Nov 16 2013

IWW picketer says he was falsely arrested by Cambridge police

Dr. Q

Open Media Boston reports:

A picket outside Insomnia Cookies in Cambridge resulted in the arrest of a member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) union Thursday night.

Jason Freedman was arraigned at Cambridge District Court in Medford Friday morning in a brief hearing by the court’s First Judge, Roanne Sragow.

Charged by Cambridge Police for assault and battery on a police officer, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct, Freedman called the allegations “ridiculous.”

Speaking to Open Media Boston at the court, Freedman said, “we weren’t blocking the sidewalk; we were there to protest terrible conditions and pay at Insomnia,” which he says are the “plight of millions of Americans.”

He was taking part in the picket, one of many since August when workers at Insomnia Cookies in Cambridge went on strike for better pay, improved working conditions, and healthcare; four workers were fired following that initial strike.

Freedman alleges that the police officers on the scene treated the demonstrators as if they were a “nuisance,” describing the officers’ behavior as “very aggressive,” and claims that they were there to “harass” and “detain” protestors, and “break-up” the picket.

He further alleges that the police “were there to make an example” of the demonstrators.

Adamant that he was taking part in the picket peacefully, Freedman says he “wasn’t trying to cause conflict” when he was allegedly targeted by police.

Photos and video captured of the incident show that Freedman was tackled to the ground by several Cambridge Police Officers.

He was arrested and released on bail after being held at a police station near Kendall Sq.

At the court, Freedman had a visible scrape and slight swelling above his right eye, and he complained of a great deal of pain in his left arm, noting that same arm had been broken before.

“I definitely felt punches on my body as they tried to wrestle me to the ground,” Freedman alleges, adding that they were “definitely assaulting me.”

He alleges that “it seemed like they … wanted to punch me, and kick me.”

After he had been arrested, he says he repeatedly said to officers, “please don’t touch my left arm,” because he thought it was broken.

Following multiple requests for medical attention, he was treated by paramedics who determined he had not received a broken arm.

This incident follows the firing of a fifth employee of Insomnia Cookies in Cambridge, Tommy Mendes, allegedly for becoming a member of the IWW.

Read the rest of this article here.


Sep 13 2013

Copwatching at No War With Syria rally & march in Boston

Dr. Q

Last Saturday, I participated in a rally and march in Boston to protest the United States federal government’s plan to bomb Syria. I arrived at the protest around 1 pm and stayed until the end. I spent the majority of the time taking photographs.

The first part of the protest was a rally with a number of speakers. After the rally ended, protesters began marching through the city, chanting slogans like “Don’t bomb Syria.” During the course of the march, the Boston police took notice. Naturally, I recorded them.

At one point during the protest, I witnessed part of an incident in which some hecklers told a bike cop that a protester had a knife. The cop frisked the man, but didn’t find a knife. Later, the police told the hecklers to leave the scene. After the march was over, I met up with Rich Fu, a witness to the incident, who explained to me what he saw.

Later during the march, I spotted the same bike cop who frisked the protester and I started recording him again. After a short period of time, he took out his phone and started recording me back. I flashed him a peace sign.

After the march was over, I noticed a Boston police sergeant observing the protest and talking with the bike cop I had seen earlier and a second bike cop. I recorded them for more than 10 minutes until they finally left. Unfortunately, the audio did not turn out very well, but the gist of what happened is that the police were trying to find out who had organized the protest. They asked several people who the “leader” was and who had been using a bullhorn during the protest. They also wrote down the names of groups that had participated. Seeing these cops documenting the protest was not surprising since the Boston Police Department was revealed to have been surveilling antiwar groups thanks to a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union.

I wish I had been able to publish these videos sooner, but I’ve been dealing with some personal issues over the past week and didn’t have any time to edit them.