We had a server outage, and we're rebuilding the site. Most of the site features won't work. Thank you for your patience.
imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

This is What a Police State Looks Like: Resistance & Repression at D2K

by Geoffrey McNamara Friday, Sep. 29, 2000 at 8:15 PM
Geoffrey.R.McNamara@reed.edu (503) 517-5331 Box 581, 3203 SE Woodstock Blvd., Portland, OR 97202

A personal account of being illegally arrested by the LAPD during the Democratic National Convention for peacfully protesting against the fur trade and the capitalist system responsible for it.

error

Tuesday, August 15th was a slow day at the protests surrounding the Democratic National Convention. After a small womens liberation march my father and I wandered to Pershing Square, which was the central meeting place of the protest events. When we arrived at the square I was approached by a young man dressed in black, asking me if I was interested in taking part in an animal liberation protest. It had been a long time since I had been involved in any animal liberation activism, and I jumped at the chance, agreeing to meet my father at another rally at five oclock.

I walked over to where a crowd of punks dressed in black covered with patches and studs, many of whom wore bandanas over their faces, were sprawled on the ground under a tree. Soon, Geoff, the march organizer who had approached me earlier began to gather us together and discuss our plans for the action. We would march from the square, along the sidewalks, and go to the targeted fur stores to shout slogans, and "show that we wouldnt stand for this unnecessary slaughter." We also agreed to keep the march completely legal and nonviolent, and not to engage in any property damage, as none of us wanted to be arrested for such a minor action. This was especially important to us, as there was a major anti-police brutality, anti-prison march and rally that we all wanted to attend the next day.



43 of us, many of us anarchists, dressed in black with masks on began to march through the square chanting slogans such as "Whats the solution: vegan revolution! Whats the reaction: direct action!", "Fur trade: death trade!", "40 dead animals: one fur coat!", "Human freedom, animal rights, one struggle one fight!", and "Stop the suffering, stop the death, free the animals: A.L.F. (Animal Liberation Front)!" We moved quickly through the square and onto the sidewalk. Despite the energy and militancy of our march we obeyed all laws by staying on the sidewalk and waiting for the "Walk" signs before we crossed the streets. We stopped at several fur stores, chanting outside of them, and then moved on.



After we had marched two and a half blocks we began to see police, but we did not worry that much. We were all used to being around lots of police at such marches. As with most police at demonstrations they were decked out in blue uniforms, wearing riot helmets with plastic face shields, and carrying large clubs. Yet, soon we realized that this was different. Within seconds all of the surrounding streets were blocked off by hundreds of riot cops, and we were surrounded. We were given no order or chance to disperse, but were surrounded, forced against the wall of a building, and ordered to face the wall with our hands above our heads. We were all extremely frightened because of our small numbers, the enormous number of police around us, the fact that none of us had planned to be arrested, and the fact that many in our group were young teenagers. They held us like this, facing the wall with our hands above our heads with the police telling us to "turn around" and "shut up" for what seemed like a very long time. Then the police began to tell people to "step backwards", telling us, "You are under arrest for conspiracy to commit vandalism. Will you submit to arrest?" We all did, since there was little choice that we had. They put our hands behind our backs and put us in plastic handcuffs.

We were then taken to a nearby parking lot where they took down our names and information and then searched us. We were made to sit down on the hot asphalt, where many of us began to meet each other for the first time. By this time the media reporters who had been with us since the beginning of the march had become even more numerous. Geoff, the organizer, and our spokesperson yelled out to the reporters that we were peaceful protestors, that we had been illegally arrested, and then proceeded to inform them about the horrors of the fur trade, and gave them the phone number and web site of the Animal Defense League. At this point the police began searching through bags, confiscating gas masks, incendiary devices (bug spray), and weapons (toy slingshots, pocket knives, and even my safety pin). We began chanting "This is what a police state looks like" (a take off on the protest slogan, "This is what democracy looks like!") In response we heard drums beating, and slogans shouted down the street from behind the police barricades. It was extremely heartening that our comrades knew we what was happening to us and were showing their support.

