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Late last week, as I was reading a story by the Family Guy writer who had been brutally arrested and mistreated at the Occupy LA crackdown, I suddenly realized, “Holy shit, I remember that guy!”

I didn’t catch his name at the time (it’s Patrick Meighan), but I distinctly recall sitting next to a tall blond guy with a bruised forehead that was caked with blood, listening to him talk about his arrest to a couple of protesters and describe how a cop in riot gear kneed him in the back, threw him to the ground, and bulldozed the pavement with his forehead before zip-tying and frogmarching him out of Solidarity Square for processing—all that despite his full cooperation during his arrest.

At some point he mentioned that he was a comic writer and said something about Family Guy, but I wasn’t sure if I had heard him right. This was probably around 7 or 8 a.m. and by then we had all spent the past six hours or so sitting handcuffed (most of that time with our hands behind our backs) on a cold concrete floor with no water. I was dehydrated and deprived of sleep, and could barely string three words together with any coherence, but I managed to exchange a few words with him about provocateurs and to swap some protest infiltration trivia. For someone who had been kicked and thrown head-first into the pavement, Patrick was in very good spirits. I remember him shaking his head in disbelief when I told him that 1 out of every 6 protesters at the 1968 Chicago National Democratic Convention protests was a federal agent, muttering, “I did not know that. I did not know that.”

Anyway, Patrick’s account of the raid, as well as his arrest, is pretty damn good and worth quoting at length:

My name is Patrick Meighan, and I’m a husband, a father, a writer on the Fox animated sitcom “Family Guy”, and a member of the Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Santa Monica.

I was arrested at about 1 a.m. Wednesday morning with 291 other people at Occupy LA. I was sitting in City Hall Park with a pillow, a blanket, and a copy of Thich Nhat Hanh’s “Being Peace” when 1,400 heavily-armed LAPD officers in paramilitary SWAT gear streamed in. I was in a group of about 50 peaceful protestors who sat Indian-style, arms interlocked, around a tent (the symbolic image of the Occupy movement). The LAPD officers encircled us, weapons drawn, while we chanted “We Are Peaceful” and “We Are Nonviolent” and “Join Us.”

As we sat there, encircled, a separate team of LAPD officers used knives to slice open every personal tent in the park. They forcibly removed anyone sleeping inside, and then yanked out and destroyed any personal property inside those tents, scattering the contents across the park. They then did the same with the communal property of the Occupy LA movement. For example, I watched as the LAPD destroyed a pop-up canopy tent that, until that moment, had been serving as Occupy LA’s First Aid and Wellness tent, in which volunteer health professionals gave free medical care to absolutely anyone who requested it. As it happens, my family had personally contributed that exact canopy tent to Occupy LA, at a cost of several hundred of my family’s dollars. As I watched, the LAPD sliced that canopy tent to shreds, broke the telescoping poles into pieces and scattered the detritus across the park. Note that these were the objects described in subsequent mainstream press reports as “30 tons of garbage” that was “abandoned” by Occupy LA: personal property forcibly stolen from us, destroyed in front of our eyes and then left for maintenance workers to dispose of while we were sent to prison.

When the LAPD finally began arresting those of us interlocked around the symbolic tent, we were all ordered by the LAPD to unlink from each other (in order to facilitate the arrests). Each seated, nonviolent protester beside me who refused to cooperate by unlinking his arms had the following done to him: an LAPD officer would forcibly extend the protestor’s legs, grab his left foot, twist it all the way around and then stomp his boot on the insole, pinning the protestor’s left foot to the pavement, twisted backwards. Then the LAPD officer would grab the protestor’s right foot and twist it all the way the other direction until the non-violent protestor, in incredible agony, would shriek in pain and unlink from his neighbor.

It was horrible to watch, and apparently designed to terrorize the rest of us. At least I was sufficiently terrorized. I unlinked my arms voluntarily and informed the LAPD officers that I would go peacefully and cooperatively. I stood as instructed, and then I had my arms wrenched behind my back, and an officer hyperextended my wrists into my inner arms. It was super violent, it hurt really really bad, and he was doing it on purpose. When I involuntarily recoiled from the pain, the LAPD officer threw me face-first to the pavement. He had my hands behind my back, so I landed right on my face. The officer dropped with his knee on my back and ground my face into the pavement. It really, really hurt and my face started bleeding and I was very scared. I begged for mercy and I promised that I was honestly not resisting and would not resist.

