Updates from April, 2008 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • blanksslate 7:12 pm on April 20, 2008 Permalink | Reply  

    From The Commenters 

    As Brooke would say, “Loves it!”:

    Thanks Brian!

  • jdtalley 12:07 am on April 19, 2008 Permalink | Reply  

    Concerned DC Citizen Writes the U.S. Park Police 

    Our spirits have been bolstered by the amount of support we have received so far. We very much appreciate the blog posts, donations, and letters. We hope you’ll keep them coming because we are just some concerned citizens against a government with unlimited resources. The following e-mail was cc’d to us and it’s well worth sharing. The author does a wonderful job of illustrating the absurd situation the U.S. Park Police caused by arresting the Jefferson 1 for simply asking “why?”

    to Dwight_Pettiford@nps.gov
    cc Mary_Bomar@nps.gov, Joe_Lawler@nps.gov
    date Fri, Apr 18, 2008 at 11:11 PM

    subject Oberwetter arrest

    Dear Chief Pettiford,

    I am writing as a private citizen to express my concerns over the arrest of Ms. Brooke Oberwetter at the Jefferson Memorial last weekend. For the record, I do not know Ms. Oberwetter nor any of the individuals who were in her group, nor am I affiliated with any organization. I am just writing as a six-year resident of the District of Columbia who visits NPS sites regularly with my family. (I found your contact information via NPS.gov, since the United States Park Police website seems to have no information on online contacts.)

    All I know about the Oberwetter arrest comes from media reports and the video of the incident now available online, so the facts I am about to recount may not be fully accurate. However, there are so many troubling aspects of this incident that I felt compelled to contact you.

    The group of which Ms. Oberwetter was a part seems to have been small enough to not need a permit to gather, nor were they making noise. However, if reports are accurate, within moments of their arrival, Park Police personnel were loudly confronting them, in some cases using obscene language despite the presence of other visitors. They also reportedly made physical contact with some of Ms. Oberwetter’s friends within minutes of the group’s arrival. Ms. Oberwetter, as video shows, was swaying quietly when she was confronted by a guard who said, “Exit, exit, exit. Lady, I’m not going to tell you again.” As you may know, and as I suspect NPS Director Bomar knows, it is generally considered sexist to refer to a woman as “lady” these days. Asked what rule she was violating, Ms. Oberwetter was told, “Exit, exit now,” which is a nonsequitur at best. When she asked, “It’s against the rules to dance?” she was told, “Yes it is. Read the sign inside the memorial. It says ‘Quiet.'” When Ms. Oberwetter pointed out that she was being quiet, the guard replied, “You’re dancing in here. That’s disorderly.” It seems like he had simply decided Ms. Oberwetter must be violating some rule, and he was just going to go down the list until he found one that fit.

    After Ms. Oberwetter was arrested, one of her friends told a police officer that this incident reflect poorly, to which the police officer responded, “F*** the record.” When one of the group quoted this back to the officer, the officer chastised him for using foul language, even though he was merely quoting him back! What kind of hypocrisy is that?

    According to the Washington Post (April 16, B1), the USPP “say the group was violating a federal law that prohibits disturbances in the sanctuaries of hallowed memorials.” Fair enough, if that is the case. But by using obscene language at the very beginning of their interactions with Ms. Oberwetter’s group, were not USPP personnel, who are paid to be there, creating a disturbance, showing disrespect, and sullying the sanctuary of a hallowed memorial?

    Finally, as I understand it, Ms. Oberwetter stands accused of “interfering with an agency function.” But if the “agency function” was the act of trying to clear a crowd that may not have been committing a violation, isn’t that a bit of a Catch-22 — to be guilty of interfering with something that should not have been happening in the first place? More disturbing is the possibility that Ms. Oberwetter’s simply asking USPP personnel why she was being confronted could be considered “interfering.”

    Now, I do not wish to be overly harsh. I can imagine that if I was the security guard in question, and I saw a group of 20 individuals descend on the site I was protecting at a few minutes before midnight, then begin dancing (albeit quietly), I would be alarmed and would question them. But if reports are accurate, your personnel did not question them to find out their intentions and how long they planned to stay. Instead, the guards used obscene language and physical force. Would it not have made more sense to just talk to the group first?

    The Oberwetter arrest may not be a major civil rights violation, but I have found myself deeply bothered by it. I have twin three-year-old sons. We go to the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials quite frequently. I have video of them dancing inside the Lincoln Memorial when they were less than two years old. I ask you, not meaning it facetiously: Were my sons committing a crime? Should I worry the next time we visit that they may be arrested?

