So About That Tree of Liberty…

Sunday, April 13th, 2008

1jeffersonarrest.jpg

Tonight, a group of about 20 D.C.-area libertarians headed down to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial for some flash mob fun. The prank was harmless revelry: To ring in Jefferson’s birthday, we would meet on the steps of the memorial at 11:55pm, wearing iPods, then dance for about 10 minutes, capture the whole thing on video, and leave.

Courtney and I were about 10 minutes late, but by the time we arrived it was already over. The National Park Police broke the whole thing up just a few minutes in, punctuating their lack of a sense of humor by arresting one of the dancers (we’re keeping her name private at least until she’s released later this morning). She was cuffed, taken out to a paddy wagon, then booked and held at a Park Police station. Everyone I spoke with says there was no noise, there were no threats, and no laws broken (the park police I spoke with–including the arresting officer (who, oddly enough, denied to me that he was the arresting officer)–declined to say why she had been arrested).

The police refused to answer any questions, referring all calls to the communication number of the Park Police, which at this hour is closed. They also refused to give their badge numbers.

I’ll post some video tomorrow morning of two flash mobbers who say she was doing nothing at all–she was barely even dancing. Her crime was apparently to ask “why?” when the park police told the group they had to disperse. Note too that this was at around midnight. No one was bumping into tourists, or obstructing anyone’s way. I guess the only conclusion, here, is that it’s apparently illegal to dance on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial–even with headphones. You know, post 9-11 world and all. Harmless fun will be interpreted in the most threatening context imaginable.  Whimsy and frivolity will not be tolerated.

Of course, the real irony here is that all of this happened at the Jefferson Memorial, in observance of Jefferson’s birthday. Go out to celebrate the birth of the most hardcore, anti-authoritarian of the Founding Fathers, get hauled off in handcuffs. The photo’s almost poetry, isn’t it? One of history’s most articulate critics of abuse of state authority looks on as a park police cop uses his elbow to push a female arrestee into one of said critic’s memorial pillars.

The people I spoke with say the other officer pictured in the foreground of this photo told the rest of the group to “shut the fuck up.” When one person politely asked why it was unnecessary to use the word “fuck,” the officer replied that if the guy who asked the question used any more profanity, he too would find himself arrested.

More from Julian Sanchez and Megan McArdle.

MORE: Sheesh. If you’re curious as to how we could be at the point where dancing is cause for arrest, read some of the comments at Megan McArdle’s site (link above). I guess an unlawful arrest is fine so long as the arrestee is upper class, privileged, and/or libertarian (because she’s probably a pot-smoker and/or illegal downloader, anyway!).

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168 Responses to “So About That Tree of Liberty…”

  1. #1 |  TGGP | 

    I can think of one D.C libertarian that finds nothing to celebrate in TJ’s birthday.

  2. #2 |  Happy Jefferson’s Birthday! | Munsey's Technosnarl | 

    […] but don’t dance peacefully in front of his memorial at midnight.   That’s contrary to the whim of the […]

  3. #3 |  Biggus Dickus | 

    Maybe dancing in the name of religion might have saved your asses.

    Baby Jeebus says DANCE!

  4. #4 |  So About That Tree of Liberty… | 

    […] Original post by The Agitator […]

  5. #5 |  ManM | 

    Time to move the capital out of DC!

    Maybe a small church-going, gun-loving town in Pennsylvania?

  6. #6 |  Pat Teashoch | 

    I was thinking we should consider reparations for slavery. If there was one issue I would have never imagined I’d be for it would be to give every colored person in this country a check. But after Bill Buckley died I saw a debate he did with Reagan over the Panama Canal. Buckley’s point was the canal was in Panama, it was legal to give it back, they wanted it back, and we’re the USA, can’t we show that we have guts to do something that may make us look weak, but magnanimous. Can’t we show Central and South American people that no matter what the cost there will be justice from the United States of America. He was saying if we are truly a powerful nation we should not worry about a canal in a small nation.
    We have bigger fish to fry like the dirty, godless, smelly Russians. You should expect justice from truly great countries and so lets cut some checks, we can afford it and can imagine a better stimulas package? My black friends like to spend cash fast, like myself. Plus any black from the south over the age of 44 probably had to but up with some short little local cop with an Napolean complex and the local magistrate to back him up. I really think we let the little things that piss us off from time to time in modern balck culture cloud our judgement of fairness.

  7. #7 |  Xaq Fixx | 

    Pete should know better than using the cops own language, as he is a mere citizen and not a hero-protector, who have special rights.

  8. #8 |  My blogroll had a dance party, 1 was arrested. « Get Fixxed! | 

    […] Radley Balko (The Agitator) –  So About That Tree of Liberty… […]

  9. #9 |  Below The Beltway » Blog Archive » Jack-Booted Thugs At The Jefferson Memorial | 

    […] Balko writes about a little bit of police over-reaction during an impromptu birthday party for Thomas Jefferson: Tonight, a group of about 20 D.C.-area libertarians headed down to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial […]

  10. #10 |  Outside The Beltway | OTB | 

    DC Police Arrest Dancing Libertarians…

    A bunch of DC area libertarians apparently decided to celebrate Thomas Jefferson’s birthday by congregating at his memorial at midnight and dancing to the sounds of their iPods for ten minutes. No, I don’t get it either.
    At any rate, as J…

  11. #11 |  Shon | 

    So much for this being the land of the free….:(

  12. #12 |  Mike H | 

    Forget history, fuck liberty.
    Send in the troops
    and maul the citizenry.

    Love the state
    and hate the free.

  13. #13 |  Danno49 | 

    Try as I might to add something meaningful here, I find I am too much in shock to find the words. I am literally sitting here typing with my jaw practically in my lap. And I fear I am about to weep as the tears well up for the casualty that appears to be our freedom going away bit by bit.

    How in the hell did we get to this? Dear God, can this really be happening?

  14. #14 |  Mike Leatherwood | 

    Thomas Jefferson just spilt his whisky at the Great Poker Table in the Sky.

    I fear for us all.

  15. #15 |  John Galt | 

    McArdle, the “libertarian,” once famously opined that those who opposed the Iraq war should be beaten with two by fours.

    Perhaps the commenters were reminding McArdle that she’s a fraud who supports police brutality unless one of her friends is on the recieving end.

  16. #16 |  Henry Harrison | 

    Of course what happened to the poor girl is pretty terrible, but whose idea was it to throw a midnight, silent dance at the Jefferson memorial? Because that is seriously lame.

  17. #17 |  Radley Balko | 

    I thought it was a pretty fun idea. Whimsical, spontaneous, and in observance of Jefferson’s birthday.

    I even made a Jefferson mask to wear.

    And of course the whole point of a flash mob is to do something silly and out of the ordinary.

  18. #18 |  Ahcuah | 

    Folks who want to read the permit requirements for “demonstrations” can do so here: http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/03jul20071500/edocket.access.gpo.gov/cfr_2007/julqtr/pdf/36cfr7.96.pdf

    It also has the definition of “demonstration”.

    Short answer: no permit required for under 25 people. Also see my comment on Megan McArdle’s site for a bit more info.

  19. #19 |  Publius Endures | 

    America, 2008…

    I do believe that T-Jeff himself is weeping a bit today at the blind obedience to authority that has overtaken much of the nation he helped found….

  20. #20 |  Julian Sanchez | 

    Even without the under-25-people exemption, I’m not sure how you draw a crowd of onlookers at that hour at the JM.

  21. #21 |  Ahcuah | 

    Julian,

    Not only that, but I’m not sure at all that it fits the definition of “demonstration”, which requires i”the communication or expression of views or grievances”. There are numerous court cases in which mere dancing (not part of a play or work or art) has been considered NOT to be free speech. The requirements for symbolic speech are usually not very easy to meet (particularly not these days with conservative judges).

