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My Jail Experience In Sacto

I was one of many people arrested yesterday. My offense? Covering my face in public, an act made illegal in Sacramento a week ago. I'm not entirely sure as to why I was singled out, as I was walking on the sidewalk and walking in the direction the cops had ordered. Also I was wearing my IMC Press pass and a medic bag. This was in front of the IMAX just as the call went over police intercoms that the delegates were soon to arrive. The police ran up and grabbed me from behind, wrenching my arms behind my back using pain compliance which was completely unnecessary as I was too surprised to resist. An inexperienced officer was assigned to apply the zipties while another officer explained how to do it. I felt a sharp pain in my wrist as the officer exclaimed,"Whoa! That's too tight! Well, we'll fix it later." My hands swelled up and turned purple and started to go numb as they went through the paper work and attempts to take my picture. I kept my head down and my eyes closed to prevent them from getting a useful picture. I was searched by a male officer with female officers standing nearby. I clearly stated that I did not consent to a search to which the pig replied,"Welcome to the state of California!". Myself along with the other arrestees were loaded onto the bus. The pain from the cuffs was unbarable. The others on the bus could see my discomfort and chanted until the cops finally "remembered" to change my cuffs. This would prove to be the least painful of my jail experience. least painful of my jail experience.
least painful of my jail experience.

The bus ride (minus the cuffs) wasn't so bad. We all sang songs of solidarity and cracked jokes to keep our spirits high. We were escorted into the jail and one of the womyn was claustrophobic and started to hyperventilate. Despite our plees that she be booked first to get her out of the small room we were contained in, the police took her last. We were all forced to take mugshots. So we all made funny distorted faces and refused to hold our heads up without very forced assistance. Then we were lead to a large holding room. We called legal immediately and told them of our situation. Then we were told we could go see our lawyers individually or not at all. We were very sketched out about being separated because they had already played a few tricks on us with that. So we demanded to see them as a group. We began chanting and banging on the glass. This caught the attention of the guys(they were in a holding room next to us), so they started angrily shouting and banging on the glass. Finally the guards gave in to our demands. We decided that we would not give our names or allow our finger prints to be taken. There was three womyn who had fully cooperated and given all information even social security number that had gone before us to see the lawyer and we found out later that they were only moved to solitairy confinement and then another room and not permited to see the lawyers. They were told that we had refused to see the lawyers, so they left. Just minutes after the lawyers left the situation became much more serious. Several guards with gloves on(gloves means they plan to manhandle someone) came in and anounced to one of the womyn that her charges had been upgraded to a more serious offense. We protested that she see the lawyers again and we formed a softlock around her. We were very painfully torn from her. I was knocked into a bed with my arm twisted very tightly behind my back. The womyn went limp to nonviolently resist. The pigz wrenched her arm behind her back and then jerked it violently and that's when we heard a crack. She screamed in pain. I'm very concerned that she may have sustained a serious injury as a result of this assault. They took her away pulling on this very possibly injured limb. Her screams(as well as ours) alerted the guys that something was very wrong. They again began shouting and banging on the glass. The guards responded by pulling out rubber bullet guns. They stood pointing the guns at them for nearly two hours. When all of this happened the phones were shut off and we were not allowed to contact legal to notify them of the changes. After this point we were constantly harrassed by the guards. They were trying everything they could think of to get us to cave and reveal our identity. They came in every 20 minutes and asked us if we were ready to give our finger prints. They kept telling us that we would get out faster if we complied. We refused every time. We were joined by folks from the garden action. We were releived to have more numbers on our side(though not happy to see our comrades imprisoned). We were soon cuffed up and moved too another room where we discovered the truth about what the others had endured for complying. Basically they were lied to and used as tools to trick the rest of us into giving our info. They put us in the same room with them only after it was made quite clear that we would not comply and our communication with the guys had proved troublesome for them. It was made quite clear that sleep deprivation was being used to wear us down. They used the extremely bright light in the room(intensified by the very white walls), the heat was turned on and it was quite hot, and they continued the harassment every 20 minutes. The womyn from the gardening action had not been allowed to contact legal so we put up a bit of a fuss about that until they finally brought a phone for them to use. I used the phone to update legal on our situation. When I reported the police abuses an officer came up and confiscated the phone. We made plans to not allow anyone to be removed from the room without their consent using softlocks. They kept coming into the room with gloves on threatening to force us to give our finger prints. They told us that we would not leave without giving them prints and names. We locked down and told them firmly that we would not comply. They pointed to me and another womyn who was with me from the start. We were tangled together tight. The police started trying to pull us apart and we held tight. They began to use the pain compliance again, using the arm twisting and choke holds. Out of breath I released for only a second in which I was violently torn from the group. My wrists were grabbed and twisted. They proceeded to drag me across the floor by my twisted wrists. They then kicked me over onto my stomach and shoved a very fat and heavy knee into my back causing bruises in the shape of my bra straps. They cuffed me very tightly again and twisted and jarred upward my wrists to the point where I was sure if I didn't stand up as they wanted my wrists would break. Even as I stood and walked they held my wrists twisted very tight and said, "why are you resisting? We're releasing you." Considering they had just told me we were going to be forced to give finger prints and after knowing what being "released" had meant for the others, we just couldn't believe them. We were violently escorted to a van and driven to the middle of nowhere and dropped off in a vacant shopping mall lot. The police used many tactics to try to keep us confused, disoriented, and disempowered. We were made to feel like nothing in our situation could be predictable. The people who were compliant got out no sooner than we did and were stripped of many of their rights. Jail solidarity seems to be the best way to survive this situation. It seems that they released us to get rid of us because we were so much trouble to deal with. Also it helps you to stay strong and not socumb to their tactics. I was released without charges, without giving my name, and without giving my fingerprints. They did not even have a useful mugshot to show for it. I have many bruises all over my body but I have protected my rights to freedom of speech and anonymity.

