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Dispatch / Occupy Wall Street / December 4, 2011

Read Yasha Levine’s account of LAPD’s appalling treatment of detained Occupy LA protesters

On Friday, December 2, the Los Angeles Police Department finally decided to release most of 200+ Occupy LA protesters who had been held in detention for more than 48 hours. Many of them were expected to show up at the General Assembly scheduled for 7:30 p.m on the south steps of City Hall. So I cruised down to see what I could find out…

I parked two blocks away and walked to City Hall on foot. It was almost unrecognizable. The park/square in front of the building, as well as the grassy areas running along the perimeter, were now completely blocked off with concrete barriers and a high chain-link fence. It was an eerie sight. What had been filled with tents, people and activity just a few days ago was now empty and scrubbed clean. The area looked condemned.

And there were cops everywhere. Some stood in packs around their police cars, others patrolled the fenced-off perimeter on foot while motorcycle cops circled the block in pairs. There were reinforcements outside LAPD’s massive headquarters, conveniently located across the street from City Hall. Cops eyed me suspiciously as I walked by, and there were at least a half-dozen uniformed cops perched on the stairs above the assembly, listening to the GA proceedings. It was as if the city expected a surprise guerrilla raid.

LAPD’s death-star HQ is conveniently located across from the now-raided Occupy LA camp…

But the GA must have been a letdown for the cops. There was no riot, no guerrilla raid. The meeting was chaotic and unfocused–more of a social gathering than anything else. People ate, greeted each other and traded the latest news and gossip. By the time I took off at around 10 p.m., the assembly was over and everyone had begun to disperse…

But while not much happened at the meeting, I did manage to meet up with a few of my jail buddies and get more info on some of the abuses I had witnessed and described in my last post. [Read Yasha Levine's account of LAPD's appalling treatment of detained Occupy LA protesters.]

For instance: Remember the seriously injured protester, who had been shot with a shotgun beanbag round and had an oozing bloody welt the size of a grapefruit just above his elbow, but denied medical attention for five hours? I was only able to speak to him for a few minutes when we were locked up at Metro jail and never got his name, but it turns out he was one of the guys who constructed a makeshift tree house between three tall palm trees and sat up there for hours with two other people, refusing to come down. He said they were the last to be arrested, sometime around 4:30 a.m., when the cops finally got hold of a cherry picker platform, and a cop in full-on riot gear forced them down at gunpoint. From what I understand, it was at this point that Chad was shot with a beanbag round.

Chad and his buddies kept the LAPD busy for hours. The cops must have been pissed off, and making an injured kid squirm on a concrete floor with a bleeding wound, hands handcuffed behind his back for hours on end, must have felt like the perfect payback…

So now that most of the detained protesters have been released, what is our legal status? Are we going to be prosecuted? Well, that’s not very clear.

I’ve been charged with misdemeanor# 409PC: failure to disperse (or, as my booking officer put down on my prisoner’s receipt, it’s “fail to disclose”). My court date is set for early January, so I guess I’ll find out then. But apparently I shouldn’t expect the city to drop the charge. Here is what LA Weekly reported on Friday evening:

City Attorney’s criminal branch Chief Earl Thomas tells the Weekly virtually no one is getting off scot-free.

He said that while about 175 people were released today they could still be charged. Those folks were determined to be eligible for the Alternative Prosecution Program, a 90-day love fest in which suspects can enroll and avoid prosecution.

Thomas said a special agenda would be formulated for the Occupy arrestees, one that would focus on First Amendment education:

We’ll include a First Amendment law component about having to stay within the law in terms of conduct. We don’t care what the message is but we are concerned about illegal conduct.

Those people don’t have the accept the program and can chose to duke it out in court.

Ha! So there you have it, folks. Not only does the City of Los Angeles arrest those who exercise their constitutional right to peacefully protest (or in my case simply to report on a peaceful protest), apparently it now requires anyone caught exercising that right to enroll in a political reeducation camp.

***

PS: I want to thank readers for all your support, now and over the past few years. Many have asked if there’s something you can do to help, and there probably will be. I’ll be talking to the National Lawyers Guild on how to proceed, but I plan on fighting this bullshit charge all the way. So I might need to hit you up for some legal help…

PPS: Some of you have already donated a bit of dough, and that is always greatly appreciated.

Want to know more? Read Yasha Levine’s account of LAPD’s appalling treatment of detained Occupy LA protesters.

Yasha Levine is an editor of The eXiled. You can reach him at levine [at] exiledonline.com.

