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Jail Time In Sacto

a REALLY dry and somewhat incomplete account of my weekend in sacto, including my arrest and jailtime. please send any pics or vids of my arrest! i was the bald legal observer arrested at 15th and J on Sunday afternoon at 2:30.
Warning: this is a really dry account of my
weekend at the protests in Sacto, my arrest, my
jailtime, etc. It is also not entirely
complete, as there was always a lot going on,
and I was sleep deprived in the later stages. I
had to write it up for my own sake and for the
Legal Office, but figured I'd throw it on here
as well. I apologise for it not having more pep,
but I don't really have the time or energy to be
amusing right now.

Saturday was fantastic. There was an all day
teach-in at a local college. Great speakers
from all over the world talked about why we
shouldn't support the Bush Administration's
efforts to promote (1) free trade in the food
industries, (2) genetically engineered foods,
and (3) irradiated foods. More info on this in
my next issue of "Did You Know." (to suscribe
to "Did You Know?" email  skr213@hotmail.com
with "subscribe Did You Know?" in the header
or body)

Sunday was a bit different. There was a large
gathering planned for the afternoon, after which
a number of groups planned various direct
actions and protests. I was there on behalf of
the National Lawyers Guild as a "Legal
Observer." So, technically, I was not a
participant in the protests, but was supposed to
document all police reaction. This means
getting their names, badge numbers, and
recording their every move to the extent
possible. I was clearly marked as a legal
observer both with the official green armband
that says "Legal Observer" and has the National
Lawyers Guild emblem on it, as well as having a
LARGE white patch on my bag that says in bold
black lettering "LEGAL OBSERVER."

As people gathered in the park, it became
obvious that police reaction was going to be
strong. More than 50 cops in riot gear poured
out of a building across the street as a Black
Bloc group arrived. Soon after, everyone in the
park took to the streets. Different groups went
in different directions to shut down as much of
the area around the Convention Center as
possible in order to block Ag Conference
participants from gaining entry to the facility
and the accompanying Hotel. The groups came
together and spread apart as each randomly
roamed the area and went about some of their pre-
planned actions. Small temporary blockades had
also appeared. Dumpsters were out in streets
and chain- link fence was brought out into the
street to blockade. Ironic, given that the
fence had been put there to keep the protesters
out! Police response got more pronounced as the
time passed. Eventually they started forming
riot lines across streets and slowly marching up
it to clear the road. Lines of police with guns
out also appeared. They had rows of tear gas,
rubber bullets, and stun grenades on them as
well. I had still seen no arrests at this
point.

As one riot line moved up 15th Street, an
armored assault truck came up behind it. The
police apparently had invested in some military
gear. The top of the vehicle opened and a large
shield raised up, with a slot in it. Then a cop
with a tear gas gun appeared and rested the gun
in the slot. I put my gas mask on my head as a
precaution if tear gas was used. It did not
cover my face except for when I first put it on
to adjust the straps. It then was propped up on
my head, like a hat. A minute later, I turned
my back as I stepped off the sidewalk, onto some
grass to get away from the action.

Suddenly I was jerked backward and both arms
were tweaked behind my back with pain pressure
points used on each wrist. I managed to drop my
camera and notebook, so the cops wouldn't be
able to confiscate the information I had
gathered (as I hoped, another legal observer was
able to grab them and get them back to the legal
office). I yelled "I am a legal observer. I am
not a participant in the demonstration," and "I
am not resisting." I was brought quickly back
behind their line and cuffed, thrown into a van
and searched. As I waited there, another guy
was arrested and brought back (aka Yogi Bear).
Then a female (aka Osgood). Then another male
(aka Rasberrry). Then another older female (no
alias given). Each was picked off in the
same "snatch and grab" style that I had been a
victim of. Osgood was put in "pain compliance"
holds long after she was in cuffs and not
resisting in any way. I later also noticed that
her cuffs were extremely tight. Her arresting
officer was Huffington. He seemed to get
pleasure from her cries of pain. Also, the
older female had her back injured during
her arrest, but was not given medical attention.

After a ridiculously long time for photos and
paper work, we were all put into a van to be
brought to the jail. Even the arresting
officers were complaining that it was taking a
long time - something that cracked me up to no
end. "Ohhh, are the poor cops tired and hot?
Ohhhh, poor thing." Also, Lt. Sheille showed
up, who I had dealt with earlier in the day as a
Legal Observer while the police towed
the "Veterans for Peace" bus because they didn't
have a Class B driver. I asked him to let me
go "for old time's sake." Oddly enough, it
didn't work.

