Police are People
“Every cop has their own agenda,” Crystal replied. I was trying to make a generalization about police and their behavior, but C was having none of this intellectually weak behavior.
My best arrest and my worst arrest were both in Berlin. My worst was when I got arrested at a climate convention when some of us (including Anissa and myself) locked our heads under buses carrying oil company executives to the climate negotiations. The reason it was bad was because of the polices’ completely unnecessary violence after we were arrested. Especially the women cops who perhaps had something to prove or were racist and just really beat up these young Russian women who had been part of our action team.
My best arrest was at a different climate convention in Berlin where we posed as press, made it into the secure area of the UN event and held banners and disrupted the meeting. The police were UN staff and we got handled like diplomats, formally and carefully. My cop did not chastise me for holding up my sign upside down.
The first time i got arrested i had a curious and uncharacteristic conversation with my booking officer in the San Francisco County jail. We were protesting the US’s withdraw from the World Court after the court ruled against the Reagan Administrations mining of the Nicaraguan harbor of Corinto by the CIA and its operatives. The cop made the opening by mentioning the issue and how he understood the upset of the injustice and that he had felt that way when he was younger. I told him that i bet he still held some of that idealism in him and he agreed. It was important to me that this person inside the system, responsible for processing me actually understood why i was doing what i was doing and empathized.
i find i have to embrace a paradoxical mindset that both they are quite likely good people who need not be abusive and they are trained in violence to protect the state and its agents and may well use it on you to play out their script.