For Immediate Release
A Statement by The State Street 29 Support Committee
April 17, 2010
We are a group of Olympia residents whose goal is to support the “State Street 29”. Our goal is to encourage others to view these people from the perspective of those who rely on and care about them.
The State Street 29 is a group of individuals who were arrested on the night of April 8th, 2010. They were arrested at a march consisting of over 60 people that took place in downtown Olympia. The march was done in solidarity with the West Coast Days of Action against State Violence to draw attention to the fact that police everywhere are perpetuating and fostering fear among our communities. Our goal as the State Street 29 Support Committee is to encourage others to view the arrestees, from the perspective of those who rely on and care about them, as loving, well intentioned, and active citizens concerned about the safety of our community.
The April 8th march was similar to ones that took place in Portland, Seattle and the San Francisco Bay Area on the same day as well as April 9th. These marches were formed to speak out against recent unjustified violent actions taken by police officers in these cities and surrounding areas. In Portland, police have killed three people within the last two months. In March 2010, three Seattle police officers repeatedly TASERed a visibly pregnant woman for refusing to sign a speeding ticket. And yet, a federal appeals court has declared that the officers who committed that heinous crime did not use excessive force. In Oakland in January 2009, a young man named Oscar Grant was shot in the back while handcuffed, lying face down on the ground. The Olympia Police Department, as well, has a history of murdering with impunity. In November 2008, Jose Ramirez-Jimenez, an alleged suspect in a shooting that happened earlier that night, was shot twice while in his car, once in the back and once in the neck. The execution was justified as the three shooting officers claimed he refused to show his hands.
Just as they did in Seattle and Portland during similar actions on the 8th and 9th, the police attacked the march in Olympia. Without orders to disperse or statement of arrest, the police used batons, pepper bullets and fists to ambush a majority of the march and force them to the ground. Many of the arrestees were not read their rights before 27 of them were taken to the Olympia City Jail and 2 were taken to the Thurston County Jail. At the Olympia City Jail, more than one dozen people were kept in a 2 person cell, uninformed of their charges, some for up to 13 hours without being fed, before being processed. Other abuses included injury from improperly used zip tie handcuffs. Property slips were never issued, and many people reported missing property when they were released.
This diverse group of young people feel that their futures and their freedom to express their political views is being threatened by the police. It is important that the 29 arrested students, child-care providers, custodians, volunteers, scientists, and other workers and valued community members have our support for the duration of their court processes. If we do not defend the arrested now, the future safety of our entire community and our collective ability to exercise our freedom of speech will be compromised. We stand in solidarity with anyone who has the courage to demonstrate their discontent and we encourage all who share our concerns to join us in this struggle.
The State Street 29 Support Committee wants to urge our community, local and nation wide, to support the State Street 29. Finally, we demand:
DROP THE CHARGES!