Subject: civil rights violation & 12 hours in jail
Organization: University of Chicago
Date: Mon, 14 Mar 1994 05:18:14 GMT
A bunch of my friends, straight and queer, went to a bar in a
suburb of Chicago, a dance bar. We'd been dancing for quite some
time (about 50 minutes) -- I was dancing with another guy -- when
the owner came up and told us we'd have to leave, and since
Cook County has a human rights ordinance forbidding discrimination
on the basis of sexual orientation, we told him that no, he
couldn't kick us out. (Never mind that the dance floor was filled
with women dancing together, including two lesbian friends of
mine whom he didn't notice, even though they had been touching
and dancing closely and my partner and I hadn't touched at all.)
Anyhow, the police were called, and they came charging on
to the dance floor. One grabbed my shoulder and screamed at
me to get off the floor. I shirked back, afraid, and got out
"I'm only--" when he spun me around, threw me to the floor,
and three cops ended up kneeling on my back. I was dragged
out of the bar handcuffed and thrown into a squad car.
Outside one of my friends who is a lawyer was trying to
explain to the cops that there were no grounds for arrest.
The owner pointed to two other guys who had been dancing and
said, "Arrest them, too." The cops go "Why?" and the owner
goes "They were dancing." And they got arrested.
I ended up being charged with a felony, aggravated assault,
which is complete bullshit. I also spent 12 hours in jail
(and for those of you who live near Illinois -- I spent time
in the cell with that guy from Streamwood who killed his
wife and hid her in the garage for a week).
Fortunately, my friends and I are extremely well connected
with the legal advocacy and county officials and media
groups. (Many of us were responsible for help getting the
ordinance passed thru in the county board. Cook County
btw is the 2nd largest county populationwise in the US
after Los Angeles Co.) So, we have those grounds
covered so far, at least moreso than most people would.
We've also contacted all the appropriate anti-violence
groups and the like.
Well, I just thought you should all now. I'm still freaked out;
since I got out yesterday at noon, I keep breaking down and
crying every few hours -- the complete shock of being thrown around
by some cops because I happened to be dancing near another man
is just blowing my mind. We had been one foot from a bouncer
half the time, and he'd never batted an eyelash (nor did any
of the other patrons around me.) It was incredibly scary,
and my cop was unbelievablely a whack-o. Then I had to
deal with stupid shit like during fingerprinting him
going "Come on, make your wrists limp, it shouldn't be
hard for you."
That kind of shit. The stuggle goes on. I'll post more as
we have more to post.
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