We were separated according to age and loaded onto police buses. The buses drove off while we onboard chanted slogans such as "Anarchy is justice. Anarchy is peace. Anarchy is freedom. Fuck the police!" We looked out the windows and saw other demonstrators running alongside the bus yelling, waving, and giving us the clenched fist "power to the people" salute. The buses drove through downtown Los Angeles while we shouted out the windows, "Help! Were being kidnapped by people with guns. Call the police!" The buses arrived at the police station at Parker Center and we were kept on board the hot buses. Several of our group were getting sick from heatstroke. They would not give us any water, and we could not drink ourselves because we were handcuffed. We all began chanting, "Medic! Medic!" until the police were forced to take the sick comrades off the bus. Ambulances pulled up, and they were taken to the hospital. One of them was unconscious and had to have water given to him via intravenous tubes.

We were still on the bus and we began to talk to our captors. The Asian officer who was guarding us told us he couldnt help us because if he called into the station he would be ignored. He didnt know what we were arrested for, and talked about the disempowered nature of his job. He seemed significantly less empowered than we were! We asked him whether the police were unionized, and whether they could go on strike. He told us that the police were not allowed to strike and that "Disney (sweatshop) workers have a better union than we do." At which point a few of us started yelling "I.W.W." (the Industrial Workers of the World, a revolutionary anti-capitalist labor union).

However, as soon as we began to have this potentially productive conversation with our guard they unloaded us from the bus. It was about five oclock. As they took us off they took all of the possessions from our pockets, and even took our shoelaces. At this point many of us discovered that it is nearly impossible to walk wearing Converse All Stars without shoelaces. We were then photographed and sat down in a shady area of the police courtyard. The police gathered in the courtyard were all drinking bottled water, which they had been denying us for the last several hours. However, with enough demands, shouts, and concerns about heatstroke, the police came by and poured water into our mouths. We talked with the police guarding us about corporate power, the role of the police in society at large, and the illegal/unconstitutional nature of our arrest. One of the cops responded to this by telling us that we should have been prepared for the consequences when we decided to march down the sidewalk protesting during the Democratic National Convention, and that the First Amendment did not apply this week in LA. During this time, we saw a helicopter circling directly overhead, and saw many policemen and women putting on riot helmets and leaving the station. We realized with joy what this meant: that protestors were right outside of the station demonstrating their solidarity and support for us.

At around nine oclock, nearly six hours after our arrest I was taken in to be booked. They asked me various questions about my health, experience with the criminal justice system, sexual orientation, background, and whether I would waive my "right to remain silent" which I did not. Then I was taken inside where, six hours after they were put on me, the excruciatingly painful plastic handcuffs were removed. I was then taken into a side room, where I was made to strip, show the bottoms of my feet, run my hands through my hair, and spread my cheeks. They then took me to have an arrest receipt written up, and I was photographed and fingerprinted. Finally with nothing on me except my clothes, laceless shoes, arrest receipt, and an ID bracelet I was put into a small cell with several others from the animal liberation protest where I was able to make a few phone calls. I was extremely happy about this because I had agreed to meet my father at five. When I was finally able to get in touch with him, I was gratified by his congratulations, and his intense love and solidarity.

I also got in touch with the Midnight Special Law Collective, a group of movement lawyers who were in L.A. to provide legal support to those of us arrested during the protests. They answered their phone, "Midnight Special Law Collective. This is not a secure line." They informed me that there were several lawyers already at the police station to help us.

