, including our own city. A few police officers came up, and wanted to announce to us all that they support our right to protest and march, so long as we don't violate any traffic laws, and don't block traffic or anything of the sort, then there would be no problems whatsoever and we would be free to peacefully assemble and speak out.
The march went wonderfully. Police cruisers kept in constant eyesight, making sure nothing illegal was done. Lots of cars honked, waved, and shouted their support. We ended in Riverfront Park, near the clock tower, where our group proceeded to sit down to enjoy a picnic. Police surrounded us, taking pictures of all of our faces against our will. One officer told myself and one other protester that our picnic was too close to the band area by the stage, and to move it over to the other side of a designated blue spray paint line on the grass. I personally asked everyone to stand up, and we moved everything over, complying 100%. The police continued taking photographs, so we photographed them back. We asked one for his badge number and name, and he refused, saying we didn't have the right to know that. The officer then went around the group, and pushed Zach St. John off of a bucket he was sitting on. Zach jumped up, cursed at the officer, and asked why he did what he did. In response, Zach was accosted, handcuffed, choked, and beaten, right in front of all of us. We started chanting "let him go!" and asking what he did wrong. One officer grabbed my friend Meg by the throat and threw her to the ground. I yelled at him, "Why did you do that!? She didn't do anything wrong? What's your problem? No one is doing anything illegal! Let Zach go!"
The officer told me if I didn't get back, he would arrest me. I took two steps back, and asked again what Zach had gone wrong, and why they weren't reading him his rights. The officer ignored me, and I told him I wanted his name and badge number, as well as the other officers, because I wanted to report them for police misconduct. They refused, and took Zach away. Things somewhat died down afterwards, I tried my best, as did others, to maintain a sense of calm with our crowd, and convinced everyone to sit back down and we'd just bail Zach out.
Police called for reinforcements, at least 30-40 of them showed up, and had a huge grip of zip ties in hand. I grabbed a piece of paper and a pen, and was trying to get someone with a video camera to come with me to speak to the police, and get the badge numbers and names of the officers responsible for arresting Zach. Instead, the cops came at us, batons drawn, zip-ties out, ordering us to leave the park because we were trespassing. We huddled together in a group, arm in arm, demanding to know how we were trespassing in a public park. Rather than answering us, the police started violently pushing us backwards onto the road, where more officers were waiting behind us. After separating our group into several smaller ones, they started shoving people with their batons, yelling that we were trespassing and to "get *edit* out of their park". I kept yelling back "why are you doing this? how are we trespassing? we haven't broken any laws!"
The police tore Hannah Jones away from me, and zip tied her hands. I had my arm around Savannah, trying to protect her from the cops baton that he kept shoving us back with. He ripped Savannah from me and arrested her as well. He told me to keep my hands up and that I was under arrest. I told him I would comply, but I wanted to know what I was being charged with first, and how I was supposedly trespassing in a public space. Rather than answering my simple question, the officer struck me in the hip with his baton, then struck me again in the chest with the butt of it. He grabbed me by the hair, told me I was a *edit* and that I was going to jail, and handed me off to another officer. My hands were zip-tied behind my back, and I was led to a pile of people all face down, zip-tied, and in pain. I was searched, then thrown face down into the pile. Savannah was crying, and I could see her hands turning purple because her zip ties were tied so tightly. Cassie was the next one thrown into the pile. She screamed and cried as the officers zip-tied her hand, which was cut open and stitched previously to the march. She asked him over and over again to loosen the one on her right hand, because it had stitches. The cops ignored this.
Mikael Phelps was the next one I saw detained. He was yelling at an officer about Cassie's hand, and was zip tied and thrown face down, then called a retard by the officer. After a few more people were apprehended, I was picked up and escorted to a police car. Along the way, i heard many onlookers in the park asking what we had done wrong, the police didn't answer any of them. I was thrown in the back of a squad car alongside David Glen, then taken to County Jail.
I was completely compliant and kept my mouth shut all during processing. I knew I had not committed a crime today, and didn't intend to make matters any worse than they were. When processing was finished, the officer asked me to sign a paper stating that I knew why I was detained. I told him, "Officer, I have no idea why I was arrested. I didn't break any laws. No one told me what I did wrong, and no one read me any rights." The officer told me I was being charged with third degree trespassing, which is a misdemeanor. I told him I wasn't trespassing, I was just in a public park.
