Tuesday, November 29, 2011, the LAPD decided to raid Occupy Los Angeles, despite the statement by Mayor Villagossa that he supports the encampments right to assemble. We got a report from NBC that hundreds of Police Officers, along with busses and riot gear, were staging at Dodger Stadium. We sent out the word to everyone we could. I wonder why the Unions didn’t show up? But that’s a question better asked of our union organizer.
The police blocked off a radius of about two blocks around City Hall. They had at least 1500 troops, from what I could observe, in riot gear. They blocked off the streets and aloud no traffic in or out. I was using my phone to ustreem, streaming events live over the internet, so I was walking all around the encampment.
They came in like storm troopers at about 11pm. I was on main and temple when I heard thunder come from City hall. It startled me. I ran toward the noise. They came from everywhere. People were falling over each other to get away. A flood of riot cops were flooding the walk ways in front of city hall. They were like an unstoppable bull douser, rolling over everyone in their path. Falling over, even I was taken back. We screamed “We are peaceful, We are peaceful” as they came close. They stopped. My adrenalin was pumping; my forehead was drenched in sweat. There were women and men screaming all around me. I ran through the crowed trying to get it all out on the Internet. We were surrounded. I dived into a protest circle and linked arms with a good friend of mine.
I’m going to state this right now, I’m going to avoid using names.
Holding strong, 100 protesters linked arms around a tent in the middle of the south lawn, at the steps of city hall. They surrounded us, batons at the ready. We chanted loudly a combination of “we are peaceful” and “will not move”. The chanting began to settle as time began to tick away. We began to talk to the cops. I must admit, they just looked annoyed to be there.
A Rabi walked around the circle telling people that, if we wanted, any of us could leave with him and we would be escorted out and sent on our way. It turns out he was a little right. Everyone who was escorted out was sent on their way- to jail. While people who didn’t want to go to jail were escorted to jail, the news casters were being kicked off of the property. It was very interesting, watching our first amendment crumble from beneath us.
After they kicked out the media, they went to work on us. Within my view, they began to stomp and toss the tents. One of the tents they came across had a woman in it. They screamed at her to get out. She scrambled to get out, but couldn’t get out fast enough. They ended up tazering her. Then they proceeded to drag us out one by one; while making such snide comments as “who’s the next customer”.
Sitting on a curb we waited to be put on the bus. One of our friends hands were starting to turn blue from the zip ties. We repeatedly asked for help from the officers closest to us. We were met with mockery and condescension. One of the officers came over to look and stated that it “didn’t look that blue”.
We got arrested at about 230am. We were driven around the corner. It literally took us about 5 minutes. There were 46 protesters on the bus I occupied. When we pulled in the processing center the Officers got off the bus. They got off the bus and took out food, and started to eat. We kept asking for help with our guy’s zip tie cuffs but it fell on deaf ears. Then we had to use the bathroom. We screamed for help with that too. They just sat there, outside the bus, and talked amongst each other. Officers were walking through but, except for the few officers that were on our bus, no one else was in there. Dawn approached and a line of protesters came walking in from the opposite side of the humongous room we were in. There were about 60 people in a room that could hold 300 people. We still had yet had a bathroom break, one friends hand had gotten bluer, and some of other friends needed medical attention.
We screamed we needed a nurse. We screamed about asthma medication that was desperately being needed. No one came to our aid. Ya, they heard us. They pointed at us and laughed. I thought to myself, this is going to be a long day. We stayed on the bus until the paper work on us started. That was at about noon. We had been on the bus for about 8 hours by then. 3 guys had peed there pants. One friend was in and out of consciousness, due to not receiving his asthma meds, and another friend could no longer feel his hand.
We were taken out of the bus and were put in a group at the end of the other protesters, the ones that got there at dawn. They started processing people threw. They started with the first set of protesters. My left shoulder felt as if it had been ripped out of its socket, my wrists was sore as hell too. We started to complain so much they finally helped us out with basic stuff.
About an hour later, another bus of protesters pulled into the bay. They were let off and we heard there stories. The same things happen to them too, except they kept being driven back and forth between where we were at and Van Nuys jail.
We were escorted into the cells before our prints were to be taken. They kept bringing more and more protesters in the cell. They kept 52 of us in the 18 man cell. We were there for at least 5 to 6 hours. Dusk finally broke and, right before they took our finger prints, they fed us. It was about 6pm by the time they finally fed us. They gave us 2 burritos, 2 servings of juice, and an apple. For those who were vegetarians they gave them another apple instead of the burritos. Those who were sick we helped them huddle on the ground in the corner, but for the most part it was standing room only. They were only around for the most basic things like finger printing, and the only meal up to this point. Nurses came to aid, but only had ibprofrin. Inhalers were finally found and given to those who needed it. It wasn’t easy for the one guy who had to use the bathroom in the cell. There were 3 phones in the cell. One phone worked intermittingly and the other two phones didn’t work at all. Interesting thing though, no one could seem to get a hold of anyone on the one phone that periodically worked.
