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NYC Convention Trip Final Report
H.L. Does Time. (part 2)

from The Hollywood Liberal.com

Back To H.L. Does Time Part 1.

On August 31, 2004. The Hollywood Liberal got arrested along with 200 others, for obeying the Police.

The crowd gasped in disbelief "why? we did exactly what they told us to do" The cops did not make any other announcements so the people were in a state of confusion. Sure enough the cops began pulling people from each end of the barricade one at a time, putting those plastic handcuffs on them, and leading them away to waiting buses. I immediately got out the phone and called my brother Tony, who is friends with many NYPD cops. In New York, if you have friends on the police force, any police NY area force, you are practically bulletproof. I had called him earlier, and told him that people were planning on getting arrested out here, and that I did not want any part of it. I got him on the phone and told him what was happening, but he didn't seem to get the gravity of the situation. "Can't you just slip out of there somehow"? There was no possible way. There were swarms of cops surrounding us, layers of cops. Cops at both ends of the blocks, cops guarding the subway entrance, cops in the cemetery. One guy climbed over the big fence when he realized what was going on and tried to escape through the grave stones.  The cops jumped on some bicycles, rode around to the other side, and grabbed him.

    Tony says to me. "Okay get over to one of the cops, and start giving them names." His uncle was a retired captain in Manhattan, his brother, also my step brother is in the police academy right now. He also gave me the names of 4 other active duty NYPD officers that he knew, one of whom I used to get high with. I pulled out a piece of paper that I had in my pocket and wrote down the names he gave me. I tried to stay in the middle of the crowd, the ones at each end were being pulled out first. I knew if I tried to give the cops a story, that they would check me to see if I had anything on me that would identify me as a protestor. I had some literature on me that I dropped down in between the legs of all the people standing so close together that no one would catch me littering on a public sidewalk. I also had a button from the sunday march that I got rid of. I even erased all the pictures that I had taken that day. I got one cops attention and he came over and I started telling him my story. While I was still talking he said "what's this?" and grabbed the paper with the notes I made out of my hands. I didn't know what it was. He opened up the paper, and just my luck it was a printout about the big Sunday march from two days earlier, I knew I was sunk. He looked at me and smiled and said "nice try" and walked away. I continued to try to different cops, "Tell the guys in the white shirts" they told me, they are the "bosses", Sergeants and lieutenants. I must have talked to a dozen different cops, some said they would see what they could do, others just ignored me, or just smiled and walked away. 

     All the while the crowd inside the net  is getting smaller, and smaller, as they keep pulling people out. I called my friend Joe, who was in law school, just in case he knew any law professors who might have some NY connections, because at that point I knew I was going to need a lawyer, all he could do was give the numbers for The National Lawyers Guild, and the ACLU, but those people were already there getting arrested with me, so they already knew what was going on. Meanwhile Tony is calling me back, wanting to know what's going on. At one point I thought I had hung up the phone but it was still on until I realized about 6 minutes later. When I talked to Tony later he told me he was listening on the phone as I tried to talk to the cops. He also heard all the chaos in the background, and someone announcing. "If you are being arrested just give the police your name....". The next time he called me back he got the voice mail right away and he knew that it was over, and I was on my way downtown. At the last minute one of the cops called me over and said "Do you have any ID from the job on you?" That meant do you have any cards or badges from any of these cops that you know. As I said earlier these Police Benevolent Association cards will get you out of all kinds of trouble in New York. I had used them to help clean up my license years earlier, because for 3 years every time a cop pulled me over I flashed one of these cards, and they would let me go. That was the only way I could get all the old tickets off my records. Since I live in California. New York City police cards, don't do me any good so I didn't have any. I told the cop that I used to but I live in California so I don't have any on me. He said "well sorry, there's nothing I can do then." Oh god damn I thought to myself, If I would have just had Tony let me hold on to a couple of the dozens of cards he had while I was in town they would have let me go. 

