So, I had an interesting experience at the Giants Native American Heritage Night game tonight. Went with a dear friend from Stanford, and my wife, and sat next to some young Native people, 2 young women and a man. Later during the game, one of the women said she saw someone wearing a fake warbonnet, of all nights, in the back of the bleachers nearby and asked if I wanted to go confront them about it, so the other man and I joined her to go talk to the fan(s), one of whom is pictured here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/exxedxncugkaege/2014-06-23%2020.40.50.jpg, https://www.dropbox.com/s/hyaqkr4mfce6hs2/2014-06-23%2020.41.31.jpg.
My role was mostly to protect the young woman as she spoke her mind very forcefully, and even tearfully, and I talked to the fans too, in a firm but peaceful way. The other man snuck up behind the fans and took away the warbonnet, and it ended up in the young woman’s possession. The fans were actually apologetic and offered to give it to her. Except then they also justified it since they said it belonged to a friend in their party who was Native American.
The young woman was dissatisfied with that and proceeded to speak with the Native man, and we both tried to explain to them that that didn’t make it ok. He eventually said he was Choctaw, and I asked where he got the warbonnet, and he said online. Nothing more really happened, except the owner did yell for April to return his headdress, and we eventually agreed to leave. I don’t actually know what became of the headdress. Security had gathered by that point and the police were in the back behind the bleachers.
I tried to leave the same way we came to return to our seats, but security indicated we had to leave the back way. We were then ambushed by several police officers who prevented us from returning to our seats. They claimed that we were trespassing and that we had to leave. I asked for what cause, and they claimed it was because of “unruly behavior”. Officer D. Reyes, pictured here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/uh9md01ac4gasya/2014-06-23%2020.51.18.jpg, asked to see my ID, so I pulled it out to let him see. He forcefully took it from me and refused to return it. Officer Cotter, pictured here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/hx5das78ui9trmh/2014-06-23%2020.51.22.jpg, asked to see my ticket. I happened to have my wife’s and my ticket in my pocket, and he took them from me and refused to return them.
We argued for some time about whether we deserved to be kicked out of the game, and what appeared to be a Giants official, an unkempt man in a polo shirt, I think, said we were trespassing. I asked him what was unruly about what we had done, but the police only got more physically aggressive. I asked under what charges, etc. and they said no charges, and deferred to the Giants official that we were trespassing. I repeatedly asked for my license back but to no avail.
It was about his point that 2 officers physically grabbed the young woman and began to forcibly remove her. To protect her, I followed with my phone and recorded their treatment of her, video here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/grf7wotebxg3nxe/2014-06-23%2020.54.32.mov. It was at this point that Officer Cotter, seen in the video footage, decided to grab me, and along with several other officers, tried to forcibly take my phone. I refused, and several of them slowly wrestled me to the ground, facedown on the concrete, handcuffed my left hand, and tried to remove my phone from my right hand. I refused, and they kept repeating the phrase, “stop resisting”. I responded repeatedly, “I just want my phone”. Eventually, they handcuffed both my hands and walked me down the rear steps of the stadium and asked how much I had had to drink. I responded that I was stone cold sober and had never drunk in my life. My friend recorded footage of me being walked down the stairs, and can attest that I went peacefully and didn’t resist.
They took me to the paddywagon, and violently patted me down, searching for any excuse to charge me with something. They told me to spread my legs widely and repeatedly went through my pockets and pants and shirt and pushed down on the handcuffs, which were quite tight and put considerable pressure on my shoulders and back. They then detained me in the paddywagon, handcuffed for the rest of the game.
Before I went in, I saw my wife nearby, and my friend. The young woman was being detained separately outside the paddywagon. Eventually, they released me and said I was never arrested and was only detained, and that the private property owners had issued a citizens’ arrest against me. They asked me to sign something to that effect, and I asked “what if I don’t sign?” and Officer Cotter took the liberty of signing “Refused to sign” on my behalf. I was released thereafter.
Just wanted to run this by you and get your take. I plan to make a public relations issue out of this, but just wanted to check in on the legal side of things. They did draw a bit of blood, and i have some scrapes from the cement on my knuckles, and I have photos of the marks left by the handcuffs, that my friend will be sending me.
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