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Thu Jul 9, 2020, 08:27 AM

I was arrested, jailed and assaulted by a guard. My 'crime'? Being a journalist in Trump's America

[link:https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/journalist-arrest-seattle-chaz-protest-police-prison-black-lives-matter-a9606846.html|]


Seattle’s protest in support of Black Lives Matter was established just days after the killing of George Floyd. To the participants and their supporters, the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP) was a living experiment in how a community might exist without police. To their detractors, most vocally Donald Trump, who denounced them as anarchists and terrorists, the protesters and the six city blocks they had been ceded were proof of liberals gone mad. It was quirky and it was controversial.


The author is a journalist who was arrested for being next to, not on the wrong side of a "Police line – Do not cross" line. He identified himself as a journalist and presented State Department credentials, but was arrested anyway.

The article describes how people are held and mistreated on misdemeanor charges in crowded, filthy conditions rather than being issued "desk appearance tickets" (not sure what they are called in Seattle). Covid-19 in communities has been linked to people being held in jail.

At the precinct, I again informed people I was a journalist, and asked to call my lawyer, my editor and the British embassy. I asked them to contact my local congresswoman. They took my photograph and told me I was being charged with “failure to disperse”, under a Washington state law that requires the accused to have been part of a group of four or more. I had been standing by myself. The maximum penalty is 364 days in jail and a fine of $5,000.


To be clear, this is standard practice. Over charge, delay the case, and then ultimately charges are often dropped. Being treated badly in over crowded cells during a pandemic and having to wait to hear what is happening to your case is the extra judicial punishment. The intent is not to prove you are guilty. It is to punish you for being at the protest.

The only option to wash my hands during the six or seven hours I spent in the jail was to use the drinking fountain, situated above the toilet, itself located behind a low brick wall that offered no privacy. The toilet was filthy, the room stank, one protester became ill and vomited in it. I requested some soap, and asked one of the officers what was the capacity for the cell.


I am also expecting a letter from the court, with a time and date to attend; while the mayor said last week she hoped prosecutors would drop the charges against the protesters, I have received no such message.


There is much more in the article and it is worth reading. I struggled to stay within the 4 paragraph limit.



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Reply I was arrested, jailed and assaulted by a guard. My 'crime'? Being a journalist in Trump's America (Original post)
Midnightwalk Jul 2020 OP
Thomas Hurt Jul 2020 #1

Response to Midnightwalk (Original post)

Thu Jul 9, 2020, 08:30 AM

1. oh yeah, this is way to punish without any real due process for dissing the cops' authority.

See! we dismissed all charges....

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