[Read the rest of Patrick's account here...]

I’m glad that Patrick got out of jail and feels well enough to at least get his account down on paper. His story is extremely important, and not just because it documents the gratuitous use of force by the LAPD against peaceful protesters who were simply exercising their constitutional rights.

Patrick is not the kind of demographic that the 1-percenters want to see represented at the Occupy protesters. He’s a successful Middle American who produces popular mass culture. A white, church-going man with a wife and kids, an employee of Murdoch’s Fox no less. In other words: not someone who you’d expect to find at an Occupy encampment. Yet there he was, not only taking an active part in the movement, but ready and willing to be arrested for the cause. Patrick’s presence there is a sign of the Occupy movement’s popularity among average–and above average–Americans. That may help explain why they cracked down–and cracked down hard–on the Occupy protests in so many places: many of those protestors were not your usual “professional protester” types.

Despite all the negative and outright propagandistic coverage that focuses on bongo players, unsanitary conditions, and the movement’s supposed lack of any sort of unified or coherent message, the reality is that plenty of employed and relatively affluent people support Occupy and its challenge to America’s financial oligarchy. They might not make it down to the camp and be willing to be arrested like Patrick or some of the other people like him I met in jail, but they agree with its goals. That’s because the dissatisfaction is widespread and cuts well into the 1 percent, as well as the rest of the 99 percent.

Have you noticed how there is very little polling on public support of the Occupy movement? Well, that’s not very surprising, because the few polls that have been released to the public have shown a massive amount of support. Two polls from mid-November reveal that anywhere from 25 to 35% of people support the Occupy movement. (The thing to remember is that polls can be and usually are skewed to get the desired results, so it wouldn’t surprise me if the level of support is even higher that that.) That’s an amazing amount of goodwill, especially when you consider all the smears and bad press that are being constantly unleashed on the public.

Even rightwing poll trolls couldn’t stuff a Fox News survey on OWS…

That kind of support can be very, very dangerous, especially if there is a place that supporters can go to anytime they want and join up with other people just like them. With Occupy, activism was no longer just about going to a single protest or spending a few hours at a panel discussion. Its camps offered a permanent place for people like Patrick to get involved, contribute, and begin building the movement up with their own hands. And that’s the really worries the financial oligarchy…

PS: I was hoping to interview photojournalist Tyson Heder, the guy who became an instant celebrity and a hero of the Occupy movement after he was knocked down and viciously attacked by a pack of LAPD shock troops simply for covering their paramilitary eviction raid of Occupy LA. But it looks like we’re going to have to wait a while to get his story, as apparently he has been advised by his attorney to refrain from speaking publicly about the incident until his gnarly legal situation (he’s been charged with: “Battery on a Peace Officer, Assault on a Peace Officer, and Resisting Arrest”) is cleared up…

Tyson displays his love bites after a nite out with the LAPD

 

***

Want to know more? Read Yasha Levine’s account of LAPD’s appalling treatment of detained Occupy LA protesters…His other Occupy LA coverage…And LA Weekly’s writeup of his arrest.

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



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40 Comments

Add your own

  • 1. Zhu Bajie  |  December 13th, 2011 at 4:26 am

    Middle class White people are usually excused the rough stuff. That they are not being excused this time means something. The 1% are scared? Over-confident? I’m not sure, but it’s significant.

  • 2. Edmund Dorkey and Gustavo Millibrand  |  December 13th, 2011 at 5:58 am

    Dear eXholes,

    The catalyst of revolutions is the blood of those who apparently have skin, real interest in the game, being treated like vermin. There is a point of no return when the oligarchs/plutocrats and their legal/lethal henchman begin to think of themselves and to act on the premise that they are superhuman. This is all rather reminiscent of Zardoz, a bad science-fiction movement. Sorry, but you have all been cast when you were born as untouchables: “The Gun is Good; the Penis is Bad.”