While in the holding cell waiting to get led upstairs, I was talking to Zach St John. His arm was cut wide open from the handcuffs, and he learned he was being charged with 2nd degree assault of a police officer, with no bail.
I was fingerprinted, and made to strip off my clothes and put on a pair of pink underwear, pink socks, and blue overalls. I was given a comb, a toothbrush, toothpaste, one blanket, a pink towel, and one sheet, and led to my cell. David and I were in the cell together for several hours before my mother came and posted my $500 bail.
I am now at home, reading through the news websites of what they claimed happen. I want it to be known right now, that neither myself, nor anyone involved in this protest today, committed any sort of crime, nor did we break any law whatsoever. Our protest was against police brutality, and the actions of Spokane's finest this evening proved even more so that the cops in this town are completely out of control. Hundreds of people in Riverfront Park today watched myself and 16 others get our civil liberties taken away, and witnessed us being treated like common animals. Not a single one of us were ever read any rights. Not a single one of us were told why we were being arrested, other than trespassing. From what I heard from the officers in the park today, there was no dispersal order. There was no warning. There was no reason for any of this. I am so utterly disgusted to be an American today.
One of the signs today said "police the police". Who is there to stop people like this from being able to get away with these kinds of actions?
Some video footage:
As a back story our city has been having a LOT of problems with police brutality, including several deaths recently.
July 5 2007 4:43 AM EDT
The video doesn't show picture only sound.
I don't even know what to say to that, apart from they can all go die.
July 5 2007 11:28 AM EDT
Probably a long shot, but has anyone tried contacting the ACLU to help file some civil suits?
Also, are folks getting together for the next election day and ousting anyone they can? I don't think police chiefs or staffs are elected, but judges, representatives, mayors, and city council folks are.
Yeah, sorry these are seemingly weak ideas in the face of current, brutal abuse. But lawsuits can help from the bottom up, and election day can (sometimes) help from the top down.
I applaud you for maintaining your cool, and I assume you are going to court to fight the trespassing charge? I would be very interested to see what a Judge has to say about trespassing in a public park, assuming there is no hidden curfew in the "fine print"...
July 5 2007 1:46 PM EDT
I am so glad I live in the Netherlands. I truly am.
July 5 2007 3:11 PM EDT
I was feeling pretty sympathetic and then I watched a couple of the videos. It's interesting that your friend doesn't even mention the shoulder check or "brush-up" by his fellow protester of an officer.
Two sides to every story.
Yes, some police have and will continue to cross certain lines. The majority will not.
Flamey, remember your sentiment the next time anything goes wrong for you or your family and don't dial 911.
It's a tired point, but still true, everyone hates the cops until they need them.
Also, I am not associated with nor am I a police officer AND when I was eighteen I was beaten severely after a concert by the police in a dark alley and left for dead.
I support police reforms.
Destroy power not people.
There was no shoulder check, that is a complete fabrication. Obviously it's a he said, she said situation; In the 6 years I've known the writer, he has never lied, or manipulated a situation. If he says that's how it happened, I believe him 100%.
Besides who would shoulder check and "grab the officer by the throat"?? Honestly... (I know the guy in question (zach) and I doubt he would defend himself at all anytime, let alone do something like that to a cop...
July 6 2007 1:31 AM EDT
I'll take your word for it. I'm sorry things went that way.
I know in Australia, there has been a "cop culture" of... questionable morality in the way they discharge their responsibilities for quite some time. While it has been cleaned up a lot recently (at least in my state; I've heard that the southern states still have a lot of problems with corruption and misconduct) we still remember the late eighties when Brisbane was known as Pig City.
While many police officers do indeed join up for the sole purpose, and for the most part do carry out the motto, "To Protect And Serve", there is no doubt in my mind that a goodly number of police officers do not.
Those in whom society has placed a great trust and given a great power, must (in my opinion) conduct themselves in a totally open and transparent manner, in order to ensure that their actions are responsible and ethical. It is unfortunate that in the current climate of fear and enhanced security, that such transparency and openness does not exist (or exists to a lesser extent).
