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How I Got Arrested for Holding an IMPEACH Sign


By Jonas Phillips

I am writing to tell you about an abuse of power in Asheville, NC by a police sergeant.

I occasionally stand on an interstate overpass near my place of work in the mornings and hold a sign that says 'IMPEACH BUSH / CHENEY'.

On Wednesday August 15, I was standing alone with my sign for about 10 minutes, when I was approached by Police Officer Russell Crisp. He asked me how long I was planning to stay there and I told him just a few more minutes because I had to go to work at 8:00. He asked for my ID and I obliged. I asked him if I was doing something wrong, and he said that his Sergeant was on the way and he was going to wait for him. SO, I went back to my sign holding over the interstate.

A few minutes later Sergeant Randy Riddle showed up with a paper in his hand. He spoke briefly to Crisp, then walked over to me and told me to put down my sign, put my hands behind my back, and that I was under arrest! I was shocked and almost thought he was joking until he told me again to put down the sign and put my hands behind me and I was under arrest. So I peacefully agreed and he cuffed me. I asked him why I was being arrested, he told me I was in violation County Ordinance 16-2, (the print out in his hand that he didn't bother to read to me or show me.) He told me I was obstructing the sidewalk. I told him I was not and that officer Crisp had witnessed a guy walk by me moments before.

Riddle yelled at me, "You were obstructing the sidewalk!" and "I'm sick of this shit!" then he said, "Here's your 15 minutes of fame buddy!" I looked back to see his name plate and he said in a mean condescending tone, "Yea, that's 'Sergeant Riddle' get it right!" He then put me in Officer Crisp's police car. Riddle took my sign with him and I was taken downtown and booked by Crisp. I was never read my Miranda rights.

While at the jail I was asked several times about what groups or organizations I was with, like a local group Veterans for Peace. And more specifically the Southeast Convergence for Climate Action group that had protested at the Bank of America on Monday. I was told by officer Crisp that since that protest the police had pulled out this ordinance. I was searched, and they took pictures of me and my tattoos. Since I haven't been in trouble in 15 years, I was given a court date and allowed to sign a written promise to appear in court.

This is an example of an American citizen having his/her civil liberties tread upon.

In Asheville, you are allowed to protest on city sidewalks without a permit. The sidewalk is about 5 feet wide. I never blocked the sidewalk; I knew about that ordinance already and was not trying to be arrested. It was obvious to me that Riddle had a problem with my sign because there is no way I could block the sidewalk all by myself. I feel like my rights were trampled by this harassment from Riddle. I got the feeling that he was trying to scare me away, but he only strengthened my resolve to protest more!

By the way, I never got my sign back from Sergeant Riddle.

No Miranda rights. False charges. But it doesn't matter. The cops in our now present police state will do whatever they want. The murder monkey has ordained and sanctioned it. Welcome to Bush World.

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I know the Asheville area well. There has always been a certain percentage of hard core wingnuts there. All the same, I'm sure your hearing will be conclusive in further demonstrating the lawless behavior of the police.

My guess is they won't even show up at the hearing.

I suggest you go to the ACLU and try to arrange to prosecute Riddle for violating your civil rights, harrassment, and false arrest.

Also, you should supply the readers here with the name and mailing address of the perpetrators of this crime so that we can admonish them personally.

Impeach now. End fascism.
______________________________________
The so-called, "War on Terror" IS Terrorism!

You'll find the officers email address here:
http://www.ashevillenc.gov/departments/police/default.aspx?id=3676

You know what's funny... They have short bios of the different sgts and what not, but they all have an "advanced certificate in law enforcement". Not a single one of them have a B.A or B.S in Criminal Justice or anything. Basically, they are a big bunch of uneducated fools walking around with badges, abusing their power.

Obviously you smart people haven't a clue about what an Advanced Law Enforcement is or entails. It takes well over 10 years to obtain such an advanced certification. There is more training, education and expertise that goes into this program than any 4 year degree obtainined outside of law enforcement. Cops spend more time in the classroom than any of you Phi delta whatevers who spent most of your college time recovering from hangovers. Many officers I know who possess degrees in Criminal Justice state that the degree did nothing for their job...they still had to learn everything when they started....

oh and BTW, there are only limited times when you are required to be read Miranda. In your instance, you were not entitled to them. Check the law books, cops didn't write them, we just enforce them. You must watch way tooooo much television....and actually believe that all the stuff you see is true. Hmmm.....

