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.