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call for submissions: arrest stories compilation zine

Tell me your stories of getting arrested! I'm putting together a zine!
I am putting together a compilation of narratives about getting arrested by the police. I was recently arrested for the first time, and the experience would have been much more traumatic and frightening if I hadn't known what to expect from hearing many of my friends' arrest stories. "Know your rights" trainings are (in my experience) inadequate in preparing people for what actually happens in an arrest scenario. Your "rights" are one thing, what the police actually do can be entirely different.

The purpose of this project is not to minimize the traumatic nature of arrest, but rather to demystify the process. It is often easier to face a terrible event knowing what to expect rather than guessing. Fear of arrest is often a dissuading factor from acting on one's desires, and I wish to foster a climate where anarchists, nihilists, communists, and other rabble-rousers can be more comfortable acting on our desires after having adequately prepared for what is an inevitable consequence of resisting Power.

Feel free to write about any of the following:
What were you doing when you were arrested?
How were you detained?
What sort of things did the police say/do to you as they arrested you?
Were you transported somewhere else?
How were you transported?
Were you arrested with other people?
How long were you in custody?
Did the police treat you differently because of various aspects of your identity?
How was your treatment different from what you'd heard about how the police legally "should" treat you?
Did you go to jail/prison?
What was your experience in jail/prison?
Did you plea guilty or innocent? Were you convicted?
What was/is your sentence?
Anything else you think is relevant!

I am particularly interested in compiling stories from people with a broad range of identities - police interact very differently with rich white men than with poor women of color (for example), and part of preparing for arrest means understanding how police interact with people in one's own social position. It is beyond the scope of this project to provide an analysis of the racialized and classed nature of policing, but if the compilation only represents voices from those least affected by police violence then it will have failed in its mission.

The ultimate goal of this project is to publish the compiled stories in print and online, likely in a zine format. With that in mind, please do not include any information that could complicate/worsen anyone's legal situation. You are welcome to submit anonymously, and I will double check with all submitters about what name (if any) they want to be published under.

Submission deadline is March 31st, 2012. Please send all submissions and questions to arreststoriesproject (at) riseup (dot) net.