    As a side note, I was nearly arrested once at the Smithsonian because the guards did not like the way I was dressed (no, I was not exposing any part of my body that is not normally exposed). The guard who nearly did so was a former marine, and took the attitude that anything he said should be taken as an order, because he was in charge and we were the privates. Being with my family, I finally acquiesced and did not get arrested. However, after getting home I wrote a letter to the Director and got back an acknowledgment of the inappropriate behavior of the guards, and an apology.

    These folks just like making up rules as they go along (not following the CFR in the least) and have the egos (and power) to take it all the way to arrest.

  22. #22 |  FreedomandShit.org » Afternoon Dance Party: Bopping is NOT a Crime | 

    […] Radley, Julian, and Jason all have good takes on what went down — I suggest checking out their posts […]

  23. #23 |  Matt Moore | 

    John Galt – What bearing does that have on this case? Oh, yeah, none at all.

  24. #24 |  pierre | 

    Just to wonder, why did you all sit there and watch an innocent person get arrested? On Thomas Jefferson birthday no less?!

    Sock those pigs in the face and liberate your friend.

    If your gonna celebrate Thomas Jefferson you may as well live like him….

  25. #25 |  Ralph | 

    Tom Jefferson, being the radical that he was, would not have been surprised by this sad story. Disappointed, yes. But the founders knew their gift to the world was fragile. That’s why they constructed such an elaborate system to preserve our human rights as long as possible.

    Lesson: a benevolent government is possible only when natural resources are abundant. Once the wells begin to run dry, forget about your rights. You have none.

  26. #26 |  Ben Schiendelman | 

    So, what time did the park close? 11pm?

  27. #27 |  Matt Moore | 

    So whoever is down-voting me (and up-voting Galt) please explain how a stupid statement McCardle made in the past has anything to do with yesterday’s unjust arrest? Somehow it just doesn’t follow that we should arrest Megan’s dancing friends because she endorsed beatings for war protesters.

    Evaluate the message, not the messenger.

  28. #28 |  Les | 

    Matt, I agree that it doesn’t have much to do with the incident itself, but it is interesting that McArdle has supported thuggish behavior by the government in regards to Iraq and torture. So, it’s hard to take her complaints/positions seriously when she complains of thuggish behavior by the government which suddenly affects her, instead of nameless foreigners overseas.

  29. #29 |  Les | 

    And I don’t think anyone’s saying that Megan’s friends deserved to be arrested because of her hypocrisy, only that her opinion on government thuggery is somewhat useless.

  30. #30 |  Unpacking McArdle’s Libertarianism | Wacked Econ | 

    […] Just a little dancing? Dig a little bit down and it sounds like this was an organized activity – “flash mob” – that probably requires a permit. Do I think that permits to join up with 20 of your friends at […]

  31. #31 |  John Adams | 

    Tom Jefferson, being the radical that he was, would not have been surprised by this sad story. Disappointed, yes. But the founders knew their gift to the world was fragile. That’s why they constructed such an elaborate system to preserve our human rights as long as possible.

    And to preserve their right to fuck their slaves for even longer.

  32. #32 |  Brian | 

    While I agree that there was nothing inherently wrong with this, it is interesting to note that the comments on McArdle’s blog point to a couple of statutory provisions that may have put the police officers in the right as far as shooing the dancers away.

    They just happened to be acting like assholes about it.

    Nonetheless, I hope they do lawyer up. Statutes limiting free speech/demonstrations like the ones that would govern this situation should be challenged.

  33. #33 |  Brian | 

    Ahcuah: Keep scrolling down. It also says that demonstrations (outside of the official Jefferson’s birthday celebration) are never allowed at the Jefferson Memorial.

  34. #34 |  Radley Balko | 

    The Jefferson Memorial is open 24 hours.

  35. #35 |  Ahcuah | 

    Brian,

    And as I noted, this does not fall under the definition of “demonstration.”

  36. #36 |  Henry Harrison | 

    “You don’t understand. We aren’t lamely dancing at midnight. We’re FLASH-MOBBING.”

    Oh, in that case, it isn’t lame at all.

  37. #37 |  FamousDC | 

    DC Flash Mob Gone Bad [Jefferson Memorial edition]

    Note to self: Do NOT go dancing at Jefferson Memorial with 20 of your closest friends…at midnight.

    J.D. Talley: Free the Jefferson 1

  38. #38 |  Arrested for Celebrating Jefferson « Rampant Sauce | 

    […] Arrested for Celebrating Jefferson Here is the link to the story! […]

  39. #39 |  Kmuzu | 

    The police are very correct. Dancing is extremely dangerous and contagious. Once you get one persons “gettin’ down” it can spread to others and then satan himself could appear. References to dancing dangers see .. “Dirty Dancing”, “Flash Dance” “Fame” “Foot Loose” and Chorus Line.”

  40. #40 |  Link Roundup « Free the Jefferson 1! | 

    […] Agitator: So About That Tree of Liberty… and Jefferson Arrest […]

  41. #41 |  links for 2008-04-13 « Clint’s blog | 

    […] ABUSE OF AUTHORITY: DC fascist pig police arrest Libertarians who dared to dance (with headphones) a… Taxpayers funded the memorial, and any taxpayer can go there. The first amendment guarantees right to peaceful assembly, and that’s exactly what this was. This also does not meet the DC definition of “demonstration”, which is at least 25 people. PIGS! (tags: politics AbuseOfAuthority ConstitutionalRights rights FreedomOfAssembly peacefulAssembly FirstAmendment Washington DC WashingtonDC memorials ThomasJefferson birthday ThomasJeffersonMemorial fascism police policeState unconstitutional)   […]

  42. #42 |  mq | 

    This is becoming a very authoritarian country. Watch “Cops” or a similar show sometime. Police are trained — not that it takes much — to assert their authority in all kinds of obnoxious and unnecessary ways, and take down anyone who gives the smallest sign of protest.

  43. #43 |  Hot Diggity Dog | 

    […] for political or national or sectarian or religious reasons.” Meanwhile, libertarians were arrested for dancing on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial. Animal lovers in one of the wealthiest corners of the […]

  44. #44 |  B | 

    Aw, man…I was actually in DC last night! I totally would have come to this!

    Since I assume a significant portion of the people in attendance are media-connected, I sincerely hope you guys make the Park Police’s life a living hell. Seriously.

  45. #45 |  Paddy Teoshoch | 

    The smartest thing Richard Nixon ever did was allow the protesters in DC to have the run of the place. It was about 1970 people started hating hippies because of what they saw guys like Abby Hoffman swearing and acting like turds. The argument of who was right about the war no longer mattered. Nixon was a lock in 72 after that.
    The biggest mistake ever made by Mexicans living in this country and trying to stay was to take the advice of some gringo puke american hater that told them to protest carrying Mexican flag.

  46. #46 |  becca | 

    “I guess an unlawful arrest is fine so long as the arrestee is upper class, privileged, and/or libertarian (because she’s probably a pot-smoker and/or illegal downloader, anyway!).”

    Hmm..
    how about no matter if the arrestee is upper of lower class, privileged or historically oppressed, libertarian, or not. so long as they disagree with a police officer.

    because corruption and police brutality victimizes people from all walks of life, but it is hardly fair to say that upper-class privileged people are the usual victims when in fact the opposite is true.

  47. #47 |  Panopticon | 

    I think its more to do with security then a ‘lack of sense of humor’ or that the police are out to ‘get cha’. There was no reason for anyone to be hangin around there at that hour, even though its not uncommon or wrong. The cops probably just got jittery when they saw a buncha suspicious teens wondering about there and so choose to take action in the assumption that they were vandals about to thrash the place when everyones gone.

  48. #48 |  Ned Ludd | 

    Having attended many demonstrations, I’ve become used to police taking liberties with civil liberties. From minor things like officers tearing up people’s signs to randomly spraying people in a crowd with pepper spray. The most common tactic is to arrest people en masse in order to break up a protest, then drop all the charges since no crime was committed in the first place. I’ve also seen people pepper sprayed and arrested for violating a noise ordinance – by speaking on a bullhorn. No warning from the cops, of course.

