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Eyewitness Account of Police Raid On Protest Encampment
Eyewitness account, April 25th 2007
For several days I have been participating in the encampment to protest the public sleeping ban in Arcata and raise awareness for the need for a free and safe place for people to sleep.
I was woken up this morning at my friends house and told that the encampment was being raided.
When I arrived I saw about a dozen people sitting in a circle in the camp and Arcata city personnel were taking down the camp and loading everything into city trucks.
There were twenty or thirty cops on the scene.
About fifty protesters and supporters were being forced to stay on the other side of the street.
The cops began to arrest those in the circle and the crowd started chanting, “Let them go!, let them go!” and “Don’t hurt our friends!”
After several arrests, one man who was being arrested went into a seizure. It was reported that he had been tazed with a stun gun. He was visibly trembling and then began to flop around on the sidewalk, face down with his hands behind his back. The police response was to hold him down in that position.
Right around this time about thirty people linked arms and began to cross the street in response to the police violence. Some police approached us and tried to push us back. We held our ground, occupying one of the lanes. Protesters called an ambulance when it became apparent that the cops weren't going to. Soon the ambulance arrived and took the man to the hospital.
The cops brought over wooden plank road barricades to hold us back. Then they began arresting the people in the circle again. They continued to use pain holds and were hurting our friends who had refused to move. We began to push on the barricade and managed to occupy half of the street before more cops came over and held us back by pushing back.
At this point they repositioned the paddy wagon away from us and stopped arresting people. Soon reinforcements from Eureka PD and Fortuna PD arrived. The crowd began to chant to the EPD officers, “We know what you did to Cheri, we know what you did to Chris!”
This was in reference to the fatal shootings of a mentally troubled woman and a teenager in Eureka last year that left many outraged.
The cops began to once again brutally remove people from the circle of those that had refused to leave the encampment site. About 5 or 6 were left at this point. The cops also pushed us in the crowd back to the sidewalk. Soon they had arrested the remaining people in the circle, this was accomplished with the heavy use of pain holds.
After the paddy wagon drove off the cops hastily began to leave. The wooden barricades were flipped over into the street and many in the crowd swarmed onto the site of the encampment. Many also followed the cops back to their cars, yelling and frustrated at the brutality displayed moments earlier.
After the cops left we circled up in the same spot where our friends had been violently arrested only minutes before…