Fugitive arrest 20.Feb.2012 18:40

anonymous emilyharris1967@gmail.com

A little background: I was a white, college educated professional in the healthcare field. I hold a MBA in Healthcare and have nearly 20 years experience. I was also a single parent who struggled to put myself through school while raising children and working to support my children without the aid of TANF.
One beautiful evening after working in the yard of my two story home located in a middle class neighborhood, while moving the front sprinkler I noticed two heavily outfitted sheriff's officers, hands on their weapons, approaching on foot walking quickly towards my home. My home was located on a cul de sac and my home was at the end of the road. Frozen near panic with fear of a bad criminal hiding somewhere near my home, I suddenly remembered my young, 7 year old daughter was around the courner at her friends house playing. Debating on whether or not to run towards the officers for safety, I noticed the officers were looking up at the second story of my home as if looking for someone. Afraid but paralyzed to move, I stood holding my sprinkler hoping the officers would tell me what to do. I had to get my daughter before she came riding her bike back home. As the officers approached, one asked me my name, if I was Susie Q. I said yes expecting hime to tell me something horrible had happened to one of my children or someone really bad was suspected of hiding near my home or even I was going to have to leave the area as they were looking for an escaped felon. BUT, I no more said yes, and I was immediately restrained and told I was being arrested on a warrant for 2 felony counts. My head swimming, I asked the officer if they could show me the warrant and of course they said no. Anyway after telling them where my daughter was and asking if they could call her dad to come pick her up, I was transported to the county jail. Just before we left my home though I had to argue with the officer of the true legal date of birth I had enjoyed for the entirety of my life. The officer said my warrant, the one he was arresting me on, had a different DOB. I managed to convice the officer to check my driver's license to prove what I was telling him as true. After arriving at the jail, being striped of all my personal clothing, and booked into the system I was put in a holding cell with a phone. One of my cellmates was being held for transfer to Tacoma on a conviction/ guilty plea for child sex abuse. OMG!!!!! Anyway after a couple hours a couple jailers came in to ask the standard questions, are you suicidal blah blah blah, when all of a sudden the huge male jailer said, let's go, you're out of here. Of course not believing he was talking to me, I questioned him and asked "are you sure?" He said yes, you're going home. I then asked "why?" He laughed and said because the identity of the warrant is wrong. Not convinced, I said "well maybe I should stay a little while longer until you're certain." Both jailers laughed and told I couldn't stay as it was against my civil rights. So I chancged my clothes and the arresting officer gave me a ride home. The arresting officer advised me to contact the county sheriff where the warrant was issued to find out what was going on. I was blindsided by the arrest and the allegation of criminal activity. Afterall I had never commited a crime before and had never been arrested. At 45 years old, I had a clean criminal history.
You're probalby asking why would you want to stay? Well, as horrible as it was, I was there, had arranged care for my daughter and if I was really charged with any crime I wanted it over with sooner than later. The last thing I wanted was to go home only to be arrested again. My daughter was only 7 years old. Being arrested and taken to jail is devastating but when there is a small child involved, it's worse because you have no idea what will happen to them. In this arrest I was calm and rational, at least until I got home where I fell apart. I did call the county where I was told the original warrant came from. I called the jail, the county DA, the courthouse, and the sheriff's department but not one person found any warrants active or otherwise issued in my name, my ssn, my DOB, my driver's license # or any other legal identifer. I tried diligently to turn myself in but could not find any law enforcement who had a warrant.
Roughly two weeks later minutes away from leaving to take my daughter to gymnastics, three huge sheriffs officers were pounding on my front door yelling they were there to arrest me this time on a Fugitive from Justice warrant. WTF? Freaked out, i called my daughter's father to come and get her immediately. He only live around the block so he was 2 minutes away. Although he complained he arrived. Once there, I sent my daughter out to him and in the moment the door opened, the two of the officers slammed in my home, one came in the back door, where they all three stopped to admire my big screen TV, Sharp Aquos. I was throwing up sick in my half bathroom just a few feet away from the TV when one of the officers busted in the door, threatened to tazer me, and slammed me up against the wall to handcuff me for not opening the door quickly enough. I was sweaty, vomiting, and close to passing out. I stand 5'3" on a good day and was barefoot in shorts and a tank at the time. No where to stash a weapon unless you include vomit and clearly not a size to intimidate anyone taller than 5'4". The officers were 6'2", 6'4", and 6'7" and all at least 180 to 200lbs. Now I know I can yell and sound scary but really? 5'3" against three gun toting deputy sheriff's all over 6 foot tall? How much of a threat could I possibly be? Ok, back to the story, after handcuffing me I could still hear my daughter screaming outside. Her loving father in all of his vindictivness positioned his truck in front of my house to have full uninhibited view of my front door and walk of shame arrest. While he was enjoying the show, my daughter was forced to witness the extreme measures the officers were taking to arrest me. I tried to beg the officers to ask my ex to take my daughter to his home and as I turned my head in my act of begging, the officer was distracted in his discussion of my television so much so that my movement startled him and he, the gorilla, slammed me in the back of the head and threw me to the ground. All the while my little girl is watching screaming. I couldn't believe what was happening. This arrest as was the first, none of the officers had a warrant with them. I was shoved into the back of a cruiser and taken to jail again. This time I was so upset, crying, vomiting, and the such I was striped naked and given a green velcro padded vest to wear and put in a suicide watch cell. No blanket, no bunk, no toilet paper, nothing, not even underwear. I was held in that cell 3 days before being moved to general population where I finally bailed out on $50,000 bail. While I was visiting the county jail, my ex filed for an emergency restraining order taking custody of my daughter away from me. His claim was I clearly was putting my daughter's safety at risk for having her with me during multiple arrests. Bastard.
Once I wa released, I discovered the affidavit submitted to obtain the second warrant was fabricated. Every word contained in the affidavit was false, not a little but every single word.
So, now I have been arrested twice, lost custody of my daughter which cost me $5000 to regain not to mention to emotional damage to her and me, and I have a colorful criminal arrest record that includes a fugitive from justice warrant and arrest. Try getting any job with that on your record. A FFJ is not only on a state record, it's on the FBI NCIC data bank and you can't get it off, once there, there it stays.
I used to believe in law enforcement and the justice system. I believed if you were innocent, the truth would prevail. I now know I was wrong as there is no such thing as innocent UNTIL PROVEN guilty. If you are accused, you're either guilty, have a good lawyer to get you off, or the state didn't have enough to prove their case but never innocent.