After we were all loaded into the van, we made
another stop and another female was loaded in.
She had a nylon mesh hood over her head. We
could see through it, and she could breath, but
I couldn't figure out why they would put that on
her. Finally, I asked. She said calmly "so I'd
stop spitting." I laughed so hard. This
tiny beautiful woman wouldn't stop
spitting on the officers who were arresting
her. I think I love her. :-)

We were driven to a police station and loaded
into a large school bus converted into a police
vehicle with locked compartments, etc. We were
left there for approximately a half hour. At
this point it had probably been about an hour-
and-a-half since our arrests, and they had given
us no water. I asked for water and was told
we'd get some "in a while." About 10 minutes
later, I asked again. The officer told
me "you'll get water when I say so."

Finally, we were loaded back off the bus and
into another van. We were each given one sip of
water. We were then driven out of Sacramento
about 25 miles to a facility called "RCCC" which
was a women's low security prison in Elk Grove
that had been converted specially for the
protesters. We were temporarily placed in small
holding cells. On the men's side, Rasberry,
Yogi and I danced, sang round-songs and just
goofed a bit to amuse ourselves, amuse the girls
in the next little cell, and show the cops that
they couldn't get our spirits down. Then we
were taken out and thumb prints were taken while
we were still in cuffs. Those wanting to
practice jail solidarity (refuse fingerprinting
and giving a name) were forced to give the thumb
print by pain compliance. Then we were brought
before a nurse where they asked for all the info
that we either (a) had already given, or (b) had
already refused to give. My cuffs were cut off
and my blood pressure was taken.

Finally we were brought to two large holding
cells, with the men in one and the women in the
other. We could see the women if we went to the
front of our cell, and the women went to the
front of their side. We could also yell to each
other if we put our ear to the glass and yelled
REALLY loud. Yogi Bear led us (the men) in some
yoga to loosen us up after having been in cuffs
for a couple of hours. We then did dramatic
readings from the Bible (the only book in there,
of course). Finally another busload came in and
each person trickled in one by one following
their medical. We each called the Legal line.
We all did a great job of amusing each other,
keeping our spirits up. Goblin and I did strip
teases through the windows (I love you
Goblin, you little hottie!!).

The jailers brought us oranges, milk, and
bologna sandwiches. We refused the sandwiches
and demanded vegetarian food. They told us
there were no facilities for vegetarian food
(lies), and if we didn't eat those sandwiches
our only option was just eating the bread. One
person told them that he was a Seventh Day
Adventist, and as such required only vegetarian
food. Finally, they brought us what they called
peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches, but looked
like lumps of stuff that vaguely resembled what
peanut butter and jelly might look like if you
put it in a blender and then made patties to put
on bread. I don't know what they were, but it
didn't seem like meat, so we ate them.

The legal hotline had told us that two lawyers
were trying to get in to see us, but we hadn't
been allowed to meet with them yet. We demanded
to see them, and eventually they were brought in
and we were allowed to see them both as a
group. As they were leaving they told us that
the police weren't letting them see the women
because they hadn't asked for their lawyers. I
knew this wasn't true because I had seen two ask
for their lawyers during the course of their
arrest. When the officer opened the door again,
I told them they had to let the women see the
attorneys. He said only one was being allowed
to see them because she was the only one who had
asked. I told him that was a lie because I had
seen two ask for their lawyer. Finally, the
women started chanting for their lawyers. So we
all started chanting "THEY WANT TO SEE THEIR
LAWYER!" and banging on the windows. This
finally got the attention of the police. At the
time, they were trying to take fingerprints.
For those not partaking in jail solidarity, we
were doing it willingly. But when we found out
the women weren't being allowed to see the
lawyers, I told them "no one is coming out again
until the women see their lawyers."

Finally, the lawyers were brought back in to see
the women. So I was up next for
fingerprinting. I went out and did it since our
demands for cooperation had been met. Then
they started to lead me in a different direction
and said something about more processing. I was
led through a door and asked "am I being
separated from the rest?" One of our demands
for cooperation was that none would be singled
out, and that we'd all be treated equally. Now,
here I was being led down a hallway into the
solitary confinement unit. Unfortunately, I
didn't realize what was going on until I was
already outside of the view of everyone else.
Of course, they lied to the rest of the people
and told them I was being released. They
believed it because I was a lawyer and had told
them that I needed to get out as soon as
possible because I had something due for work
Monday morning. So they figured I was just
getting out.

