It's just a few bad apples, I swear!!

Discussion in 'Protest' started by ChanginTimes, Aug 18, 2005.

  1. ChanginTimes

    ChanginTimes Member

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    Critical Mass Ends via Police Brutality

    [size=-1]Vince, 30.07.2005 02:30[/size]




    This article is written as an eyewitness account of the absurd and abusive behavior of the Milwaukee Police Department at this July's Critical Mass. I'm not much of a serious writer, and I sincerely hope more people who were there articulate on the matter, but I was there, so were others, and we have to let some people know about it.

    [​IMG]
    grouparrest foto from jolena's livejournal blog




    [size=-1]Friday. July 29th. It was a great day for a Critical Mass. Good weather, good turn out, and even more exciting -- this was my first Critical Mass. Starting at Riverside Park, we made our way South. Starting at about roughly The 3rd Ward, cops were wailing their sirens and telling us to get into a single lane. Which we did.

    We made our way up 2nd St. approaching National. Considering there were squad cars to our right on national, and a squad behind us, we didn't want to violate traffic violations. Half the group was able to turn left on to national, heading west, before a yellow light stopped me and the rest of the cyclists.

    The light had turned green, but to our right, a squad car was parked on the corner of National and 2nd, and two cops got out, screaming and swearing. "Get the fuck off the bikes! Sit your fucking asses on the curb! Get off your fucking bikes!" etc. etc. Slowly we were complying. Despite the fact that we had all legally went into the left turn lane, the cops were still acting like we were common criminals. I was in the front of this group, located just before the beginning of the intersection, and on the right side of the left hand lane (i.e.: I was super, super close to the cops).

    Immediately to my right, a father was cycling and he had a carriage which carried his infant boy attached to his bike. It was one of those very typical carriages you see, the kind that are completely obviously used for carrying a child. Coming from the back of the crowd, and seeing a green light, he assumed that it was just fine if he took a left hand turn. Wouldn't you?

    However, seeing the cops approaching him aggressively, and screaming at him to stop he began a gradual descent in speed. The cops must have taken this gradual descent as some kind of escape attempt because one of the cops pushed the man over and halfway off his bike. Trying his hardest to swing his leg off of his bike, the officer pushed him further, and then another police officer ran closer to the man and his partner and completely took the bike out of the mans grasp, slammed it to the ground, and then, for "good measure", or something like that, he tipped over the baby-carriage, and he did so aggressively. And I was there. And so were about a jillion other people. We saw this happen.

    In all fairness, the officer was not aware that a child was in the carriage. After my peers and myself had screamed about 4 times "What the fuck are you doing?! There's a fucking child in there!" the officer mumbled "There's a kid in there?" and then proceeded to pick up the carriage, briefly glance at the baby, and said in a voice dryer than a desert, "Sorry, buddy"

    All of this occurred while the father was being wrestled to the ground by 4 cops. One of his tickets was for resisting arrest. The tickets fail to mention that he was resisting arrest because his child had just been assaulted. What needs no explanation, but I will articulate anyway, is that the actions these police officers took to stop a man from riding his damn bicycle were reckless and negligent. Had the police behaved rationally and according to how a sane human being would behave, they would not have almost severely injured a child. Fortunately, the carriage the baby was in seemed to be of such high quality that it could even withstand being assaulted by a full grown man--the baby was not hurt, but simply scared, which was fortunate and wonderful.

    As the man was dragged off, a personal friend of mine picked up the baby and attempted to calm it down, which after a few minutes the baby seemed pretty peaceful. As we were instructed to "sit your ass down on the fucking curb" my friend was still standing, holding the baby, while the rest of us gave out information to the police.

    The officer who had knocked over the baby carriage asked my friend, as if she had no right to nurture a scared child, what she was doing with the baby. She more or less snapped, demanding to know why he wouldn't assume a baby was in the carriage and that she wasn't just going to leave the kid in the sun, like the cops had. When asked if she knew the father, and saying she didn't have the right to carry someone else's child she brought up the painfully true fact that he had just arrested the man who would be, if he could be, taking care of his kid.

    I am bad at html, and she has put her own 2 cents into it. So to see some pictures that she herself took, as well as a brief account of the situation, here's a link to her livejournal: [​IMG] http://www.livejournal.com/users/jolenaxcore/214364.html The bottom one is the man and his baby. The cops allowed them to be together after quite a long time of being apart, probably close to a half an hour apart. It was a relief that he could be back with his kid, even if he had to hold his child in the back seat of a squad car. (and by the way, the last few sentences of her post, not her sisters quote, are dripping in sarcasm, just for those of you who are accustomed to non-sarcastic humor/satire/whatever I've rambled).

    Another one of my friends flipped off the cops, and was wrestled to the ground and given a few tickets. For giving some people the bird. Ridiculous. This happened to a girl I don't know as well, although I didn't see it.

    Me and my peers that were sitting down awaiting our citations were told by a police officer that we cannot talk or make phone calls. When asked if he could be quoted about it the illegality of making a phone call during a "citation investigation", he spat out a bunch of mumbo jumbo about common courtesy and obstructing with a police investigation. He started to shut up a little bit more when we mentioned that he was obstructing our constitutional rights. But this was just another act of improper conduct on the part of the police. We were lied to about our rights as citizens who weren't even under arrest. He also tried to tell us we needed permits to ride our bikes in such a manner. Which is asinine. If dozens of cars are on a street, do they need a permit?

    The officer who tipped over the baby carriage has a long and Polish name, and the other officers refused to spell it out for us or say it too many times, so it was hard for us to remember or write down. But his badge number (someone correct me if I'm wrong) is 2197. Someone must have his name or a way of getting it and I strongly encourage anyone who knows anything about it to post it up.

    Anyway, we are going to pursue legal action via sympathetic lawyers. Even while people were still giving tickets, a lawyer showed up to video tape what was happening and was arrested. We have a decent amount of connections, and none of us plan on sitting by passively and letting this sort of thing happen with out some serious repercussions.

    I don't know the exact numbers, but about half the of the critical mass were given citations (about 30 or 40 of us) and 4 of us were arrested. We ride our bikes to protest car culture, and to encourage an environmentally and socially friendly means of transportation. Plus its just a good time. The traffic that we blocked was no different than the type of traffic jams that happen during rush hour, except this time it was with bikes. Obviously, while Milwaukee's murder rates are the highest they've been in years, the police just can't stand 60 people getting together and biking around.

    Hopefully we can turn these negative events into something positive and rally together against police brutality and the intolerance of a bunch of people getting some exercise. With lawyers and eye-witnesses on our side, this will be a tough battle for the MPD. We're doing this all again on the last Friday of August (Critical Masses are scheduled on the last Friday of every month), and hopefully into the fall. Critical Mass has been happening in MKE for 3 years off an on, and police brutality is a fantastic reason to keep on doing it.
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    [size=-1][​IMG] e-mail:: refusenik13@sbcglobal.net[/size]
     

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