52 Occupy Atlanta Protesters Arrested
With additional reporting, including information requests to APD, by Matthew Cardinale.
(APN) ATLANTA — After three previous threats of evictions from the Mayor’s office and a continued build-up of police presence around Woodruff Park–unoffically renamed Troy Davis Park by Occupy Atlanta–Atlanta Police arrested fifty-two members of Occupy Atlanta at around 1am, Wednesday morning, October 26, 2011.
The arrestees included seasoned activists such as Randy Aronov, Joe Beasley, former Councilman Derrick Boazman, Timothy Franzen, State Sen. Vincent Fort, Kevin Moran, Misty Novitch, and Roger Sikes, according to a list obtained by Atlanta Progressive News from the APD.
Other arrestees included Leila Abadir, Amy Barnes, Shabham Bashiri, Scott Brown, Tony Chase, James Crider, Kimlee Davis, Roderick Davis, Robert Derenthal, Joseph Diaz, Kayla Edgett, Greshawn Fellas, Jason Fountain, Austin Gallagher, Annette Guzman, David Hanley, Liera Helms, Khoalis Henry, Luke Hotchkiss, Lorenzo Jackson, Billy Jones, Elijah Jones, Daniel Lim, Matthew Magnuson, Antoine Marshall, William Marshall, Malcolm McKenzie, Mandie Mitchell, Sean Moore, Khalid Muhammad Jr., Khalid Muhammad Sr., Ray Muhammad, Savonte Parker, Andrew Ratto, Egan Short, Tyler Ralston, Bryan Scherer, Durrell Seay, Napoleon Spear, Heather Traylor, Amy Wardle, Travis Webb, Rosenberg Wilgreens, and Travis Young.
By 10pm Tuesday night it was becoming obvious that something was coming down. The three or four media vans that usually had parked on Park Place next to the Park were asked by police to move one block north on Park Place. The media presence grew to over fifteen trucks. Park Place was blocked off and lights were standing ready to light up the park.
“I can’t believe that today they [Mayor’s office] can’t come up with anything better. It [the arrests] will polarize the city,” State Sen. Nan Orrock (D-Atlanta) said.
By closing time at 11pm, everyone was aware the evictions would happen soon. The Park had been barricaded Monday except for four entrances and exits. After 11pm, additional police arrived and began to surround the perimeter of the park.
At midnight, the police told everyone including the media to leave the park or be arrested. Over 150 Occupy Atlanta members and supporters moved to the sidewalk and literally in Peachtree Street and chanted support for the people still in the park.
Around 1230am the little green speaker that usually plays music announced that all property left in the park would be considered abandoned property and in fifteen minutes all people in the park will be arrested. The announcement was repeated in Spanish.
People began to throw the tents over the fence and others set the tents in Peachtree Street while others folded the tents and put them on the sidewalk out of concern APD would throw them away.
However, Carlos Campos, spokesman for APD, assured APN that no property was discarded other than garbage or perishables.
“All property recovered is in the process of being properly logged and checked in. Anyone interested in recovering their property can visit our Public Safety Annex at 3493 Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway to initiate the process,” Campos said.
Police on horses blocked Peachtree at Auburn and motorcycle police blocked Peachtree at DeKalb and Marietta Streets, as helicopters circled overhead.
At 1am, over 100 additional police marched into the park and began to handcuff OA members, who were sitting in the circle with arms locked; and then dragged or carried them away.
In the beginning it was orderly but the police became rougher with the people as tensions and tempers rose.
The crowd shouted “Shame” and “Who do you Protect” to the police.
Earlier in the evening, the General Assembly announced a meeting with clergy and representatives from the Mayor’s office at Big Bethel church to take place Thursday to discuss the reasons why OA was occupying the park. Everyone at that time thought this was a good development for better understanding between OA and the Mayor’s office.
On two occasions Rev. Dr. Richard Cobble, President of Concerned Black Clergy of Metro Atlanta, talked at the General Assembly and gave his support to the OA group.
Tuesday afternoon, before the arrests, OA marched to the Georgia Pacific Building on Peachtree Street to expose the political influence of the Koch Brothers.
There, about 200 people held hands and reenacted the historic levitation of the Pentagon in the 1960’s on the Georgia Pacific Building.
“Everyone knows the economic system is broken. I have been in China the last eight years and when I returned I could really see the difference coming back. People have lost jobs and more people are homeless,” Wesley Morris from Decatur said.
Morris, his wife, and two small children have visited OA six times to support the movement. “It is good for the children to see how people can stand up to an unjust system,” Morris said.
Leaflets were distributed to “don’t buy Koch products.” According to OA, Koch Brothers/Georgia Pacific profits and processes destroy unions; undercut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid; elect reactionary politicians; reduce wages; corrupt Congress; ruin the environment; shrink the middle classes; pollute the air; and stand in the way of corporate accountability.
Sergies Flournoy has camped at the park for eleven days and is on the legal team. “Big business is getting into politics and controlling what’s going on with the 99% and this needs to end. They are contributing to right-wing organizations that are not looking out for the 99 percent and this is offensive,” Flournoy said.
Nadine Boado works full-time and comes to the park after work to support OA. “The Koch Brothers spend lots of money funding right wing think tanks and politicians that I believe are destroying our economy. People don’t realize that the Koch Brothers are libertarians who have co-opted a lot of ‘family value’ issues to distract the people from talking about important economic issues. If you are able to get people of faith to talk about the defense of marriage act instead of how our government and corporations are taking away our basis rights then you can deceive people into voting against their own interests,” Boado said.