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(en) US, Modesto, Police Harass DAAA Collective at Anarchist Cafe' 11/07:

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Mon, 8 Nov 2004 09:50:57 +0100 (CET)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
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Every week in downtown Modesto, the DAAA Collective on
Friday and Saturday nights, tables, gives out food, and discusses
with passersby what we are all about, our critique of the modern
system, and also what we can do about it.
Police always seem to have to ask us if we are allowed to be down
there, even though each time we are there we always give them
the same answer. Downtown Modesto is a blocked off street, but
it's still a street with a sidewalk. As long as we don't physically
stop people from going into businesses, or hinder the flow of
traffic, then we have every right to be down there. It should also
be noted that a large range of groups use the downtown area, from
Christian groups, to political parties.

Last night though, Officer Cerchoff (?), (Cerchoff is a local legend
among youth, skaters, homeless, and people of color, and not for
being a very good cop among other things), came up to us and
told us that we had to move. He told us that the manager of the
Jamba Juice had complained about us being there and that we
had to go somewhere else. I asked him why, and he stated that we
were outside of the business and that we were sitting on the

This is interested because officer C. came up to the table last week
and even took a digital photo with his phone, (it was a picture of a
poster against police brutality), to what end, we're not sure,
(surveillance or for giggles)? Also, about three weeks ago, we put
a banner up with ropes between a tree and a sign. A police officer
came up and actually told us the code we were breaking and asked
nicely (yes nicely!) if we could take it down.

Officer Cerchoff couldn't tell us what law we were breaking, and
he also couldn't tell us where we could go and table legally. I told
him that the sidewalk was public, and if we weren't directly
interfering with business or traffic flow then we could be there.
Officer C. stated that that was not the case, and that we had to
move somewhere else because the business we were in front of
complained. I pointed to a spot closer to the street and asked if we
could move there, and Officer C. said something to the effect of
"go ahead", but stated if someone else complained, (another
business), about us tabling there then we had to move again.

This right here is complete crap. From what I understand, the city
owns 10ft from the gutter to the sidewalk. After that apparently
the business owns it, (don't take my word on it). So, if we did
move closer to the street and someone did complain, legally
there's nothing that the police could do.

Then Officer C. left, and headed off. Myself and a couple others,
(we had allot of people around us, all proclaiming how stupid the
current situation was), went into Jamba Juice. Manager "X" was
very polite, and he told me that Officer C. had come into the store
and said that a bunch of people were in front of his store and if he
should tell them to leave. I asked Manager X if he wanted to come
out and see what we're doing, since he stated he didn't know what
we were doing. I showed him that we're giving out free literature
and free apples, and he said that was fine. I even asked him if he
wanted two people to get off of chairs and against the wall, and he
stated that we were ok.

We went back in so he could write me a note, and then Officer C.
came into the building in a rush. He asked the manager straight
out if he was OKing us, and he said yes, and then Officer C. just
left, the whole exchange taking about 5 seconds. Why did Officer
C. come into the business as soon as we did? Why did he leave so

We then left the store, and as Officer C. was riding away on his
bike, and told him in a firm yet calm voice, that in the future he
could talk to all parties involved before making a decision like he
just did. He turned around, and started yelling at me to come with
him, and swung open the door and yelled at the manager asking
him if he talked to him (the manager) first. He then looked at me
and started yelling very close to my face and in a manner that was
very anger and spiteful, that he didn't tell me how to do my job
and I should basically mind my own business. He asked me if I
would like it if he came into my work and told me what to do. I bit
my lip, wanting to say, “Making ’what I do’ isn’t
a public service, and you don’t pay for my job, I pay for yours.
Not only am I supposed to tell you what to do, you work for me
bee-otch!” I didn’t say that, I just waited for him to leave.
Any angry exchange would just end with me in jail or with a

The whole situation with Office C. is very problematic, and
despite the compete obvious, (that Officer C. is a really mean, and
angry man, not to mention a bad police officer), there are many
problems with his actions. First off, Officer C. didn't really even
know the laws he was enforcing, or at least was unwilling to tell
us what was legal and what wasn't. If the thinking of Officer C.
was carried out, then anywhere in the downtown area we could be
kicked out of because of complaints from business. Political
Parties and religious groups get free range to use the downtown,
why can't we use it? The answer is clear, we are openly opposed
and critical of the abusive actions of the police. We also give out
posters and stickers critiquing them - and guess what? People like
it! Also, if simply by looking at what we were doing, the manger at
Jamba Juice could see that there was no problem in us being
there, it seems obvious that Officer C. was a least not explaining
in detail the "problem" of us being outside to the full extent that
he should have. Of course if a police officer comes up to you and
states, "There's a shit load of people outside, can I get rid of
them?" A manger is going to say, "yes". Also, Officer C., (who if
not himself, but Modesto Law Enforcement is reading this),
totally missed my point about consulting all parties. If he would
have done what we had done, actually gone and talked to the
manager, then everyone would have been fine.

In a time where the slip ups of the Laci Petterson case are still
fresh in people’s minds, and where Modesto police officers
shot a man dead just for having a Swiss army knife out and being
drunk during a domestic call, do they really need any more
problems? Maybe it's time the police look to the anarchists for
conflict mediation advice. Instead of lies, deception, and anger,
maybe it's time for discussion, mediation, truth, and community


Link: http://www.modanarcho.tk
Copied from infoshop.org

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