    If a police officer grabs you, and you instinctively yank your arm away (in a crowded protest, you might not even know who is grabbing you), you will now face the charge of “resisting arrest”. They don’t need to charge you with any original crime; you’ll go to jail for resisting arrest for a crime you never committed.

    When I attended my first demonstrations, being the naive kid from the suburbs, I would often ask the police why they were arresting someone without cause. I was threatened with arrest every time.

  49. #49 |  Jahobanov | 

    Yes, good Idea to dance at the right place at the right time

    Dont let this incidenct disparage you from performing more public dancing! I think dancing is your basic human right and nobody should be able to take it away from you!!!

  50. #50 |  Ugly American | 

    Anybody who claims to work for the government but won’t produce valid ID might be a TERRORIST IMPOSTOR!

  51. #51 |  Idkal » Blog Archive » DC Police Arrest Dancing Libertarians | 

    […] any rate, as Julian Sanchez and Radley Balko report, the constabulary showed up, ordered everyone to move along, and arrested a young woman for […]

  52. #52 |  Tom | 

    +1 on the authoritarian nature of police. I see all these shows like Cops and Dumbest criminals and sometimes I like to see the cops lose. Call me weird.

    I saw one last night where a police officer pulled over a truck because the passenger didn’t have a seat belt on. He went up to the car and asked for the driver’s license. The driver asked why and the cop responded “because I said so”, the driver then refused to comply until he was told why he was detained, the cop then dragged the driver out of the car and started to push the guy around, trying to handcuff him.

    The passenger came out and then all Hell broke lose. I can’t help but think that maybe the whole thing would have been averted if the cop told the guy why he was detained.

    But in this country we blindly follow authority, allowing seat belt stops or sobriety checkpoints.

    It frightens me how much we Cow Tow to authority anymore, and allow those in authority to commit acts of destroying our liberties.

  53. #53 |  prompel | 

    Well, the US haven’t been the land of the free in a long time. More like the land of the world’s biggest prison population. I’m not surprised.

  54. #54 |  Blaise | 

    I want to point out how much of an idiot Pat Teashoch is. For some reason he seems to think every black person in America deserves a check for the slavery inflicted upon their ancestors. Now I have grandparents who were affected by World War II, and they are still getting paid reperations for suffering at the hands of the Nazis. My point in this is, I’m not getting any reperations, I didn’t live then, and they didn’t harm me. I am alive, and instead of holding on to a grudge that occurred 50+ years ago, I don’t really care. So unless someone in your family is still alive who was actually a slave, stop your bitching.

  55. #55 |  Lee | 

    so, having never been to the Jefferson memorial I thought “hey, maybe I should look up the hours of operation”.

    Thomas Jefferson Memorial
    900 Ohio Drive, SW
    Washington, DC 20024
    202.426.6841

    HOURS OF OPERATION: 8:00 am to 11:45 pm daily. Closed on December 25th.

    It closes at 11:45. you were there “innocently dancing” when it was closed. Sorry, but the arrest was legit if you offered any resistance to leaving.

    I don’t particularly like cops, but breaking laws is a good way to get arrested.

  56. #56 |  jason | 

    I hope someone got pictures of the cops that refused to give their badge numbers, even better with video of cops using that language and refusing the give information. Press charges. This will only continue if we allow it to.

  57. #57 |  Danno49 | 

    Having had 24 hours to digest this after my first comment, I had been wondering if my thoughts on this were a bit on the over-emotional side. As I sit here reading about the aftermath from the various sites linked . . . the comments are what struck me the most. In particular, the ones that basically are indifferent to what occurred. To those who think this is no big deal, I suggest you take a good look around you. This incident is indicative of the police state we are now living in. Make no mistake. When someone can be arrested for simply questioning why they being told to disperse, you can look at all of the incidents reported here at Radley’s blog and elsewhere on the other abuses of power by those in authority over us all and see the pattern emerging.

    We are living in a police state! It’s not around the corner. It’s not on the way. It’s not trending. It’s here. Right underneath our very noses. And it happened while we were sleeping. It happened while we were busy saying it was OK to let go of the little freedoms we had one by one that got us to this point. And it’s only going to get worse. Little by little, day by day. With seemingly tiny freedoms taken from us while we say, meh, no big deal. I doesn’t affect me. Or, as long as there are no terrorist attacks on American soil. Or, insert comment for the greater good here.

    I know that some of you have seen this coming for some time. I wasn’t so sure. I like to have faith in mankind. But I am finding out that mankind has very little to do with government and oppression. So all of you who think this is no big deal, I say again, take a good look around you. What liberty you see may not be around for you to poke fun at 10-20 years from now.

    May God help us all.

  58. #58 |  Paddy Teoshoch | 

    I agree with Danno 100 pa’cent that we are NOW living in a police state. It’s here.

  59. #59 |  Washington City Paper: News & Features: Blogs | 

    […] A group of libertarian bloggers and journalists had themselves a little iPod dance party at the Jefferson memorial this weekend. They were soundlessly boogieing to honor their free-thinking hero when Park Police approached and “forcefully asked us to leave.” One girl kept dancing as her friends were led away and got herself arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. She’s been released but her blogging friends have chronicled the hilarity here, here and here. […]

  60. #60 |  tom | 

    we have become nothing but a tyrannical police state. such a harmless gathering to celebrate a founder ends in the arrest and charging of a crime to a particiant who questioned the police. Jefferson would have opposed any such impingments upon a peaceful citizens freedom. what a pathetic anecdote in our nation’s troubled history.

  61. #61 |  Ian | 

    Thomas Jefferson Memorial’s “contact us” page.
    let’s ring em off the hook
    Phone:
    202.426.6841

    Write to:
    900 Ohio Drive SW
    Washington, DC 20024

  62. #62 |  Kelly | 

    Maybe the fact that you all were there at MIDNIGHT. C’mon, think about it. I would be suspicious if I were a cop of a bunch of people milling about a national landmark at midnight.

  63. #63 |  jc | 

    I hope you will continue to dance there on a freaking mission now! Make it weekly, monthly, whatever…really fun & full of cameras! This is bs and we can’t be bullied out of our rights anymore!

  64. #64 |  Billy Beck | 

    Kelly, let me explain something to you:

    I work on rock tours. Depending on my specific function on the show, my work-day will typically start anywhere from 8:00am to Noon, and run until 1:00 or 2:00am. After a show and a load-out, even after a day like that, it’s impossible to just screech to a halt. It usually takes an hour or two to wind down from something like that.

    Well, many times in the past nearly twenty years, you could have found me and a handful of tour-mates wandering around the Vietnam Memorial or the Jefferson or Lincoln Memorials in the middle of the night. Fairly freaky-looking, too: filthy as a dirt-road from breaking a rock-show out of Constitution Hall, or what-have-you. You know: long hair and everything, making the most of a visit to D.C. while they can.

    Now, I beg you to think about what you’re saying. You’re talking about bringing the power of cops to bear against people who don’t behave the ways that you might — visiting American memorials in the middle of the night — just because they don’t behave the way you might and without a single other reason.

    Let me tell you something, man: I would never endorse that sort of thing against you.

    That’s because I understand freedom.

  65. #65 |  Sean | 

    “She was cuffed, taken out to a paddy wagon, then booked and held at a Park Police station.”

    I am shocked and appalled at your use of the archaic term, “paddy wagon”. Paddy is a derogatory term meant to ridicule and demean Americans of Irish descent. The term coming from the idea that the police wagon was always full of Irish prisoners.

    I’ll wager 20 euros you wouldn’t call a Cadillac a “Jew Canoe” or a “Pimp Mobile” but I guess it’s still acceptable to ridicule the Irish.

  66. #66 |  Rene | 

    Whenever a police state occurs, i.e. like Mussolini’s Italy, it takes years for the general population, and even legislators to catch on. Why? Either they don’t want to believe it or they don’t really mind.