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36 Comments

Add your own

  • 1. CensusLouie  |  December 4th, 2011 at 2:01 am

    Can you go for the reeducation? I’d love to see an undercover story on the kind of stuff they try to pump into your head there. Post copies on the materials here!

    When you’ve finally got all the info you need, start rattling the fence while shouting “AVENGE ME!”, Red Dawn style.

  • 2. Mike C.  |  December 4th, 2011 at 3:45 am

    Thanks for the update. I’ll be following this story closely, since I also have a court date in early January.

  • 3. Sly Cooder  |  December 4th, 2011 at 3:47 am

    Good to hear you were able to cut through the layer of media bullshit, and report straight from the eyes of the illegally detained.

    And while we’re on the subject… where have all the protest songs gone? I don’t hear enough of those lately, although I bet those musicians get told by the people paying them to GTFO if they start singing ‘em. Can anyone shed any light?

  • 4. DrunktankDan  |  December 4th, 2011 at 7:20 am

    Dude, @1 is SOOO on point! Please cover the fuckin “free speech” reeducation seminar, Gonzo style. If anybody could blow that story up it would be Yasha.
    You sir, are a worthy heir to Hunter S. Now I gotta go wake up my girlfriend and get her to use her card to give you guys some duckets (call me paranoid, but I keep my money out of anything remotely related to VISA. . . and paypal for that matter. She doesn’t though. One of us has to be an adult.)

    Kidding (about the free speech reeducation camp) aside, a lot of my buddies here in Santa Cruz are in law school and I have some legal resources to tap. Just let us know how we can help.

  • 5. Reverend Egg Plant  |  December 4th, 2011 at 8:28 am

    Seriously, CensusLouie has an excellent idea. Infiltrate and report. I can’t see what purpose that class would serve other than as a last blow to remind you that you live in a police state now, and that the Constitution does not mean what it says.

  • 6. Vos  |  December 4th, 2011 at 9:09 am

    Reminds me of punishment park.

  • 7. EarlyMorningHours  |  December 4th, 2011 at 9:12 am

    I wonder if this primer on our constitution goes into the common practice of waiving out rights and intentionally pleading guilty to some lesser charge that was not committed in order to avoid the kabuki dance our criminal courts have morphed into.

    From where I sit it looks as though all three branches of our government could use a massive refresher on all matters constitutional.

  • 8. Krokodile  |  December 4th, 2011 at 9:21 am

    Totalitarian countries, I’m sick of them!

  • 9. John Drinkwater  |  December 4th, 2011 at 9:57 am

    Guess how a violent protest would work out for the Occupy? Every seen protester gravy? Or maybe meat swiss cheese?

  • 10. az  |  December 4th, 2011 at 10:22 am

    To be honest, Yasha’s dispatches made me feel more courageous to go out to Occupy events. I haven’t yet, mostly because a) I don’t want to get my ass kicked by the police and b) I’m on medication that has the side-effect of heart attack/death if I miss the dosage for more than a day so being arrested would suck.

    However, this series made me see that there really isn’t much that the cops can do. Sure, they can/will kick my ass if I go, or throw me in jail, but it would be up to me to surrender. I guess that’s the other thing, seeing how having the attitude I had before is really bad for morale and only encourages the filth to treat you worse.

  • 11. MarioGeorgeNitrini111  |  December 4th, 2011 at 11:13 am

    NOTE: YOUR CUT AND PASTED CRAZY LONG FUCKING COMMENT WAS DELETED, ASSHOLE!

  • 12. internal exile  |  December 4th, 2011 at 11:21 am

    Gosh, everybody *loved* the idea of getting a police state back in the late 80′s and early 90′s when the “crack war” anti-drug hysteria reigned. And guess what? Everybody got one. And now the heavily militarized police are being used to quash dissent? Is that what’s bothering you, SUCKA?!

  • 13. Ilona  |  December 4th, 2011 at 11:25 am

    Whatever happened to LA City Council Resolution 33, which is passed in support of Occupy LA in October?

  • 14. Wolf Wintergreen Long Cut  |  December 4th, 2011 at 11:51 am

    “Given that eXile is the journalistic equivalent of Gangsta rap..” (G.L. Piggy) That’s what I’m talking about!

