I’m writing this article on stolen copier paper, with a .07 mechanical pencil I’m not supposed to have. Most of you don’t know me, and if you think you do, you don’t.
I’m writing this article with a broken rib, a fractured hip bone, and welts the size of tennis balls.
No, you don’t know me, no, I’m not trying to pull a Letters from Birmingham Jail, partially, because I’d never be afforded the right to write in HPD cells, and partially, because I don’t think I’ll ever be as good a writer as Dr. King. I’m a short, white punk girl who likes to think somebody wants to know what went down. The real story of 22 April.
Nobody who saw the HPD station and had half a brain thought that the HPD had the intention of letting this be a peaceful protest. Nobody who saw that police station who was going to be there, and actually speak out against the biggest gang in HPD, thought it’d be a bad idea to leave themselves unprotected. We were ready. I was ready.
No, it’s not my first rodeo.
But it really isn’t anyone’s, is it? Who’s surprised that serious medical conditions go ignored in HPD’s cells? Who’s surprised vital medications are suppressed? Who’s surprised they have no on staff doctor, no on staff psych, little to no supervision?
I’ve been to jail before.
I thought I knew what I was getting into.
I was wrong.
Look, I come at this as someone who just wants to be a doctor someday. Everyone’s got a perspective, I’ve got mine. Sue me.
I take that back.
So, sure, I take videos of cops ticketing people for just doing normal, every day shit. I guess it helps them pay for their stupid armory of toys, or whatever. But what isn’t right is forcing inmates into scalding hot showers till their skin’s beet red, for the sheer sadistic pleasure of it.
What isn’t right is cops beating down normal every day folk, without a single reprecussion, behaving like gestapo, it’s not helping this place.
So. What happened?
We gathered on the street, we had signs, we had a megaphone, and we were making our complaints heard. We got through one “incognito” speaker. The ringleader, I guess. And then I spoke out. We had chants. A few people had gas masks, one girl had a baseball bat, which wasn’t smart, but, what the hey, when you’re staring at HPD wielding shotguns, batons, and a grenade launcher, sitting behind sandbags, a baseball bat isn’t that severe. Anyway.
The cops were all gathered around the entrance to HPD talking on their walkies, a couple of them were on the rooftop, including Officer Perkins. There was Sergent Hiro, who pulled up in some ugly ass SWAT van, and they started to block us off. I heard some garbled announcement, another SUV pulled up, and I guess they were trying to get us to disperse, or arrest us, or something. We just kept chanting, shit like “HPD, what do you say, how many did you kill today?” And “1-3-5-9, Make HPD do the time!” Most everyone was there to air their grievances, and burn off some steam. But we weren’t crossing the street. We weren’t blocking traffic, they were. At first. I guess, it was after HPD literally catapulted chum on us, that things started getting heated. HPD saw that we weren’t leaving, and this was only a half hour into the protest. It’s not like we were there that long. Until some dumb fuck threw a brick, things were tolerable. Seriously. Whoever you are, you’re a real piece of work.
But they started shooting tear gas at us. Which, I guess, is what you do when a brick gets thrown.
Did you know it’s a bad idea to grab a tear gas canister and throw it? Even with gloves. I mean. Seriously.
My hand looks like Freddy Kruger’s.
Minus the sweet spikes.
I guess it’s my fault, though. I threw the gas back at them, right at Sergent Hiro in his stupid SWAT truck. I couldn’t stop thinking about the conditions, the ****ing shit that they pull in that jail of their’s. How they beat prisoners half to death and leave them to suffer in pain and agony.
So I wanted to give them some pain and agony too.
So they started lobbing more tear gas. I had a mask, a lot of us didn’t. I’m not whining about it, but tear gas sucks. Especially on people not really.. doing anything. Just holding signs and speaking truth.
And I guess our incognito leader got outed. But I’m not going to write about that here. I don’t know her, and I don’t put other people’s names in my mouth. Or on paper, I guess. Unless they deserve it.
I hope you’re reading this, Sgt Hiro.
Because I think you’re a fascist pig.
I guess that was when people started to leave. Good thing, too, because they started shooting rubber bullets at that point. I had a trash can lid, but a lot of people just got hit, or ran. I’m not sure, really. I knew I had maybe twenty people behind me, and then, I looked behind, and everyone was gone, and it was me, and her, against a wall, while a hose sprayed us, pinning us to the ground. At some point I got nailed in the thigh with a rubber bullet, and they just started shooting. If I didn’t have that damn trash can lid, that would have been… well, it, really.
But I had my “get the fuck out of here” trump card.
Yes, I threw a molotov cocktail. At the street.
No, I don’t regret it.
It blocked the view of most of the PD, but then some giantess corporal shot me a few times in the side, and I was done.
Let me get this out. We didn’t escalate. We had one brick that got thrown, and HPD responded with tear gas and rubber bullets. That’s what happens, I guess.
Anyway. My hand’s starting to cramp and I’m pretty sure they’re gonna give me more morphene.
(photographs provided by Abu Muhammad)