Saturday, March 21, 2009

A CALL TO CAMERAS///カメラへの呼出し

this is sarah. i'm posting under jon's name because i am not a contributor to the yabai blog, but we both felt this was very important to share with as many people as possible. jon is having issues uploading video of the following, but it will definitely be available as soon as possible and should be viewed by you and everyone you can show it to.

i was deeply shocked, as were many others, by events that took place tonight downtown. i could not believe what i was seeing. i was scared...and enraged. not having been downtown, save hoops, in a very long time, we were surprised to see mounted police. for the first few seconds it was kind of like a novelty to me, but it soon became disturbing when police started side stepping their horses directly into people--actually coming into contact with people who were just standing on the sidewalk on the west side of the street or even standing in line to purchase vegan hot dogs, where we were.

we got our phones ready to take still images and video as they began to literally herd people south on orange avenue. we decided to follow in order to record anything inappropriate that might happen, and, while walking in that direction, we heard and saw someone climb a tree in order to avoid being trampled. at that point we knew that it was important for us to witness what was occurring, so we crossed to the west side of the street and stood calmly and silently with our phones pointed at the police, who were arresting a few people. a group of people walked by and asked what i was doing. i told them that i was just standing there, ready to take pictures if something out of line should take place, and they shook my hand as if we were friends. its funny how people bond in such circumstances.

it is unclear to me exactly what had taken place right there, but i do know that there was one person with a brace on his leg who received additional injury from the commotion. he was clearly asking for help and jon, derek and i were asking him within earshot of multiple officers if he was okay (he said no) and asking the police to please help him. he exchanged numbers with derek.

while stooping down to talk to this person i was nearly trampled by a horse once. i pulled my phone back up between myself and the horse to try and photograph the face of the officer on that horse, which caused him to intentionally try to trample me again. i had to jump over one of those concrete planters to get out of the way.

at that point i realized that i wasn't just obligated to watch for misconduct, but i should also be recording badge numbers. poor, naive sarah thought that she could just ask and receive. i tried to approach the police officer who had nearly trampled my twice, but he refused to acknowledge me, so i approached the ones who were walking their bikes. ALL of them also refused to acknowledge me even though i was calmly, politely and continuously saying, "sir, excuse me sir, please sir, excuse me, sir, sir...." i was right next to them, but they just kept walking, refusing eye contact and any form of sympathy or SERVING and PROTECTING. finally, one said, "i don't know his number," so i asked him if he could please get it for me. he refused and basically blew me off. i asked for his, which he gave--although who knows if it is fake or not, but i will follow up.

i tried again to approach the one who had tried to trample me. he made eye contact with me and verbally refused to supply his badge number. he chased me in circles while jon and derek were yelling at him. a few times i put my hands in front of me even though i knew they wouldn't do any good against a horse, so he yelled at me not to touch the horse, to which i replied that he shouldn't touch me with his horse then. all this time i had been yelling, "please, please stop! please! may i have your badge number? badge number...badge number! stop! please!" derek and jon were both also asking for badge numbers and trying to communicate with them, and the mounted police also went after both of them with their horses.

the police were apparently distracted by someone else or something because they started moving away from us, all the while yelling at people, blowing their whistles and running their out of control horses through a parking lot. we saw that, hopefully, nothing further was going to happen because all the people left seemed to be thinning out and moving towards their cars, so we decided to go back to ours.

we couldn't believe this was happening. apparently it happens every weekend?! i'm not clear on how extreme it usually is, but jon and i would like to call for a COP WATCH every friday night until people can feel safe walking on the sidewalks of orlando. we have enough to worry about with crime rates. police should not be focusing on harassing and endangering innocent, law abiding people--they are supposed to make sure WE are safe.

so, every friday night i was thinking that it might be good to have some form of symbol representing anti fascism (jon and i were thinking an arm band or something) so that we can visually show solidarity. also a chant of some kind might be good because it would encourage anyone and everyone standing around to join in, so if anyone comes up with anything...share it!

most importantly, i think it is of high importance to keep constantly in our minds that horses are DANGEROUS. they spook easily and all efforts should be made to avoid injuring or harassing them. just because some fascists think its okay to use them to herd humans like livestock doesn't mean that we should view them as their accomplices. they are victims, too!

as i said, we have video that we will be posting--so check back. please do not sit back and think this will go away or that it is just one of those things. its not! our lives should not be endangered just because we decide to go out on the weekend or buy a hot dog. this won't go away unless we force it to. the police have been getting away with too much for too long!

*edit here are the vids.  


JEROMEy said...

wow. im glad i usually dont go all the way down there. it was really weird though, the other day on my way to work a mounted cops horse almost stepped on my feet as i was sitting down on my break smoking a cig. and that was one of the first times that i have seen mounted police besides the rare occasions in downtown.. now the one question i have is were the mouty police just walking their horses on the sidewalk where the pedestrians walk?
thanks sarabeard


Anonymous said...

yeah...they herded people out of the street (even though it was blocked off) and then they were yelling that people were blocking the sidewalk, so they started forcing them off the sidewalks.

Anonymous said...

i'm rarely downtown on friday/saturday nights, but i went a few weeks back and witnessed this in person. i'd never seen anything like it. i was down the street and wasn't really affected, but i thought it so strange and fascist to be hoarding people towards parking lots and garages, forcing them to leave for no apparent reason.

i really wanted to ask why they were doing it, if people were breaking some kind of law, but i found out thats commonplace down there after certain hours.... i never knew.

Rapevan said...

has anyone filed a formal complaint against the officers involved? if you were assaulted, it IS assault. Maybe nothing will happen, maybe something will.

BTW, before you say it. You wont need their badge numbers, especially if you have this video. You will however have to go down to "the station"

jon beard said...

nagot and i are working on it grapevan, gonna go downtown next friday with real cameras this time and try to get better footage.

also i found an iphone at the bottom of a river yesterday while canoeing. how sweet is that?

pensacola alley said...

"get those ANIMALS off those HORSES" is always a funny chant around horse pigs. not really effective but a solid statement.

jon beard said...

so is anyone down with going down there this friday to see if it happens again? sober of course.

Rapevan said...

so are you guys just going to let this specific incident slide? Why has nobody involved filed a report?

jon beard said...

sarah has been working every day. going to file a report asap