For the past few days myself, Josh, Kelly and other CopBlockers have been wandering the downtown streets of Cleveland handing out CopBlock material (business cards, flyers and condoms), carrying signs and pointing our cameras at police.
Overall it’s been a good week and thankfully we haven’t been filming many heavy handed police.
Of course just because the police aren’t bashing in people’s skulls, using pepper spray or some other tactic, doesn’t mean they still aren’t up to their thuggish ways.
After walking around Cleveland Public Square and laying down some chalk (stating “badges don’t grant extra rights” “film the police” and more) we decided to walk up to the RNC’s main entrance. Just before getting to the gate, we decided to stop and rest for a moment before chalking it up again.
That’s when a gang of police officers rolled up and asked, “Do you guys have rocks?”
While some in the group said, “No” and others questioned back, “Rocks?” I simply said, “I don’t answer questions.”
We went back and forth on whose bag was whose until they were going to take them as abandoned property. At that time Josh and I claimed our backpacks (knowing we had nothing illegal) and asked what the problem was. Without another mention of ‘rocks’ we were told our bags were ‘not allowed’ in the event zone.
While the police were search and then cleaning out our backpacks at least 8 people walked by with backpacks on them. In fact, one man was filming us (thank you) while wearing a backpack larger than both mine and Josh’s combined.
While I don’t want the to police to steal other people’s backpacks, I state this only because it shows that our group was being singled out. Before this we had been told a few times to stop chalking the barriers, yet, it’s not illegal so there’s nothing the police could do. Nevertheless, the last officer that asked told me the barriers were private property that the city was renting. Therefore, I had decided to stop chalking them, but then these gangsters came up.
After that we went on a chalking spree, chalking curbs, sidewalks and barriers. To lighten the load that was previously being carried on our backs, we had to chalk more than intended. So we do have the police to thank for that.
And let’s not forget that on Monday I was detained for chalking a barrier as well. I was also let go after a warrant check and my BACKPACK was searched. I recall one of the officers asking about the size of the bag, but didn’t hear what he said back. I only assumed my backpack was OK because it was given back to me on Monday.
See video of Monday’s Detainment:
This also proves that the cops were just messing with us. I also feel that’s why they gave us the stuff in the bags back, so that they could just toss our backpacks in the next dumpster (or take them home).
UPDATE: Seems I was wrong and the Cleveland Pigs who stole our backpacks decided not to trash them. They did rip off the “F*ck the Police” Sticker off my bag. Below is a video of DEO going to pick up the bags, wearing his “Fuck the Police” shirt.