What do you learn in your so called advanced certification training? How to abuse your authority? How to arrest people on false charges? BTW, degrees seldom do anything for your job no matter what kind of job it is. Most of us learn by being on the job.
I can see by your post that you think you are smarter than the rest of us. That is typical for you cops who think they know everything because they have a badge.

That is a pretty common attitude from cops. My sister "dated" the son of an officer when she was 14, and he routinely harassed her whenever he saw her. Not for any good reason, I guess he just didn't want his kid dating, but even when he went to pick his kid up from their school and she was there he was always calling her a stupid girl, or dumb girl, and making comments about me being a f***-up (I was in college at the time obtaining a degree in fine arts) and my parents being unfit role models for children (they are both college educated, live in an upper class home, have very well paying jobs as a CFO and music company president) all while his family of 6 lived in a trailer and his wife didn't even have a high school degree because he had knocked her up before they graduated.

I have respect for anyone with respect for me, and I have met a couple of cops who really are nice guys and don't abuse their power, but the majority are total jerks who think that they are entitled because they have a badge.

this idiot-AND THE COP-should know that officers are servants and waive their privacy rights as such,ever seen how they react to BEING video taped ?Shoe on the other foot,eh? --- when acting in the interest of the public they wiave their privacy rights as well as take an oath to defend the constitution of the US first and foremost,Bar none, and further they are to act with respect - not power / thuggary.Miranda if being arrested period, and besides that what about the violating theUS Constitution? The man standing on a 5 foot wide side walk alone with a sign is not disruptive to pedestrian traffic. No sir he is not. Obsrtuction of a side walk would be placing your vehicle on it so that it was impassable. The officers remarks are indicative of tyranny and police state nazis.With the only intent of threat and intimidation. Personally I would sue their ass off and protest like hell..Are they blind, we all know what happened to nazis in the end when opposed by free people, that stood for Liberty and still do. No this officer is not above the law and the punishment for his MIStreatment of a citizen. Practicing his Constitutional rights was violated and that should carry the highest of penalties. However it is to be expected that cowards hide behind these thug like actions,BACKED BY THE COWARDICE OF OTHER GOVERNMENT ENTITIES -- it has been the nature of men for centuries. This will not deter the cause nor the course of patriotic citizens however -- it will only cause them to rise up in victory.
And a personal note - Bush is the front man ,not smart enough to pull off anything beyond barnyard explitives(hint BS) in secret.However no level of escape exists for people like these. ALL of them WILL be brought to justice.May take a while,but it will happen, just like the nazis after ww2.
It is criminal and must be stopped.

SEMPER FI

VOTE RON PAUL 2008 and save your rights.

If anyone wants the hi res of this to use as a protest banner, let me know.

fact is that anyone voicing FREE SPEECH will find out quickly that we have none. The Patriot Act removed most, perhaps all, constitutional rights.

I advocate FREE (meaning FREEdom) software and Operating Systems, like *BSD, GNU/Linux, and am also not safe posting on paid-for media, either!

The government has a deal with commercial interests, and vis-versa.
The media sold out to corporate money, and political pressure. Just look at the advertising. Look at PCMagazine's editor, who resigned.

Join the NRA and protect both the Second and the First Amendments, thus protecting all of the others!

Serious question; what can we do to get back our rights?

1 - Read Swanson's great practical article How To Lobby For Impeachment. http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=lobby

2 - Do as much of it as you can.

3 - Gather friends and groups to help.

4 - Far as I can tell, impeachment is the only way we have even a shot at regaining our rights.

5 - Oh, in addition to all the activism, if it's your thing, pray.

One thing that can be done is to try suing under 42 USC s 1983. Thats the federal statute that creates a cause of action for state violations of your civil rights. If you win, you are also entitled to an award for attorneys fees.

Ask Officer Riddle if you would still be arrested for so-called obstructing the sidewalk if your sign said "Officer Riddle is fantastic!" instead of "Impeach Bush". Would he still have arrested you?

And ask him, too, if he shouldn't be out trying to arrest Bush, a real criminal, instead of a lone guy peacefully holding a sign. Or is he too cowardly to go after the real criminal?

Pathetic.

My Democratic congressman (Sestak of PA) has said he does not support impeachment, but he also said he used to work with his buddy Scooter Libby.
Clearly impeachment has urgent long ago & still is, but the Dems are completely in the pocket of the war profiteer corporations, so what can we do except hold signs.

USA = police state

9/11 = inside job

Get ready for the US govt to perpetrate another 9/11 false flag op.