Fugitive arrest 20.Feb.2012 18:42

anonymous emilyharris1967@gmail.com

A little background: I was a white, college educated professional in the healthcare field. I hold a MBA in Healthcare and have nearly 20 years experience. I was also a single parent who struggled to put myself through school while raising children and working to support my children without the aid of TANF.
One beautiful evening after working in the yard of my two story home located in a middle class neighborhood, while moving the front sprinkler I noticed two heavily outfitted sheriff's officers, hands on their weapons, approaching on foot walking quickly towards my home. My home was located on a cul de sac and my home was at the end of the road. Frozen near panic with fear of a bad criminal hiding somewhere near my home, I suddenly remembered my young, 7 year old daughter was around the courner at her friends house playing. Debating on whether or not to run towards the officers for safety, I noticed the officers were looking up at the second story of my home as if looking for someone. Afraid but paralyzed to move, I stood holding my sprinkler hoping the officers would tell me what to do. I had to get my daughter before she came riding her bike back home. As the officers approached, one asked me my name, if I was Susie Q. I said yes expecting hime to tell me something horrible had happened to one of my children or someone really bad was suspected of hiding near my home or even I was going to have to leave the area as they were looking for an escaped felon. BUT, I no more said yes, and I was immediately restrained and told I was being arrested on a warrant for 2 felony counts. My head swimming, I asked the officer if they could show me the warrant and of course they said no. Anyway after telling them where my daughter was and asking if they could call her dad to come pick her up, I was transported to the county jail. Just before we left my home though I had to argue with the officer of the true legal date of birth I had enjoyed for the entirety of my life. The officer said my warrant, the one he was arresting me on, had a different DOB. I managed to convice the officer to check my driver's license to prove what I was telling him as true. After arriving at the jail, being striped of all my personal clothing, and booked into the system I was put in a holding cell with a phone. One of my cellmates was being held for transfer to Tacoma on a conviction/ guilty plea for child sex abuse. OMG!!!!! Anyway after a couple hours a couple jailers came in to ask the standard questions, are you suicidal blah blah blah, when all of a sudden the huge male jailer said, let's go, you're out of here. Of course not believing he was talking to me, I questioned him and asked "are you sure?" He said yes, you're going home. I then asked "why?" He laughed and said because the identity of the warrant is wrong. Not convinced, I said "well maybe I should stay a little while longer until you're certain." Both jailers laughed and told I couldn't stay as it was against my civil rights. So I chancged my clothes and the arresting officer gave me a ride home. The arresting officer advised me to contact the county sheriff where the warrant was issued to find out what was going on. I was blindsided by the arrest and the allegation of criminal activity. Afterall I had never commited a crime before and had never been arrested. At 45 years old, I had a clean criminal history.
You're probalby asking why would you want to stay? Well, as horrible as it was, I was there, had arranged care for my daughter and if I was really charged with any crime I wanted it over with sooner than later. The last thing I wanted was to go home only to be arrested again. My daughter was only 7 years old. Being arrested and taken to jail is devastating but when there is a small child involved, it's worse because you have no idea what will happen to them. In this arrest I was calm and rational, at least until I got home where I fell apart. I did call the county where I was told the original warrant came from. I called the jail, the county DA, the courthouse, and the sheriff's department but not one person found any warrants active or otherwise issued in my name, my ssn, my DOB, my driver's license # or any other legal identifer. I tried diligently to turn myself in but could not find any law enforcement who had a warrant.
Roughly two weeks later minutes away from leaving to take my daughter to gymnastics, three huge sheriffs officers were pounding on my front door yelling they were there to arrest me this time on a Fugitive from Justice warrant. WTF? Freaked out, i called my daughter's father to come and get her immediately. He only live around the block so he was 2 minutes away. Although he complained he arrived. Once there, I sent my daughter out to him and in the moment the door opened, the two of the officers slammed in my home, one came in the back door, where they all three stopped to admire my big screen TV, Sharp Aquos. I was throwing up sick in my half bathroom just a few feet away from the TV when one of the officers busted in the door, threatened to tazer me, and slammed me up against the wall to handcuff me for not opening the door quickly enough. I was sweaty, vomiting, and close to passing out. I stand 5'3" on a good day and was barefoot in shorts and a tank at the time. No where to stash a weapon unless you include vomit and clearly not a size to intimidate anyone taller than 5'4". The officers were 6'2", 6'4", and 6'7" and all at least 180 to 200lbs. Now I know I can yell and sound scary but really? 5'3" against three gun toting deputy sheriff's all over 6 foot tall? How much of a threat could I possibly be? Ok, back to the story, after handcuffing me I could still hear my daughter screaming outside. Her loving father in all of his vindictivness positioned his truck in front of my house to have full uninhibited view of my front door and walk of shame arrest. While he was enjoying the show, my daughter was forced to witness the extreme measures the officers were taking to arrest me. I tried to beg the officers to ask my ex to take my daughter to his home and as I turned my head in my act of begging, the officer was distracted in his discussion of my television so much so that my movement startled him and he, the gorilla, slammed me in the back of the head and threw me to the ground. All the while my little girl is watching screaming. I couldn't believe what was happening. This arrest as was the first, none of the officers had a warrant with them. I was shoved into the back of a cruiser and taken to jail again. This time I was so upset, crying, vomiting, and the such I was striped naked and given a green velcro padded vest to wear and put in a suicide watch cell. No blanket, no bunk, no toilet paper, nothing, not even underwear. I was held in that cell 3 days before being moved to general population where I finally bailed out on $50,000 bail. While I was visiting the county jail, my ex filed for an emergency restraining order taking custody of my daughter away from me. His claim was I clearly was putting my daughter's safety at risk for having her with me during multiple arrests. Bastard.
Once I wa released, I discovered the affidavit submitted to obtain the second warrant was fabricated. Every word contained in the affidavit was false, not a little but every single word.
So, now I have been arrested twice, lost custody of my daughter which cost me $5000 to regain not to mention to emotional damage to her and me, and I have a colorful criminal arrest record that includes a fugitive from justice warrant and arrest. Try getting any job with that on your record. A FFJ is not only on a state record, it's on the FBI NCIC data bank and you can't get it off, once there, there it stays.
I used to believe in law enforcement and the justice system. I believed if you were innocent, the truth would prevail. I now know I was wrong as there is no such thing as innocent UNTIL PROVEN guilty. If you are accused, you're either guilty, have a good lawyer to get you off, or the state didn't have enough to prove their case but never innocent.