    And now, a word from the president!
    Damn it feels good to be a gangsta
    Gettin voted into the white house
    Everything lookin good to the people of the world
    But the mafia family is my boss
    So every now and then I owe a favor gettin’ down
    Like lettin’ a big drug shipment through
    And send ‘em to the poor community
    So we can bust you know who
    So voters of the world keep supportin’ me
    And I promise to take you very far
    Other leaders better not upset me
    Or I’ll send a million troops to die at war
    To all you republicans, that helped me win
    I sincerely like to thank you
    ’cause now I got the world swingin’ from my nuts
    And damn it feels good to be a gangsta

  • 15. violet dawn  |  December 4th, 2011 at 11:52 am

    The Occupy movement is starting to adopt an anti-corruption platform that will garner much more respect. An Occupy member’s page http://owwc.gu.ma , supporting a business owner who lost millions of dollars to a corrupt officials seems to illustrate this.

  • 16. RanDomino  |  December 4th, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    Gonzo the reeduccation camp!

  • 17. proletariat  |  December 4th, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    i’m still interested in these occupy protests even though i haven’t left my bedroom yet (really smells like pee in here)

    this ghandite bullshit has never worked and never will. i mean except for india, it never worked. except for india and the jim crow south, the ghandite bullshit never worked. except for india, the jim crow south, union struggles in the 30′s, the ghandite bullshit never worked. except for india, the jim crow south, union struggles in the 30′s, the free speech movement, the orange revolution in ukraine– the ghandite bullshit never worked.

    you get the point…

  • 18. Miguel  |  December 4th, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Report on the re-education camp please though 90 days is a hella long time.

  • 19. CensusLouie  |  December 4th, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    Well to be fair, that stuff didn’t work in India, the south, or for union struggles until things got REALLY ugly and the protests made it difficult or impossible for the opposition to function. I’m hopeful the Occupy movement will lead to networking for more organized action.

    It might not seem like people camping out in parks is doing much, but it has. It might sound cold blooded, but the most valuable thing it’s done (aside from networking) is provoke an over the top response from the police, recorded for the country to see.

    Think back to all the War Nerd stuff on irregular warfare where otherwise ineffective guerrilla actions were a strategic success for provoking the governing to retaliate and cause more people to become rebel sympathizers. Think of the Green March article on how modern warfare is who has the more skilled cameramen making their side look downtrodden. Warfare has become a game of soccer where the most valuable skill is convincing the ref (the public) that you’re the guy who was injured.

    It sounds crazy, but I still think “non-lethal” riot equipment is the greatest modern threat to freedom of assembly. When soldiers and police only had guns and swords, their choices were either sit back and let the protests happen, or have a blood bath that made them look bad.

    Now police can just wade into peaceful encampments with tazers, spray, rubber bullets, and sound guns (that “non-lethally” shatter ear drums) knowing it won’t leave an inconvenient bloody PR nightmare. Non-lethal equipment is the ultimate cleaning product and dissidents are the stain: leaves no residue, no trace, no fuss.

    Change for India didn’t come until thuggish British officers opened fire. The Vietnam protests didn’t take off until Kent State. Sweeping pro-union legislation didn’t come until after the Battle of Blair Mountain (where the fact that strike breakers used planes to drop POISON GAS on union members was a key factor in swinging public opinion to the strikers). Non-lethal equipment doesn’t provide those kind of “photo ops”, and allows brutal state tactics to be swept under the rug the same way water boarding wasn’t considered torture.

  • 20. hifilij  |  December 4th, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    CensusLouie: The most trusted name in Exile Commentary

  • 21. Zirb  |  December 4th, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    “The cops must have been pissed off”

    They got paid overtime.

  • 22. Mike C.  |  December 4th, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    @Zirb

    “They got paid overtime.”

    We asked a number of them, and they said they weren’t.

  • 23. proletariat  |  December 4th, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    oh exlied comment censor, i bow down to you in all your wisdom and offer this little burnt comment offering to your almighty greatness…

    the indian struggle had been going on since at least 1857, and was a large movement, containing lots of armed revolutionaries. what really broke the back of the british colonialists was chandras bose and the indian army mutinies. ghandi was largely ignored by the british until they realized he could be used as a relief valve, a way to cut their losses so the radicals wouldn’t take over.

    the jim crow south was the same way. king was used as a sort of relief valve to prevent the radicals like malcolm X from gaining too much traction. in both cases, when the moderate ceased to be useful, he was killed.

    the union struggle in the US also eventually led to outright armed revolution. west virginia was essentially in a state of armed revolution for months at a time, and workers even clashed with soldiers. it’s where the term “redneck” comes from, as pro-union workers would tie red bandannas to their necks to tell friend from foe.

    as far as the orange “revolution” is concerned, i don’t know what the exiled thinks of this all, and would never try to guess…but all i know is that i would not hold up a “revolution” in which the government was replaced by a bunch of hopelessly corrupt petro-oligarchs as a revolution.

    i know OWS kids like to feel all self-important and badass like their hippie ancestors did, but they will suffer the same fate. without at least the threat of violent force, nothing will change. i mean, these are people who see the re-election of black reagan as a positive outcome.