Did I "get it right", the spelling of your name, Asshole? I hope so.

Just like I look forward to the day, God Willing, when you little Fascist Scumbags are going to get what's coming to YOU - in spades. And when you do, like all low-life bullies, you'll probably cry just like a little baby. RIDDLE.

Jonas Phillips: Thanks for telling all of us about this incident. Don't back down and don't ever stop, buddy!

Semper Fi,

-Matty in Florida

http://www.strike911.org/
US govt needs reform, new political parties must be created.

Guys, there is no reason to swear or insult anyone here. Simply go to the ACLU, and prosecute this police officer. I think the ACLU will be happy to help. This police officer must be punished for violating the law.

I agree - but I'd lose the wing nut language of "fascist" if you'd like to be taken seriously.

-Fin (USAF)

If anything, it's not strong enough....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascism

Dear RIDDLE.......go "F" yourself. While you are a police officer you do not have to the right to trample all over the first admendment. I hope the individual goes to the ACLU and files suit. He should actually walk over to the federal court house and do it so its out of Buncombe County and North Carolina's hands.

I also hopes he files suit against the APD, city of Asheville and you persoanlly so we can get rid of badge worships assholes such as yourself that do not belong in law enforcement. You sargent Riddle are a maggot and a scumball.

Sincerely,
An Asheville Citizen

I agree with you completely. I look forward to the day when these Fascists like playground-bully, Riddle are taken to task just as they were in Nuremberg. And then they can be led away to the punishment they deserve. You're right, they'll all become sniveling cowards (that's what they are, anyway) when they realize they're going to have to pay for their crimes.

Hi Jonas,

I'm working on getting stories into the media about impeachment activists. My thinking is that the best way to get the media to cover the subject of impeachment is through "human interest" stories. They say that "if it bleeds, it leads" - so Bruce Fein giving a brilliant legal argument for impeachment does not make news, but an incident like yours sure would!
I was one of the people who helped get a local city council Resolution passed and because my local city is just about six miles from the Capitol and the White House, it wasn't too hard to make it a national story. But I had to email lots of press releases all over the place, make follow up calls, etc. But would be worth it to get your story covered by AP or something, like mine was, because it feeds in everywhere. And of course we would add in your thoughts about impeachment (that's the whole point)
Please email me at md8impeach.wordpress.com if you want to talk - do a 'mini-interview,' which I will turn into a press release.

Thanks Lisa Moscatiello

I believe I saw you on my way to work Wednesday morning. I am appalled by the actions of the law enforcement in this area recently. This story and several others show that our city, and our country are headed down roads that Americans should be horrified by. You have my hopes that these ridiculous charges are dropped and, furthermore, the officers are held accountable for their actions.

This is a subject I feel very passionate about and of which most people just don't have a clue - yet. Most Americans still think we have the right to dissent. They obviously have not tried to do so. It is a right you do not know you do NOT have until you use it. Then you will find out. This is one of the most serious issues facing our future in America. I'm quite frankly tired of hearing on the news how China or Cuba or this or that country stopped some protest by pro-Democracy protesters. These news organizations can look no farther than right here in the good ol' USA to find the same heavy-handed police state tactics. Thank you for helping to spread the word!

Maybe you shouldn't of been blocking the sidewalk. You got exactly that you wanted.

So, you like Fascism, huh? They why don't you get out of the United States and go live in a country that already has full-blown Fascism instead of turning this country into one. You don't deserve to live in a democracy, buddy! You don't appreciate it, and you haven't earned it. You people make me sick. You lazy bums who do NOTHING to defend the democracy that is being eaten away in this country. But you ridicule those of us who are fighting to keep it. SHAME ON YOU. You need to look up what American means because you have no idea.

Choose to defend the constistution, which is the foundation of our republic.

Yes , there are lazy bums who support leaders rather than principles. It is important, however, to be accurate about that which must be preserved. And equally important to elect those whose principles clearly support the continuation of our republic as it was intended to be.

What has been repressed by the Asheville fascisti is the God-given right to self-expression, guaranteed to us by the First Amendment of our Constitution. That guarantee also is extended to those who may disagree with us; it is not discriminatory.

I find it amusing that if one were to be in a "blue state" that the "anti-" posters would find more acceptance, as they do here in the peoples republik of Tax-achusetts, and perhaps in the Triangle Area of NC. It is also interesting to note that the "anti-" sentiment is strongly held by a significant number who are not so-called liberals but are of a constitutionalist mentality..

