Posts Tagged ‘arrest’

Occupy Sacramento protesters’ push to continue their amorphous yet spirited around-the-clock campaign against economic inequalities got a powerful assist Monday from an unexpected source.

District Attorney Jan Scully announced Monday afternoon that her office would not file state charges against protesters arrested for refusing to disperse from an unlawful assembly after being ordered to do so by law enforcement.

Scully’s position – that no unlawful assembly occurred – has her office ostensibly siding with the protesters and in direct conflict with the Sacramento Police Department.

“They are still in violation and we will continue to make the arrests,” said Laura Peck, a police spokeswoman, in response to questions about continued arrests under the state law.

Those arrested will still face prosecution on charges that they violated a city ordinance making loitering after curfew illegal in Cesar E. Chavez Plaza. The city attorney’s office, not the district attorney, handles violations of city ordinances.

Mirroring the Occupy Wall Street movement, which has taken up full-time residence in a New York City park, Sacramento protesters representing an array of issues have sought to remain in Chavez Plaza overnight.

Earlier Monday, Sacramento attorney Mark Merin – saying that free speech and assembly are fundamental American rights – vowed to fight the local park curfew.

All but one of the 75 protesters arrested have been charged with violating both the state law and city code. One person who uses a motorized wheelchair was cited for violating the city code and released.

Eighteen are to be arraigned at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday in Sacramento Superior Court.

Peck said it is not uncommon for the district attorney to decline to file charges after police arrests. The District Attorney’s Office notified the city of its position early last week, said Shelly Orio, a spokeswoman for the district attorney. Since that time, 17 arrests have been made under the state and local laws.

“Just because they are not being prosecuted doesn’t mean they are not in violation,” Peck said.

Supervising Deputy City Attorney Gustavo Martinez said the city will prosecute the violations of the city ordinance. Each case will be evaluated individually, but the city will not seek the maximum misdemeanor punishment of six months in jail or a $1,000 fine, he said.

He said the city’s job was to evaluate whether a violation occurred, not to assess the message protesters are trying to deliver.

“We really don’t look at the content of their speech, we just look at the crime,” Martinez said.

Read more: Sacramento Bee


From The Guardian

Naomi Wolf arrested


Officer Michael Daragjati had no idea that the FBI was listening to his phone calls. Otherwise he would probably not have described his arrest and detention of an innocent black New Yorker in the manner he did.

Daragjati boasted to a woman friend that, while on patrol in Staten Island, he had “fried another nigger”. It was “no big deal”, he added. The FBI, which had been investigating another matter, then tried to work out what had happened.

According to court documents released in New York, Daragjati and his partner had randomly stopped and frisked a black man who had become angry and asked for Daragjati’s name and badge number. Daragjati, 32, and with eight years on the force, had no reason to stop the man, and had found nothing illegal. But he arrested him and fabricated an account of him resisting arrest. The man, now referred to in papers only as John Doe because of fears for his safety, spent two nights in jail. He had merely been walking alone through the neighbourhood.

The shocking story has added to a growing sense that there are serious problems of indiscipline and law-breaking in US police forces. Last weekthe feminist author Naomi Wolf was arrested outside an awards ceremony in Manhattan. She had been advising Occupy Wall Street protesters of their rights to continue demonstrating outside the event. Instead, as she joined the protest, she was carted off to jail in her evening gown. That incident is only the most high-profile of many apparently illegal police actions around the protests. One senior officer, deputy inspector Anthony Bologna, created headlines worldwide when he pepper-sprayed young women behind a police barricade.

A report from the New York Civil Liberties Union recently looked at police use of Taser stun guns in the state, and revealed that in 60% of incidents where they were used, the incident did not meet the recommended criteria for such a weapon. Some cases involved people already handcuffed and 40% involved “at risk” subjects such as children, the elderly or mentally ill. “This disturbing pattern of misuse and abuse endangers lives,” said the NYCLU’s executive director, Donna Lieberman.