Pamela Powers Hannley, a progressive voice for Arizona
For weeks, Tucson Police and Occupy Tucson supporters played an orderly cat and mouse game.
At 10:30 p.m. every night, the police came to the park, rousted Occupiers out of their tents, gave them curfew violation citations, and left, allowing Occupiers to sleep in the park. To date more than 600 curfew citations have been issued. Some Occupiers have as many as 30 citations, each with a maximum sentence of $1000 + 6 months in jail.
Now the game has changed. Since a stay was lifted earlier this week, police have the option of arresting people with three or more citations and taking them to jail for “interfering with judicial process,” the fine is $2500 + six months in jail. The other change is police tactics is that they are not coming to the park like clockwork at 10:30 p.m. They warned the Occupiers earlier this week that they could come at any time to make arrests or they may not come at all.
On Thanksgiving, police arrested former Green Party Mayoral Candidate Mary DeCamp, who has 30 citations, for refusing to sign and agree to the paper arrest and citation. On Friday night, two more Occupiers– Joan Zatorski Puca and Matthew Pence— were carted off to jail at 1 a.m. also for refusing the same reason.
Here is an account by Alex Maldonado, an Occupation peacekeeper and member of Veterans For Peace…
Tonight, at approximately 1am, two more from Occupy Tucson were taken into custody, after seven TPD vehicles arrived at Veinte de Agosto Park for the nightly citations for staying in the park after hours.
Joan Zatorski Puca sat passive and silent as TPD took her into custody for refusing her citation. TPD then proceeded to carry her limp body without handcuffs into a police cruiser.
A statement was read as Joan remained passive and silent with two TPD officers on each side of her.
“… who has never been arrested, much less walked into a jail…”
“… I ask you to surround me with your personal prayers this evening. That I may stay committed to my decision to display non-violent behavior, speech, and attitude in the face of (what may be) a physically and medically challenging experience for me tonight (and beyond).
Matthew Pence was also taken into custody after refusing his citation.
Matthew was escorted to another police cruiser, and handcuffed and physically searched.
Matthew, who was also passive, was then seated into the vehicle and led away.
Occupiers and supporters waved and yelled words of encouragement to both as they were led away.