Source: Portland Indepependent Media Center
Date: June 25, 2005
A Firsthand Account In Philadephia: Part Two
Last but not least here is part three of what I saw in Philadephia. After meeting up with a few Philadelphia Imcistas in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art one of them offered took take me a place in the city where I could relax and review my tapes. I accepted and the both of us started to head over to his car which was parked near by after waving goodbye to another Imcista. The both of us got in and a little after five minutes of being in the car driving I got a phone call from someone who was requesting a video camera in front of a jail across the street to cover the events there for jail solidarity outside. I told the person I was we needed to go to 9th and something where the jail was and he knew exactly where it was.
I got dropped off and met up with the person who called to let them know that I was there. There were police on both sides of the street. I guess it was the police headquarters, because there were officers on each side of the street. Cars in front of the building, police on bicycles in front of everyone there. There were about fifty people in a small park sitting down eating Food Not Bombs. Bicycles were everywhere between people as they laid around and enjoyed each others company with the purpose of supporting those that had been arrested and put in jail. I was informed that before I arrived things almost got out of hand as an emotional police officer was yelling at the people in the crowd saying, "you killed my friend."
The corporate media showed up and started to setup their lights and camera for their 11:00 p.m. news. Walking around trying to get shots of people sitting around people got pretty pissed off and started to make fun of the corporate media as they walked by. One person decided to give interviews to them and was later told off by another person who didn't think that they should be talking to the corporate media because they were just going to spin what she was saying. The other person who talked to the corporate media saw it differently and felt it was a great way to get the word out. You can decided for yourself which is better.
As the corporate media's time to film neared they turned on these very powerful compact stage lights on stands for better lighting of the people in the park. Everyone got really agitated by the bright lights shinning in and people started to stand shoulder to shoulder with their backs facing the corporate media blocking their view chanting "Fox lies!" A few people also mooned the corporate media giving them a piece of their mind it would seem. A few people started to stand around the corporate media cameras as they started to film moving around trying to mess up their shots as well, and this went on and on. People were telling them that they should "go back home" and other things such as "you are not our media," or "your all liars," and "all you care about is your paycheck" right to their faces.
With the corporate media packing things up I saw some people I knew and decided to sit down and talked with them with a few others I didn't know. I was video taping here and there covering the event with my video camera. All was calm and everyone watched a little while later as the police rotated their shifts driving away in a wave and arriving in another to replace them around midnight.
Some high ranking officers from the jail came out and wanted to speak to someone who would negotiate for everyone to leave and go home because it seemed there were officers who wanted to go home who had been out there all day. A few women went over and started to talk to the police asking for the names of the people they had in jail, and the point in their booking process they were in. The police said they would do that if they were given the names of the people inside which as far as I know didn't happen. The police were told that people would wait outside the jail for as long as it took until the people inside were released. It turns out that twelve people were arrested in all and as the night went on, the number went down.
The two major charges I heard were felony assault of a police officer against at least one person, and I don't know any more then that (if anyone is reading this feel free to update this article in a comment).
People were gathering around deciding what to do, who would stay, and who was going to come home for the night. I decided to stay with my camera and cover anything that was going on. I was really tired and wanted to leave but stayed to document anything else that might happen if it needed be.
Around 1:30 a.m. or so a women showed up with blankets and food. She was really nice and I guess decided to take her clothes off because the next thing I knew she was walking around naked. It really wasn't that big of a deal, and the police didn't do anything for at least five minutes. After that the police decided to come over (about ten of them all male) and tell the women to put her clothes back on. She had been in the park the whole time not bothering anyone and when she told the officers no they told her she would get "locked up" if she didn't put her clothes back on. She told them that "it's my body" and made it clear she wasn't going to put her clothes back on. She started to tell the people around that she wanted to go inside to see the kids in there and if they were okay. The police told the women that she would if she didn't put her clothes back on and that she had five minutes to do so.
With that the police started to walk away and as they started to cross the street to their cars on the other side the women followed and then walking in front of them, running up the steps of the police station where she was then thrown to the ground by police, naked onto the pavement. She was then put into a police wagon and taken away to another jail.
By now most of the people who had been in the park had left and there were about fifteen people around. Some sleeping in the grass, some eating food. Nothing was going on so I decided to take a nap in the grass since I had been running around all day and I was really tired. I woke up at 3:30 a.m. checking the cell phone I had for the time to a bright spotlight on top of a corporate media beta cam. Just as soon as the light went on people were in front of the corporate media reporter camera blocking him. I got up and stood near the people who were talking the the camera guy, about ten feet away with my video camera. It was having trouble recording from the hits it took early that day from the officer in love park, but I barely managed to get it to work and did some more filming for a few moments.
A long talk with the corporate media camera guy and the people there at the park went on. The corporate media camera guy stating that, "I think its fucked up that you are here waiting in this park," I recall him saying vividly since I was one of the people who had been in the park and took offense to that statement. The people in front of him talking were more then able to hold their ground as he tried to ask loaded questions and eventually he backed up down the street to the other end of the block where another corporate stations van was waiting. As it turned out, every station in the city had a camera crew out there and was getting ready for their 5:00 a.m. news.
There were still people in the park asleep and the corporate media was still trying to film what was going on in the park, but couldn't because every-time they tried they got camera blocked or people with big signs that read "media plague" were being held up in the background messing up their shot. This went on and on into the morning till about 8:30 a.m. when I was so tired I had to leave. By now the police commissioner was outside looking at what was going on consulting other officers on what had happened in the night I would assume and what they could do next.
Shift change had happened again and there was a group of police in formation on the sidewalk because of the police commissioners presents across the street. As I walked away, waling past the convention center back to Love Park to get my bike with a friend we saw these trucks that were just a cab and a giant billboard on the back of it that could light up that had slogans in favor of the BIO convention going on.
I got to Love Park a little while later and got the bike I had been using and took off, heading with the friend I was with to the location of were all my stuff was. I didn't know the city very well so it helped a lot to have a guide to show me around and lead me to where I wanted to go. The plan to get sleep didn't happen as I had thought it would and I ended up doing making some copies of some tapes before my camera died on me from the trauma of yesterday no doubt.
I would have posted this sooner but I haven't access to internet on a regular basis. Sorry for the delay, I hope you enjoyed, and with that, those were my accounts of the bio democracy demonstrations in Philadelphia on June 21st and 22nd of 2005.
End of Part Three