Monday, May 7, 2012

Emergency Relief: Thank You Alex

Arrest me before I 
can speak freely. 
On 27 April I was arrested for being a participant in Occupy Wall Street. You can read that story here. As I was in police custody and working to secure my release, the NYPD raided the Occupy camp at Union Square and confiscated my personal rolling luggage as 'unattended' amongst other group property. That story is here. Inside that luggage was all the paint, brushes and supplies I use to make protest signs for the movement, and to collect donations that support my and the work of the movement. In one day, in a completely illegal arrest of an individual and theft of his personal belongings, a person was not only accused of crimes not committed, but denied the ability to support himself in his attempts to exercise his (and your) first amendment rights. And what's left of middle class America tucks in the kids and settles down to a hot cup of Nestle's cocoa, secure in the fact that the American dream is alive and well and the grass will still need cutting on Saturday. Or maybe not.

And the beat goes on. Thank you Alex for helping me rebuild after my attack by the NYPD. Never did I suspect, in my return to America from an expat life, that the banks would now be able to rob people, and that the people would now need to defend themselves from the law enforcement officials who are supposed to be protecting them from the other people who used to rob the banks. A bad dream at best.

Alex sent me $100 and reports: "I know this will go to a good cause". 

NYPD: "Duh"
In my quest to retrieve my stolen personal property, I have now logged 4 days at 4 different police locations but have yet to see a single item. I am told that it does indeed exist and have even seen some items on a computer printout but absolutely nothing has been returned to its rightful owner yet. 

Here's the routine so far:

Friday, 27 April, 10pm:

-  Arrested 7am - taken into custody
-  1 black rolling luggage cart removed from Union Square

Saturday, 28 April, 9am:

-  Visit Precinct 13 to pick up personal items from arrest - inquire about luggage cart/contents
-  No luggage cart found - told to inquire with Officer who took items

Sunday, 29 April, 3pm:

-  Interview Officer Lombardo - in charge of property impound at Union Square
-  Told property would be at the 7th Precinct and to check there

Monday, 30 April, 4pm

-  Arrive Precinct 7 - ask about property
-  Told no record existed. Need officer's badge # and precinct. Say, "Lombardo". They say they don't know Lombardo - send me away. "Try 1 Police Plaza", downtown. Extremely unhelpful.

Tuesday, 1 May

-  May Day march from Bryant Park to Union Square to Wall Street to Bull - Big success - not a good day to visit police stations

Wednesday, 2 May

-  Heavy rain, no travel

Thursday, 3 May

-  Heavy rain, no travel

Friday, 4 May, 2pm

-  Arrive at 1 Police Plaza - helpful friendly admittance, two very helpful officers at computer let me view the screen as we search first for Lombardo - found, search for lost property report - found, search for individual items: Interesting. At this point the officers determine that once found, my large black rolling luggage cart was emptied and the individual contents each logged with a catalogue number. My luggage cart has been sent to a warehouse in Long Island City, whilst the individual items have been mixed in with all items from the day and are at Precinct 7 - will need to visit both.
-  The officers print out 4 sheets listing some of my belongings and direct me to Precinct 7. They advise me to be very nice with people there and I will get my things.
-  5pm - Arrive at Precinct 7. Another Occupier is just receiving his belongings after 2 1/2 hours because the staff cannot figure out how to get a working printer on the network for property. A very nice civilian lady is just leaving for the day, but she checks my sheet, checks the property room, and then tells me that indeed, my items are there. I am advised to come very early in the morning, and retrieve the items, before they are sent to Police Plaza 1, back downtown.

Saturday, 5 May, 8am

-  Arrive at Precinct 7. Am almost immediately told that nothing would happen and that property could only be retrieved on Monday - Friday, from 8 - 5. Officer looks at my paper and asks where I got it. When I say Police Plaza 1, he looks surprised, as if they weren't supposed to give me that.
-  On the paper are listed POM, Craig Goodwin from the 105th Precinct as Invoicing officer, SGTs Jay Garcia and Quentin Fox from the 7th as Approval officers - yet the staff on this day wants nothing to do with any of this. Best to die and come back another day.

Again. Thank you all for your help. I had a thought this week that I should start a Kickstarter project called "Help Me Beat The NYPD". With it I would make a blog and documentary film that follow my arrest trial along with my efforts to retrieve my artwork stolen by the NYPD. Let me know what you think of that project, and what amount you think would be sufficient for funding.


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