I'm so sorry... 25.Jun.2003 00:21

just me.

for what happened to you. I have never heard a story so troubling, and I can't even imagine what the ordeal must have felt like to you and the comrades. You are a brave brave woman. Thank you so much for what you are doing for the world. I am so sorry you have to suffer to do it.


More power to you 28.Mar.2006 21:44

D dissolvd@hotmail.com

I was just released from the Sacramento County Jail today after being detained for the night on DUI charges (i tested .02 over the legal limit). I can personally relate to the dispicable treatment of prisoners in the Sac county municipal system. We are never told anything about our situation, we are consisently belittled and denied information, and all around denied any sort of dignity whatsoever. I was detained for 12 hours during which I was forced to sleep on cold cement (I spent most of my stay in the "drunk tank" despite the fact that my blood alcohol content at the time was about .08, which is the legal limit), was never offered a meal, and most of my questions to the officers were answered in a belittling, sarcastic manner. When I notified an officer that I hadn't eaten in the 12 or so hours I had been detained, he smugly replied "criminal life is a bitch, isn't it?" and walked away. The sickest part about the experience was the amount of enjoyment most of the officers seemed to derive from the harsh treatment of their prisoners. While waiting for hours on end in the release tank; a filthy, cold cement room, I could clearly see several officers hanging out, chatting, laughing, doing absolutely nothing to encourage a professional, efficient environment. Two of my requests for food were utterly ignored, as well as a request to have access to my contact lens drops because the lens' had been in my eyes for some 20 hours and were becoming extremely dry and irritable. It seems that the officers don't understand that it is the taxes of the every day citizen that pays their salaries. All in all, it was a miserable experience, and while I understand that jail is not suppose to be a walk in the park, the utter lack of dignity with which we were treated was simply wrong on the most fundamental levels. Just thought I'd share my little story with you. Hope you've recovered from the physical abuse these insecure, power hungry cretins inflicted upon you.