    Cheers,

    Edmund Dorkey and Gustavo Millibrand, Turks & Caicos Islands

  • 3. Phil  |  December 13th, 2011 at 7:24 am

    Writing Family Guy is fair cause for a beating.

  • 4. el craneo de Villa  |  December 13th, 2011 at 7:39 am

    In Capitalist America, the cops vandalize/brutalize you.

    And it used to be such a cool place just over a decade ago.

  • 5. William  |  December 13th, 2011 at 9:00 am

    My response to the title of this article is, “No shit, Sherlock.”

    No, it is not true that “Patrick is not the kind of demographic that the 1-percenters want to see represented at the Occupy protesters.” No, he is exactly who they wish to intimidate–actually, ANYONE who protests the status quo is a threat–especially the middle class. MSM journalists are already fearful, who better to intimidate than independent journalists and media professionals? I’m getting real annoyed by all the “I’m an upstanding member of the (upper even–no matter) middle class and they had the audacity to beat me up just like some poor person. Waaaaaa!

  • 6. CensusLouie  |  December 13th, 2011 at 9:13 am

    Here’s a little off topic update about another Occupy camp: Occupy Harvard

    For those who don’t know, Harvard Yard at the University is literally a gated community, surrounded on all sides by iron fences with gates.

    When the tents started popping up, the gates were closed. They are now all manned by 2-4 Harvard security personnel or police officers checking IDs and not allowing anyone without one to enter (anyone could freely walk into the yard before).

    Here’s their bullshit statement:

    http://www.harvard.edu/protest-at-harvard

    You’ll see the usual “concerned about health and safety” bull crap as the administration for the country’s largest wealthy nepotism justification processing center pretends to care about free speech rights. Also laugh at them magically knowing most of the protestors weren’t from Harvard (just like the Iraq insurgents were all foreign agents) and trumped up bullshit about “a Harvard University Police Department officer was physically accosted and his radio was stolen”.

    But since these are the children of the country’s rich and elite they can’t just sweep it aside like all the other protests. So what do you do?

    The ID checks are pretty clever that way. All traffic in and out of the yard (where many freshmen live) is heavily restricted and any guests have to be pre-approved by resident deans. The goal seems to be to make everything a giant pain in the ass as long as the tents were up. The intended effect is most likely to turn popular student and faculty opinion against the protestors in order to pressure them to leave and end the public safety” security.

    You know, the exact same trick teachers used to pull when one kid acted up in class so they’d give everyone detention? Or how R. Lee Ermey handled poor Gomer Pyle? Make it miserable for everyone in order to turn peer opinion against the one you want to punish instead of you.

  • 7. Trevor  |  December 13th, 2011 at 9:25 am

    So does this mean you guys don’t hate “Family Guy” anymore? ‘Cause I remember back in 2008 or so, you were calling for exactly the same treatment – or worse – for the likes of Meighan.

  • 8. dominic  |  December 13th, 2011 at 9:55 am

    Yasha, you’re one of the most legit journalists around, and along with The War Nerd you are the reason i visit eXiled. Thanks, and your Occupy LA pieces are fucking awesome. By the way, where the FUCK is the War Nerd? Hes such a fucking slacker, love him as I do. I want to see him talking about Syria…Anyway Yasha, right away i could tell you were legit, and this just reinforces that.

  • 9. Bradford C.  |  December 13th, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    克里夫蘭顯示
    是偉大的metajoke
    家庭蓋伊球迷

  • 10. Gerard Franks  |  December 13th, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    Whoa, maybe less jealous bottom trolls on yasha levine’s comments? More than anything, we’re all just kind of boring.

  • 11. Нестор Махно  |  December 13th, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    傑里桑達斯基
    大Metajoke
    佩里還雞姦

  • 12. Cernunnos  |  December 13th, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    They’re getting ready to remove Occupy Pittsburgh soon as well:

    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11347/1196574-100.stm

  • 13. Census Louie  |  December 13th, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    Speaking of War Nerd, this might be a little outside his department but I’d love to see a little thing from him on present and future tactics by and against these protests.

