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Rock Paper Scissors Collective Harassed by California ABC and OPD on 10th Anniversary
On the evening of June 6 during Oakland's First Friday Art Murmur, the Rock Paper Scissors Collective was celebrating their 10-year anniversary at their gallery on Telegraph and 23rd Street. Past and present members of the all-volunteer collective prepared new, or culled from the past, large and small works of art for the event. A fashion show was scheduled as part of the festivities. A table in the back of the space included free refreshments, snacks, and a few bottles of wine for those who came in that night. It's not uncommon for art galleries to offer glasses of wine to patrons at special receptions. At a little past 8pm, however, two undercover or plainclothes agents of the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control came into the RPS gallery and started asking questions about the wine. The agents pulled badges out of their shirts and a volunteer who goes by "D" was handcuffed and charged with a misdemeanor for serving wine.
[Photo: D, handcuffed by OPD, while RPS members look on and ABC agents rifle through the area around the refreshments table.]
Shortly after arriving at the Rock Paper Scissors community space, the ABC agents called in two Oakland police officers to assist them in clearing out the crowded gallery so that they could interrogate D, who had volunteered to assist that night and helped out by staffing the refreshments table. D was handcuffed while an ABC agent searched around looking for all of the wine he could confiscate. Not only did the two agents take every bottle of wine they could find, they also took all of the cash from an RPS donation jar that was on the refreshments table.
During his detainment, D tried to ask the agents what specifically he was being charged with, since the Rock Paper Scissors gallery was not selling the wine, but offering it for free to adult guests who might want a glass. The female agent would only say that he had violated the law. When D asked her why she had to be so inhuman with him, she snorted back, "What are you babbling about?"
D was was released from the handcuffs and charged with a misdemeanor. The citation reads Penal Code and Section “23300 BP — sales/service of alcoholic beverage.” D has a court date set for August 11 at 8am at the Wiley Manual courthouse in Oakland. Immediately after the ABC agents and OPD officers left the scene, RPS re-opened their doors and concerned well-wishers and others flooded back in and members began passing the hat to raise funds to support D’s upcoming legal expenses.
Unfortunately, the culminating fashion show was cancelled that night because those who had organized it were unsure of how long the gallery would remain under the control of law enforcement. RPS re-opened about 9pm, but by then models had already removed their apparel and the First Friday event was coming to a close. The fashion show will be held at another date and time.
For those who missed the Art Murmur reception, art and events related to the 10th anniversary celebration continue throughout the month.
Rock Paper Scissors Collective