Occupy May Day Protest (Video)
Protestors walk through the valet parking at Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall
Every police force has a distinctive way for how they handle demonstrations. Scottsdale Police Department also has theirs. When they detect activity developing, they send an officer to speak with the crowd to announce in a friendly manner that they expect everyone to follow the laws by not leaving the public sidewalk or obstructing the street. It is a bit uncanny how much this information officer resembles actor Steve Carell.
After the demonstration gets under way, the officers often observe from a distance. Eventually, a dozen of them will be seen tailing the march on bicycles.
Within a few minutes several department vehicles will screech to a halt alongside the march, the bicycle officers will cut off the march at the front, the officers in the vehicles will pour out and grab a random participant, handcuff them, and haul them off to jail. At this point, the officers will leave the area and continue to tail the march from a distance until it ends.
I have observed this process twice now. And while this is by no means the way they will always do it in the future, a pattern seems to be emerging. It also appears that someone in the group of officers has a fetish for men with long or bushy hair, because that is who they seem to choose for arrest.
The Occupy May Day protest started out at the cowboy statue at Main and Marshall. After receiving their official warning, the group of one hundred waited a bit and then started walking straight down the center of Marshall Street toward Fashion Square Mall.
Numerous media personnel joined in to grab footage and photos. Several others, including volunteer street medics, followed along behind on the sidewalk to provide assistance in case anyone was hurt or passed out in the heat.
Along the way, a few of the black-clad protestors, adorned in black hoodies and black bandannas over their faces, started wreaking a small amount of mayhem along the way. No major damage was observed.
However, a fair number of stop signs and statues were sprayed with silly string. A couple people swiped some chairs sitting outside businesses and threw them around and knocked over a few A-frame style business signs.
Another protestor apparently brought along a colorful smoke bombs and released them along the way. Near the end of the march, one person reached up and grabbed a hold of a hanging vinyl sign over a business doorway and ripped it down, bringing a couple small pieces of wood trim with it.
As the protestors made their way toward the mall, they marched across street intersections, blocked traffic, prompted a horn honk or two, and entered the property of the mall. Mall security issued some warnings to the lead people in the crowd and called ahead to lock the glass doors on that side of the building.
The protestors proceeded past puzzled onlookers eating at an outdoors restaurant near the mall entrance. When they arrived at the locked entrance, they hung around for a bit chanting, banged on the glass, and then dispersed to walk past the parking garage around the corner.
Right about then, the dozen bike cops started trailing the crowd as it made its way back to the south in the general direction of the starting point. A couple blocks later, as people were proceeding past a row of shops, the bike cops kettled the front of the group, the vehicles showed up, and they picked off a guy by the name of John, cuffed him, and loaded him into the paddy wagon. After a few minutes, the vehicles drove off and they allowed the procession to continue.
The march ended up along the sidewalks along the west side of Scottsdale Road and people chanted "Out of the shops and into the street" as they passed restaurants and other businesses.
Shortly after they turned onto Main Street to return to the cowboy statue at the roundabout, the vinyl business sign was torn down by a masked protestor.
The group stopped at the roundabout, someone mounted a black flag on the statue, and people hung out for a while longer while the bike cops watched from one of the corners.
No further police action was taken other than to quiet down one man who drove in from Phoenix to counter-protest the march. He started out from the corner yelling and arguing with the people in the island.
They went back and forth for a bit and then an officer asked him to settle down. Various media people came over to speak with him to get his opinion.
John, the man arrested, was held overnight by the police. According to the Occupy Phoenix Facebook group, several people went to provide jail support for his scheduled Wednesday morning release. However, he is refusing to cooperate with the booking and processing and may be held longer because he felt his arrest was unwarranted. That may delay his bail and release today until a judge his public defender arranges for it to happen.