“Family Guy” writer: My Occupy LA arrest (violence alert)

Patrick Meighan is one of the writers on the series Family Guy and a member of one of L.A.’s Unitarian Universalist churches (those infamous “UU”s, the ones where you don’t even have to believe in Jesus to join, the Buddhisty bunch that Ralph Waldo Emerson had a hand in transforming).

Back to Occupy L.A. and our story. Meighan offers this first-hand account of this arrest. Needless to say, he was treated very badly while offering no active resistance [corrected for accuracy].

Here’s the worst of it, though the jail part was no trip to the executive dining room. First, the set-up (h/t Naked Capitalism for the link):

I was arrested at about 1 a.m. Wednesday morning with 291 other people at Occupy LA. I was sitting in City Hall Park with a pillow, a blanket, and a copy of Thich Nhat Hanh’s “Being Peace” when 1,400 heavily-armed LAPD officers in paramilitary SWAT gear streamed in. I was in a group of about 50 peaceful protestors who sat Indian-style, arms interlocked, around a tent (the symbolic image of the Occupy movement). The LAPD officers encircled us, weapons drawn, while we chanted “We Are Peaceful” and “We Are Nonviolent” and “Join Us.”

Then the cop pulled out knives (which they had conveniently remembered to bring) and ripped to shreds everything these people owned and had brought with them — every tent and everything in the tents.

Then they calmly took on the people. Those who refused to unlink arms (a high crime, it seems) were treated like this (my emphasis):

Each seated, nonviolent protester beside me who refused to cooperate by unlinking his arms had the following done to him: an LAPD officer would forcibly extend the protestor’s legs, grab his left foot, twist it all the way around and then stomp his boot on the insole, pinning the protestor’s left foot to the pavement, twisted backwards. Then the LAPD officer would grab the protestor’s right foot and twist it all the way the other direction until the non-violent protestor, in incredible agony, would shriek in pain and unlink from his neighbor.

It was horrible to watch, and apparently designed to terrorize the rest of us. At least I was sufficiently terrorized. I unlinked my arms voluntarily and informed the LAPD officers that I would go peacefully and cooperatively. I stood as instructed, and then I had my arms wrenched behind my back, and an officer hyperextended my wrists into my inner arms. It was super violent, it hurt really really bad, and he was doing it on purpose. When I involuntarily recoiled from the pain, the LAPD officer threw me face-first to the pavement. He had my hands behind my back, so I landed right on my face. The officer dropped with his knee on my back and ground my face into the pavement. It really, really hurt and my face started bleeding and I was very scared. I begged for mercy and I promised that I was honestly not resisting and would not resist.

My hands were then zipcuffed very tightly behind my back, where they turned blue. I am now suffering nerve damage in my right thumb and palm.

Read that again, especially what happened to him after he promised not to resist.

There’s much more, including the “why won’t you take my bail” story. Please do read.

President Obama, in his “I get it” speech, nobly rejected an us vs. them mentality. His nation’s militarized police force is getting a different message. Patrick Meighan’s face touches the ground so Charles Prince’s feet don’t have to.

There are two take-aways from this, not just one:

■ This really was a violent attack, not just a rough arrest. Cops using shields as opportunities to cause pain. A violent attack.

■ This was deliberate and reflects training. In other words, the violence was planned and the cops were trained in these techniques.

It’s the second one that concerns me. There’s evidence of national coordination in these militarized Occupy responses. Expect more coordinated attacks like this one.

This is the Top 0.1% linking their own arms, fighting back. At some point, those union cops are going to have the Tahrir Square choice. Good luck with that.


Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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