Occupy DC Activists Arraigned In McPherson Square Police Clash
WASHINGTON--Two members of Occupy DC will remain jailed until at least Thursday on charges they assaulted police officers during Saturday's clash with police who razed a downtown encampment.
A handful of others were arraigned on less serious charges that included failing to obey police and released. Charges were dropped against two. One person was arraigned down the street in U.S. District Court on a failing to obey police charge and released. Those arrested were rounded up early Saturday as U.S. Park Police razed activists' months-long encampment at McPherson Square. Police raided nearby Freedom Plaza the next day, but left many tents in place. The moves, though anticipated by the Occupy activists, shocked them nevertheless as police arrived with a dump truck and protective hazmat suits.
A D.C. Superior Court judge set a hearing for Thursday for the two charged with assaulting police officers and said they would remain jailed until then. One is Jeremiah Desausa, accused of throwing a Coke bottle that struck a police officer in the eye. Police said over the weekend that the activist had thrown a brick, but a court document described it as a soda bottle filled with liquid.
About a dozen Occupy DC activists showed up to watch the arraignments, in a Superior Court basement. They included one legal observer as well as lawyer Ann Wilcox. Several took careful notes, some on newspaper. It was a contrast from McPherson Square. Instead of screaming Occupy chants, the activists had to obey the courtroom's no-talking policy. Whispering was met with a courtroom minder's stern warning and threat of eviction.
It was a long afternoon. Those arrested face charges ranging from failure to obey an officer's order to felonious assault of a police officer. One by one, they were brought into court in chains and cuffs, some in white jumpsuits. One appeared with his arm in a brace and sling; the activists said his arm was broken.
Brian Eister, 25, who was charged with failure to obey, was one of the first released. He said he wanted to return to McPherson Square for some yoga exercise.
Wade Simmons, 41, had been charged with making threats to a police officer. He denied wrongdoing and was released after being arraigned, pending his next court date. He was most upset over the judge granting a stay-away order, temporarily banning him from Freedom Plaza. "How long is this?" he asked the judge. She replied that he had to check with his lawyer. He had been camping with Occupy DC since Oct. 15.
Michael Patterson, 21, an Iraq War veteran arraigned on a felony charge of assault on a police officer, said outside the courtroom that he "didn't do anything."
Patterson said Occupy DC's eviction did not matter. "The camp was just a tactic," he explained. He had traveled from Anchorage, Alaska, to join to Occupy DC in early-October. Now, he can't go near the place; he too got slapped with a stay-away order.
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