WAITING ON THE PARK POLICE
I spent much of the day waiting inside the National Park Police headquarters building with about 25 others who were arrested yesterday at the White House.
Everyone that refused to pay the $100 fine had to go to the Park Police HQ to get their court date. They told us to come at 8:00 am so I got a ride with the seven women from Western Massachusetts who were also arrested. When we arrived there were a handful of others already waiting. We tried to hand the police our yellow slip of paper outlining our charge, “Reusing to obey a lawful order”, but they said they were only processing a few at a time. This made no sense.
After five hours of waiting, and continually being hassled by the Park Police who would not allow us to use their restroom or have more than seven people at a time waiting in the lobby, I finally left for the train station. I had already told the cops I was going to leave whether they “finished” my paperwork or not, I had a train to catch. They told me a “bench warrant” would be issued for my arrest if I left. One of the women from our group drove me to the nearest subway stop and while we were in her car she got a phone call saying my paperwork was done and one of the women grabbed it for me after telling the cops I had gone outside to take a leak. She will mail it to me.
It wasn’t until a couple of the people who were tired of waiting called their Congresspersons office, to complain that the Park Police would not allow us to use the toilet, that the cops relented and allowed people to use a port-a-toilet in the garage where we were first brought the day before for processing.
We were told over and over again today that their computers were down…… just imagine all that money paid to corporations to run these big government computer systems and they don’t work. But we never believed this one. They were just pushing us to pay the $100 fine as they kept telling us that if we would just hand over the money we could leave right away – they wouldn’t need the computer to process that transaction they said – yeah right!
This morning before leaving the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker House for the Park Police station we checked the Washington Post to see what coverage they gave to the protest. There was no article but they did have a large close-up photo of Daniel Ellsberg and a few other people holding a banner. In the photo caption the Post reported that Ellsberg and “several others” were arrested for not dispersing. Several others! More than 130 arrested (we’ve heard 131, 135, and 138) and they say several…..the Post and other major papers dragged us into these wars and now mislead the public about the resistance to them.
Are they afraid of the American people? Damn right they are.
Former career CIA agent Ray McGovern was arrested with us yesterday. He had this to say about what he hoped to see come of the exercise in civil disobedience:
There's a saying that hope is the twin. Augustin said that hope has two daughters-- anger and courage. What we have seen in our [trying to stop the war] policy is a lot of anger.....but anger is not enough, you've got to have courage.