Occupy SD: We Don’t Really Have a Plan - NBC 7 San Diego

Occupy SD: We Don’t Really Have a Plan

Occupy SD returns to Civic Center after early morning arrests



    Occupy SD: We Don’t Really Have a Plan
    Lauren Steussy

    Occupiers are not leaving the Civic Center anytime soon, according to Occupy San Diego spokesperson Kali Katt.

    After the fourth wave of arrests early Wednesday morning, members of the movement are heading back to their original base of operations.

    “We don’t really have a plan,” said Katt, but she maintained the activists will return to the Civic Center to continue protesting.

    The organizers’ first priority is to get the occupiers out of jail.

    SDPD: Violence, Unsanitary Conditions Led to Raid

    [DGO] SDPD: Violence, Unsanitary Conditions Led to Raid
    SDPD Assistant Chief Boyd Long describes recent crime reports, arrests and ammunition discoveries on the scene of the Occupy SD site.
    (Published Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2011)

    Katt was arrested on Oct. 28 during an overnight raid of the Occupy SD encampment. She said more than a dozen people were crammed into a van, where they were forced to defecate in front of their peers. Police kept them in the van for a couple hours before putting them behind bars. SDPD officials later confirmed the incident and said they would investigate.

    “The jail was filthy dirty, they treated us like criminals.” Katt said. “Nobody likes being arrested, but this is part of it. We’re not doing anything illegal.”

    When the protests initially began in mid-October, police seemed to be relatively tolerant of the group.

    Occupy San Diego Arrests: Raw Video

    [DGO] Occupy San Diego Arrests: Raw Video
    Dozens of police officers and deputies moved in around 3 a.m. Wednesday and arrested several Occupy San Diego protesters.
    (Published Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2011)

    On Oct. 11, San Diego Assistant Police Chief Boyd Long told NBC San Diego: “We consider it a First Amendment right for them to lawfully and peacefully protest.”

    After the Wednesday morning news conference it was clear the relationship between the police and protesters has changed drastically.

    Assistant Chief David Ramirez told reporters that protesters "took advantage" of the police by bringing in items and setting up camp. Long even went so far as to call the protesters “anarchists.”

    “I’m sure there are some anarchists here,” responded Katt. “It’s not what people think it is. We welcome all…anyone is welcome down here regardless of their political affiliation.”

    Police have raided the encampment twice late at night and made four series of arrests in the last five weeks.

    Officials cited an increase in violence and unsanitary conditions within the area, which forced them to take action Wednesday.

    Officers on the scene saw drug paraphernalia, knives, makeshift billy clubs as well as rats at the site of the protest. Long also said officers have arrested a felony warrant suspect staying in the group, a parolee-at-large and a pedestrian robbery suspect since Oct. 14.

    The movement has also been criticized locally for housing homeless San Diegans who have been blamed for brutality. Police believe that about 85 percent of the protesters are homeless.

    Ramirez said law enforcement officials vow to "do a better job" of keeping the protesters from building a camp atmosphere.

    Occupy SD is taking legal action against the police, and have filed for a temporary restraining order against the city and SDPD. Attorneys cited that occupiers should be allowed their right to free speech.

    Former San Diego City Attorney Mike Aguirre said, “There are First Amendment rights being violated and legal research will bear it out."

    San Diego Police say they had no choice but to make arrests after one officer was assaulted Wednesday morning trying to break up a fight between two protesters.