Originally Posted: 2002-10-09 12:05pm
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favorite this post If you are considering risking arrest at the Federal Building:

Here's some advice:

A) Sometimes police run checks on outstanding parking tickets and warrants. I heard of one person who was arrested at a demonstration. The cops found out that he had several hundred dollars worth of unpaid traffic tickets. Needless to say, the police were delighted to find this out, and did not let him go until he paid up.

1) Don't do this on impulse, or because of peer pressure. Be informed, and be sober. (Sobriety means you're not under the influence of drugs--or strong emotions such as herd mentality or rage. Be peaceful) Try to take a nonviolence training (the Quakers aka Society of Friends and Pax Christi offer good ones) and above all, be willing to accept the consequences of your actions without whining.

2) At mass arrests, the police often release people after a few hours. But--do NOT treat this as an entitlement. The police can keep you in custody for up to 48 hours before releasing you; this is NOT a violation of your civil rights, so dont whine. If you get arrested on a Friday or the day before a holiday, keep in mind that weekends and holidays do NOT count as time served, so you will be in the can for that amount of time--and possibly for an additional 48 hours. So, make sure your rent is paid, your plants are watered, your animals will be fed. Above all, make certain that your absence will not impose a burden on your children, your partner or your coworkers. (Be considerate of your co-workers--they have to cover for you in your absence.)

3) The police and judges are caught in the middle. Dont be rude to them, don't abuse them, and dont dump on them because you have unsolved anger toward parents and other authority figures. Take that to your therapist, not a demonstration.

4) If you risk arrest, please do not consider your moral stance as entitling you to escape the legal penalty for what you have done. The dignity of your case rests on your willingness to bear the consequences of crossing that line. Don't drive the judge crazy by insisting that you should not be treated as a criminal because what the US does is worse. Demanding preferential treatment will distract from the issues and make you look self indulgent.

5) If you are a minor, do NOT get arrested unless you are with a parent or guardian. Years back at Livermore Labs, a youngster was arrested and the sheriffs could not allow the kid to cite out because they were responsible for his safety and the guardian could not be located. Just as the boy was beginning to panic, the guardian showed up.

6) Carry ID (especially if you are from out-of-state. Write crucial phone numbers on your wrist in ink, so that you can refer to them if your belongings are taken away. Leave all valuables at home. Pocketknives and little spray cans of pepper gas or mace could be considered weapons; leave those at home.

7) If you do not want to get arrested, stay on the periphery of the demonstration, keep an exit in view at all times, and avoid the company of the inevitable rabble rousers who like to provoke violence from the police, and then run off, leaving you to take the consequences. Be especially careful at night, when it is more difficult to see landmarks.

8) If you hate the police, hate judges, hate the system, dont get arrested. That way you wont have to spend time in the company of the very persons you hate.

9) If you have a lot of problems in your life, be careful not to get addicted to risking arrest. Its a hardship on your loved ones--never forget that.

10) A few stalwarts like to stay in jail and refuse release on their own recognizence; they stay in until they are arraigned (charged) before a judge or magistrate. Most others prefer to cite out-you get a ticket and an arraignment date. Some people who opt to stay in jail will set up a cry for 'jail solidarity' and implore you to stay in jail along with them to 'clog the system.' Dont be guilt tripped. If you have outside responsibilities, that's your priority. Its other peoples' choice whether to refuse to cite out; some of them have done this for years. Stay mindful of your physical and mental limits--and your outside obligations.


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