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!
For Immediate Release
Statement #2 by the State Street 29 Support Committee
May 24th, 2010
On April 8th, 2010, 29 individuals were arrested in Olympia, WA while taking part in an unpermitted march against police brutality. This march, like many others in cities along the west coast that day, took place in response to several recent and horrendous examples of police brutality in the west coast states. These marches were a part of the West Coast Days of Action Against State Violence on April 8th and 9th, which were anonymously organized to rally people to speak out against these atrocities and others like them.
In the weeks that have followed that night, the arrestees in Olympia have received nothing but defamation and unfounded attacks from their local corporate and independent media outlets. These news sources have used their positions of power as supposed voices of the people to call upon the entire Olympia community to literally turn their backs on the arrestees and to deny them of any form of support. They have made illegitimate claims as the to the groups intentions that night, and have written editorials to denounce the principles of those involved, painting them as hate mongering “masked morons,” and “bad anarchists.” These commentaries have not only demonized young Olympia residents, dividing the entire Olympia community and stifling chances for meaningful dialogue in the process, but they have also worked to turn the spotlight off the most important issue: the brutality of the police.
We, the State Street 29 Support Committee, recognize a necessity for dialogue about that night and call upon the greater Olympia community and beyond to start meaningful discussions about the alleged actions that took place during the march in Olympia. We recognize that discord may arise when a variety of tactics are used to address an issue. And we support debate between perspectives as valid and necessary means to reaching cohesion in a community. However, in the last month the local media’s handling of that night has done just the opposite. The discourse they have used has done nothing to resolve differences between the arrestees and others in Olympia, to make space for discussion on perspectives on tactics, nor to strengthen and support a community engaged in struggle against the repressive forces of the state. On the contrary, they only work to further divide the Olympia community and weaken chances of future coalition building.
Thus, we encourage you and your community to begin engaging in discussions about the issue of police repression and successful (and unsuccessful) means of addressing it. We invite anyone interested in discussing this issue, the night of the 8th, or other related matters in an open and meaningful way, to please attend our events and fundraisers, to use open web forums such as Olyblog, Indymedias and independent publications to begin constructive conversations, or to contact us directly.
If you support out efforts, feel free to publish an open letter of support on behalf of your group or organization for the State Street 29. You may also link our blog, from your website to ours. To whatever degree this must be done we would like to achieve dialogue and pull the curtain on excessive persecution of those facing charges in the Bay Area, Portland, Seattle and Olympia. We see such discussion as a means to creating alternatives to the police and to strengthening our communities to be safer and more sustainable. Join us and begin to appreciate the interconnectedness of our struggles.
In solidarity with all those against state repression,
The State Street 29 Support Committee