Sunday, July 15, 2012

Fort Manning in Los Angeles, Chalking, and Gerry's Arrest

I've never been in a city where the cops have so much enthusiasm for harassing Occupy folks and over-reacting with violence and stupidity.  The big deal right now is that it's supposedly illegal to "chalk" (write or draw with chalk) the sidewalks - some cop told us that it's OK to chalk the sidewalks, just not the walls of buildings.  However, I went over to Ft Manning near City Hall today and there was no chalk on the ground, so I wrote "Chalking is Free Speech".  After about an hour, the cops came over, took pictures of my writing, called headquarters, and started asking who did it.  It turns out they had an agreement with the Occupiers that they would not make people remove their signs from the grass if nobody would chalk the sidewalks.  This is just NUTTY!  Anyway, I hadn't heard about the agreement and didn't fess up to my evil deed, which I repeated later at a different location.

I think this law or rule must be against the first amendment, so I would like to distribute chalk all over the city and use my little tag on every street corner!  Hopefully I'll get arrested and can take it up the ladder to declare that if money is free speech, certainly chalk would also qualify!!

If drawing on the streets with chalk is a crime, I'd like to report a massive breakdown of civil authority in my neighborhood. I recommend a phalanx of officers in riot gear, because some of these 8-year-olds drawing hopscotch grids on the sidewalk are lawless vandals who won't hesitate to get sassy with authority figures.

It turned out that the park we were in is supposed to close at 7 pm (posted in an obscure place), so the cops arrived in force at 6:50 to tell us to get our stuff and leave.  Not much notice and it wouldn't have happened if we were anybody else that just happened to have a long-running meeting (General Assembly).  We picked up most of the stuff and moved it to the sidewalk.  Then we noticed a young black woman standing alone surrounded by cops.  She was confused, homeless, looking for where to go since she couldn't stay where she was, and concerned about a few items that were left behind, because she had seen cops throw away stuff that was left behind some other place/time.  She didn't really want to be arrested, but was pressing her point about not knowing where else to go.

Gerry decided to see if he could help the situation. He approached the woman and cops and started asking what was going on, and could he help.  They asked him to leave a couple of times, and he persisted in asking what was going on and could he assist and de-escalate the situation.  They arrested him in handcuffs!  Eventually, they undid the cuffs and made him sign a citation - unfortunately, it wasn't an "infraction" but a "misdemeanor", so he is supposed to be in court August 9.  He can't come that day - he'll be at the VFP National Convention in Miami.  Anyway, I'm proud of him for trying to help a young homeless woman, and indeed, after he showed up the pressure was completely off of her!
Yep, they really arrested him for "trespassing" because the park closed at 7 pm.

The Ft Manning group and the cops were watching each other.  The young homeless woman is on the right.

You can see the arrested Gerry in the middle of the cluster of cops

1 comment:

  1. Apparently they have too many police in LA, if they can afford eight cops to waste hours of their time harassing people who aren't doing any harm or even represent any likelihood. Activists are actually the best of humanity.