Thursday, October 06, 2011

Occupy Hartford's Victory Against the Po-Po (Police) by @OccupyHartford

"The following is a report back from Josh. Official minutes from the 5:00pm G.A. should be following soon. (dave r) 

 The Assembly ended with a difficult consensus that the occupation would begin this Friday

There was also consensus that committee meetings would take place at the agreed occupation space at Turning Point Park tomorrow at 8:30 am and 5 pm. 

We also came to consensus that, because there were several people who wanted to begin the occupation tonight rather than waiting until Friday, we would march in solidarity with them to the site. We did so and were accompanied by the Hartford police. 

After most of the group who did not intend to stay the night dispersed, the rest of us (maybe 20 people or so) were informed by the police at the location that we would be arrested if we were in the space after 10 p.m. Peter Goselin from the National Lawyers Guild was there representing us and asked the police if there was any place on city property that we would be allowed to sleep out. The answer was no. The police actually suggested that we go to the capital building, but this was just a matter of passing his problem off onto the state police that are in charge of the capital grounds. 

We immediately contacted Councilman Luis Cotto, who phoned the mayor in hopes of resolving the situation. Before Councilman Cotto arrived, the Swat police showed up with a High power sound machine to drive us out of the park. Things were becoming tense. 

While waiting for word from the Mayor and the city we held an emergency meeting and consensed around the fact that rather than challenge the police to arrest us as 6, we would leave and wait for the larger occupation. 

The city manager (who arrived after being contacted by Councilman Cotto) determined that Turning Point Park is NOT ACTUALLY CITY PROPERTY and belongs to the state. The Hartford Police left immediately, as they no longer had jurisdiction over the land. At this point the Governor’s office was informed by the city of what was taking place. No State Police arrived and there was no discernible reaction from the State. 

With this new information, those of us still present called another meeting in order to decide how to proceed. While the State Police did not arrive or react, we decided it was conceivable that any individual state officer driving around might notice the tents and take it upon himself to do something about it. Rather than risk this possible confrontation with only a few of us there, we decided to leave the space and wait until the full occupation begins on Friday as there is obviously much greater strength in numbers. 

I personally took tonight as an enormous victory. The Hartford Police cannot bother us in the place that we have designated as our occupation space. Seeing them leave after having threatened to arrest us was fantastic. The reaction of the State remains to be seen, but from what I understand Luis has opened a channel of communication with the Governors office regarding this. As far as Hartford is concerned, we have already occupied Turning Point Park! 
 -Occupy HartfordCT"