The Protests In New York

I know that most people on here don’t like my Politics posts, but if you only read one thing about the Republican convention please make it the following post over at Daily Kos.

Regular contributor theoria has been basically walking around New York taking pictures and watching the protests for the last several days. His story about the arrests and detainings is absolutely shocking. Is this America? I ask again: Is This America?

Well, the police formed a riot line at the top of the library steps and swept down them, scooping up whoever was still there. This included young people with their Macy’s bags, NYU students who were there studying, families, grandmothers, etc. Everyone was eventually on the sidewalk, and they were directed to exit north on 6th toward Bryant Park. Of course, Bryant Park was barricaded, which was sorta the point. When Jeff and others saw the trap and turned around to go south (or run West across the street) the police line swooped around them with that damned orange fencing. Look out for that shit.

Jeff estimated that they had perhaps two-dozen of them wrapped up in a ten-foot square makeshift pen. NYPD ordered them to sit down… all captured on videotape by one of the other tourists. Later, they would each be charged with resisting arrest for following that order. (The existence of the videotape, however, convinced NYPD not to pursue it.)

Long story short (too late) everyone was zip-cuffed and thrown in the wagon. Depending on whether or not the people were moving fast enough for whatever grumpy cop was coming at you, you might even be slammed face-down on the cement, as was another photographer Jeff witnessed being manhandled… an older man who was dropped right down on his camera.

A few hours later, Jeff finds himself in an overcrowded holding pen on a pier in Lower Manhattan… one of seven he would stay in before his release 36 hours later. The pens were roughly 25′ x 30′, and sported razor wire around the perimeter. Each held perhaps fifty detainees. Detainees were grouped and assigned to arresting officers. What the hell does that mean? They were handing groups of arrested civilians off to officers who weren’t even there so they could file the arrest reports.

Jeff estimated that more than half of these detainees were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time… shopping… studying… being a tourist. The arrests were completely indiscriminate, unless you’re a delegate, in which case it cleared some human waste out of your path. If you were within a city block of the entrance to the NYC Library on Tuesday at about 5:30 pm, you were one of the estimated 1,200 people that ended up in a cage on a pier in Manhattan, waiting 12 hours before being given access to a phone, and more than 24 hours before being charged with anything. In most cases, this has amounted to being detained for 36+ hours (at least 12 hours longer that allowed by law here) and written a fucking ticket.

After two nights in the system, including one night on a floor of a warehouse where a medic told everyone not to let their exposed skin touch the floor for fear of getting the mysterious rash that has been plaguing people there (asbestos and motor oil, apparently,) Jeff finally went before a judge. Well, actually, he didn’t. The judge and NLG lawyers were gone, so a cop handed him a ticket with an order to appear in court here in NYC next month and sent him on his way. When Jeff went to collect his belongings, he was told that his camera equipment was being held as evidence.

This is getting ridiculous.

-whazz on

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