  67. #67 |  Scooby | 

    Kelly,
    Were they breaking curfew? Who cares that it was at MIDNIGHT, you silly prig.

  68. #68 |  r | 

    lisa simpson wasn’t arrested when she slept on the lincoln memorial. I think that is a valid legal precedent. lawyer up!

  69. #69 |  Danno49 | 

    Kelly,

    I hope you remember your comments when you are pulled over going to get medicine for your child/significant other in the middle of the night looking disheveled a few years from now. Make sure you have your papers. But you don’t have anything to worry about as I’m sure you’ll have them. But don’t fault the cop for detaining you . . . you were out after MIDNIGHT looking suspicious.

  70. #70 |  Tom H. | 

    Wouldn’t it be cool if everyone in the DC area who believes in civil liberty decides to show up at the same time, same place next saturday.

    Don’t forget your iPOD

  71. #71 |  hansa | 

    I bet they were black. should of been arrested for making america look stupid and degrading a founding father

  72. #72 |  CrashTestDummy | 

    “I hope you remember your comments when you are pulled over going to get medicine for your child/significant other in the middle of the night looking disheveled a few years from now. Make sure you have your papers. But you don’t have anything to worry about as I’m sure you’ll have them. But don’t fault the cop for detaining you . . . you were out after MIDNIGHT looking suspicious.”

    Don’t know about you, but I’d much rather have the police pull me for looking for suspicious, that means that they are stopping others that are looking suspicious. I might lose a few minutes for an inconvenience, but then again, maybe they have pulled people off the street that was not only looking suspicious, but actually does harm to others. I don’t know, that seemed to have worked with say Ted Bundy and William Rudolph to name just a few.

  73. #73 |  Casper | 

    Wow every day i read more and more about the decline of Amrican freedom and every day it get’s an bit sadder…Once when i was an kid America was this symbol of wat it meant to be in an truly free country.It was were we all wanted to be…but these day’s I find my self feeling more and more pity for your nation…How have you all been fooled into so readly trowing away your freedoms.I find it amazing that in 8 short years your administration had managed to destroy so much of your country’s image..It’s kinda scary.I for one cannot believe that 9/11 could be souly responsible for this kind of rot…i hate to sound dramatic but the way your freedoms are being reduced is eerily similar to the way nazi germany came to be…maby i’m being an bit dramatic.I hope that in the coming years American’s can over come this problem and maby become an positive symbol…

    please excese the spelling.i am quite deslexic.

  74. #74 |  Jtheletter | 

    @Sean #61: “I am shocked and appalled at your use of the archaic term, “paddy wagon”. Paddy is a derogatory term meant to ridicule and demean Americans of Irish descent.”

    You know that episode of South Park where Chef is trying to change the flag because it shows 4 white men hanging a black man, and the kids are against changing the flag because they don’t understand the distinction of race involved? I think this pretty much falls under the same umbrella. There have been 2 generations of children born since the civil rights movement, and in that time a lot (not all) of intolerance and racism of all types have been reduced or removed due to education and understanding. Thus you have a lot of young people today who don’t even understand why some terms are derogatory because they haven’t been used in a derogatory fashion since before they were born. I never knew why it was called a “paddy” wagon until you explained it. It doesn’t make the origins term itself any better, but I would guess that the original poster didn’t have a clue about it’s origins either. Until I was 12 I had no idea that the phrase “let’s call a spade, a spade” had any meaning outside a deck of cards. The point being, educate people about why the term is bad, but don’t condemn them immediately when it’s pretty clear from context that they weren’t trying to be racist (there were no Irish references in the rest of their comment).

  75. #75 |  FuzzLinks.com » So much for the land of the free | 

    […] Arrested for dancing at the Jefferson Memorial. Go out to celebrate the birth of the most hardcore, anti-authoritarian of the Founding Fathers, and get hauled off in handcuffs. http://www.theagitator.com/2008/04/13/so-about-that-tree-of-liberty/” rel=”dc:source&#82… […]

  76. #76 |  Robert J. | 

    #61 – Sean

    Who cares if he called it a paddy wagon? I’m largely of Irish descent and that term doesn’t bother me one bit.

    It’s people like you who are so obsessed with being “Politically Correct” that are part of the problems that have led up to the situation we’re in now.

  77. #77 |  Mike Licht | 

    In the words of Jefferson:

    “Dancing is a healthy and elegant exercise, a specific against social awkwardness . . . .”

    He recommended dance intruction and practice to his daughters and as part of the University of Virginia curriculum.

    Jefferson himself had taken dancing lessons at about age 14.

  78. #78 |  Radley Balko | 

    #55 —

    I don’t know where you got your information, but it’s wrong.

    From the NPS website:

    http://www.nps.gov/thje/planyourvisit/hours.htm

    “The public may visit the Thomas Jefferson Memorial 24 hours a day. However Rangers are on duty to answer questions from 9:30 am to 11:30 pm daily.”

  79. #79 |  Danno49 | 

    #72

    You are the perfect example of indifference and how things are only going to get worse the more people that think like you are around.

    Thanks for sticking your neck out.

  80. #80 |  Billy Beck | 

    I’m the one who just voted-down your comment, Casper.

    If you think this shit started with Bush, you’re just ignorant or deluded.

  81. #81 |  From Where I sit » If you looked closely, you could probably see a tear rolling down Thomas Jefferson’s cheek | 

    […] police broke up a group of libertarians for dancing at the Jefferson Memorial: “I guess the only conclusion, here, is that it’s […]

  82. #82 |  bald pasta › Fascism kicks ass | 

    […] Fascism kicks ass by gatlinSomeone was arrested for dancing at the Jefferson memorial: http://www.theagitator.com/2008/04/13/so-about-that-tree-of-liberty/ […]

  83. #83 |  Ron | 

    It’s no wonder we’re in such a sorry state of affairs when someone gets offended by the phrase, “paddy wagon.”

    I’d recommend that the person arrested contact the ACLU.

    People need to fight back when they’re wrongfully arrested.

  84. #84 |  RONPAUL | 

    Being libertarian is reason enough dude, bootstraps lol

  85. #85 |  branchms | 

    So I believe they were totally within rights.
    Seems like a dumb thing to do. Not because it’s illegal. We know it’s not illegal just kinda dumb. Now if they had brought balloons that would have been a party.

    The public may visit the Thomas Jefferson Memorial 24 hours a day. However Rangers are on duty to answer questions from 9:30 am to 11:30 pm daily.

  86. #86 |  Zeb | 

    If the police see something they think is suspicious, then, yes it probably is appropriate for them to investigate. But when they ask what is going on and find out that it is a completely innocuous gathering to celebrate a national hero’s birthday, then the appropriate thing to do is to say “OK”.
    It doesn’t matter if people have a good reason to be somewhere. In a free society, “because I felt like it” is an adequate reason to be in any public place.

  87. #87 |  alex | 

    im so getting the fuck out of United States, i wasted my time here way too much. IF i hear one more time that the US is the land of the free i will do something like dancing in front of a statue with my ipod

  88. #88 |  SuperSoulFighter | 

    Everyone can agree that it is true that large town Americans who are embittered by job losses seem to cling to their first amendment rights.

  89. #89 |  derek | 

    I feel kind of stupid asking such an obvious question.. but, has nobody reported this to Internal Affairs?

  90. #90 |  Jeff | 

    Any of these dancers could have exploded at any time.

    Remember: If it’s not an American flag, it might be a bomb!

  91. #91 |  chad | 

    audio? not check. video? not check. pictures? uh, i managed to shoot a crappy one with my cellphone. congratulations on doing such a terrible job of documenting what was probably an epic display of authoritarianism. sorry, but i’m having a hard time believing that you all assumed it wouldn’t be necessary to record any of this. now it’s all the usual “he said/she said” about officer misconduct, with no evidence at all. for all i know you guys could have threatened that cop. a cellphone picture does not a scandal make. wasted total fail. nothing to see here. dumb kids got angry when officer politely asked them to leave. that’s what it looks like.

