2011 marks the 30th anniversary of Washington City Paper, and in celebration, we’ll be dipping into the archives to highlight the really good, the amazing, the weird, the terrible, and the archaic.
While the ‘Occupy D.C.’ protesters in McPherson Square haven’t yet picked up the numbers of their brethren on Wall Street, reinforcements are expected to come later this week. In light of the arrests of 700 New York protesters who were trapped in a dragnet on the Brooklyn Bridge, this may be a good time to revisit a cover story by City Paper alum Jason Cherkis, who wrote about the Sept. 2002 Pershing Park protest arrests that swept up 649 people, including nursing convention attendees and bystanders:
[S]tandard procedure took on a new meaning in the mass sweep that corralled [Julie] Abbate and more than 400 other innocent people in Pershing Park on Friday, Sept. 27. It was the first day of a protest that was supposed to shut the city down, spread the gospel of anti-globalization, and plead for a U.S. foreign policy based on peace and love.
Many bystanders, such as Abbate, wandered into the fray, unaware of the police department’s protocol for handling civil demonstrations. She ended up being arrested that morning in Pershing Park, at 15th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW. The charge was failure to obey a police order, the same rap applied to her fellow arrestees. She spent five hours handcuffed on a bus. Eventually, she was hogtied wrist-to-ankle on the floor of the police academy’s gym. That lasted for another 12 hours.
On Saturday morning at 5 a.m., Abbate was transferred to central booking downtown. She and other Pershing Park arrestees crammed into a cell consisting of cement floors, one bench, and one toilet. They had to form a “pee wall” to prevent officers from watching them go to the bathroom. Officers took their time processing them; some even threatened to leave them in custody through the weekend.
“That’s what you get,” taunted the officers, according to the 36-year-old Abbate.
It doesn’t get better. Read the rest.