Those police who do discharge their duty in an open and ethical manner have my utmost respect; those who abuse their positions and their power have nothing but my contempt and utmost disdain.
Hey Pathos my sympathy is with u a your fellow peaceful protestors. Its a shame that in today's societies the forces we rely on to keep us safe and maintain order are sometimes themselves the cause of such disruption.
May i say however that the police in my state Western Australia are in my opinion some of the best around its just a shame that there are so few of them for it is understandable why a few may go a bit to far with the abuse and pressure they recieve on a daily basis.
The only advice i can offer to people is make sure u take videos or get audios of the event like u guys did so that if u do wish to take action u have more than just alegations behind u.
Keep us updated anyway pathos on what happens to ya mate Zach i hope he gets off.
July 6 2007 4:25 AM EDT
Well if that's a true story, then it's really disturbing indeed. Law enforcers that no longer abide by the law??
Given the appearance of several of the protesters who were restrained, was this some sort of black bloc protest? Regardless of legality, anarchists and associated groups tend to elicit a more proactive response from the authorities.
July 6 2007 8:16 AM EDT
IA, I don't think it matters. They were sitting in a *public* park and obeyed orders to move for no reason, all they did was ask why they were getting arrested and got brutally hurt.
July 6 2007 9:01 AM EDT
Have you got anything sorted like a petition? or a forensic analyst to try and pick up some sounds and stuff from those tapes, anything would do to get those names. This whole thing makes me sick, how can things get so far.
July 6 2007 10:17 AM EDT
I especially like the older gentleman in glasses who apparently the news station thinks is some sort of expert witness... In earlier footage, his main insight was something to the effect of , "Hey man, why do they have to stand there, I just want to watch fireworks..." Then, in a later interview he is the guy who says he was pretty sure he saw the police officer step back, and that it "looked like he had been hit"... Definitely "he said, she said" stuff.
One part I am not sure of (I know nothing about the finer points of assembly rules)... If a group is told to disband, even in a public place and seemingly for no reason, is it true that the group must disband? Or does the authority figure have to provide some sort of reasoning? Quite a gray area there. On one hand, surely the rule isn't simply "you have to do what an officer says no matter what," since the officer could make anyone do anything. Then again, police officers need the authority to have people do what they say. I am thinking the police are always going to get the benefit of the doubt in that regard.
But if the whole point of an assembly is to have a show of numbers in a public area, can a police officer just deflate the whole thing by saying, "Nope, you have to leave"? Doesn't that come down to a First Amendment violation at that point? What is the recourse, then, other than to hold one's ground (and have the same thing happened that we just saw in this Spokane example)? Sue after the fact?
Not sure, but here is a picture of my 15 year old brother zip tied/arrested. I Just found out he was there, by stumbling upon the picture on a friends page.
July 7 2007 12:31 PM EDT
This makes me proud to be an American. 70 year old woman arrested for not watering her lawn. >
In truth she was arrested for not giving the policeman her name.
July 8 2007 12:00 PM EDT
why is a 15 year old at a protest? .......
I've never heard of a 'friendly protest'. Especially when it's a stereotypical one. Not all law enforcement fall into such a category, and I personally feel before someone protests the police, maybe they should go work as an officer for a month then give everyone the skinny.
I agree with what was said, some people hate the cops unless they need them.
Also, I don't condone brutality, but it is a profession where I'm not suprised that it exists. I applaud the law enforcement, especially in today's pampered/PC society.
July 8 2007 12:11 PM EDT
I've never been one to prevent someone who deserves a good smacking getting it but surely you can see this is just wrong.
July 8 2007 12:33 PM EDT
if I have a beef with the police, it's in Las Vegas. Sure, you can be an honest taxpayer, earn an honest living, and be a legal citizen but if you were speeding in your insured and plated vehicle right along side one of the illegals that doesn't have plates or an insurance sticker, you best believe your butt is getting pulled over and not the illegal. For reasons I don't have time to list, but I'm sure most are aware. I've never seen so many unplated cars on the freeways in my life.
I still think their job is one of the toughest out there, but I don't condone brutality (echo) nor ignorance.
Sooka if youve never heard of a friendly protest, or peaceful you should maybe look up Ghandi or Martin Luther King.