  92. #92 |  Josh | 

    “I guess an unlawful arrest is fine so long as the arrestee is upper class, privileged, and/or libertarian.”

    Don’t even remotely try to portray the fact that your friend has more change than they rest of us as the reason why they were arrested.

    Nobody likes whiny rich people. Ask Paris Hilton.

  93. #93 |  XPW | 

    Man, sometimes a cop like that just needs a punch.

  94. #94 |  Les | 

    dumb kids got angry when officer politely asked them to leave. that’s what it looks like.

    And getting angry is an offense worth of arrest? The government thanks you for your cooperation, chad.

  95. #95 |  NWA | 

    “Don’t even remotely try to portray the fact that your friend has more change than they rest of us as the reason why they were arrested.

    Nobody likes whiny rich people. Ask Paris Hilton.”

    Keep reading pal
    I think the idea is that the posters at the other place think its ok that she was unlawfully arrested because she isn’t Rodney King.

    We all already know that the cops arrested her because they frequently go on power trips.

  96. #96 |  acp | 

    Quit bitchin and file suit against the department. It doesn’t cost much, also hit up your local TV station they’d love a story like this if it was well documented. It does happen to be an election year, try to get a candidate involved and on your side. Many many many things could be done here that would oust the officer if what you say indeed happened, and get him properly “retrained”. Believe it or not this kind of shit has been happening for many years, remember McCarthyism in the 50s? That also happened in “the land of the free”. Our system is one of checks and ballances, if someone did you wrong make sure you do something about it or the next poor schmuck will suffer too. No blogging about it won’t help .

  97. #97 |  Wayne | 

    “…There was no reason for anyone to be hangin around there at that hour, even though its not uncommon or wrong….”

    This quote from #47 illustrates the attitude it takes to turn this once-great country into the police state it now is. Next year on Jefferson’s birthday, you may all be busted for being out after curfew.

  98. #98 |  Sash | 

    One time we were playing marco pollo there. Only a few of us, no tourists at 2am. We woke up the security guard so she kicked us out.

  99. #99 |  G FUnk | 

    This is why people hate police.

  100. #100 |  Kinglink | 

    Another story that smacks of one sidedness. Only ONE person got arrested? I have a feeling she got into an officers face or struck him, or did something that probably wasn’t a good idea.

    But good work playing up the sympathy angle, maybe the cops were wrong, but I have a feeling that there is still more to this story.

  101. #101 |  Daily Links | Akkam's Razor | 

    […] The Agitator » Blog Archive » So About That Tree of Liberty… The photo’s almost poetry, isn’t it? One of history’s most articulate critics of abuse of state authority looks on as a park police cop uses his elbow to push a female arrestee into one of said critic’s memorial pillars. (tags: activism law police DC policeState) […]

  102. #102 |  Paulo Pereira | 

    I don’t know why are you so amazed at this. Those are the same people that made Guantanamo. That’s just a small thing compared to what they do to people outside America.

  103. #103 |  Fix | 

    It is open 24 hours a day. They just don’t have people to answer questions after 11:30. This is from the official National park service website. http://www.nps.gov/thje/planyourvisit/hours.htm

    The public may visit the Thomas Jefferson Memorial 24 hours a day. However Rangers are on duty to answer questions from 9:30 am to 11:30 pm daily.

  104. #104 |  JD | 

    Are you guys serious? All this moronic “police state” crap?

    They were there after closing, and in an area that many tourists frequent. END OF STORY.

    Dancing after hours is not a “right”, no matter how much you think it should be.

  105. #105 |  bumbleshea | 

    I wasn’t quite as scared as I am now.
    After reading all of the comments.

    Holy Hell. This place has gone to hell.

  106. #106 |  Nicole | 

    I suggest these people organize another dance party at JF memorial in a week.. bring another 400+ people with their iPods and dance. Have some people dressed as tourists and film the entire event :)

  107. #107 |  David Irving | 

    The answer to all of this is very easy. Be prepared to hurt someone or be hurt for what you believe in or stay home. Everytime I read these sort of stories I get the feeling that we have turned into a nation of cowards. For pete’s sake, FIGHT! Stop trying to play by the rules. The police sure as hell aren’t! I see only 2 cops and 20 libertians? What the hell is wrong with you people? Beat the ever living dog sh** out of police like that and maybe they will think twice about being a bullying the public. The problem is you are all probably white…

  108. #108 |  Mr. Murphy | 

    1) Suck it up Sean. It’s a paddy wagon. Deal with it.

    2) For those of you too lazy to google around, I suggest you check out http://freethejefferson1.wordpress.com/. There are NUMEROUS pictures, video, and audio, of before, during and after (including dancing on the porch of the police station, which apparently is not illegal).

    3) This wasn’t a group of teenagers, as some seem to think. This was a group of gainfully employed, 20 and 30 something, college educated individuals who wanted to celebrate a great American’s birthday. I, for one, intended to go home and go to bed at 12:15 am after the celebration. Alas, the park police had different ideas, and I ended up waiting for 4.5 hours at their substation (with a 30 minute break to pick up McDonald’s).

  109. #109 |  Jon | 

    “dumb kids got angry when officer politely asked them to leave. that’s what it looks like.”

    What they reported happened is:

    Police: You need to leave this public area.
    Person: Why? Is it closed, or are we violating some ordinance?

    Now, the sane and polite thing to do is:
    Police: Yes, its closed now. (or something to that effect)

    What is alleged to have occurred, and is sadly common, is:
    Police: I said _LEAVE_. You didn’t and are now under arrest.

    What is sad and frightening is that many police officers, and members of the general public, think that this is absolutely ok. That they need give no reasons, cite no law that they are charged with enforcing, or respond rationally to a polite and legitimate question.
    Many think questioning the police at all should be treated as an immediately arrestable offence, even though it very much is not one.

    I can’t count the number of stories I’ve read like this where people make comments like “Yes, the officer was 100% wrong, and had no legal grounds to ask/do X, and yes, the person was within their rights to question the officer. However, they should have just shut the hell up and obeyed. You _do_not_ question the police when they give you an order. The guy was lucky he just got arrested instead of shot or beaten silly. Arrogant little prick thinking he can question the police.” And that’s from those who think the police were in the wrong.

    The police are charged with enforcing specific laws, and cannot just do whatever they want to do. They are as bound by the law as anyone else; moreso in many cases.

  110. #110 |  Noneya | 

    well, well, well….. it’s about time that the reality of the way that this countries police forces treat people when “no one” is looking. As a youngster, leaving a unsavory neighborhood, after adopting out a stray dog (trying to be a good citizen) I was pulled from my car, by my hair, at gunpoint none the less, all because I “looked like” a suspect in an “ongoing investigation” I was held in handcuffs and treated like a criminal for almost 2 hours while they tried to pin something on me, when they couldn’t they released me, told me to leave and don’t look back. My other run in, again probably wrong place / wrong time, but due to the situation at hand I was a passenger in a hit and run where the driver bailed and I stayed. When the police arrived I was outside smoking and they arrested me for the accident. I simply said “I invoke my right to remain silent, I invoke my right to counsel” when asked my side of things. Through the course of the investigation, they found the driver, then charged me with “Obstruction of Justice” (a serious criminal offense) Being a starving student, I couldn’t afford adequate counsel, and trusted that the public defender (pretender) would do his job. I was shocked to see the “freedom auction” that the interaction between the D.A., the public defender, and the judge, and in a few words between co-workers I found my charge reduced to “Failure to co-operate with a peace officer) for invoking my rights as a us born citizen. Sorry to ramble on, I hope more stories like this hit the mass media, the citizens need to see what a waste of tax dollars our sorry police forces have become.