After we had made our phone calls we were taken to a large cell, where 18 of us were held for the night. The cell was large, with enough beds for about 50 people, three toilets, two water fountains, and two pay phones (collect calls only) stood against one of the walls. After putting down our prison blankets, and complaining about the fact that they had not given us anything to eat all day we settled into our cell. We stayed up very late, holding a consensus based meeting about our plans and prison solidarity. (As a side note, consensus is a process that rejects majority rule in favor of making decisions that everyone can live with. Therefor, if someone cannot bring himself or herself to agree, or at least accept the decision of the majority, the decision will not be used or carried out. The point of this is to try to make sure that everyones voices are heard in order to create true democracy. We immediately agreed that no matter what, we would remain physically and verbally nonviolent, and destroy no property. This was not so much out of philosophical conviction, as it was a clear analysis of the fact that any violence and destruction on our part would result in police brutality and additional criminal charges. We also came up with a list of things that we saw as necessary: that we stay together as a group, that we be served vegetarian meals, and that we be tried in court as a group. By the end of the meeting almost all of us were asleep.

We were woken up on Wednesday morning at 3:30 when the guards brought us breakfast. Although the food was a disgusting and often unrecognizable plate of eggs, toast, and potatoes, we ate it gratefully, as we had not eaten since the morning before. Later on that morning the guards came in and ordered eight of the 18 of us to line up, and prepare to be moved. In response we informed them that we would not be split up, and then proceeded to sit down on the floor of the cell and lock arms. We began to chant "Solidarity!", "We want to stay together!" and "We want to see our lawyer!" The police then told us that if the eight people called did not come to the cell door, then they would come and physically remove them. The feeling in the room was tense. Civil Disobedience is always an intense experience, but even more so in jail, where the police are in complete control, and can do whatever they want without being witnessed. However, after a little bit more thought, the police told us all to line up, and that all of us would be moved together to share a new cell. Although some argued that we should stay, and that the police were lying, we all followed their orders out of fear. The police then took us down the hall, and sure enough, they were lying, putting us all in separate cells.

I was put into a 10 by 15 cell with four beds and two other people in it. One of them was an older African American man in for possession of crack cocaine, and the other was a young Hispanic man in for robbery. Both of them were extremely kind to me, occasionally making friendly jokes about the protests, but also reassuring me that I would soon be out, due to the illegal nature of the arrest. Wednesday was a very long day, and since all of my possessions had been taken there was nothing to do but sleep, eat the disgusting prison food, call my parents, and watch television. We were also able to hear the shouts and chants of the massive anti-prison rally taking place right outside, and we were thrilled to know that there were thousands of people on the other side of the walls, demanding an end to the institutions that were responsible for our present situation. The news was on all day, and I saw a report about a violent animal rights protest at which the police had made arrests. This experience really brought home the manipulative nature of the corporate media. Its one thing to read Noam Chomskys writing on how the media lies, but its quite another to have been part of a completely nonviolent action, and then see yourself on television being described as violent.

Shortly after dinner, at about 7:00 p.m. shouts began to circulate around the hallway that 18 of us were going to be released. Full of hope and excitement, I waited. Soon an officer came to my cell, called my name, and told me I was being released. Another comrade and myself were put in handcuffs and taken downstairs, where our belongings were returned to us and we were released. Filled with relief and jubilation we walked out of Parker Center into the fresh Los Angeles evening. Lawyers from Midnight Special were waiting outside for us, where we filled out forms about ourselves and our arrest, so that Midnight Special could follow up on what happened, publicize the repression unleashed upon our group, and hopefully organize a lawsuit against LAPD for illegal arrest. Then several of us walked together down to Pershing Square to catch the end of an anti-police brutality rally, and carry on the struggle.

We were arrested not because we had done anything wrong, but because the police viewed us as a threat. Although we were completely nonviolent, we were arrested nonetheless, because we were a potentially violent and destructive force. (And, it was this that was illegal! One cant be arrested out of fear of what one might do. The U. S. Constitution guarantees this right to us, and, in fact, a judge had already ruled against the city in its wanting to stop protests and marches out of possibility of violence. Prior restraint is against the law. The city authorities knew this up front, but it didnt stop them from arresting us anyway.) Our group of anarchists, punks, and animal liberationists had all of the power, energy, anger, commitment, and militancy to cause serious damage, if that is what we had felt was appropriate. We did not, but the choice to be nonviolent was our choice, and at any time we could have become destructive, had we wanted to. It was this fact, that we had the power that threatened the L.A.P.D. and made them react by surrounding our tiny group with hundreds of cops and arresting us without any warning or dispersal order.