    Sincerely yours,
    [Concerned Citizen]
    Columbia Heights, Washington, D.C.

    Thank you for your letter. Please rest assured that if the U.S. Park Police attempts to arrest your adorable twin sons we will stand ready to free the “Lincoln 2!”

    • Peter Orvetti 8:18 am on April 19, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      My apologies for the fact that the video is sideways. It was a new camera, and I’m not very smart.

    • raylehmann 6:36 am on April 21, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      No apologies necessary! Thanks so much for your letter and for taking the time to get involved.

    • rob 2:01 pm on March 4, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Why can’t you sign your real name to your letter?

  • blanksslate 4:25 pm on April 15, 2008 Permalink | Reply  

    Busted: The Citizen’s Guide to Police Encounters 

    This is a video that was shown to me by a criminal law scholar. I believe most— if not all —of the people associated with FtJ1 have seen this at one point or another. Brooke’s actions are congruent with these instructions with which we think you should become familiar–in spite of the fact that they did not work out for her in the short-term.  Your best defense of your own rights is knowing them.

    If I may make a personal comment here: given the amount of unwarranted pushing by the officer evident in the TJDP videos, I’m very glad that no one pushed back—even by reflex. The scene would have been much worse had that happened. Be firm, stand your ground, but under NO circumstances should you ever get physical with a police officer.

  • blanksslate 10:13 am on April 15, 2008 Permalink | Reply  

    Wanted: The Jefferson 1 

    Robert Stacy McCain came up with this wanted poster for the Jefferson 1 which we all found very amusing:

    • Robert Stacy McCain 1:12 pm on April 15, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Now that the suspect has been publicly identified, she has informed me that she is 28. Her height and weight were estimated based upon extended observation. Since she has not complained, I will assume that the estimates were reasonably accurate — or at least, that she does not weigh less than 125.

    • bob 1:40 pm on April 15, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      5 feet, 10 and 3/4 inches
      135 pounds

      I can only assume that the weight estimate was off because the height estimate was off.

    • toby 5:02 am on April 16, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      So,how could they arrest such a cute person for just dancing?
      Just get the news via Der Spiegel,greetins from Germany!

  • jdtalley 10:11 pm on April 14, 2008 Permalink | Reply  

    REVEALED! – The Song The Jefferson 1 Was Listening To Before the Arrest 

    Warning: Playing this in the vicinity of law enforcement may result in your immediate incarceration. And for the love of all that is holy, no bopping!

    • st4rbux 4:20 pm on April 16, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      I just changed my mind — I’d throw her out too if she was listening to Rob Base…

      Who knows, she might get crazy — I mean, outrageous. Stay away from her, she might be contagious.

  • blanksslate 3:51 pm on April 14, 2008 Permalink | Reply  

    This is how it went down 

    This is the video posted this morning on YouTube. (Some language NSFW)

    • st4rbux 6:48 pm on April 14, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      holy crap.

    • Justin 10:11 am on April 15, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      This just makes me furious.

    • LJE 3:10 pm on April 15, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Curious, why was her purse handed over?

    • Teddy Carfolite 2:05 pm on April 16, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Allf of the “Jefferson” Shmucks should of been arrested for wasting time on their iphones.

    • CHRISSY 2:48 pm on April 17, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      I HEART FLASH MOBS!!!! thank you for celebrating jefferson’s birthday with gusto! let’s all do a jig for our founding father!!!!!!

    • Ed 2:48 pm on April 17, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Why do the dancers hate America?

    • Dee 4:03 pm on April 17, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      The guy with the camera keep asking the pigs to read the walls. Something tells me if your only capable of guarding a HUGE monument for a living odds are your not the best at reading and comprehension skills. Those worthless smucks probably couldn’t qualify for a real police gig so they work the monument beat as a rental cop. It doesn’t take much intelligence to be a real cop so that should give some indication of what type of mentality was being dealt with by these cops.

      Those guys looked like rent a Cops 2.0 and the one who cussed but said you could not cuss, FUCK HIM!

    • Anonymous 2:29 am on April 18, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      This is awful. These cops really think that their job is to keep public order, without any reference to whether the disorder is illegal or not.. or even a real inconvenience to anybody.

      What a bunch of incompetent, ignorant, ass holes.

    • Brendan Perez 3:52 am on April 18, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Well, I wrote my Senators and Representative to share my disgust over everything from the demand that they leave all the way to the one hypocrite threatening to arrest someone for quoting his use of profanity.