  111. #111 |  Technology Liberation Front » Archive » More Free the Jefferson One | 

    […] Local news. Technology. Dancing. What happens when libertarian bloggers are arrested. http://www.theagitator.com/2008/04/13/so-about-that-tree-of-liberty/ […]

  112. #112 |  Technology Liberation Front » Archive » More Free the Jefferson One | 

    […] Local news. Technology. Dancing. What happens when libertarian bloggers are arrested. http://www.theagitator.com/2008/04/13/so-about-that-tree-of-liberty/ […]

  113. #113 |  fUSION Anomalog. » Blog Archive » Thomas Jefferson Memorial | 

    […] if the guy who asked the question used any more profanity, he too would find himself arrested. [+] Explore posts in the same categories: thomas jefferson, pigs, […]

  114. #114 |  Choice Comments from Bloggers Thus Far « Free the Jefferson 1! | 

    […] in front of about 20 friends and summarily arrested — for quietly celebrating TJ’s birthday. Radley Balko from the infamous The Agitator stated: Everyone I spoke with says there was no noise, there were […]

  115. #115 |  Alice Lillie | 

    This proves yet again what I have said all along: Government officials act as though they were *better* than the rest of us.

    Maybe the Marxists are right about a “class war.” The upper class (Murray Rothbard used the word “caste”) are the government officials. The lower class are the rest of us. They command and we are expected to obey. Not only that, tomorrow, April 15 we are forced to pay to be told what to do.

    We need more libertarian demos like the one shown here.

  116. #116 |  So much for the land of the free | 

    […] of the most hardcore, anti-authoritarian of the Founding Fathers, and get hauled off in handcuffs. read more | digg […]

  117. #117 |  xan | 

    The way the US and many other countries are becoming reminds me of that movie… V for Vendetta. We have High Chancellor and his cronies.

  118. #118 |  Denis Goddard | 

    Yet another reason I know I made the right choice, moving to New Hampshire.

    It is clear to me that saving our freedoms REQUIRES concentrating liberty activists in one place. Educating the public, getting elected, restoring the Constitution.

    Life Free or Die!
    http://freestateproject.org

  119. #119 |  cantdog | 

    I’m old enough so that the first time I saw the Jefferson Memorial was during the April 29th Moratorium against the Vietnam War in 1971. Park police acted like jackbooted thugs then, and they do the same now. It isn’t Bush.

    Fact is, no one signs up for police work unless they are inclined by their nature to want to throw their weight around. Like the fellow said, the only thing wrong with our police department, for the most part, is that cops keep applying for the job.

    The fellow who was yarded out of his car by the hair at gunpoint should know that the one about answering the description of a suspect in a crime just this minute committed down the road? That one is so old it goes back at least to the 1870’s. It’s the standard lie they give in order to roust a person when they have no probable cause whatsoever.

    I used to walk home from my fry cook job, 2:30 and 3:00 at night, five nights a week, and they told me that lie about three times in every four. I was asked to explain myself and show ID, and that was the lie they used. I had that job two and a half years, and hear that lie hundreds and hundreds of times, often from the very same cops who’d used it thirty times before.

    Look, junior. There are three classes of people in the cop universe. Cops is one. Then there is the class of people they help. Then there’s the class of people they prey on. Cops put you in one or another of the two classes on sight. I’ve been in both classes, different times, and it is an eye-opener to see how they use the people in the class Prey.

  120. #120 |  dude | 

    dude i’m sorry but if they did that to me they’d have a reason to arrest me by the time i was done

  121. #121 |  Paul | 

    Ignorant of the moral principles upon which our society is built? Unable to emotionally detach yourself when you encounter someone with differing beliefs? Perfect! 0800 NEW COPS

  122. #122 |  a reader | 

    “as a park police cop uses his elbow to push a female arrestee into one of said critic’s memorial pillars”

    That part is entirely made up. It’s neither what can be seen on the picture nor is it in the video.

  123. #123 |  CrashTestDummy | 

    “#72

    You are the perfect example of indifference and how things are only going to get worse the more people that think like you are around.

    Thanks for sticking your neck out.”

    How about some further proof that it was just for looking suspicious after midnight? Or even for dancing at the Jefferson Memorial? What you have here is someone saying that they were harrassed by an authority figure for no reason whatsoever. How about if it was just for the reasons that were given that the entire group wasn’t taken in?

    My guess would be that it was because there was a lot more to it than what was said here. My guess would be that the lady that was busted started running her mouth or tried to get physical and then was arrested.

    I don’t mind stickin my neck out for anything that deserves my support, but I also don’t blindly follow anyone that says hey we were put down by the Man just for standing around. Sorry, I’ve been around far too long to blindly follow anyone.

  124. #124 |  America In Danger - The Blog » Blog Archive » So much for the land of the free | 

    […] read more | digg story addthis_url = ‘http%3A%2F%2Famericaindanger.com%2Fblog%2F2008%2F04%2F15%2Fso-much-for-the-land-of-the-free.htm'; addthis_title = ‘So+much+for+the+land+of+the+free'; addthis_pub = ”; Sphere: Related Content […]

  125. #125 |  JoeFederalist | 

    Maybe the reason they don’t want guns in DC is because the citizens might rise up someday and water the Liberty Tree with their blood.

  126. #126 |  Why I Love the Interwebs, Part 204 « MyMediaMusings | 

    […] attendees armed with Blackberries and cell phone cameras had spread news of the incident to several local bloggers. By Sunday, the story had appeared on Fark, and Oberwetter’s friends had set up a […]

  127. #127 |  Danno49 | 

    #123

    “Sorry, I’ve been around far too long to blindly follow anyone.”

    Ironic statement seeing as it seems from what you said before you are perfectly willing to do so.

  128. #128 |  Bruno Andrade | 

    If u live in PORTUGAL help us….

    http://flashmobpt.blogspot.com/

    Tnks Mates…

  129. #129 |  paul | 

    The pain we have to suffer of seeing our freedoms being removed and then allowing them to be completely desolved into some utopian order based idealogy with exploitation at the heart of it.

    What point to do we reach when we decide that im going to drop out of my manipulated delusional reality and accept that the governments do not have the peoples best interest in mind. This is a great lie and it is surprising that this is not more commonly accepted looking at the history of governments and monarchs and the religious entities.

    The power we have comes with the indoctrination, the ability to think outside of their reality. We are capable of gaining power of this entity they call government, although they have now made that almost impossible. There are flaws in their design that can easily be exploited.

    This is a mindset that i have and that many do share, this mindset this very idealogy is infinite, this idealogy can never be destroyed.

    It is therefore only a matter of time before we the people take back our planet from these specific groups of people.

  130. #130 |  Joe | 

    “Don’t know about you, but I’d much rather have the police pull me for looking for suspicious, that means that they are stopping others that are looking suspicious. I might lose a few minutes for an inconvenience, but then again, maybe they have pulled people off the street that was not only looking suspicious, but actually does harm to others.”

    The above quote spoken by a True Sheep. Worried that the police have to protect them from criminals, but oblivious to the fact that maybe they need protection from the police too.

