First of all, if anybody has video or pics, you donít need to blur out my face or change my identity...but seriously when did I get such epic manboobs...omg I look fat in those pics. I need to start running again.
SOOO here is what happened. I got to the picket a little before 12pm. The four anon there told me what was shaking and also told me that the officer wasn't letting us picket the other side of the street, I called bullshit. So wereanon and I went ahead and crossed LEGALLY at the crosswalk and walked down to the Org. As soon as we were in front of the building the officer approached us, I greeted him and he asked us what we were doing, and in short I told him were going to picket. He said no and I asked why and received the pretty juvenile response of "because you can't". Honestly, it sounds like when I tell my kids they canít have any more candy. I told him that unless I was breaking the law, that I wasn't going anywhere. He then told wereanon and me that if we didnít go back across we would be arrested. Wereanon decide it might be best to scoot at that point. But I still wasn't going anywhere until I was told how I was breaking the law, he told me that he was "keeping the peace" and I told him that over the last year and a half the only problems that we have had have been from the cops, and that we have been ASKED to stay on the other side of the road, but we were well within our right to be there. So then he asks for my ID to see if ANYTHING he can arrest me for (outstanding tickets, warrants and what not), ask me if I had ever been "locked up" before, which is a yes (I guess that was meant to scare me but hey, I am mostly black and from east saint louis) and then tells me to cross the street again, and again I say that unless he can tell me how I am breaking the law, then I am not going anywhere. This time he says that I am "not compliant with his request", which I quickly discount and say "ok, is that it?" The station calls back and tells him I have no warrants and then he tells me again to cross the street. I say no and he tells me to drop the sign because I am under arrest. He rattles off the bullshit "crimesĒ I was charged with and they WERE "failure to comply and impeding the flow of traffic" and then I LOL'd a little and asked how I was impeding the flow of traffic? His response was that my sign was impeding the flow of traffic. I was quick to point out that there were four other guys across the street with signs and to that I received no response. So I was promptly v& and then whisked away to the Police Department.
As I was being booked they told me I was only charged with "impeding the flow of traffic". So I spent the rest of the day and the night in city holding, explaining to the real criminals exactly what I was arrested for to which they lol'd, and the general consensus was that they needed to make an example of someone, which I absolutely agree with. I ate a Danish off the floor (it was still wrapped up, but I donít know why it was on the floor...oh well, I am still alive), which in hind sight was maybe a bad idea, but I hadnít eaten all day and it was a Danish. My bond was $100 which I could have paid, if they could have processed a debit card OR told one of the Anon's that they could come over, pick up my card, gone to an ATM and then bailed me out, but the police were too busy "doing the right thing". I called my fiancť a told her that I would be out in the morning, we both lol'd about it the whole thing and I went and took a long nap (periodically interrupted by the everyone else stating that they shouldnít be there for their DUI's, outstanding tickets, wife beatery). So it turns into 7am and they let me go.
So what happens now?
I have two things pending at this point. The first obviously being my court date, which is set for July 15th at 6PM at the UC court house. the second thing being that they still have my Camera and laptop and have given me no explanation to why I canít have it back, just that I needed to call Detective Beckins about it tomorrow. Of course I can swing a day or two without them...but after that it starts to be a problem. I am a photographer, and losing my laptop and camera is like losing my business, and the more time without them means lost revenue. I can deal with 20 hours in jail; I can't deal with having my business unjustly seized. I am assuming that they put it into seized property for protection, after all the dollar amount on everything is about $2700, but if anything is being held as evidence then I WILL have a lawyer by Tuesday and I will file a lawsuit against the city by Wednesday (lawyers love unlawful search and seizure cases for minor violations).
so I guess my question is this strong arm enforcement of the law, folding to the COS, or general cop assholishness? I tend to go for the assholishness theory.
This could have been dealt with differently and much more maturely then this. I the last year and a half of protesting cops have always given us time on the org side of the street, and I have even had it out with them about it, but never had to go back over, I even thought one of the purposes of their presence was to make sure we didnít was to keep us off of their property, not to control our methods of getting our message across. And seriously, didn't we all assume that I was going to be the first to get arrested for SOMETHING. I know I have pushed it before, but never did I think I would be arrested for "Slowing" (the opposite of speeding or "impeding the flow of traffic"). And yes, I would do it again.