Journalist and cartoonist Susie Cagle was arrested last week while covering the massive Occupy Wall Street protests in Oakland. Upon her release, Cagle was told by police that if she was arrested again at the Occupy protests she would be charged with a felony.
She tells her story on Alternet.
When I told my arresting officer that I was press, I was first told, “We’ll take care of that in a minute.” That next minute turned into 15 hours in two different jails.
First, we were split up by gender for transport a few blocks south to be booked. This took three hours. Upon arrival at North County jail, we were searched by Alameda County sheriffs (“Do you have any weapons of mass destruction?” they asked while grabbing at our breasts) and urine tested for pregnancy. That night bled into day, when all 25 women were transferred to another jail 40 minutes outside Oakland, because no jail in the city is technically equipped to handle female inmates.
Upon transfer to Santa Rita jail, demonstrator Andrea Barrera was denied her prescription antibiotics and threatened with recourse. “Maybe I’ll accidentally lose your paperwork and you’ll be here all week,” Sheriff Fox told her, only one of many times such a threat was made against us “prisoners.” Barrera did not receive her medication until her release.
After transfer, we were subjected to another round of searches, this time more invasive than the last. While standing single file in a hallway with male inmates leering and licking the windows in their cell doors, we were told to hold out our bras and shake our breasts. “Come on, ladies, shimmy,” said one sheriff. “Get into it. Shimmy.”
Like we said last week, here’s hoping Cagle follows in Amy Goodman’s steps and sues police. A mistaken arrest can happen (not that it happened here). But threatening journalists with a felony charge for doing their job takes First Amendment stomping to a whole new level.
Previously on FishbowlLA: Cartoonist Susie Cagle Arrested at Occupy Oakland Protests