  131. #131 |  the Internet Hate Machine Examined | 

    The Internet vs. Fascist America…

    One kind of story that arrives at the Digg.com frontpage over and over again is the “America is going fascist”-story, either in form of an article or a video of police abusing their powers. We all remember the dont-taze-me-bro-video, and Na…

  132. #132 |  Wakien | 

    That memorial belongs to the citizens of America. We bought it..we paid for it and it belongs to us. It is open 24 hours a day to all citzens, including those that want to dance.
    It is not against the law to dance. You have the right to go down the street dancing anytime..night or day.
    It is not a crime to keep different hours than others. Many American citizens work evening shifts etc and are up at night. They also have the right to gather with a few friends in a public place and yes..even dance a little bit and film it in a celebration.
    At least we all used to have those rights and freedoms, but those that are aiding and abetting the real “terrorists” hate your freedoms…and have taken them away. Those that are the real problem in the land of the used to be free…are those that make excuses for those enemies that have stolen our freedom and used our constitution for butt wipe.
    This is not the land of the free anymore. This is a police state and a dictatorship and justice is gone.
    I see people posting that dont know their rights or care about freedom for others and that is just shameful. It is people like this that have allowed this travisty to get this far.
    As an American citizen you should know your freedoms are priceless. You should know you have them and you should be willing to lay down your life to insure all your fellow Americans can keep their freedom. THAT is what serving America and your nation is all about.
    Those that take those freedoms away are your ENEMY, NOT YOUR FRIENDS. They are your masters and you are the slave when you bow your head to the slave collar.
    When you are such a coward that you are willing to give up your freedoms, and more important, the freedom of your fellow citizens….even a little bit for a promise to be kept “safe”, you are no longer free..you are a willing and cowardly slave and we dispise you.
    When you give up your rights and let this attack on your freedoms continue, you are making a mockery out of the deaths of every single American soldier that fought from the beginning of our nation…so YOU could be free. When you attack people for trying to keep their freedom, you have lost your excuse to be seen as anything other than a traitor.
    When you make up excuses to take freedoms away from others, you are sealing your own doom.
    I am a widow of a vietnam vet and a great grandmother in a very large military family. I love America and I love the Constitution. That love for my nation and for our constitution now somehow makes me a suspected “terrorist”.
    I see young people celebrating the birthday of one of our founding Fathers, arrested for no good reason. It makes me weep for us all.
    I never thought I would live to see the day that it was a crime in America to be young and want to play around and do something harmless and fun with your friends in a public place. I never thought I would see the day American citizens could be arrested for celebrating Jefferson’s birthday.
    Please wake up and do SOMETHING (legal and non-violent of course….. cause I dont want to be arrested for advocating this nation get rid of these lying traitorious bastards that need to be arrested and tried..and then sent to gitmo for life……in a non legal manner)
    No one is coming to save us. WE are the ones we are waiting for.

  133. #133 |  Spartacus | 

    The manifestations of the rising American Police State have become too commonplace to excite much suprise in those of us who have been paying attention. The real stomach-churning fear and Despair come from the comments of the pathetic worms who defend it. You Fascist apologists are unfit to lick Jefferson’s boots. Don’t worry, CrashTestDummy, you indefatigable Individual, you! No doubt you’ll get ample chance to intone what you believe to be your wisdom once you land that cushy job at a KBR Koncentration Kamp. They’re looking for people who cannot be made to follow the crowd, just like you. (Snort)

    Wake up, fools! We have become slaves in the country our forefathers fought to build.

  134. #134 |  Big Tex | 

    This sounds like a job for Kevin Bacon!

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0087277/

    But seriously, arrested for dancing? Thomas Jefferson would be deeply ashamed at what this country has come to.

  135. #135 |  CrashTestDummy | 

    “Sorry, I’ve been around far too long to blindly follow anyone.”

    Ironic statement seeing as it seems from what you said before you are perfectly willing to do so.”

    Uhm no, I actually take the time to figure out what is going on with both sides of the situation and then decide an action. I don’t blindly listen to one side of a story and then go rushing off to defend anyone. You do know there are two sides to a story and generally the truth lies somewhere in between the two.

  136. #136 |  CrashTestDummy | 

    ““Don’t know about you, but I’d much rather have the police pull me for looking for suspicious, that means that they are stopping others that are looking suspicious. I might lose a few minutes for an inconvenience, but then again, maybe they have pulled people off the street that was not only looking suspicious, but actually does harm to others.”

    The above quote spoken by a True Sheep. Worried that the police have to protect them from criminals, but oblivious to the fact that maybe they need protection from the police too.”

    Sheep eh? How it that I am a sheep when I actually have said several times that I take the time to see both sides of an issue before making a decision instead of blindly rushing in?

    Sure there are cops that are idiots that get a power trip off of what they can do. There are far more cops though that are actually there to make a difference in the community and get blindly lumped together with the bad cops. To me blindly posting that the cops are nothing but stooges for a huge conspiracy to turn the US into a police state is blindly following someone who might actually be a whack job. Manson Family mean anything to you on that line of thinking?

  137. #137 |  Steven R Linnabary | 

    CrashTestDummy says:

    Don’t know about you, but I’d much rather have the police pull me for looking for suspicious, that means that they are stopping others that are looking suspicious. I might lose a few minutes for an inconvenience, but then again, maybe they have pulled people off the street that was not only looking suspicious, but actually does harm to others.

    I don’t know when the last time was that you were stopped. But nowadays when someone is stopped, you are required to submit to a search of yourself AND your car. If you do not “voluntarily” submit to having your car searched, dogs will be called in to sniff for evidence of some crime. It WILL take several hours for the K-9 unit to arrive.

    A few minutes of inconvenience? Try a few hours.

  138. #138 |  PsiOp Radio » PsiOp Radio 41 - 080415 | 

    […] http://www.theagitator.com/2008/04/13/so-about-that-tree-of-liberty/ Jackboots arrest Jefferson b’day celebrant at Memorial […]

  139. #139 |  The Old Eighteen | 

    Dance Dance American Revolution…

    Last Saturday night, a group of DC-area libertarians decided to celebrate Thomas Jefferson’s birthday by heading up to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial and having a little harmless fun, dancing on the steps of the memorial for 10 minutes or so….

  140. #140 |  CrashTestDummy | 

    “I don’t know when the last time was that you were stopped. But nowadays when someone is stopped, you are required to submit to a search of yourself AND your car. If you do not “voluntarily” submit to having your car searched, dogs will be called in to sniff for evidence of some crime. It WILL take several hours for the K-9 unit to arrive.

    A few minutes of inconvenience? Try a few hours.”

    No you are not required to submit to anything, and I’ve been stopped several times within the last several years for speeding and never been asked to submit to a search, of my person or of my vehicle. I’ve also been riding with others that were stopped and never had the experience with them. So sorry, from personal experience, I’d say that you’re way over exaggerating things.

  141. #141 |  Danno49 | 

    CrashTestDummy:

    First off, let me apologize for what I said to you initially in comment #79. It was wrong. Well, I wrote it wrong. I reread it and could see a bit of heavy-handedness in this:

    “You are the perfect example of indifference and how things are only going to get worse the more people that think like you are around.”

    I did not mean to imply that you shouldn’t be around. Or anyone else who has the same thought you did, for that matter. It makes me no better (probably worse) than those who would strip us of our fundamental rights as human beings. Everyone’s opinion matters. So I am sorry if I sounded like a jerk. But I still think you’re way of thinking with regards to just thinking it’s OK to allow a police officer to pull you over for no other reason than you may look a bit suspicious. I do think that that way of thinking, the ‘hey just let them do their job even if it inconveniences me’, is a step further toward allowing other far more egregious offenses to the Constitution and BOR to be committed and eventually be signed into policy and law.

    I am sure you think things through before committing to them. Most people here do. But I read and saw enough to make up my own mind. I also took 24 hours to ponder and read further, so I was not following anyone’s opinion but my own. It just so happens that a lot of people share that opinion. When something is wrong, it’s wrong.

    The bottom-line is, and I said this above a bit differently as many others said it as well but it bears repeating . . . it is a sad state of affairs when you can be arrested for just questioning a police officer. Under ANY circumstances. It augurs the very great possibility of further freedom destruction in our future, as well as testament to the dying liberties in our present.

    Good day, sir.

  142. #142 |  Darklady | 

    Is there a park closure curfew? Is that theoretically the justification for so much unnecessary force?

    I was in NYC on 9-11, preparing to fly home after spending a few days in DC as part of a First Amendment case, and I was criticized by some for saying that the government would use the attacks as an excuse to being removing citizen rights. Some even claimed they were willing to “temporarily” give up rights, having made the false assumption that once stolen they would ever be returned. It’s not one of the happier things I’ve been right about… :-(

  143. #143 |  Danno49 | 

    Darklady,

    The JM is open 24 hours a day.

