Monday, March 24, 2008

Journalist Josh Wolf returns to jail, briefly

Journalist Josh Wolf is no stranger to a jail cell. Wolf, was jailed for 226 days because he refused to turn over a video he shot of a political protest, participated in Thursday's protests on the fifth anniversary of the Iraq war as a reporter, not a protester. The distinction didn't matter. Here are a couple of quotes from his story posted at Fog City Journal:
    Having covered numerous San Francisco protests in the past, I knew to place myself outside the police encirclement. For some reason an officer decided he wanted me arrested and I found myself being dragged by the back of my head into the arrest-zone. I explained that I had no intention of interfering with police business and had been pulled into the circle inadvertently, but my complaints went unanswered and I soon found myself placed under arrest and transported onto a bus operated by the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department.
Despite his arrest, Wolf writes "With few exceptions, the rank-and-file Police officers and Sheriff’s deputies that I dealt with exhibited a level of professionalism that deserves to be commended." He adds:
    "We were processed almost immediately upon our arrival. It was a pleasant surprise seeing a gaggle of police working so diligently to process our citations. Around noon it appeared that the arduous task of completing our paperwork was complete and a citation had been affixed to everyone’s personal property. Those amongst us who were elderly had been released, and we assumed the rest of us would be let back out in short order. Having nothing left to do, the cops began to congregate in small circles and practiced the fine art of killing time."
(Photo credit: Luke Thomas, Fog City News)


Anonymous said...

Josh alleges there was brutality in the SF lockup. If so, why hasn't he reported it to police? It's a heavy charge to make in a piece like this, yet it seems he's not interested in backing it up. Is he unconcerned for the victims of this violence?

Josh Wolf said...

No, I said I witnessed isolated incidents of police brutality; I did not say nor in any way mean to infer that they occurred within the lockup itself.

What I personally witnessed was the police charging onto the sidewalk without any apparent provocation, and striking their batons into the crowd. Perhaps brutality was not the best term to describe these actions, but "police brutality" is frequently used as a general term to describe all violent excessive force.

As to why I haven't reported it to the police. I was approximately 25 yards away from that incident and have neither badge numbers nor video evidence. I don't see much reason to follow through.

Am I "unconcerned for the victims of this violence?" No, but I have no reason to think any serious injuries transpired at the incident and no easy way to contact those involved on either side.