    For example, do you go the green march route and keep the camps up in order to capture juicy police brutality martyr footage? Or do you go the little red book route and have the camp melt away when the police gear up to take it down, only to have it pop up somewhere else (or the same spot!) the instant the cops demobilize, driving the police crazy with constant and costly mobilizations?

  • 14. Census Louie  |  December 13th, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    And speaking of juicy brutality martyr footage, do a search for “Houston police censor tent” on Youtube to see the absolute bullshit tactics police are pulling to take down the Occupy Houston protest. They erect “arrest tents” to block out all cameras as they zip cuff and “process” protestors, for their own safety of course. Witness reports are also saying that cops are putting duct tape over their names and badge numbers.

    Absolute fucking bullshit. We knew from the start that the Tea Party was a bunch of pussy hypocrits, but the fact that none of them are out protesting this is solid proof.

  • 15. my talkative ringpiece  |  December 13th, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    #13: What you said. Come on, Nerd! Do it!

  • 16. Bradford C.  |  December 13th, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    @Нестор Махно

    桑達斯基笑話
    不是很滑稽
    因此,許多人
    可能無法獲得

  • 17. Zog  |  December 13th, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    @ 13

    Well Louis I cannot induce the Great War Nerd to speak but I can give you a personal summery of classic Maoist tactics as explained by the Great War Nerd. Insurgent SOP as practiced in India and elsewhere would suggest that the way forward is to start killing cops. This will lead to crack-downs and escalating brutality, leading to protester deaths, leading to more radicalization of the movement, leading to more cop killings and so on and on until the eventual general uprising concluded by the 1% twitching at the end of a rope.
    Is this wise? Up to you Amerikans but trends are there for all to see.

  • 18. Zog  |  December 13th, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    Kind of a miracle that the cops haven’t killed anyone already. It would indicate a sort of brutal professionalism among America’s pig forces.

  • 19. Bradford C.  |  December 14th, 2011 at 12:47 am

    Zog, you are such a lamebrain.

    American cops don’t want to harm protesters, that is why nobody has been killed yet, and the closest thing they could call a “fatality” was a miscarriage produced by savage kicks to the belly.

    “Americans” are all operating in the same TIME ZONE, which means our sense of comradery has always been there. Most of us just didn’t know how to illustrate it, because the intellectual pantheon assumed that country folks were too stupid to get it. That we needed to be manipulated in order to build a greater world.

    Well fuck the Pharaohs, fuck the Kings, fuck the Emperors, fuck The Presidents, and fuck The Bankers. This is a world made for the 99% of life which can still manage to claw its way into the light and slaughter the dead gods.

    Police are a tool, but cops themselves are a part of the 99%. They know this intuitively. Their professionalism is to be commended, their restraint lauded, and the individual cases of police defying orders in accordance to their values can never be forgotten.

    We have to create the social condition that will allow “GOOD COPS” to expose the thugs in their midst, so we can get back to the business of building a just society.

  • 20. Census Louie  |  December 14th, 2011 at 12:52 am

    @17

    Ah, but has that ever worked against a militarized police force who are brutal enough to crush protests, but not brutal enough that they smartly avoid overt bloodbaths? That kind of stuff seems to only work against foreign occupying armies (who have the subtlety of a sledgehammer and an option to say “fuck it” and go home) these days.

  • 21. Marcus McSpartacus  |  December 14th, 2011 at 2:52 am

    Phil “beat” me to it – wocka wocka.
    Also, I hate to break it to you all, but “Unitarian Universalist” isn’t really a prime example of red-blooded flyover-country apple-pie corn-dog flag-wavin’ Americans. It’s like saying you’re a farmer that only eats 100% American Tofu.

  • 22. Flatulissimo  |  December 14th, 2011 at 6:39 am

    This makes me feel better for having sometimes laughed at Family Guy.

  • 23. Erik  |  December 14th, 2011 at 6:53 am

    The massive support for Occupy is because they are a blank sheet of paper onto which everybody can project their own frustrations. And sincere there no way to argue with someone who refuses to put forth an argument, Occupy has a winning formula.

