The following was written by Andrew Cunningham.
OG plaza went crazy yesterday.
There was a huge 80 foot long banner that said ‘operation occupy’ that we were attempting to fasten to lightpoles when police officers started ripping the banner off of the poles. Our beautiful occupiers took the banner and held it proudly as the police threatened arrest for ‘blocking a sidewalk’. Word came from the backside of OG plaza that there were a lot of cops trying to arrest people, and steal our food. We all ran with the banner over to the back of the park to find a young lady named Carly I believe, being harrased and grabbed by the police. I had the video camera rolling on her confrontation with the cops when I noticed that another occupier I will leave un-named, was running across the plaza and out toward the street with approx 6 or 8 cops chasing him. I ran to follow and was getting footage of this occupier being brutalized by this group of police.
He was on the ground face down, mouth bloody. I yelled at the cops that he was already detained and they didn’t need that many police officers still on top of him. I was holding my left hand up and my right hand up with cell phone video camera in it. I didn’t really see exactly what happened but it seemed like chaos was surrounding us. The next thing I knew my left arm was being pulled behind my back and I heard ‘take him’. The cop forced me to the ground as I attempted to pass my phone off to a friend of mine and the cop grabbed my arm and took it from my hand, put my right hand behind my back and handcuffed me. I asked the officer what I was being charged with, he did not answer me. I was led back to the police van in which I was placed with 5 other male occupiers and in the front of the van were 2 more occupiers that were female, one of which was Carly, and I am sorry I can not remember the other female occupiers name. The back doors shut and we were gone with sirens blasting.
We were in the dark, in a non-ventilated van, which we barely fit into and we were sweating and feeling close to passing out. We were in this van under an overpass for hours, once in a while they would open the back doors and ask names and then close the doors again. They eventually took us out one by one and took pictures of us and attempted to make us sign paperwork. We all asked for our lawyer. As we got out of the van we could see there were at least fifty or sixty cops under the overpass with us. Once the cops got their information or lack there of, we were off to Santa Rita jail, where we were put into the first of a series of holding cells or ‘cold rooms’. If you haven’t been to jail, these rooms are all concrete and metal, and they keep the air on so it is cold and uncomfortable. One deputy in particular was a total asshole, saying we stink and he doesn’t even want to look at us and we are pieces of garbage, etc.
Finally after about 8 hours we were given intake food bags, which consisted of ‘bologna’, half stale bread, an orange, a cup, and a packet of orange flavoring like kool-aid, except with salt peter in it I’ve heard. As they were handing us these bags of food, they were taking a picture of the food being handed to each ‘inmate’ (occupier). I asked if they were going to include with those pictures the fact of how many hours we waited before getting food. We were then seperated a few here and a few there, we were all trying to sleep as best we could in the holding cells, which isn’t easy without blankets. When we finally received blankets it was down to Brian Glascock and I alone in a big holding cell with only a TV, no toilet, no water, and the food and blankets that we did have we were told to leave it all outside this coldroom, we were in this room for about 3 or 4 hours, by this time it was around 8am. A lot more people came into that cell that were not occupy people.
We were moved out to general population at around 10 or 11 I believe. When we got into general pop, Brian and I met some people who showed us the rule sheet on the wall and gave us a rundown of how things go inside there. Someone was asking what my name was so I told them, Andrew Cunningham. They then said, you made bail. I walked out feeling bad for leaving my commrades behind, then I was sat in another cold room for a few hours, then another cold room, and then finally went through the process of getting street clothes and property back. I was just released a couple hours ago, so I am sorry if this comes out bad but I am extremely sleep deprived amongst other things, but I wanted to write this out before eating, showering, sleeping, etc.
I am sure there is a lot I am already forgetting to include in here, and I wish I knew all the occupiers names so I could tell you all. Brian Glasscock did ask me to call his girlfriend but I could not remember the number, so hopefully someone here knows her. Brian is the sound guy for Occupy Oakland. I am not including some of the stories that happened inside as they were demeaning and I don’t want to detail those experiences. I have a scratch/bruise on my forehead from the cop putting my head into the concrete with his boot on the back of my head, also nerve damage to my right pinky finger and wrist from the cuffs being too tight and on for too long. My mind and spirit is with you guys that are still in jail, I feel like shit, but I hope that at least getting this story out to everyone is worth something. I will be at court on Tuesday, along with all other arrested occupiers.
I am going to eat and shower now. I love you all. Solidarity!