I was placed in solitary at 12:02 a.m. Monday
morning. I was told I was being put there
because I was "riling up the others." Their
real reason was clear - I was an attorney and
was a threat to their lies and illegal tactics.
Fortunately, they were videotaping the whole
thing and I got the officer in charge to agree
to allow the lawyer to come in when he was done
seeing the women. That way at least someone
knew I had been placed in solitary. An hour
later, I heard a commotion. It turned out the
cops were trying to separate one of the women
(aka Red Red) and take her to a different jail
to be charged with a felony. Everyone went nuts
and started banging on windows and chanting.
Finally, the police drew guns and moved into the
cell. The men locked arms to resist. Finally,
they were separated and all brought back into
the solitary confinement hall. (Sorry for the
incomplete report, but I don't know what
happened to the women from this point on -
but as I understand it the cops were extremely
violent at this point with the women). As the men
were brought in, I put my face up to my
window (only about 5 inches by 5 inches) to let
them see I was there. It was somewhat amusing
to see the surprise on some of their faces.
Everyone then started yelling at the top of
their lungs and banging on their doors and walls
to protest their treatment. Eventually things
calmed down a bit, with only a couple of people
continuing their action. We all "ommmmed" for a
while, too. I was trying, unsuccessfully, to
get some sleep. The bright lights and hard
mattress weren't helping. About an hour later,
they started letting everyone back out of
solitary. As they were doing that, I heard a
cop say "he stays" as they walked by my cell.

Once everyone else was gone (as far as I could
tell), I asked why I was being kept. The
officer asked if I had given my name (I never
had a chance NOT to give my name because I had
all my ID on me when I was arrested - again, I
was there as an observer and not expecting to be
arrested). So I told him, yes, they had all my
information. Finally, about ten minutes later I
was led back out to the large holding cell.
Only this time the men were in the cell the
women had been in, and the lights were out in
the other cell. (It later turned out that 6
more men had been placed in that cell, and the
women had been taken somewhere else). An
officer came in and told us we were being
released, except for two who hadn't given their
info. I was not comfortable with leaving just
two people behind, but luckily some others said
they'd stay behind (by refusing to sign the
release). I was still unsure, but then one of
the guys who was staying behind told me to sign
it and get out of there. They all knew my
situation and that I was actually supposed to be
back in SF for work by Monday morning. As it
turned out I still wasn't able to get there
because we couldn't pick up our belongings until
noon Monday.

So we were loaded into a van and dropped off at
some gas station on the edge of town, where
luckily someone from the legal office arranged
to pick us up. It was freezing and we had to
wait about an hour. When the car arrived, it
was a little hybrid car. We weren't going to
leave anyone behind, so all ten of us there
loaded into the car! Hey, we were all close
(figuratively) at this point, so why not be close
literally too? Unfortunately, I didn't
have anything with me - no keys. So I couldn't
get back into the house where I was staying,
couldn't get into my truck, and couldn't even
unlock my bicycle which was still downtown near
the park where everything had begun almost 24
hours earlier. So luckily, I was able to get a
place to go with someone else for a couple of
hours until we could pick up our belongings. I
still couldn't sleep though. It had been too
long, and I had been too jacked up for all that
time.

Finally, we got our stuff and I was able avoid
anymore cops and get out of town. My boss
handled the whole thing very well, considering I
was supposed to have a brief on his desk first
thing Monday morning!

I'd really like to thank (1) all those who were
in with me - for all the sh*t we went through,
it was only made bearable because of all of them
and our ability to keep a sense of humor most of
the time, and (2) the legal team that helped us
all, depriving themselves of sleep in the
process no doubt. I'd also like to offer my apology
to everyone who was practicing complete jail
solidarity. I'd like to think I did what I could given my
circumstances, but I know I could have also done
more.

I know this is a really dry account of events, but
it's all I have the energy for right now. Sorry.
time correction 25.Jun.2003 10:40

stephen

sorry, my arrest was at 4:30 - not 2:30 as i wrote above.

Not Dry... 25.Jun.2003 10:49

Varro

....an excellent account.

I hope you sue the shit out of the police department and everyone involved. I'm certainly on your side against these acts of police terrorism.