BOSTON- 5/26/04- A group of people got together to do an action at the Tremont St Armed Forces Career Center (AFCC) in Boston. JP and CW met NF and JM at the location. (11:00 am) JP donned a black hood, a loosing fitting black shawl, sandals and two black cords hanging from his hands. He was standing on top of a plastic milk crate. (11:25 am)
This was a visual approximation of the infamous torture photos from Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison.
After standing in front of the Armed Forces Career Center for about 10 minutes someone came out to talk to us about the action. (11:35 am) The man that spoke with us was quite angry. He made several statements such as: (11:40 am)
“Hey, you need to go away.” , “You should go.” , and “This is federal property… You are damn right… in front of the building.”
“This is a public building, it is federal property.” The protestor responded.
“I will call the police, don’t worry about it.” During this exchange the man grabbed JP by his shoulder in an attempt to remove him. This incident was clearly videotaped. The man seemed to discontinue his actions when he became aware that he was being videotaped. Just as the man went back into the AFCC, SP arrived. (12:00 noon) At one point someone who seemed to be in the employ of the AFCC came out with a Poloroid instant Camera and took a picture of the action from the door. (just after noon)
Several law enforcement officials (Park Rangers, State Police, and MBTA Police) passed by the event. None of these people took any note of the event as being offensive or terribly disturbing. None of the law enforcement officials talked to or questioned any of the individuals involved in the action.
Also during this time an individual inside the AFCC pointed to JM, who was taking photographs and made a fist and clearly mouthed the words “I am going to fuck you up”. While doing this he pointed at his fist and pointed at JM.
A Boston Police cruiser arrived in front of the Military Career Center. Some short time later another cruiser arrived and then a third. For at least twenty minutes, perhaps more, the officers who arrived in the cruisers said nothing. They did not question or ask individuals to move along. They seemed to assume a posture of ‘wait and see’. (12:30 pm) That was all dispelled when a ranking Boston police officer (lieutenant?) arrived. He entered the AFCC with at least two, possibly more, Boston Police officers. After a brief time inside (10 mins?) they exited the building and along with other Boston Police officers started to clear the sidewalk of onlookers who had gathered to watch the action and response. They started taping off the area with yellow “police line” tape. When this started CW approached JP (who could not see due to the black hood over his head). CW asked JP if he wanted to leave the area, CW further suggested that it might be a good idea at the time considering the attitude of the police. JP stepped down from the milk crate and removed the shawl and the hood. As he started to walk away, two Boston Police hurried over to prevent JP from leaving and separated him from his fellow activists. (12:40 pm)
JP was not handcuffed. He was questioned at length. Sometime during this a Black Boston Police van arrived. Someone of the onlookers mentioned that this was the “Bomb Squab”. No one from the “Bomb Squad” immediately inspected JP. At one point one of the black clad “Bomb Squad” officers casually looked at the shawl JP had been wearing and then picked up one of the cords and turned it in his hands for 2 or 3 seconds before tossing it to the ground.
Soon afterwards, JP was handcuffed and arrested. He was placed into an Area A-1 Boston Police Cruiser. Boston Police repeatedly refused to respond to NF and JP when they asked what JP was being arrested for. And one must mention that it seemed at the time the Boston Police didn’t know why they were arresting JP themselves. The police cruiser drove off with JP in it, presumably to Area A-1 holding. (12:55 pm) Boston Police approached the remaining activists, SP, CW, NF and JM. All of these people were made to give ID to the police. (1:00 pm) CW remarked,
“I am aware that I do not have to give you my ID, but I am going to anyway. I am sure you are aware of this as well.”
To which the officer replied, “I am aware of that.” Then one-by-one all of the activists were questioned by a rather large and tattooed Boston Police officer. CW was asked “How tall are you?”, “What do you weigh?”, “What do you do for a living?”, and “Where do you go to school?” The last question CW refused to answer by stating, “I do not have to answer your questions, I want a lawyer present.” With this statement the tattooed officer became visibly upset and began to raise his voice.
When SP was questioned, the police officer asked for her social security number. She asked, “Why do you need that information?” The officer did not answer the question but repeated the question. SP gave him her SS number. He asked her “What is your work?” She replied: “I am a volunteer. I don’t get paid for my work.” He said: “What do you do?” “I work at a soup kitchen,” she replied. He asked: “So how do you make your money?” SP replied: “I don’t see how any of this is relevant.” He repeated the question. SP answered that she had money saved from college jobs. When the officer finished questioning her, she started walking away and one of the remaining officers also questioned her. “So how do you know these guys? What group are you with?” SP replied: “We are friends.” “Yea but how did you meet each other?” SP replied: “I met JP at school.” “What about the rest?” “We are just friends,” she replied.
After questioning them, SP, CW, NF and JM were allowed to leave. The 4 activists left the scene and went to the office of the National Lawyers Guild. After several calls CW found out that JP was being held at Area A-1. While on the phone an officer at Area A-1 said that JP was going to be taken to Boston Municipal Court to be arraigned. Several activists went to the court to see the arraignment. With the help of a friendly public defender they found out that JP was not at the courthouse but at Area A-1. (between 1 and 3:30 pm)
CW, NF, SP and NP then went to Area A-1 to see if JP wanted to be bailed out. Upon arrival CW asked the Desk Officer if JP was in holding and if the desk officer could ask JP if he wanted bail. (4:00 pm) While the desk officer was checking with JP about the bail, a Boston Police officer asked CW
“Was he [referring to JP] the one over there at the military center?”
“Yes.” CW replied
“Well you know those Marines and the Navy there shudda’ came outta’ the office and beat the shit out of him.”
“Umm, wouldn’t that be like assault?” CW asked.
“I don’t give a shit. Look I just got back from the Air Force Reserves and … look … grrrr … assholes!”
“I think he (JP) just got back from the Middle East.”
The Officer then said: “Yea, I don’t care ….ggggggrrr… scum!” (around 4 pm)
The desk officer returned and told the activists that JP didn’t want to be bailed out. It is assumed that JP was making a statement of solidarity with poor and oppressed people.
JP, full name Joe Privetera, has since been charged with a felony for exercising his freedom of speech.
05/26/2004 Just1pin, boston.indymedia.org