  144. #144 |  Danno49 | 

    sorry – correction

    “But I still think your way of thinking with regards to just thinking it’s OK to allow a police officer to pull you over for no other reason than you may look a bit suspicious is dangerous.

    In bold was omitted for reasons of momentary incompetence. Or incontinence. I forget which. :)

  145. #145 |  Smack MacDougal | 

    Nerdy Park Police are cop wannabes, amount to nothing more than paper shuffling bureaucratic leeches.

    Women say that the only thing Nerdy Park Police pack are guns.

    What happened to Americans?

    Oh, that’s right. Americans suffer from conditioning-induced deep psychosis inculcated through TV and Public Educators.

  146. #146 |  World news blogging » Blog Archive » So much for the land of the free | 

    […] read more | digg story Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment […]

  147. #147 |  The Agitator » Blog Archive » Jefferson Memorial Update | 

    […] officer recently paid a visit to the home of Brooke Oberwetter, the Jefferson Memorial dancer arrested last weekend (there were several other people there at the […]

  148. #148 |  AC | 

    I just got back from dc – it was the first time I’d ever been there. Something strange about that city. It seemed oddly clean and devoid of bums and stuff. When I visited the Jefferson Memorial, a bunch of frightening park police threw us out very forcefully because some sort of ceremony was going to take place below. It was… unnerving. The whole city was eerie, if you ask me.

  149. #149 |  Nathan | 

    I found an interesting story at
    http://www.theagitator.com/2008/04/13/so-about-that-tree-of-liberty/

    Aparently you can’t celebrate the birth of one of the founding fathers by dancing at his memorial without getting dispersed by the National Park Police. Oh, and make sure you don’t ask why you’re not allowed to dance, or you might be arrested.
    Sickening.
    Thanks for the story Radley Balko

  150. #150 |  K2 | 

    SUE!!!!!!! Deprivation of Rights under Color of the Law…. It’s a Federal offense punishable by up to 10 years.
    Citizens must learn to hold our Law Enforcement to enforce the law. If LE over steps their bounds, citizens have the right, and responsibility to hold them accountable.

  151. #151 |  Nathan | 

    You probably already have this, but if you do decide to press charges I have the ACLU National Office phone number. (212) 549-2500

  152. #152 |  eli drummer | 

    welcome to orwell’s amerika

  153. #153 |  Law Quiz | 

    I would have at least argued with as to why the innocent person was getting arrested

  154. #154 |  PoliBlog (TM): A Rough Draft of my Thoughts » Tales of Worthless Security Measures | 

    […] Contenti.e., a German Sheppard who will, when ordered, rip your face off [↩]Like, I dunno, the Jefferson Memorial [↩]Or, worse, bullying people—which also happens. [↩] Previous Posts 86 Dead at […]

  155. #155 |  jomama | 

    Heads up!

    Relatively small potatoes compared to this one:

    http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/utah_rave_videos.html

  156. #156 |  Ikonoklast | 

    This rings a (dischordant) bell. In the summer of 1988, while living briefly with a girlfriend in the DC area, I committed the grievious offense of entering the Jefferson Memorial without a(gasp!) shirt. I was immediately confronted with a small-mustachioed little martinet — some sort of ranger-hatted fascist fuck — who ordered me to put my shirt back on. Rather than comply with this little shit (someone I could easily wipe the floor with if it weren’t for his sidearm), I simply walked away from TJ’s shrine. But, oh the fuckin’ irony…

    Whatever happened to the BILL OF RIGHTS?

  157. #157 |  ubidubi | 

    Fucking cops. And what’s this about not giving their badge numbers. I hate cops and their ilk. Actually, i really, really, hate paramedics. Do paramedics take a course in douchebaggery, or does the semi-profession/trade attract the douchebag?

  158. #158 |  GNUMD | 

    I just got “processed” this past week to work at a VA medical center. Let me tell you, these authoritarian military types and joiners, don’t like questions of authority. I said I didn’t want to be fingerprinted and asked why and they got all riled up about it. Then basically said, well we won’t force you, your welcome to leave and don’t have to work here. So of course I permitted them to finger print me, I have nothing to hide. But this country is total bullshit and I have no respect for people who volunteer to help keep the authoritarians in power and get paid to do the dirty work. They aren’t heros. Heros don’t have to carry guns to fight for freedom (but should be allowed to) and ought to serve themselves and the rest of us for free and have and follow a creed that values personal liberty and supports the questioning of any infringement upon human freedom. Long live liberty and if anyone tries to take it away from even the least of us then may our mobs beat THEM down verbally and physically if we must! That is a right in the constitution and it is WHY we are supposed to be allowed to be armed. If all citizens were armed then bullshit like this would not happen ever. The government should always fear the people.

  159. #159 |  ClintJCL | 

    So how do we, the readers, ultimately know how this case resolves? Any update links to post?

  160. #160 |  Scott | 

    Whilst I don’t condone excessive police force, you have to wonder about the sense of doing ANY crazy stuff at national monuments in the US given the high terrorism alertedness in that country these days.

  161. #161 |  Frederic Wankarcheese | 

    In ancient Egypt, there is record of the treatment of the bodies of young women that were set out to decompose for a few days before being delivered to embalmers. This practice originated from the need to discourage the men performing the funerary customs from having sexual interest in their charges. Herodotus writes[4] in The Histories that, to discourage intercourse with a corpse, Ancient Egyptians left deceased beautiful women to decay for “three or four days” before giving them to the embalmers.[5][6]

    In some societies the practice was enacted owing to a belief that the soul of an unmarried woman would not find peace; among the Kachin of Myanmar and the Nambudri of India, versions of a marriage ceremony were held to lay a dead virgin to rest, which would involve intercourse with the corpse. Similar practices obtained in some pre-modern Central European societies when a woman who was engaged to be married died before the wedding.[7]

    Guido Henckel von Donnersmarck (1830-1916) engaged in a form of thanatophilia following the death in 1884 of his first wife, the former courtesan Pauline Thérè se de Païva, better known as La Païva. Her naked body was immersed in alcohol in an isolated room of Henckel’s castle at Neudeck in Silesia. Henckel visited her corpse regularly for a strange sort of contemplation. It is said that when, several years after their marriage, Henckel’s second wife unexpectedly discovered the body of her predecessor, preserved in all its glory in a glass tank of alcohol, she suffered a mental breakdown.

  162. #162 |  The Agitator » Blog Archive » Jefferson 1 Dancer Files Lawsuit | 

    […] Here’s my initial post on the incident last April. Here’s some cell phone video that loosely captures what happened. […]

  163. #163 |  OCing and that Harvard Professor.... - Page 3 - INGunOwners | 

    […] Oberwetter hesitated, stopping to ask one officer to explain what laws or rules they had violated. He arrested her, on the charge of "interfering with an agency function," a vague charge similar to Gates’ alleged public disturbance. Oberwetter was never tried, though she […]

  164. #164 |  No Dancing at the Jefferson Memorial | The Agitator | 

    […] federal judge has thrown out Brooke Oberwetter’s lawsuit against the National Park Police, who arrested her in 2008 for quietly dancing at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington, […]

  165. #165 |  Hmmm | 

    You should call 911 if they dont give you their badge numbers tell them your friend is being kidnapped by a police impersonator.

  166. #166 |  Sunday Reading « zunguzungu | 

    […] it happened a while ago, it seems a propos to turn from that to the figure of American police enforcing freedom by cracking […]

  167. #167 |  Peter Orvetti: What’s Next for Occupy DC? | 

    […] a question Occupy needs to answer. In D.C., a city where a small band of intrepid libertarians once faced Park Police bellicosity just for dancing a bit at an otherwise-empty Jefferson Memorial in the […]

  168. #168 |  Jefferson’s birthday coming, April 13 — how will you celebrate? « Mr. Darrell's Wayback Machine | 

    […] Probably not a good idea to try a flash mob dance at the Jefferson Memorial […]

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