Police arrest 55 in early morning raid at Occupy SF

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Photo by Yael Chanoff

After more than two months, police have successfully cleared out all of the Occupy SF encampment on Market Street between Main Street and the Embarcadero. In an early morning raid, police completely cleared out the Occupy SF protest site at 101 Market St.

More than 50 protesters were present at 101 Market St. on the evening Dec. 10, as well as at a smaller site across the street. No tents, tarps or other structures had been erected; most protesters had sleeping bags and blankets. Following an afternoon march and a small concert that ended by midnight, protesters were quiet and mostly asleep.

Police previously warned protesters that they were in violation of California Penal Code section 647(e), "lodging in a public place." Police entered the camp and read written notices aloud every 90 minutes or so for more than 24 hours before the raid, but did not give a specific warning as to when enforcement would take place.

Around 4:30 a.m. on Dec. 11, police rushed in, quickly surrounding those who slept in front of the Federal Reserve Building. Without giving them the option to pack up their belongings and leave, police arrested each individual one by one. Protesters who'd set up camp at a smaller site across the street looked on and yelled out in dismay.

Protesters had previously been informed that they were permitted to sleep on the sidewalk between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., as outlined in San Francisco's sit-lie ordinance.

Until about 6 a.m., Market Street between Main and Spear streets was blocked off by over 100 police officers in partial riot gear as well as several police vehicles. At about 5 a.m., Department of Public Works crews arrived and started loading all the protesters' belongings -- mostly sleeping bags, blankets, protest signs, and food -- into trucks.

Several were arrested on charges other than public lodging. Two protesters, who yelled at police as they lined up on the street, were arrested for obstructing traffic.

One man yelled that he was a homeless war veteran and that he wanted his belongings back, which he'd left on the sidewalk in front of 101 Market. He had been loudly decrying police activity for almost 30 minutes when he jeered that an officer "carried a big stick because he had a small dick," at which point three officers immediately grabbed him, brought him inside police lines, and were joined by several other officers in pushing him to the ground and zip-tying his wrists. Another man was arrested for spitting near the feet of a policeman.

In one bizarre incident, an officer confiscated a package of bottled water that an individual was carrying at the time of his arrest and then proceeded to distribute the bottles up and down the police line.

A man with a broken foot, who was walking on crutches, was pushed down by police for obstructing the street. He was arrested a few minutes later, after he and several others sat down in a crosswalk in defiance of orders to step onto the sidewalk.

By 6 a.m., everyone who remained at 101 Market St. had been arrested and all of their belongings confiscated; the sidewalk was clear.

Occupy SF began its 24 hour protest at 101 Market St. on Sept. 29. The camp remained until the first police raid on Nov. 20. Protesters subsequently reclaimed the site on Dec. 1.

As things stand, there is no Occupy SF presence at either of the original downtown locations. By 6:45 a.m., about 10 individuals -- those who'd evaded arrest -- had set up a small protest site, complete with signs and information table, at 532 Market St., in front of the offices of E Trade Financial.

In the past week, Occupy protest sites have also popped up at City College of San Francisco, San Francisco State University, and at the Bank of America at 501 Castro St. Occupy SF State is the only protest camp, complete with tents, still in place today in the city today.

Comments

Another report I read said protestors spat at the police - that's disgusting and a health hazard. Spitting at someone is assault.

But it was inevitable that the camp would be neutralized. Occupy needs to fiogure out what it really wants and what safe, legal means it should use to try and achieve that. Squatting was never a realistic or effective strategy.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 11, 2011 @ 4:27 pm

Just as you have a few really bad cops, we have some bad apples in the Occupy movement. But the vast majority of protesters are peaceful and dedicated to keeping it that way. The Occupy movement already knows what it wants. The implicit message is that the system isn't working to meet the basic needs of 99% of Americans. We need to visualize and work towards a new economic and political system that puts people before profits. It takes time. This is not something you achieve over night. But this is democracy in action.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 11, 2011 @ 4:58 pm

Read it again more carefully and you'll notice that this report does mention that someone was arrested after spitting near the feet of a police officer.

Posted by rebecca on Dec. 11, 2011 @ 6:05 pm

sorry to read about the latest raid on the occupy SF camps on the guardian site. was hoping you all might tell about the MIA tim paulson of the labor council and his promised 500 union members who were gonna get arrested when the raids came down.

why has paulson failed to keep his promise?

memo to tim redmond:

how about some followup to this piece from last month, http://www.sfbg.com/politics/2011/11/18/labor-ready-fight-occupy-eviction , where paulson made his big promise?

Posted by MPetrelis on Dec. 11, 2011 @ 6:32 pm

Those 500 were all asleep

Posted by Guest on Dec. 12, 2011 @ 6:00 am

...and many other 'bold progressives' are merely..
"...but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing".

Posted by Patrick Monk. RN on Dec. 12, 2011 @ 10:36 am

If the police would all join Oathkeepers (http://oathkeepers.org/oath/about/) and promise to uphold the Constitution I'd have a lot more respect for them. As it is, cops nationwide are being used as the enforcers for state power, suppressing people's 1st Amendment rights in the name of enforcing local ordinances. As soon as they understand their role in suppressing Democracy they will begin to refuse to carry out un-Constitutional orders.

Civil disobedience is a time-honored American action when you no longer recognize the legitimacy of the ruling class and their manufactured laws. Civil disobedience is how our own Revolution got started! We currently live in an oligarchy, where elites are largely shielded from any legal oversight while the weak and poor feel the full weight of the police state brought to bear. As Americans are now learning very clearly, the state only has one response to legitimate citizen outrage: violence and harassment.

The homeless vet's statement may have been crude but the cops quickly proved him correct.

Posted by MagicPeaceLove on Dec. 11, 2011 @ 6:43 pm

The Oathkeepers' version of the US Constitution they recognize is not one that supports the idea of anybody other than a white man for President. If I want cops willing to defend the US Constitution, I want ones who don't recognize it as a document giving special rights to white males and second-class citizenship to everybody else.

Posted by Peter on Dec. 12, 2011 @ 9:23 am

You got in early that time, huh?

Posted by Guest on Dec. 12, 2011 @ 10:33 am

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