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(en) US, Members of the DAAA* Collective and Modesto Copwatch Hassassed

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Sun, 13 Jun 2004 09:38:07 +0200 (CEST)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
News about and of interest to anarchists
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Activists were harassed and threatened with arrest when the asked
questions and video tapped in a public area while police told teens
to stop loitering. Please these number and ask the harassment to end!..
The night started peaceful enough, with Copwatch members standing far
away from police as they leaned against their cars, but when police
went up to a young woman with a skateboard, things started happening.
The young woman with a skateboard was with a young child, and
the officer told them that they couldn't have a skateboard in the
area. The area is a blocked off street with shops like Starbucks,
and Jamba Juice. There is a large movie theater, Brendan
Theaters, and city hall is across the street next to fountains and
benches. The street itself is paved with stones and cars cannot
drive on it. Bands play their periodically, (either Christan, or
endorsed by Clear Channel Radio), and loud rythmetic music
pumps out from speakers during the night.

Someone asked the cops why skateboards where not allowed, but
somehow a ClearChannel local radio station was going to have a
dodgeball turnement in the same area the next week. The police
officer, John Hodson, then told the person that now sense he
"had raised the issue", now they were going to move "them all
off". Right after Hodson said that, another officer started to a
group of teens dressed in black, with metal band shirts on the
outside of the local Jamba Juice, that they all had to move out of
the area because they were loitering. The business had not
complained at all, and in fact from what I could see the teens
where not blocking the entrance and not using the Jamba Juice
tables, and kept their voices pretty low. One police officer stated
that you either had to be "in a business" or you had to leave, so
much for public space.

Hodson then approached the Copwatcher with the camera and
pointed at him stating, "And what are you doing, you can't loiter
either". The camera person stated that he was over 18 (it was
passed 10pm), to which Hudson stated that you can't loiter in the
area, to which he was reminded that it was a public space. He
stated: "No, not for standing, doing what you're doing". The
person with the camera then stated that the road was a public
area. Hudson then responsed that, "I'm asking you to leave, if
you don't leave you'll go to jail".

At this point the person with the camera began to walk backwards
with the camera still on. Another police officer then got very close
to the camera and stated, "I'm not as nice as him", and walked
with the group of Copwatchers to the edge of the street to the
nearest cross walk.

At the edge of the corner, officer Hodson was asked what we
could actually do in the area, he stated: "You can do what you're
supposed to do downtown, come down here for entertainment,
that's provided". A shouting match then ensued, and Hodson
then explained that on nights downtown when a band was
playing, loitering could be permitted. But on nights with no live
band playing, there would be no such loitering without buying or

At this time a man taking pictures and asking the cops why they
were harassing us was also starting to be threatened with arrest.
As this happened, Hodson moved in close to the camera so I
would focus on him, and away from the second officer and the
man who he was talking to. A Copwatcher asked for his badge
card, and the officer who was talking to the man, Officer Waliace
#73, refused, stating, "I'm the only one in the whole department".
The man being detained stated that he did not want to show his
ID, and stated that he thought that the police were intimidating
him, and harassing us.

When the man finally went for his ID, Officer #73 turned to us
videotapping and stated, "That light has turned green several
times, and they haven't moved yet, I'm giving you a lawful order,
and I'm telling you to leave. Bye." Once the man being IDed was
let go, we talked to him across the street. He said that he told the
cops that he thought that they "weren't being nice" to us, and
stated that he was threatened with arrest him for loitering.
Apperentally the man had just gotten off his motorscotter in front
of Starbucks right when he saw us talking to the police. From my
veiw, he had arrived so quickly that no real "loitering" could have
taken place.

These empty threats and complaits are silly at best, and designed
to sweep off undesirable youth out of the downtown area.
Looking back across the street, we could see that many people
were still hanging around with friends, talking with each other,
but they appeared to have much nicer close on than the punk and
goth kids that bought nothing, or the black and latino youth that
also hang out downtown. The police "pertection" of this area is
designed to take over a public space and make sure that all who
use it are going to be only using it if they are buying and

Please Take Action With US!: Please call these two numbers and
launch complaits with the police officers. Please Call: 1.) Mike
Hermosa: 1(209) 572-9586. You can lodge a complaint with this
officer. 2.) Call Officer Hudson at: 1(209)342-9100 EXT.24178,
tell him that you do not apprieciate his actions in Modesto, and
remind him who he works for!

Please demand that: 1.) All Officers have to give their name,
number, and card when asked. Not doing so is illegal! State that
Officer # 73 never gave his card number. 2.) Demand that all
police stop harassing poor, youth of color, and artistic youth
downtown, and they leave alone those young people who use
public space as a way to hang out in, without doing drugs or
committing violence. Tell them that downtown Modesto is a
place for all people to come and gather, not just to buy things! 3.)
Tell police to stop harassing people who video tape, and ask
questions of the police. We have a right to observe!

DAAA Collective on the web:
http://www.geocities.com/modanarcho Email us at:

Link: http://www.geocities.com/modanarcho
Copied from infoshop.org
* [Ad. Note: antiauthoritarian anticapitalist direct
action collective]

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