It was late in the night, I think, before we were put into a large cell with beds. Everyone fell fast asleep.
We were awaken at about 3am for breakfast. It was powdered eggs, potatoes, and milk. I tried to eat it but couldn’t. It tasted inedible, and I can eat just about anything. When I asked for soap and towels for showers for all of us I was told the day shift was in charge of that, so ask them. We didn’t see another officer until lunch, which came at about 2pm. The only reason I had those two reference points of time is because I had been to jail before. I had been arrested at the last Bank of America protest. The cell had no clock, we had no watches. It was getting really hard to figure out what the time of day it was. The Lights had stayed on all night. They stayed on every night.
For lunch we had more burritos. I put down one of them because they were the most palatable thing they had given us thus far. We asked for shower and toiletry supplies when they came to bring the food. They hadn’t answered us up to that point. The jailer just laughed and asked us why we wanted those things because after all “aren’t we used to living in our own filth”. We didn’t get showers the first day. Ignored by the guards for the rest of the day we sat around talking. Toilet paper came with dinner; how does anyone screw up turkey sandwiches? It’s as if they made the sandwiches 3 days before we got arrested and frozen to serve. Some were still frozen in the middle. I couldn’t eat it. Things were extremely disorienting, I didn’t know what time it was, but at some point in time late at night they began moving protesters in and out of the cell. This lasted all night. Every hour the LOUD ASS pa system would go off to transfer protesters, or give people blood presser checks, or pills (none of them took in the middle of the night).
The next day the food schedule remained the same. Reading the rules of the prison we saw that we were aloud a newspaper and a bible or Quran. We asked for both. We also continued to ask for soap and towels. It was hard to even figure out what time it was. Things were so disorienting. Anything we asked they told us that someone was on it. They wouldn’t turn on the TV; all we did was sit around and talk. It was cold; we were givin one thin blanket. One of our protesters had nothing on except shorts and a robe. The cops had disposed of everything he owned. I was cold wearing a thin CSUN sweater, he was freezing. He spent most of his time in his bunk wrapped in his blanket.
We ended up getting tooth brushes and past. We got a big bottle of soap for the showers. The soap had some harsh warnings on the container. The guard came back with 7 towels for our group of 46 people. He told us that we would have to make do and share the towels amongst us. We wouldn’t get any more towels. Some in the room hadn’t had a shower in over a week. We gave the towels to those of us who hadn’t showered in the longest time. I drew the final straw with 4 days.
At Some point we received a newspaper, it was 2 days old and in Spanish. The guards were extremely rude to us. They consistently lied about the time, keeping us off balance. We kept time by looking at the guards watch when they came to feed us. I couldn’t eat the food because it was so bad. They woke us up with the PA system every night all night. On the last night, I guess sick of being asked for a Koran, they took out one of our guys in cuffs. They put him in solitary confinement until I saw him the next day.
The last night, they started to take people out of the cell the same as they had done before. But this time they weren’t replacing them with other protesters. We thought that some of us were getting let out. This turned out to not be true. We saw them again the next morning in the holding cells, when we were preparing to be transported to court. They were being held in the holding cells.
We were arrested at 2am on Wednesday morning; we were let out at 5pm Friday afternoon. Our bail was 5000 dollars; most couldn’t even come up with 10% of it for the bail bonds man. After 3 days we were given a yellow piece of paper and told to come back on the 5th of January. While the people I got arrested with were on city hall property, a lot of the men inside were not. Most I met were trying not to get arrested. Some were arrested two blocks away. We had one guy in with us who was a cab driver. He just got out of his cab to see all the commotion of what was going on. A lot of people were arrested while they were on the sidewalk as far as 2 blocks away.
We were told, repeatedly by numerous guards that we were being made an example of. They said that they were told to teach us a lesson so we wouldn’t come back. Well I learned a valuable lesson. I don’t think it’s the lesson they had intended. Lessons were learned by everyone who got arrested that day. We recruited more people that night. Some who just came for the spectacle, are now heavily committed. Those who had no idea what was going on, are now asking questions and getting involved.
Show me what a police state looks like; this is what a police state looks like!
No the injuries that the majority of protesters suffered can show up in a picture. But they are just as bad. The tactics they are using are psychological in nature here at Occupy Los Angeles.
I was eating at panda express with my friend after my release from jail. One of the girls working at the establishment started moving the metal chairs around on the cold tile surface floor. She was trying to clean. I had a flashback of being woken up in the night to the jail PA system. It just made me realize how good at mind games the establishment truly is.