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Eye Witness: COPS FEAR ART!

by Sunny Teigh Tuesday, Mar. 25, 2003 at 11:56 AM
sunnyteigh@yahoo.com Westwood

An account of my experience of the protests at Hollywood and Vine on Saturday March 22 and the arrest I endured there after.

I'm not going to give a blow by blow account, as there have been many articles on this day thus far. I was involved in the breakaway march from the cnn building because the cops had caged us in, far from the traffic and the tourists and far from anyone who didn't already share our views and beliefs. We had to show that we were serious about letting people know this world is wrong. So when we got to Hollywood and Vine we just sat down. If more people had stayed and not been scared off by the lawyers guild, the may not have arrested us. What's going on in San Francisco, with thousands arrested every day, is not the norm. All of us cooperated with the arrests and there were only a few people who were not released later that night, not having to post bail and with a court date. They held us for about 6 hours. The main outrage I have over my arrest is that I was stripped of my artistic gains from the protest. I bought a graphic novel, illustrated history, whatever you'd like to call it, entitled Addicted to War with the last five dollars i had in the world. This the cops took as I was sitting waiting to be arrested and threw to the ground behind them, claiming i couldn't have it on the bus with me (with my hands plastic cuffed behind my back? what'd they expect me to do, turn the pages with my tongue?). It wasn't bagged and labeled as my property, it was merely thrown down with water bottles and whatever else the police decided to be dicks about, I knew i wasn't getting it back. I brought it up then that it was mine, i payed for it, and i better get it back, with no real response, and later on I mentioned it to a officer who was much too nice to tell us the truth about anything. The funny part here is that in my bag there was also a swiss army knife attached to my key chain, which had i wanted to cause more trouble for myself, i could have used to liberate me and my comrades of our plastic cuffs. The LAPD was more afraid of a book than a knife. I am a photographer and had my standard twice-as-old-as-me fully manual canon with me and I'd been taking pictures at the protest earlier, before we even began the breakaway march. When I was going through my belongings at my release to verify they were all there I was upset to see the back of my camera ajar, meaning all the pictures i'd shot had been exposed and therefore ruined. They were really mostly shots of the brave little children in the march and only a few of the cops. Nothing incriminating to them, only uplifting to me.

So, IF YOU DECIDE TO COMMIT CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE, GIVE YOUR CAMERA OR FILM TO A FRIEND WHO ISN'T GETTING ARRESTED OR AT LEAST REWIND THE ROLL SO IT'S ALL IN THE CANISTER AND SAFE FROM THE LIGHT! DON'T LET THE COPS DESTROY YOUR ART!

LAPD has taught me that the pen is more dangerous than the knife and that art is something to be feared.

For my non-war related work feel free to visit http://www.fotw.com/sunnybasham/

For the book that the LAPD didn't want me to read please visit http://www.addictedtowar.com

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