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Statement Read at Today's UC8 Press Conference by Detained and Arrested Reporter, 12/15/09
I read the following factual statement at today's press conference after John Viola of the NLG and a student representative spoke.
My name is David and I've been reporting on the social justice, anti-war, and animal rights movements on Indybay.org for the last 5-6 years. For the last month, I have also been covering the student-led demonstrations in the Bay Area. On the night of December 11th, I was covering one such demonstration.
When the UC police arrived the patrol car stopped right in front of me. I never attempted to flee in any way as I assumed that because I was a journalist I had nothing to fear. The UC officers stepped out of their car and approached me. The very first thing Officer Wycoff said to me was that he wanted my camera, that I was being detained and he wanted my camera. I immediately identified myself as a journalist, that I had a press pass, but they took my camera, handcuffed me, and placed me into the back of the patrol car. At a later point, I told the police that I did not think it was legal for them to detain me and take my camera as they had. Officer Wycoff told me that I was not a lawyer so "shut the fuck up."
About two hours later, police told me that I was under arrest for felony vandalism and riot. I was taken to Santa Rita with others who appear to have been randomly arrested. I remained handcuffed for over three hours and spent the night in various holding cells being processed into Santa Rita. By 9am, I was in general population in the lower-C pod in building 33 West with hundreds of other inmates. The first effort to make bail failed when the original two charges were ridiculously raised to six felony counts including battery on an officer and attempted arson. My bond then jumped to over $130,000 and I was forced to borrow $13,000 for a non-refundable bail to secure my release from jail.
UC's behavior throughout has been attrocious, from initially detaining then arresting me, to the hyperbolic public relations efforts that never mentioned arresting a journalist.
I want to also say that I'm not the only independent journalist to be treated as such in Alameda County this year. JR Valrey continues to face bogus felony charges placed on him as he reported on street demonstrations in January.
Forthcoming over the next couple of weeks, I will be posting a detailed account of related events in a series to be published on Indybay.org.