     Now there was only a few people left, and I was resigned to my fate, and dreading those goddamn cuffs. It was a hot humid day and I knew this was going to be very unpleasant. I walked up to the front and the cop said "OK come on." I stepped out they had me turn around and zip tied those plastic bread tie handcuffs behind my back. They brought me over to the other side of the road where they were doing the initial processing. Took my picture, put all my belongings in a plastic trash bag. I had to have my picture taken with my arresting officer. Each arresting officer was assigned 5  "perps" that he was responsible for processing. I told my story about all my friends on the force to the arresting officer. He told me that at this point there was no way he could let me go but that he would put in a word for me with his boss, and try to help me out if he could. I had to squat down and pick up the bag containing my belongings and carry it  with my hands tied behind my back over to the next waiting bus. They made me take off my jacket and tie, and I had my jacket and the bag in my hands as I walked over to the bus. Before I even got there my hands were already awash in sweat, and I could barely hold the bag without it slipping out of my hands. I had also forgot to unbutton the top button on my shirt, and so I got on the bus, already hot and sweating and feeling like I was going to either choke or pass out. The bus luckily was a city bus and was air conditioned so it wasn't as bad as it could have been, but before we even started driving I was in misery. Hot, thirsty, sweaty, itchy, with no way to scratch. My hands were so soaked with sweat that I was trying to push my jacket out from behind me so I could grab the metal bar behind the seat and wipe some of the sweat off. 

     On the bus most of the others were young anarchist types who were belligerent as hell. I didn't have a problem with this except I knew that if the cops got pissed off enough they could make it even more unbearable for us by making us wait even longer before getting the bus going, or even turning off the air conditioning. People were yelling and screaming, and cursing out the cops. One guy laid down on the floor and refused to get up, delaying the bus ride even more, A couple of the cops tried to get him up, but he refused to budge. Finally they dragged him to the middle of the bus, and left him there where he remained until we arrived at "Guantanamo." The bus finally started moving. My arresting officer was standing directly across from me. He asked me about my brother in the Police academy. I told him his name and who he was, and again gave him the list of people I knew. I could see that this guy felt bad for me. I was one of the only people on the bus who was not giving them a hard time, that plus the suit I was wearing made me seem like I did not deserve this. The officer who's name was Stolzer, again told me that he would try to help me out if he could, although there was not much he could do. Suddenly an older guy at the back of the bus, who I would later learn was a philosophy professor at NYU, started yelling about how he was in pain, and need of medication,  and that what they were doing to us was illegal, and basically reciting a litany of civil rights violations that we were all currently enduring. Stolzer, jumped up and ran to the back and facing him started saying something like. "If you don't shut your mouth right now, you will be in a lot more pain." The professor kept yelling and for a minute there I thought that Stolzer was going to pull his gun out. Oh great I'm thinking to myself, I'm sitting here in cuffs and now there's going to be bullets flying around this bus. The professor finally calmed down after a couple of the others tried to tell him to chill out, but mayhem was breaking out all over the bus. The people were angry about the way the cops had set us up, and nothing was going to stop them from being pissed off. I was pissed off too but I kept thinking lets wait until we get these cuffs off. 

     The bus finally reached the destination at a pier on 15th St, at the West side highway. As we pulled up there were other protestors waiting across the street that were cheering us and raising clenched fists in solidarity. The gates were opened and the bus pulled into the warehouse. We were behind other buses that still had to get their  people off before we could get off, and they had to shut the bus off while we waited because we were inside of a building. Now its really getting hot, and each minute seemed like an hour. Just when I thought I wasn't going to be able to take it anymore and I was ready to snap. The bus started up and the cold air provided a temporary relief. The bus pulled up about 20 feet and was shut off again, the misery quotient again headed toward the snapping point. This continued through out the night, especially on the two bus rides. Every time I was right at the breaking point of either screaming, crying, or telling a cop to please just shoot me already, the thing that we were waiting for would finally happen, whether it was the bus moving, getting off, or getting the cuffs cut off. My hands were so wet that at one point I realized that I could slide the left cuff off. I thought about doing this just to wipe off some sweat and do some scratching, but I figured that if I could not get it back on the cops would really be pissed so I left it on.

Go To H.L. Does Time Part 3.