On 7 December, 2011, at the nightly GA held at "The Horse" at Michigan and Congress, while participating in the GA, I was accosted by several uniformed Chicago Police officers who escorted me out of the meeting and proceeded to arrest me on an outstanding warrant - for Class A misdemeanor battery causing bodily harm ((720ILCS 5/12-3-A-1). The charge is being brought against me by a leading member of 'Occupy Chicago' - one Catherine ('Cathy') 'Sugar' Russell, Occupy Chicago's own 'spokeswoman', and stems from an incident that took place on 19 November 2011.
As many of you will remember, on that date members of 'Occupy Chicago' were holding a joint Housing/Donations Committee meeting at "Crossroads"'s office when we received an anonymous phone call falsely claiming that one ex-Occupy Chicago member (Kendall Lewis) was being held at gunpoint and if the Occupy member receiving the phone call did not send $350.00 (!) via Western Union in the next 30 minutes, the ex-Occupy member (Kendall Lewis) would be shot dead. (I immediately saw that this was a cheap ruse and denounced it, and was in turn denounced by a number of Occupy members present. But my denunciation of this obvious hoax was overruled by nearly everyone present - about 15 people - and, incredibly, the 'ransom' was paid by our erstwhile 'treasurer'! Of course, the "hostage/ransom/death threat" was, indeed, a con job perpetrated by Kendall Lewis and an accomplice).
We decided that this was a criminal matter and needed to be handled by the police. Ms. Russell immediately phoned the police using her own cell phone. Not knowing the true origin and purpose of the anonymous death threat, it was decided by a number of people present - including Ms. Russell - that under no circumstances would the Chicago Police be allowed into the 'Crossroads' offices to rummage around, and that the interviews with the police would be conducted outside in front of the building.
I positioned myself at the sidewalk-level door in order to secure the building. Once the police arrived, several people (including Ms. Russell) came down the stairs and I let them out and quickly closed the door. The police interviewed 'Occupy Chicago' members in the alley and in front of the building. The 'Occupy' members would come and approach the door, and I would let them in and quickly close the door.
Catherine 'Sugar' Russell, having been in the alley being interviewed by the police (who were just a few feet away from the door), then came to the door. I opened it for her. She grabbed the handle of the door and swung it wide open and placed her foot at the base of the door, propping it wide open. She then began yelling up the stairs to fellow Occupiers. I said to her: "Come in", but she continued to hold the door open and ignored me. "In or out?" I said. Again she continued to ignore me. So, I took my left hand and used my fingers to push her her right shoulder making her take a step back from the door so I could close it. She moved, I closed the door, and she went off: "Who the fuck do you think you are? Don't you fucking touch me, etc." Two police officers immediately popped out from around the corner and looked to see what had happened. At no time did they try to make me come outside to speak with them or make any attempt to arrest me. Nonetheless, it was on this very same day that Cathy 'Sugar' Russell, spokeswoman for 'Occupy Chicago', filed a complaint with the Chicago Police for misdemeanor battery causing bodily harm!
Because of her actions, I was arrested at the 'Occupy Chicago' GA, taken to the police station, photographed, fingerprinted and held in custody for 5 1/2 hours. The court date is set for 29 December, 2011 at 2:30 PM at the Circuit Court of Cook County, 2452 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago, IL.
It must be noted that although I made myself available during the entire period of time that has elapsed since the afternoon of 19 November (via Occupy Chicago's own internal 'Conflict Resolution Committee') for a so-called "Peace Circle' proceeding at which Catherine Russell and I could discuss and resolve our issues regarding this incredibly trivial matter, she has repeatedly declined to do so. Instead, she has decided to bring an entire truckload of disrepute upon herself and, far more importantly, upon the organization she allegedly represents.
It is highly uncommon for political activists to call in the forces of the state to mediate the internal disputes that inevitably arise among people of different political persuasions trying to work together in a single organization. Calling the police on your fellow activists - especially on issues as minor as this one! - is considered to be extremely bad form and amounting to an attempt to sabotage the work of the organization. That an 'official' spokesperson of Occupy Chicago would do such a thing raises serious questions about the functioning of the organization itself, as well as the mental state and political motivations of the person committing the act. Calling the Chicago Police in to adjudicate every trivial incident that occurs between Occupy Chicago comrades is - or should be - absolutely forbidden. But that is apparently not the case here at Occupy Chicago.
As for my assessment of the effectiveness of Occupy Chicago's 'Conflict Resolutions' committee:
I have repeatedly been attacked by several members of the Housing committee and repeatedly slandered via Google Groups, the "Occupy Chicago" website, over the Internet via our live stream of GAs (!) and via an insidious whispering campaign that held that:
I was a police agent (absolutely untrue and disgusting);
I had 'violently attacked' two members of "Occupy Chicago" on November 19th (one person has already deposed that this was untrue in his case);
That I had 'sabotaged' our relationship with 'Crossroads' by notifying one of their employees about the events of Nov. 19th that took place at their offices (this allegation is also untrue, as we have excellent relations with Crossroads to this very day);
That I had 4 outstanding "Restraining Orders" against me from persons unnamed who have offices at the building where I have an office (also a fabrication. During an exhaustive search for records conducted by the Chicago Police last night, no such restraining order and no other warrant for my arrest was found);
and god knows what else.
While all these false allegations were hurled against me, the 'Conflict Resolutions' Committee has repeatedly sought (and received) my full cooperation. MY ACCUSERS HAVE ALL REFUSED TO PARTICIPATE IN THESE
'CONFLICT RESOLUTION' MEETINGS! Yet, incredibly, members of 'Conflict Resolutions' have repeatedly sought to remove me from GA and Committee meetings in order to 'discuss' these issues with me. They have done several 'investigations' of the disputes over the past several weeks and have issued no final results of their deliberations. Over and over they ask me to repeat 'my side' of the story, and refuse to demand that my accusers take part in CR's inquiries, under the excuse that they "can't force anyone to participate". Thus does Occupy Chicago allow their members to be slandered and libeled and let the guilty go free while the victim is treated like a pariah. There is simply nothing like "due process" in these 'Conflict Resolutions' meetings. One of the leading members of Conflict Resolutions - a woman with a
"Masters Degree in Peace Studies" (?) said the following to me when I asked her "have you ever heard of 'due process'"?: "Do you want us to act like the police and arrest people?" This is how the touchy-feely, "peaceful" and "non-violent" Occupiers go about doing internal investigations of disputes between Occupy members. The guilty parties go free and the victims are insulted by both their slanderers and Occupy Chicago's own Kafkaesque and impotent 'Conflict Resolutions' bureaucracy.
I intend to fight the outrageous charge brought against me by Occupy Chicago spokeswoman Catherine "Cathy" "Sugar" Russell and fully expect that this bogus charge will be treated by the court - and my peers - with all the respect it deserves.
Housing, Donations Committees
Committee for an Independent Workers Party
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