What I find to be of critical importance is that most people are not aware of the usurpation of power from the legislative branch of our govt by a power thirsty chief executive via the penning of Presidential Directives and Executive Orders of dubious legality.

This needs to be stopped ASAP, before the fianl link in our chains is forged!!

Facism is a specific political ideology originating in pre-WWII Italy. Since the defeat of the Axis powers, no other country in the world has adopted a facist government.

Peacefully protesting the government is doing something to effect change in the U.S. It's probably preferable to violent protest. Interestingly, common law would have allowed the poster to defend his person and liberty by attacking officer Riddle and Crisp pursuant to a bona fide false arrest. The SCOTUS has since removed this common law defesne to false arrest. The approved procedure for combating false arrest is civil and criminal liability against the arresting officer post arrest. Though, perhaps, a person might have a valid defense if he injured or killed an officer pursuant to an unlawful arrest if the officer was using unreasonable force capable of causing serious bodily harm or death. The poster was following both the spirit and letter of the law by protesting and then peacefully submitting to the officer's arrest.

I believe the protester is a true American citizen. One who believes in a better ideal of our country and is willing to sacrifice his personal liberty to achieve it.

I equally believe that criticizing a peaceful protester simply because he is protesting is not only un-American, but more inline with the ideals of facism than democracy.

Re: Maybe you shouldn't of been
If you'd been paying attention, you'd have read that he wasn't blocking the sidewalk. One person on a five-foot-wide sidewalk is either not blocking it or is the most obese person anybody's ever seen. I'd suspect that the two police officers were doing more to block the sidewalk than a single individual holding up a sign.
Please define "shouldn't of."

Idiot!

I'm going to marry Google:

rriddle@ashevillenc.gov

Whaddya think?

Cops do not have to read you your Miranda rights when they arrest you. This is a common misunderstanding perpetuated by cop shows. Some police departments do have a policy of reading arrestees their rights, but that's purely to cover their butts, as any results of an interrogation before you are read your rights would likely not be allowed in court.

I have several friends who are cops (no, not in NC), and they all say they have never read someone their Miranda rights.

After saying all of this, way to stick up for your rights. You were doing nothing wrong and it is a terrible misuse of a city ordinance to suppress your 1st amendment rights.

"Cops do not have to read you your Miranda rights when they arrest you."

True, but they have to read them to you before any kind of interrogation, which they did not in this case.

As for testing the waters... anyone in the area willing to do the same thing this guy did with a pro-Bush sign, to see how the police respond?

"Cops do not have to read you your Miranda rights when they arrest you."

Correct.

"True, but they have to read them to you before any kind of interrogation, which they did not in this case."

False. Not "any kind."

Stop playing lawyer. You're going to hurt someone.

History and police state goes back thousand of years. The American people are to busy and the press goes along with our government, this is good for the people. Not true, we the people are suppose to have freedom of speach, not true.

You seem like a pro active person.

http://www.zeitgeistmovie.com

Its long, and the opening 15 minute montage could have been left out, but the amount of knowledge here is amazing.

*Warning: if you are a person of faith, you may not want to watch the first chapter.

What if FOX does a special episode of "COPS" (don't miss "Jail"
from the producers of "COPS" coming this fall!! Just in time
for the indicitments!)...where they show all the people with
IMPEACHMENT signs having their rights violated? Now after that..
they could follow up with S.W.A.T. at the White House!!!
Imagine..MOVE! MOVE! MOVE! (instead of MoveOn) as they arrest the crack-pot house!
and instead of "You were obstructing the sidewalk!"
How about..."YOU ARE OBSTRUCTING JUSTICE"..hell the sidewalk
probably was cracked and unsafe anyway...
And don't just read them their Miranda rights (do we still have
these?) read them the entire Constitution and the Bill of Rights
and pay close attention to Article. II. Section. 4
You know the L.A.P.D. attacked the press with their cameras taping...Come on...why not FOX? Your ratings would break all records to date!!!

IMPEACH REMOVE and watch COURT TV!!! CSPAN Anyone?

and if that doesn't do it...just get the Building Dept. to shut
it down. Where have they been in all of this!?!

ALL SARCASM WAS INTENDED AND REFLECTS THE FEELINGS OF THE AUTHOR!!

I love your determination to "resolve to protest more", even on the heels of this outrage! Thank you for that.