    Set specific goals and 80% of the support would be instantly gone and Occupy would fraction faster than a claymore mine.

  • 24. Phoenix Insurgent  |  December 14th, 2011 at 7:44 am

    Unfortunately, middle class white people enter the movement with a set of expectations and illusions about how change happens and who the actors in social change are. They impose these biases on the movements they participate in. We see this already in occupy, with its rigidly anti-historical, poorly defined and ideological adherence to nonviolence, its fear of “bad” imagery, messaging and provocation, and its naive attitudes towards the police. These orientations are highly alienating to working class and poor participants in this movement and create a deep skepticism on the part of us non-middle class protesters and militants with regard to the actual commitment of the middle class to the kinds of social change required to go beyond merely a “restoration of the American Dream” (as if that’s possible or even desirable, given its costs to the Earth and the impoverished people of the world) but to the creation of the kind of society that would actually put the demands of people at the bottom first, or at least on equal par with those of the only quite recently offended white middle class.

  • 25. chris  |  December 14th, 2011 at 7:44 am

    Fox news is definately skewing the data. Look at the current poll now; since when the screen shot was taken.

    http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2011/10/07/do-occupy-wall-street-protests-represent-your-views-economy/

  • 26. mikey  |  December 14th, 2011 at 9:57 am

    I hate to say it, but sitting with your arms interlocked is less peaceful protest and more blockading. they shouldn’t beat people up for it, but they should have maced you for it to get you on the ground and cuffed. But then again, LA is crap.

  • 27. Words  |  December 14th, 2011 at 11:27 am

    OWS man dead after being pepper-sprayed during an asthma attack.
    Oakland veterans brutalized in the name of law-enforcement.
    L.A. among MANY other occupations, shut down.
    Fort Worth among MANY other occupations not allowed sanitary facilities, tents, or even SIGNS.
    There is such a suppression of this movement.. I am flabbergasted at how long this inhumane treatment towards protesters has been tolerated. Maybe Mao wasn’t far off…

  • 28. Нестор Махно  |  December 14th, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    竊聽傑里桑達斯基 CHEMTRAILS METAJOKE
    走進酒吧
    布拉德利曼寧是死
    科文頓柏靈公司的路易Freehs
    給高五

  • 29. Bradford C.  |  December 14th, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    @Marcus McSpartacus

    I don’t know who you think you’re referring to with this “Unitarian Universalist” horseshit, or your foolish insistence that country folks are all too ignorant to understand the Occupy movement. Maybe it’s because you fucking ivory tower liberals couldn’t come down to the swamps long enough to learn how to relate to your own goddamn cousins.

  • 30. Bradford C.  |  December 14th, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    小隊の馬鹿者
    それほど悪くないです
    彼らは右に従うときに
    受注

  • 31. super390  |  December 14th, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    @#29:

    Well, Bradford, it appears you’re turning Japanese. But whomever you are, maybe the folks in the “swamps” should have followed their black Southern counterparts into the cities to learn something about the modern world, like Malcolm X’s family did. Because the swamps are all being drained and replaced with Wal-Marts full of Chinese manufactures. Revolutions usually start in the cities, unless you hear tell of hillbilly Maoists organizing communes in Arkansas.

  • 32. Bradford C.  |  December 14th, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    Don’t blame the swamp folk. Their minds were fucked up by the English.

  • 33. captain america  |  December 14th, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    i just wanted to say that i’m impressed that bradford and nestor know chinese.

  • 34. Mike C.  |  December 15th, 2011 at 3:47 am

    @23. Erik

    Are you a time traveler from the past? Because your argument is about two months out of date.

    Official statements have been released, and city resolutions passed in support of Occupy’s goals — at least in LA.

    Among other things, they want to end corporate personhood; stop the creeping fascism of the NDAA, SOPA, PIPA, etc.; limit or remove the influence of bribery in politics, under the guises of campaign financing and lobbying; stop fraudulent foreclosures and punish the banks responsible; end the wars; head off new wars for which Obama is laying the groundwork; close Gitmo; increase the top marginal tax rate and capital gains taxes; close tax loopholes; and so on.