It is also interesting that of all of the activists arrested during the week, ours was the only one charged with felonies. While other people had purposefully broken unjust laws to make a statement and were charged with infractions and misdemeanors, our group broke no absolutely no laws and it was we who were charged with felonies. I believe that the primary reason for this was our uncompromising militancy and the presence of black bloc anarchists in our group. It was the fact that we were ready to tear the whole system down, and our potential to unleash revolutionary destructive power that made them so scared, leading to such a fascistic arrest, and the attempt to frame us on felony charges.

As with all of the repressive police actions in L.A., Philadelphia, Washington DC, and Seattle, this was another clear example of the police trying to intimidate us, and show that they were in charge. They acted with such intensity in their repression, because we were a threat to their maintained order, unlike the legal marches, which went where, when, and how the police told them to. Resistance leads to repression, but repression leads to even more resistance, and it is a cycle that either dies down, or ends in the overthrow of the repressive system, its institutions, and values. Our arrest led people to resist even more, and in the end the police were forced to release us because they were called on their shit, and they were unable to get away with such blatantly illegal repressive actions.
Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments


Local News

Woolsey Fire: Worst News of 2018? J01 12:18AM

Oppose Environmentally-Harmful Development D10 4:03AM

Oppose Environmentally-Harmful Development D10 3:58AM

OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center Presents Night for Hope O30 5:38PM

Marshall Tuck’s racist dog whistle O27 5:01AM

Marshall Tuck’s ethnocentrism contradicts Californian values O27 4:32AM

Contra Costa-Hawkins O25 3:48AM

Debunking Some Anti-Prop 10 Propaganda O12 6:56AM

Why Should California Choose De Leon Over Feinstein? O10 9:55PM

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

FAKE NEWS J19 2:31PM

MACROTHSCHILD.2 J19 11:03AM

Judge Delays Ruling on Puerto Rico Debt Deal White House Opposes Island's Food Assistance J18 6:04PM

BATACLOWNS J18 9:28AM

FALSAS VICTIMAS J18 9:22AM

Paraphysique de proxémie guerrière J18 7:59AM

MACROTHSCHILD J17 9:38PM

FARCELONA 8.17.2017 J17 3:23PM

DEAD MAN LIVING J17 10:46AM

DIARY OF A CON MAN J16 10:40PM

PR Debt Cancel, Judge Reviews Cofina Debt J16 9:04PM

Réseautage, fragmentation du capital J16 4:20PM

Paraphysique de manipulation mentale et sociale J15 9:51AM

The Global Justice Project and Human Survival: We're Badly Off Track J15 5:08AM

The Global Justice Project and Human Survival: We're Badly Off Track J15 5:08AM

The Global Justice Project and Human Survival: We're Badly Off Track J15 5:08AM

Markets as a Fetish, Globalization, and Dissent Management J14 1:03PM

State Debts - The Primal German Fear J13 5:09PM

Sans liberté, sans égalité, sans fraternité J13 8:09AM

From Progressive Neoliberalism to Trump - and Beyond J12 9:22PM

Copper Cures Cancer J11 1:42PM

Steven Taylor, Investor who Evicts J11 9:24AM

Du sectarisme, des sectes, des clans J11 8:10AM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen J10 6:34PM

Patrick Kilpatrick discusses and signs Dying for Living J09 11:51PM

SexActs vs Sexuality USA 2018 Invitations to Power Marriages without Affection J09 8:36PM

Changer de mentalité, changer de société J09 9:17AM

Teacher Strike? Time for Labor Studies J09 6:26AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy