This is the account of one occupier who was arrested on the night of the Occupy LA raid. Her story is devastating, and no human being deserves to be treated this way.
“I stayed at the food tent as long as I could. We passed out apple (?) occupy. We tried to keep people happy and safe. I hid the cans to help us remain nonviolent, and then Mud and I walked up the streets after we were told by the police to leave.
We walked down the streets to a car waiting for us until we were told to get on the sidewalk or be arrested. We went to the sidewalk and found riot police on either side of us coming closer. It made me nervous, but the police officer in front of us said, “Wait just a moment, and we’ll let you go.”
To my surprise, within moments, I watched Mud zip-tied and taken away. I then saw a legal observer (the kind with the pass, not the green hat) taken away as well. And then it happened to me. The people who had hopped over the fence, who had disobeyed the orders to go to the sidewalk, were left alone. The people who had listened to the police, remaining calmly and peacefully on the sidewalk, found themselves zip-tied and taken away.
We were left standing on the street for a couple hours, as I was, watching the people I know get taken on buses. I was one of the last put on the buses, standing and shivering outside, taken on a bus with several other women. There were men behind me as well. We spent almost eight hours being driven back and forth.
There was a point in time where the, I believe sheriffs, who were driving, decided to pull over and have some food. As they sat with their feet propped up on the dash, we begged to be allowed to go to the bathroom. Our hands were still behind our backs. It had been hours. Some of us really had to go to the bathroom. We decided amongst ourselves we would not say who this happened to -- but one of us really had to go to the bathroom. So together, we surrounded her so the men behind and the drivers in front of us couldn’t see her, and we, with our hands behind us, pulled her pants down so she could go to the bathroom on the seat. Because that was the only option.
We had asked for water. We had asked for humanity. Although it sounds a little dramatic, humanity was what we needed. When we asked for that, they turned Christmas music on. So loud, that we couldn’t hear each other -- so that they couldn’t hear us asking for humanity. At one point, they had the air conditioning turned up so high that it triggered asthma for me and another girl. I knew my inhaler was in the duffel bag, and I tried to say, “I understand if you can’t get it, but I do need my inhaler.” Another girl spoke for me because my voice wasn’t working. The sheriffs both made fun of her, and then told me, “This isn’t the movies, you know.” My thought was, “Exactly. This is a real-life attack.”
Not all of the officers treated us this way. The bus drivers were awful. I heard other buses experienced similar things. When we went to the Metro station, the officers were embarrassed. They offered apples. They offered burritos. When we went to the women’s center, hours later -- I believe we were arrested at 2 in the morning. I personally was booked around 5 the next afternoon. After that we went to the women’s center in Van Nuys. We were not offered showers. We were not offered toothbrushes. We were told they only offer that every other day. But we were not offered it the next day either. We did not get fed until 6 the next morning.
When I explained I can not eat pancakes because I’m allergic to wheat, and asked for an apple, they said, “We do not accommodate such things.” When I asked for soap, they simply said no.
We had a girl who was sick in her cell. We asked for a nurse. We asked for a nurse again. About half an hour later, once I tried knocking over the garbage can outside, they were irritated enough to come over and answer. There was a girl, who was still there, who needed her anxiety medicine. When I left today, she was curled in a ball on the top of her bunk-bed. As far as I know, she’s still there.
I tried very hard to help people be fed, and get the things they needed. It wasn’t easy. It didn’t always happen. There are definitely people, who are occupiers, who participated in committees, who are still there tonight. There are women trying to bond together, trying to work together, and trying to get home. Where home is, we’re not sure. But we’re occupiers, and we’re trying to stay together. So, if anybody’s watching tonight -- our bail is ridiculously high. Five thousand a person for 220 people, many of whom can’t even imagine the 10 percent of that for a bail bondsman. So if anyone even has $2 or $3, it can add up. And we’d be grateful. Thanks for listening.”