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Update - Riverside Occupy encampment broken broken up

by Kevin Akin Tuesday, Nov. 08, 2011 at 3:21 PM

This is an update of an earlier e-mail.

I visited the Occupy Riverside camp on the mall, and also visited the Presley Center (jail) where six people were outside, waiting for the release of those jailed.

There were 61 people at the camp on the mall when I arrived around 8:50 pm, including Linda and Michael Dunn, and Elizabeth Ayala. We had a good talk with some of the Occupy folks. Apparently there were "only" 11 arrested, though this may not be quite correct. (It comes from the police, through a news report on Channel 2.) There is no doubt that some people were injured by the police, and that some police (with Sheriff assistance) acted improperly, with unwarranted violence. Videos are now available on the internet, and the Dunns watched two of them before coming down. I saw some on Channel 2 on the 11 pm news.

The ostensible reason for the attack was that protesters left some tents up (during a rainstorm) during hours when they had struck the tents on previous (dry) days. However, the presence of Sheriff deputies in the group that attacked the camp shows that this was a planned attack, not a quick response to something that happened. The usual police patrol by the camp is of two officers. A very much larger group was involved this afternoon, including many dressed in riot gear, and some who were described as "swat team" members. This must have been approved at a high level in the city administration (unless the Police Chief is an idiot, something that should not be ruled out without evidence).

I would suggest that anyone who personally knows a high-up city official, including any member of the city council, communicate their displeasure to them. It would be best to watch some of the videos, so that you can say "I watched the videos, I saw what happened, you should watch them too." The report on Channel 2 tonight was pretty good, although it had the tents in the middle of Main Street, neglecting to mention that Main Street is a pedestrian mall at that point.

Anyone who does not know a member of the city council should get acquainted. And there is a city council meeting on Tuesday - some of the Occupy folks will be there, and it would be best if some older respectable-looking folks are there to support them. (Respectable-looking in the eyes of council members, who seem unconcerned about the opinions of younger folks.)

I also talked with the people in front of the jail. The most-injured young woman will be taken for an immediate medical exam when she gets out, I was assured. This will be good for documentation as well as her own welfare. Her husband was quite concerned. I was told that a lawyer is already lined up to take the case. All those arrested were still in custody five hours after the arrests, which concerns me.

Depending on police behavior in the near future, there may be additional things we can do. But right now, expressing support, getting in touch with city officials, and considering attending the council meeting on Tuesday would be my recommendations. I am sure we will hear more tomorrow. -Kevin

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