The Truth About Police Misconduct at Occupy Wall Street West

Brian Walker talks with Sonia Alexander-White about her experience with law enforcement during protests in San Francisco.

Friday 27 January 2012   Nation of Change

Article imagePhoto: Steve Rhodes

Na­tion of Change’s Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Di­rec­tor, Sonia Alexan­der-White, re­counts ex­ces­sive use of po­lice force she wit­nessed and ex­pe­ri­enced last week dur­ing Oc­cupy Wall Street West:

Brian: Were you par­tic­i­pat­ing in protest when you were ar­rested on Jan­u­ary 20th? Why did law en­force­ment con­front you?

Sonia: I was ac­tu­ally just ob­serv­ing oc­cupy par­tic­i­pants and when law en­force­ment locked down the alley way I asked to be let out. I was asked to step back from the of­fi­cer line and I asked why I couldn’t be let out to the street ac­cess. That was when the head of­fi­cer re­moved me into cus­tody after grab­bing my coat and throw­ing me.

Brian: What were you doing at the oc­cupy and what were you try­ing to do?

Sonia: I was con­duct­ing in­ter­views and tak­ing pic­tures with my cam­era phone just be­fore they formed a riot line that locked me in.

Brian: Were the po­lice vi­o­lent against you in any way?

Sonia: Yes. They tried to in­tim­i­date me while be­hind the line as if I were a crim­i­nal. When I tried to speak they yelled louder for me to stay still. When I asked to be let out be­cause I was look­ing for our cam­era man they put their hands on me and threw me to the po­lice van.

Brian: What were law en­force­ment in the area doing be­fore they en­cir­cled and ar­rested you?

Sonia: They were putting riot gear on and get­ting their clubs out. The of­fi­cer that threw me was walk­ing bank ex­ec­u­tives from a lo­ca­tion across the street to the en­trance of the Wells Fargo build­ing. Pro­test­ers were only march­ing in that lo­ca­tion and not con­fronting any em­ploy­ees. The po­lice then formed 3 troupes that locked the area down and one large group with a set of po­lice on mo­tor­cy­cles that went into the street forc­ing them­selves against pro­test­ers that were just chant­ing the 99% mes­sage.

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Brian: Did you see any po­lice vi­o­lence against other pro­test­ers? What about non par­tic­i­pants and passersby?

Sonia: The same of­fi­cer that threw me also belly clubbed a writer who dropped his iPad in the street. One mo­tor­cy­cle of­fi­cer ran the front of his bike into a young girl march­ing in the street. Other of­fi­cers pushed pro­test­ers and on look­ers from out of the street into the side­walks.

Brian: How large was the po­lice pres­ence where you were in and through­out the Oc­cupy?

Sonia: There were hun­dreds of of­fi­cers on foot and on motor cy­cles.

Brian: Some pro­test­ers have al­leged that some po­lice of­fi­cers tried to in­sti­gate con­flict dur­ing the demon­stra­tions; did you see any ex­am­ples of this?

Sonia: Yes. The main of­fi­cer con­trol­ling the 4 cor­ners that pushed me also took the oc­cupy tent and food table for home­less and threw it into the crowd. Of­fi­cers yelled at sim­ple pro­test­ers and pre­sented body con­tact to in­tim­i­date and pro­voke a fight break out when they were just stand­ing in front of the banks.

For some raw footage of some of the po­lice mis­con­duct, please click here.

via The Truth About Police Misconduct at Occupy Wall Street West | NationofChange.

By Published On: January 27th, 2012Comments Off on The Truth About Police Misconduct at Occupy Wall Street West | NationofChange

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