Most journalists interview the police. The police interviewed me.
I’d post photos of yesterday’s protests but unfortunately I was detained by the police last night around Queen Street and Spadina Avenue and had my camera and phone blanked by the police. I recognized the cops from before but of course, I lost any identifying evidence. Trust me, I was trying to memorize badge numbers but under the stress, my mind blanked, too.
Oh ya, I should also mention that when I handed the police my camera, my memory card still worked, and when they handed it back, it didn’t. The damage isn’t water-based, it’s structural like someone stomped on it or crushed it.
I didn’t get to see where they took my camera and cell phone, so I don’t know if they made copies of both before my card mysteriously broke.
As the three police officers approached me from behind, the first thing they did was grab the cell phone out of my hand. Then they yanked my camera from my shoulder, pulling me off balance with it.
Halfway to falling down now anyway, the police finished the job and kicked my cane out of my reach like it was some kind of weapon. I started yelling and was told to shut up and an officer motioned like he was going smack my legs with his baton.
I was oddly calm. I knew something was up and my last communication to the outside world was to my publisher Kim Elliott via a text at 6:58 pm “Being followed.”
The highlight of the police encounter was when I was able to sit down somewhere dry. I went from standing in the rain to just laying down whether they wanted me to or not. I remember lying on the pavement with the rain hitting my face, thinking about how much it would suck to get arrested right now.
Here’s a short transcript of the police’s interview with me (not verbatim). There was a lot of awkward silence in between, and I’m not talking about the cute teenage-boy talking to teenage-girl kind.
K: Am I being detained. Can I go?”
K: Can I have my phone back?
K: Can I have my camera back?
K: (upon being told of card deletion) You don’t even know how to use the damn thing, let me have it back and I’ll delete the photos
C: Can you tell me about the communication structure in the activist community?
C: Is rabble connected to the events that transpired on Saturday?
C: Can you tell me more about how you all communicate through Twitter?
C: Were you guys using code words over Twitter to direct the protests?
K: Can I leave now?
As you can see, we had a very fruitful exchange. We talked about the Leafs, what Michelle Obama was wearing to the Summit and the best way to bring about world peace. Very enlightening.
Eventually, I got my phone and camera back, and was instructed to go home. When I tweeted out I had been detained, support came pouring in through my phone. I tweeted back: “I’m shaken, but strong”
Thinking back on it now, when rabble.ca first started in 2001, I was known as “rabble.ca resident anarchist”. I’m laughing to myself thinking about it now as that was obviously the reason for my detention! (j/k)
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