Myth, Gandhi was a condescending git, I don't consider that a very 'friendly' or 'peaceful' protest.
A protest doesn't have to involve violence to be a problem :)
July 8 2007 4:16 PM EDT
well Ghandi is out of my league, so kudos if you found one way back in history a long time ago in a land far...
and as for MLKJr... his side of the protests were out of peace... but 1968: Martin Luther King shot dead
The American black civil rights leader, Dr Martin Luther King, has been assassinated.
so I would fully disagree with you, Myth.
I'm not being one sided with my statement.
July 8 2007 9:17 PM EDT
peaceful protest has nothing to do with violence, its a large number of people getting together to show their support for a change, it may include boycotting a product until they change something to do with it.
Martin Luther King was a peaceful protester, apart from that I have no idea what you're saying, you just stated the facts that were just said.
I also do not see how you disagree when you just stated they were peaceful protesters and you acknowledged what they were, so you agreed that they were peaceful. You don't make sense.
July 8 2007 9:25 PM EDT
" but it is a profession where I'm not suprised that it exists. I applaud the law enforcement, especially in today's pampered/PC society. "
Do not tell me you're serious, did you read the whole thing? Did you see the videos, they were standing together in a PUBLIC park, not private property, they didn't anything wrong. They got told to move, they did. They did what they were told, but they also questioned them, YOU CAN'T GET ASSAULTED FOR ASKING THE POLICE SOMETHING. You have rights, I don't live in America, but one of those rights is (at least in Australia) You have the right to know what you're being charged with and why.
The courts are supposed to deal with these pieces of crap that call them police officers, they can get fined or imprisoned and most certainly lose their job as an officer.
"Flamey, remember your sentiment the next time anything goes wrong for you or your family and don't dial 911. "
I haven't heard anything like this happen in my city, state or country, so far. I obviously will call the cops the next time something goes wrong. I didn't say I hate all cops, I have nothing against cops, heck they're there to protect us, but when we get complete brutes as cops, I'm not saying all cops are bad, I'm saying those particular *people* that happen to be cops are bad.
Mind you I've been refraining from swearing a lot during that whole post.
A lot of videos of what happened only show some of the events.
I'm not saying this one is being bias but I certainly know from past experiences that there are plenty of people who only show the cops 'doing wrong'.
I was at the Download festival last year, riots broke out on the Sunday night.
Riot police were brought to the site to calm the situation but the rioters pushed back, innocent people came to find out the problem but got hit with riot sticks but during that situation you're pretty stupid if you walk straight up to one of them.
My example is a little more extreme but just watching a couple of videos and listening to one persons account of the situation (especially from protestors) doesn't mean that there wasn't someone there who kicked up a fuss big enough to make those policemen cautious and on the defensive.
Here is more information.
I want to add that according to the police chief, who is a git, that because no one was pepper sprayed and tazered, that no excessive force was used...
There are over 200 eye witnesses that saw police surround and arrest the 17 protesters. You yourself saw the video of the protesters being escorted out. Now that in mind here is something to think about:
This is quoted from Krem2 (local news) about the July 4th arrests:
"Police say 40 protesters were taunting people in the park, and were using a large American flag as a picnic blanket; when asked to leave by officers, police say the group surrounded them."
Complete fabrication. I guess the 200+ people that were present happened to look away.
Also, if 40 protesters surrounded the officers... and one was violent, do you really think only 17 would get arrested?? None ran away, and only one "assault" took place...
Yeah so 40 angry people surround officers, and as soon as one of them act, the rest what, got cold feet, put their hands up and said "arrest me!"?
If an assault took place, there would have been a shooting, tazering etc etc.... but there wasn't (and I'm saying this based on police action in my city in the last year)
6 months ago a guy who was passed out drunk on some random guys porch was shot because he allegedly went reached into his shirt too quickly, and the officer thought he was pulling a gun. Yet in the video footage from the local media, the man had no shirt on.
An eye witness stated that the man was too drunk to even stand up when the officer approached him.
2 days later the official account of the incident had been changed to state that the man charged the officer and it was a tragic accident as the officer thought the man had a knife in his hand.
My city is having serious cop problems lately, and I'm sick and tired of it.
Sorry, rambling on and on, so many random incidents... *sigh*
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