    • Shawn Levasseur 10:48 pm on April 20, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Where’s Kevin Bacon when you need him?

    • CE 9:30 am on April 21, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      The police were very polite and the kids acted like idiots.

      They were told to stop- take the hint kids.

      You don’t dance in a memorial building- that’s disrespectful.

      Dancing before a statue?! What a bunch of morons!

    • Joe Allen 9:49 am on April 21, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Jack-booted thugs guarding Jefferson’s memorial. Wow.

      Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.

    • Doktor_Jeep 10:54 am on April 21, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      We had a celebration of April 19th on Saturday – rifles abound!

      Nothing like this went down.

      Next time make it a “Jefferson Walk” and visit all of the stops in DC.

      And that’s how you win the country back.

    • CitizenLiberty 10:55 am on April 21, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Hey, CE….guess your response means the Christians who perform sacred dance rituals qualify for jail since any church is specifically set aside as a memorial to the deity supported, eh? How about singing in public? Is that now a misdemeanor or felony?

      Then, of course, there’s that messy “freedom of association” thing going on, can’t have that in a police state now, can we? And naturally, public spaces are no longer really available to the public–only those who ‘behave’ in dowdy, somber reflection of the god Government.

      Nothing wrong in Washington that a small nuclear device couldn’t cure…..

    • Alex 8:21 pm on April 21, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Why don’t you have respect for others visiting the memorial? Then you act all huffy when told to stop acting like a child in public. Don’t puff out your chest and talk about Jefferson to defend this infantile behavior – people like you are what makes others lose liberty.

    • Rik 9:31 am on April 22, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Look, regardless of whether or not their behavior was APPRECIATED or not, it’s a question of whether it was CONSTITUTIONAL. Which, indeed, it was. The police could’ve been personally against it. That’s entirely true. But these same police had absolutely NO RIGHT to abuse their power, making an ARREST for reasons they made up. It would’ve been perfectly acceptable for a citizen to be dissatisfied. It would’ve been fine, even, for that same citizen to tell the group to leave. But, in that case, it would’ve been equally fine for the group to extend a certain metaphorical finger towards said citizen, because no matter how childish, they WEREN’T DOING ANYTHING WRONG. And I do wholeheartedly suggest that anyone that believes otherwise should take another look at our constitution, and try to disprove me.

    • rEVOLutionary 7:07 pm on April 22, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      This is typical of what our world has come to. We have to stop this nonsense!

      No one NO ONE has the right to tell us what we can do with our body, our voice, our actions unless you are going to harm yourself or someone else.

      Leave people the fuck alone and let them act like children and dance. Where is the crime?

    • Revolution 2:44 am on April 24, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Where’s Adolf Hitler? This country is becoming another Nazi Germany. We need to take back our country from the corrupt government that has taken over. Our Constitution states we have the OBLIGATION TO REMOVE A TYRANICAL GOVERNMENT!! Time to do so!!

    • yugwen 1:04 pm on April 25, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      We don’t know the whole story, so what’s the point of getting upset over it and calling our nation a whole bunch of things? The US is a HUUUUGE place, and this is an isolated incident for crying out loud. How many decent, hard working cops just got slandered by the posts in here?

      Stop acting like spoiled brats who aren’t getting their way. If a cop tells you to do something, DO IT. Once we stop respecting authority, the whole system is broken. Civil disobedience is still disobedience no matter how you spin it.

    • PeeJay 11:08 pm on April 26, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      I could not be more offended by the remark “if a cop tells you to do something, DO IT…” The essence of a free society is limits on the authority of the state. The United States was founded on this principle. Jefferson opposed the Alien and Sedition Acts because they gave too much power to the government. There may at times be legitimate debate about the limits of state power, but “do what the cops tell you” is just infantile.

    • Marnee 6:43 pm on May 1, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Interesting. The dancing, if you can call it that, was simply some gentle moving about, not unlike the walking going on. I don’t see any reason why this would provoke any response from the guards. The evidence speaks for itself.

      Next time a choreographed ballroom dance would be more fun and interesting.

      Long Live Lady Liberty

    • Colin 12:05 pm on May 9, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Those who agree with the cops, please move out of the USA, we don’t want you here, you’re breaking our country.

    • Galen Rice 2:51 pm on May 14, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Those who call on others to move out of their country because they don’t like the way they think, please be quiet, that’s not the American way, you’re dividing our society.

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