Chalking a felony?

[Update: If in Chicago, please support Marissa Brown at her court date, Monday, Dec. 17, at 2:30 PM, at 2452 W. Belmont, Chicago.  Details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/206707866130402/]

From the November-December 2012 issue of News & Letters

Chalking a felony?

Chicago—On Nov. 9 we held a “Budget Showdown” protest at the Federal Building. We were protesting the threatened budget cuts to Medicaid and Medicare, rallying around the Robin Hood tax that would fall mainly on the rich, and demanding that people get the services they need. We came from Occupy Chicago, IIRON, SOUL, Northside POWER, the Lakeview Action Coalition, the Jane Addams Senior Caucus, and National Nurses United.

Some people held a sit-in inside the building and were arrested. I was with people rallying on the outside who were not trying to get arrested. I came to show support. I was in an area where some people were chalking. The chalk messages were not threatening, but were G-rated messages like, “The people united will never be defeated.”

Police walked up behind me, pinned my arms and carted me off. They charged me with a felony, destruction of public property. I was held in the precinct for six hours. It would not have been so bad, but my kids were waiting on me. The police confiscated my phone, so I couldn’t call to let them know where I was for two or three hours.

The jail support from Occupy Chicago was amazing. There were people waiting for me when I was released. I was given a court date of Dec. 17, 2:30 PM, at 2452 W. Belmont. This felony charge is utterly ridiculous. Earlier, another Occupy activist was cited with two felony charges, including assaulting a police officer because, according to the cop, “You damaged my hearing with your yelling.” After months, that was finally dismissed, so I’m pretty sure this will be dismissed too.

The Occupy Movement has shown a lot of support. I’m really happy about that. Still, on the day before, a 15-year-old kid named Dakota Bright was shot in the head by a cop on the South Side. As a political prisoner I got all this support, but I’d like to see the same kind of support go to Dakota’s family.

I fear one day they will be shooting protesters in the head. There’s been an escalation in the last year of police aggression toward protesters. We’re seeing protesters arrested for nothing. That’s been happening in Black and Brown communities for decades.

The Chicago Police Department is out of hand, and we need to turn our attention to it. So much attention was paid to me, but not to this 15-year-old who got shot in the back of the head by an officer. No attention is being paid when they opened fire on a car with a two-year-old in it—his dad allegedly kidnapped him and cops fired into the vehicle that both were in. That is highly reckless. More attention needs to be paid to these stories.

—Marissa Brown

[Update: If in Chicago, please support Marissa Brown at her court date, Monday, Dec. 17, at 2:30 PM, at 2452 W. Belmont, Chicago.  Details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/206707866130402/]

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