Free Country Datum IV: Arrested, Held, Without Charges — For Biking on the Street

arrest | Toneland describes an arrest — allegedly without any charges — for biking (in a very large group) on a public street. The arrest was followed by moderately unkind treatment that could be explained perhaps as cops coping with the expected chaos of the Republican convention, or could be seen as a punitive measure to 'send a message' to demonstrators.

Of course, this first person narrative is just one side of the story. Here's CNN's account, in which the police say the bikes were blocking traffic (by moving in traffic?). I thought you got a ticket for that, not 16 hours in a holding pen followed by a trip to the Tombs.

Interestingly, there's no suggestion the arrests were for demonstrating without a permit. In any case, the issue here isn't just the charge, or lack of a charge, but also how the bikers were treated.

One hears much worse stories about other countries, and indeed about this one. But we still can do much better than this.

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3 Responses to Free Country Datum IV: Arrested, Held, Without Charges — For Biking on the Street

  1. Mark Kleiman says:

    Don’t waste your sympathy. Critical Mass has been operating in several cities for a few years now. Its proclaimed goal is to tie up traffic, apparently to protest the importance of the automobile. It does an excellent job of making a nuisance of itself.

  2. Barry Freed says:

    How can they be blocking traffic? They are traffic!

  3. Tones says:

    Michael- You’re exactly right; what really pisses me off is that the NYC police are playing relatively nice (despite ignoring due process) because of all the mainstream publicity the RNC protests are getting. Protestors of less prominent but more important (policy-wise) events expect to get beaten by the police and ignored by the media. The Miami FTAA protests last November come to mind.

    Kleiman- Yeah, frikkin hippy communists, run some over with an SUV next month for me.

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