    Again, many of these things have been addressed in official statements which were passed through a voting/consensus process by participants in Occupy. Anyone can float their agenda through the decision making body of Occupy, but it’s only through the aggregate support of the general consensus that anything becomes official.

    This is all documented, covered by journalists, recorded by the City Council, and known to almost any active participant in Occupy — who will tell you about it at length if you just fucking ask.

    You’d either have to be dishonest, a paid troll, or a total fucking lazy moron to express ignorance of this.

  • 35. Bradford C.  |  December 15th, 2011 at 3:48 am

    http://youtu.be/W_-dnxdHXj4

  • 36. John Figler  |  December 15th, 2011 at 6:03 am

    “They might not make it down to the camp and be willing to be arrested like Patrick or some of the other people like him I met in jail…”

    Then, what the fuck are they good for?

    Likes in Facebook aren’t what I’d call a meaningful revolutionary action. Look at Tahrir. It was the “relatively affluent” guys you’d like to befriend through Coachsurf that set up the Facebook shit, but it took massive hand to hand fighting with the riot police to accomplish something.

    It was the mostly non-literate, poor, shared lavatory guys who did the stone-throwing.

    Sure, everybody want’s to be a revolutionary, and everybody, pretty much, agrees that they’d like to live in a better world. What the Occupy style movements can’t address is the important question that comes inmediately behind the realization that you want to change the world: How are you going to do it? and What do you exactly mean by make a better world?

    Stating that you’ll end corporate privileges sounds great. Now, what does that exactly mean? What’s your timetable? What is step one? Are you sure they’ll stil be behind you when they realize that means losing most of their retirement funds?

    But, ey, now you have a famous friend! In 30 years you both can gather up again to celebrate when you were young and opinionated and rant about the shitty music your children listen to and how they’ll never be tough enough to battle for their believes… Those LAPD bastards… ahhh, those were cops, not what we have now… etc

    Oh, and of course, now you are all Time Persons of the Year!

  • 37. Bradford C.  |  December 15th, 2011 at 8:23 am

    O Mighty Exile Censor,

    HEAR MY PLEA FOR SANDVICH!!!

  • 38. Edmund Dorkey and Gustavo Millibrand  |  December 15th, 2011 at 11:22 am

    Dear eXholes,

    సంధ్యవేళ జెర్రీ శాన్ నా పొరుగు కు వెళ్ళటం ఉంది. CENSOR METAJOKE
    ఎవరైనా ఏదైనా కొత్త జోకులు ఉందా?

    గార్బేజ్ బాల్చి కిడ్స్ తారాగణం లైంగిక వేధింపులకు గురైన ఉంది.

    Cheers (and Chemtrails),

    Edmund Dorkey and Gustavo Millebrand, Turks & Caicos Islands

  • 39. bletch  |  December 19th, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    the only thing i know about japan is that devilman was a fuckin’ great comic book

  • 40. James Smith  |  October 24th, 2014 at 5:41 am

    It isn’t as if any rational person still believes the USA is a free country. 

    Think about it.  No-warrant wire taps, indefinite detention of citizens without charges, approval of rendition of prisoners and torture, stop and frisk without probable cause, search and seizure without a warrant, no-knock entry, confiscation and destruction of cameras that might have been used to film police acting illegally, police brutality, police shootings that go without  investigation, managed news, and the civil-rights destroying “Patriot” Act.

    Acts of police behaving illegally, with shootings, Tasers, and unwarranted violence now appear almost daily.  Rarely are these offenses punished.  Most often “an investigation” is claimed, but soon forgotten.

    

In addition, the USA, with 5% of the world population, has 25% of all of the prisoners in the world.  That means the USA has the most people in prison of any nation in history.  Even by percentage of residents incarcerated, not just sheer numbers, USA is # 1



    Does any of that sound like a free country?

    As Dwight D. Eisenhower said about communism, “It’s like slicing sausage.  First they out off a small slice.  That isn’t worth fighting over.  Then they take another small slice that isn’t worth fighting over.  Then another and another.  Finally, all you have left is the string and that isn’t worth fighting over, either.


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