Communique from Joaquin (LA RAC) - Anything We Do is a Threat to the System
Account of the Police Raid on Sunday Nov. 16, 2008
by Joaquin Cienfuegos
"It's a war between city blocks and cops." -Psycho Realm
I was released on Tuesday November 18th after spending about 3 days in
police custody for "resisting/obstructing police." First I want to start
by apologizing, because I feel like the police caught us off guard on
Sunday November 16, and I personally could have been more prepared or
should not have put myself in that type of situation. This political
repression was made clear to me when the arresting officers were cracking
jokes to the "watch commander" about how thy had "shut down an anarchist
The event was a fundraiser for the first ever Los Angeles Anarchist
Bookfair (www. anarchistbookfair. com), the Revolutionary Autonomous
Communities' Defense Fund, and to support a traveling revolutionary hip
hop group from New York called the X-Vandals, held at a warehouse space
collectively rented out to artists from Los Angeles. Part of the problem
is that this space is isolated in an industrial part of the city with no
traffic, so it made it is easy for the police to surround us there. Their
intentions were clear, they wanted to shut down the event, and according
to several accounts, it seemed like they had specific targets for arrest.
Their main excuse was that some youth allegedly stole beer from a liqour
store, but they were also asking people to show them proof that we weren't
"trespassing." They were also saying that they needed to go in because
they "smelled something.
The police had been patroling and watching the event. People say they
thought there might have been undercover police there as well. I was
walking outside to talk to some of the artists who needed directions and I
was waiting for some sound equipment. Inside we had a DJ spinning some hip
hop, but we hadn't even started the show. The police pulled up and ask me
to go talk to them. People who were outside were walking into the show.
The police asked to speak to the person in charge of the event, I walk in
to find someone to talk to them. I was telling someone to find one of the
people in charge of the space when the police kick the door open and tell
me to go over to them, they then grabbed me and pull me to the outside.
They try to push my head into some steel bars outside while they put
handcuffs on me, but I held my head back, so I wouldn't get my head
smashed. At this point there were over 10 cop cars filling 6th street, and
a helicopter circleling the warehouse, which included more than 15 cops
(high ranking officers as well).
Someone talked to the police from behind the door. People stuck out some
cameras from the doorway to film my wrongful arrest and detention. While
the arresting officers Cervantes and Cho were yelling at me and putting
their hands into my pockets, I told them I did not consent to my pockets
being searched. Cho (39259) told me I didn't have a choice, and that they
didn't need a warrant to go into the warehouse, that we were trespassing.
They draw their guns and grabbed one of my comrades who was filming, and
continue to try to push the door to the warehouse open. They told me I was
being arrested bor 148 (A) (1) PC Resisting/Obstructing a Police
Investigation. One of the arresting officers, Cervantes was upset because
I was letting them know that they were breaking an entry and told me that
we didn't know the law, and pushed me into a police car.
The Black Riders Liberation Party came out from inside along with other
people who just wanted to leave the scene, and told the police that they
did not do anything and that they wanted to leave. The police then put
handcuffs on Comrades Nadia and Kambui and started to put everyone from
inside the warehouse onto the wall. They also spotted two people on the
rooftop of the warehouse and arrested them as well, along with Nadia,
Kambui, Ulises from Los Angeles Food Not Bombs who tried talking to the
police about the space, and one young person who was id'd for allegedly
stealing some beer from a liqour store.
We were taken to Central Division on 6th and Wall in Downtown L.A., where
we were booked, and taken to Parker Center. The white artists bailed out
that same night. My main concerns were the Riders who I felt were targeted
because they wanted to get them back into the system to do some time for
their organizing. They are now out on bail and pending their court case on
December 6th at Bouchet St. Court. Our charges were reduced to infractions
(equivalent to a ticket) "disturbing the peace." When I talked to the
public defender he told me the police didn't have a case and the police
report didn't make sense and was full of holes and lies. We pleaded No
Contest, to be released that day, and fines were waived due to time
served. What upset me was the waste of time, and I felt bad for all the
people who were arrested on Sunday as well. I'll repeat what I told the
pigs Cervantes and Cho, "this isn't over.
While in prison we talked to many people and we definitely had an effect
on people in custody. We told everyone we talked to that we were in there
because of our politics and that we were revolutionaries. Many people were
surprised at the real Black and Brown unity and solidarity, but also were
inspired by the work that is being done in the community, and wanted to
support some of the community programs in Los Angeles. I would say 99% of
people in custody were people of color, and felt they were there because
of the injustice system. We have to continue to fight off these attacks on
our people and our communities.
The show before it was raided was a rare mix of people, which I think is
why it was shut down as well. There were punks, hip hop heads,
revolutionaries, artists, and others. The police attack serves as a
learning experience for me. Anything we do is a threat to the police and
to the state as a whole, so if we don't take our enemies seriously then we
are going to suffer defeats constantly. We have to know when to
strategically retreat and have protocols in place to deal with state
repression. We have to understand that the reason they are attacking us is
because they take us seriously. They also wanted to scare the youth that
were there, so they won't come out to any political events. It is our
responsibility to let youth and other community members know about the
seriousness of these events, and defend our people as well.
This will not stop us, or intimidate us. We will continue to fight, and be
strategic at all times.
As always, in struggle,
Power Through the People!
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