Of all the reasons I am an impeachment activist (illegal war, usless human deaths to feed the greed of CheneyBushHalliburtonGonzoCo, Constitutional shredding, torture, etc) this basic loss of human rights moves me the most. I agree with another commenter here : GET THEE to the ACLU, and keep us posted! Should the ACLU not do you right, we'll pressure them.

best to you.

http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/08/17/3243/

A couple arrested for wearing t-shirts with anti-Bush messages just settled their lawsuit with the government, receiving $80,000!

This is disgraceful. No Miranda rights?? Right there you have enough to get this a$$hole. I would totally sue this guy and then try to have him brought up on Federal civil rights charges. This is bull. If you are a "policeman" in Asheville, and you are "sick of this..." then you are in the wrong place buddy. Still, that's not even the point. DON'T LET THIS GO UNPUNISHED!!

This is exactly what needs to happen every time someone is arrested for peacefully protesting. Imagine how long the government would allow it to continue to happen if they had to write a $80K check every time one of their "PEACE Officers", broke the law!

The biggest reason were are in the mess we are in is because most Americans sit on the couch and watch, and do nothing.

Government means who paid? Were it taxpayer's $80,000/- or the officer's personal $80,000? If it was taxpayer's money then the society lost as a whole. Not only the rights were violated, we lost tax money too. These officers have to be personally liable for things they do outside of law.

I WAS ALSO HOLDING A SIGN IN FRONT OF STORE THAT CHEATED ME. IT READ
DISHONEST STORE DO NOT SHOP HERE. OF COURSE THE STORE OWNER DID NOT LIKE ME STANDING THERE IS WAS LOSING HIM BUSINESS. I WAS APPROCHED BY
3 DIFFRENT POLICE OFFICERS EACH ASKED FOR MY ID ALL 3 TIMES I REFUSED
TO GIVE THEM ID .I TOLD THEM FREEDON OF SPEECH I AM DOING NOTHING WRONG IF THEY WERE GOING TO CHARGE ME TAKE ME DOWN TO THE STATION AND CHARGE ME WITH SOMETHING THEN I WOULD GIVE THEM MY ID THEN SUE THEM FOR FALSE ARREST ALL 3 WALKED AWAY. WELL ONE DAY 2 OFFICERS CAME UP TO
ME AND TOLD ME TO LEAVE OR THEY WERE GOING TO ARREST ME.I DECIDED TO
HANDLE THIS IN A DIFFRENT WAY. I LEFT, THEN THE NEXT MORNING I WENT TO THE POLICE STATION AND TALKED TO THE OFFICER IN CHARGE AND TOLD HIM
MY CIVIL RIGHTS WERE VIOLATED THE DAY BEFOR, AND I HAD EVERY RIGHT TO STAND THERE WITH MY SIGN.I ASKED HIM WHO WAS IN CHARGE LAST NIGHT OF COURSE HE WOULD NOT TELL ME.I ASKED HIM IF HE KNEW THE LAW HE SHEEPISHLY SAID YES.I TOLD HIM I WAS GOING BACK TODAY WITH MY SIGN AND I WANTED NO OFFICERS TO HARRASS ME AND IF THEY DID I WOULD SUE THE
POLICE DEPARTMENT AND THE CITY FOR VIOLATING MY CIVIL RIGHTS.
WELL I GUESS MY MESSAGE GOT THROUGH TO THEM I STOOD IN FRONT OF THAT STORE FOR 4 HOURS THE NEXT DAY WITH MAY POLICE CARS DRIVING BY NOT 1
STOPPED TO TALK TO ME.I STOOD UP FOR MY RIGHTS AND WON AND NEVER GAVE
THEM MY ID OR MY NAME AND THEY COULD DO NOTHING ABOUT IT. I URGE YOU TO SUE THE CITY FOR VIOLATION OF YOUR RIGHTS AND YOU WILL WIN AND TEACH THOSE ASSHOLES A LEASON.

You are my hero.

that's nice and all, but did you really need to write it in all caps?

Have we met?

Whenever a policeman asks you to identify yourself, you should do so immediately and without argument. It is in no way a violation of your rights for a policeman to demand your identification. Whatever your problem is it absolutely will not get settled on the street, and refusal to comply with the police is just plain dumb. If you feel your rights have been violated, then, after you have complied with the officers demands, you are free to avail yourself of the entire justice system. Getting thrown in jail for refusing to produce a drivers license is not in any way protecting the rights of anyone, it is an amateur-hour tactic and will only serve to inconvenience you even further.

...and those $80,000 came from whose taxes???........

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