aren't trying to get arrested, you probably won't, but sometimes police use
some weird tactics and they arrest people for walking down the sidewalk while
being an activist. (kinda like "driving while Black".) since the police
are so arbitrary and weird it's best to be prepared to be arrested.
for possible arrest
1. legal preparation
everyone should participate in
setting up a legal support system for your affinity group as outlined in the
legal section of this handbook.
you are a minor, have your parents write a letter giving someone you
are traveling with the authority to take "custody" of you in
order to get you out of jail.
sure you are never carrying anything with you that would be a
problem if you were arrested. this means anything that can be
construed as a weapon (even a small knife) or a tiny amount of
sure that you carry on your person your prescriptions for any
medications that you are carrying or that you might need while in
you are not a citizen (with a visa of some kind), it is very
important that you speak with a public defender or attorney before
accepting any "deal". you may need to go to all the way
through court to make sure you are found "not guilty". that
means you need to be patient. keeping your record clear is more
important than getting out soon. this is not legal advice. talk
to a lawyer!
you are not a citizen (without a visa), you need to get out
of jail as soon as possible and very quietly, without drawing
attention to yourself. ask the other arrestees around you to let you
go first in talking with the lawyers. if you have a chance to accept
a citation-release you may want to do this. do not reveal
any information about your status over the phone or where police may
overhear or be surveilling you. do tell the lawyer as soon as
possible, in person (the privacy of your conversation is protected).
this is not legal advice. talk to a lawyer!
sure you are not wearing or carrying anything that you would be
really sad to lose, like jewelry, sentimental items, extra cash, or
your diary from the last six months (carry a fresh notebook to the
possible exposure of other persons as a result of your arrest. don't
carry your address book, palm pilot, or meeting notes!
for success in jail. don't wear your favorite light-colored pants.
do wear underwear. bring a sweater. (it may be hot outside, but it's
often very cold in jail. if you believe you are about to be
arrested, get the sweater our of your backpack and put it on
immediately, before they take your backpack away.)
sure to have pens and paper in your pockets, not just in your
backpack. these items are very useful in jail (but you won't have
your backpack). likewise, if you are about to be arrested, put your
cellphone in a hidden pocket. this may enable you to make calls from
the bus (after they take your backpack but before they go through
to call in this situation? NOT your parents, lovers, friends. your
affinity group legal support person will handle all your personal
calls for you.
legal team: let them know how many other people are arrested
and alert them to vulnerable people who may be arrested. for
example, if there is an elder who you saw arrested, or an injured
person, let them know about that. if there are people who might be
non-citizens or transgender tell legal "there might be some
immigration or gender issues in this group" but do NOT identify
the people in any way over the phone – that's all the info
legal needs to spring into priority action.
Indymedia Center to make a street report on what just happened
arrest is immanent and you are carrying any kind of camera, huck it to someone
outside the arrest area and ask them to leave it with the legal team or
with the IMC.it's safer with a stranger who's a protester than with the
cops. police often do not return cameras to arrestees! and even if you do
get your camera back, you won't get your film back (including the images
of your probably illegal arrest situation).
and incarceration are uncomfortable and scary.
yourself that the arrest and jail system are designed to make you feel powerless,
vulnerable, dehumanized, and alone.
around. there are other activists arrested with you. some of them have been
through this many times. they are your source of strength, courage, and
entertainment. together you will transform this experience. focus your energy
on working together with these people.
are not alone. the instant you are arrested, not only your affinity group
but many other activists you don't even know swing into action tracking
you through the system, harassing the jail to release you, and publicizing
what is going on.
are often denied rights to phone calls and other basic rights and needs.
this is harassment and you will find that solidarity among arrestees can
be VERY effective in addressing these issues. work together with other arrestees
to sing, chant, dance, or bang on the walls until the guards give in and
give you what you need. you are not powerless.
lie. guards lie. jail employees lie. they lie in order to control you. they
will like in the form of threats to frighten you or coerce you and they
will lie in the form of promises to pacify or manipulate you.
and guards are not prosecutors and they are not judges. they do not decide
what you are charged with nor what you will be sentenced with. they cannot
negotiate with you about these things. don't believe anything they say about
charges or sentences. you're going to have to wait until your public defenders
or lawyers can sort through it, so just don't try to figure it out while
you're in jail.
admit to anything. don't accept guilty pleas unless you talk to a lawyer
about it. don't talk with the police or guards about what happened or who
did what. it will not help you or anyone else for you to babble. remain
silent! you do not have to participate in any kind of questioning while
in custody. repeat "i want to speak to my lawyer. i am going to remain
silent." say this over and over and over. it will NOT help you to participate
you are being threatened, intimidated, isolated, hurt, or denied medical
care while in custody the best thing you can do is communicate what is happening
to other prisoners. non-activist prisoners may have MORE access to telephones
than activists. ask them to call the legal team for you. be sure to give
as much information as possible about where you are being held (the name
of the facility, the building, floor, cell block, etc.) and if possible,
give them any and every id# assigned to you. sometimes you have a citation
number, a jail number, and several other numbers assigned to you between
your paperwork and wristbands.
you get a chance to make a phone call, call the legal team or your legal
support person, not your family and friends. be sure to provide information
about other people who you think may be in danger in jail. if there are
people who were separated from the group or injured or isolated or threatened,
be sure to give this priority information to a legal support person. describe
the people you saw and when and where you saw them last.
you have a pen (or a good memory) try to keep scrupulous records on everything
you experience in jail, including the names of any misbehaving guards and
what time various things happened. for example: we were put in cells at
4:15. we were fed at 8:30. such records can be the basis of important civil
suits against police and jails for violation of your rights. keep in mind
that things that don't seem important to you may be illegal! keep track
of everything! this is also a good way to feel a little more powerful, and
it's something to do.
yourself that as bad as it is, you will get out.
patient. even in the best of circumstances, the jails are very very slow
in processing people. even once you are told "you are being released"
it could be 2-12 hours before you actually walk outside. again, stay focused
on the other activists you are with.
will get out. in the meantime, organize a teach-in. share activist experiences
and stories (but don't talk about anything you don't want the cops to know
about. they're probably tape recording in your cell.) learn new songs and
games. write love letters. write newspaper articles. practice cheerleading.
develop some new cheers, please!
something is missing.
let us know!!!!
table of contents
Table of Contents
an affinity group & living the world you want to see
- get ready!
you need to know to
make your participation effective
putting on a teach-in
is something that everyone does!
while the mass action is happening
when you get to protest-town
back home, after the action
something is missing.
let us know!!!!