  • 24. my talkative ringpiece  |  December 4th, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    #19 and don’t forget My Lai.

  • 25. proletariat  |  December 4th, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    I bow down to the AEC…and it feels good man. especially because i know that they at least know the truth instead of turning to bourgeois liberalism as their religion.

    makes reading this site that much sweeter. i would donate, but the “brilliant” capitalist warren buffet decided that i should not have a job maintaining our railroads anymore, so i find myself in a bit of a predicament financially.

  • 26. Zirb  |  December 4th, 2011 at 11:59 pm

    @22 “We asked a number of them, and they said they weren’t.”

    That’s surprising. An article titled “City’s Occupy L.A. costs could exceed $1 million, mayor says” suggests that the cops you asked may have been partly or wholly disingenuous.

  • 27. proletariat  |  December 5th, 2011 at 12:15 am

    can’t take even a draw, ames (or war nerd, because you can’t help but admit the truth behind “peaceful” revolutions)? damn. i have to admire that sort of spirit, although you need to be careful that hubris doesn’t overcome you when the revolution finally comes.

    but hey, when it all comes down to it, i hope to see you in the smiling crowd as the koch brothers are hanged from a light pole.

  • 28. proletariat  |  December 5th, 2011 at 12:29 am

    by the way, CensusLouie, i agree that the new “less lethal” police measures are a great threat to free speech and protest movements, but there is a TROLL ALERT

  • 29. ive got fucking bugs in my head  |  December 5th, 2011 at 12:48 am

    fuckin gonzo the fuckin camp

    do that shit

  • 30. Peter  |  December 5th, 2011 at 7:15 am

    You do what you gotta do, Yasha- you’ve done enough, 90 days of reeducation might not be doable for a variety of reasons. But if you don’t gonzo it, I can’t think of a better setting for a thorough mic-checking.

  • 31. Mike C.  |  December 5th, 2011 at 8:00 am

    @26. Zirb

    Considering the trumped up costs Mayor Villaraigosa offered for repairing the lawn, at $400,000, and other bullshit, I’d be inclined to believe the figure cited was the lie.

  • 32. internal exile  |  December 5th, 2011 at 11:32 am

    “the cops must have been pissed off, and making an injured kid squirm on a concrete floor with a bleeding wound, hands handcuffed behind his back for hours on end, must have felt like the perfect payback…”

    That’s right, Yasha. No matter how hard I try, I can’t help but be pissed off that I have nothing interesting to add to this

  • 33. C. Burkey  |  December 5th, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    Yasha, thanks for your coverage. I just found your blog while looking for information on what happened to the protestors Tuessday night/Wednesday morning.

    We went over to City Hall Saturday night. It is indeed surreal. I did not get to see Occupy LA’s camp in person, but have been following things closely day by day. There were maybe 150, 200 people at most Sat. night. Downtown was a ghost town. At the top of the steps on City Hall, LAPD officers silhouetted against the bright backdrop paced and looked dramatic high above us. We stayed for maybe 2 hours and listened to the proposals concerning the Defense Authorization Act. Really glad Occupy LA is moving fast to address that. There was no talking about last week, though one person mentioned that 49 people were still behind bars that night.
    The city was spooky and I couldn’t help but think how silly it was to break all that up, all that vibrant civic interest and activity, I mean that’s where it belongs, City Hall.

    The fences around it now are a silent statement and the symbolism of that silence and emptiness where there was civic activity is a really, really sad thing.
    thanks again.

  • 34. Zadig  |  December 6th, 2011 at 9:27 am

    I just donated what little I can give. You guys have my full support, and I would give so much more if I could.

    And don’t go to the reeducation thing, as “Gonzo” as it might be. Fight that charge.

  • 35. helplesscase  |  December 6th, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    That re-ed camp sounds boring as hell. Gonzo’ing it out might be interesting, or it might be interminable torture. Oh well. You guys are the journalists, not me.

  • 36. Cum  |  December 9th, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    LMAO I can’t get over how sinister the “First Amendment education” portion sounds. I’m guessing the lession of the day is “keep your mouth shut or we’ll go soviet on your ass.”

    The Exile as always is inspiring.


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