Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Police arrest four and clear Occupy Little Rock camp

Posted By on Wed, May 16, 2012 at 1:41 PM

OCCUPY LR ARRESTS: Mac Miller and Jennifer Pearce were among the four arrested when Little Rock police cleared the Occupy Little Rock site this afternoon.
  • OCCUPY LR ARRESTS: Mac Miller and Jennifer Pierce were among the four arrested when Little Rock police cleared the Occupy Little Rock site this afternoon. Brian Chilson photo

SPOKESMAN ARRESTED: Greg Deckelman has said hell file a civil rights lawsuit.
  • Brian Chilson
  • SPOKESMAN ARRESTED: Greg Deckelman has said he'll file a civil rights lawsuit.
Almost seven hours after an overnight camping permit expired, Little Rock police moved to shut down the Occupy Little Rock camp at 4th and Ferry about 1:40 p.m. today.

Streets around the parking lot at 4th and Ferry were blocked by police and police posted police line tape around the camp. An Occupy LR sympathizer tore it at one point, but police calmly reinstalled it.

Police Chief Stuart Thomas arrived. He talked briefly with the four people — two men and two women — who refused to leave the taped-off parking lot. They were then arrested and taken to a police van for transport to a booking point. They were handcuffed. They are to be charged with one count each of failure to disperse.

Police vehicles were assembled earlier at City Hall, including K-9 units, but no dogs made an appearance at the initial arrival of police. Dogs later joined police searching through abandoned tents.

The first person cuffed was one of two female protesters. Greg Deckelman, who's served as a spokesman for the group and who got a ticket during a march on Clinton Avenue recently, also is being arrested. He has said he'll sue. Mac Miller, Jennifer Pierce and Cee Cee Sloan-Cicirello were identified by sympathizers as being in the group headed to the police van. Sloan-Cicrello is a small business owner; Pierce works at the Clinton Library; Deckelman is a musician, and Miller is a retired military veteran, a friend said.

"The whole world is watching," a tiny group of about 15 sympathetic onlookers chanted.

BOOK HER: A cuffed CeeCee Sloan-Cicirello heads to police van.
  • BOOK HER: A cuffed Cee Cee Sloan-Cicirello heads to police van.

David Koon, who provided the information for this report, said he counted 30 police officers on the scene. Several wore haz-mat suits as they went through the leavings of the camp. Hastings said the officers were drawn from specialty units and didn't deplete normal patrol forces during the action. OLR people claimed later than more than 50 cops were in the vicinity.

A medical doctor who'd provided volunteer help to the Occupy group said he'd inspected the site this morning as most material was being removed and said no hazardous materials were present. The suits and dog and police force present a good image for TV cameras though for a city anxious to appear responsive to a public that seemingly has grown weary of the First Amendment assembly against corporate influence on politics.

At 2 p.m., it appeared that the close-out of a protest that began in October seemed likely to be accomplished (at least as far as human removal was concerned) with a minimum of fuss and no violence in 15 minutes or so.

The four arrested received citations and were released after being processed at the county jail. No bond was required. Police cleared the site, saving three or four tents and some personal items but dumping some wooden pallets used for flooring. By 4 p.m., it was a parking lot again.

MEANWHILE: In other police activity downtown, officers were called to the robbery of a bank branch at 8th and Broadway by a man with a brown towel wrapped around his head.

SNIFFING: A dog and police in protective gear searched through abandoned tents.
  • Brian Chilson
  • SNIFFING: A dog and police in protective gear searched through abandoned tents.

UPDATE: Adam Lansky, who has served as a sometime-spokesman for Occupy Little Rock since the early days of the protest, said that the arrests today prove that there is no such thing as truly public property. While losing the physical occupation site is a blow to the Occupy Little Rock movement, Lansky said that the four arrests are an opportunity to move the arguments about free speech and the right to assemble into a court of law. He said Greg Deckelman and possibly Mac Miller, both arrested today, plan to fight their charges in court.

"They have the bravery to step into court and challenge it," Lansky said. "It gives us an opportunity to challenge the city before a judge. It's been [tried in the] court of public opinion so far, and this is a chance to take it to another level."

Before his arrest, Deckelman had said OLR had tried to negotiate with the city, but city leaders wouldn't budge. "We kept handing the city a win-win situation," he said, "and they just refused to take it. They're snatching defeat from the jaws of victory." For example, Deckelman said, OLR had offered to find another nearby lot where overflow buses from Riverfest could be parked, but the city turned them down.

Deckelman, who lived at the site full-time for two months, said an OLR encampment is important to the movement because it serves as a place for those who are interested in Occupy to come and learn what the group is about. He's confident the movement will have another encampment in the city soon. "There will be a physical occupation spot come back. Where that's going to be, that's to be determined by the Gen Assembly. We will come back with a spot. We're going to regroup and think through the options."

"Fifteen percent of our family got arrested today," said protestor Rick Wells, who watched Deckelman and the others arrested. Wells questioned why 30-plus officers were needed to arrest peaceful protestors (Lt. Terry Hastings said it was because officers were needed to clean up the site). "In my opinion, that worked against them," Wells said. "They brought 30 people out here against peaceful protestors to show their tyranny."

Asked if anything was accomplished by having the four protestors symbolically arrested, Wells said: "Hopefully it showed people what's going on. Hopefully it'll at least let people see exactly what's happening — who's actually in charge, who's not... It shows people that in today's society, you don't have a right to free speech, you don't have a right to stand up and assemble."

The mugshots of the Little Rock Four: Cicerello, Deckelman, Miller and Pierce (left to right)





Tags: , , , , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store


Speaking of...

  • Site plan approved for Satanic Temple monument; public comment, legislative approval hurdles yet to be cleared

    January 25, 2017
    During a short meeting this morning near the Arkansas State Capitol, a three-member subcommittee of the Capitol Arts and Grounds Commission deemed a monument site plan submitted by the Satanic Temple sufficient to move forward to a public comment phase; part of an effort to decide whether the group will be allowed to install a large statue of the goat-headed pagan god Baphomet on the grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol. /more/
  • Millions march in massive show of resistance to Trump

    January 22, 2017
    The Women's Marches yesterday were massive, one of the largest protests in the nation's history. /more/
  • Actor George Takei takes on Trump

    November 29, 2016
    Actor George Takei, whose family was incarcerated in a Japanese internment camp in Rohwer, Ark. (Desha County) during World War II, took to Twitter today in response to Donald Trump's earlier Tweet in which the president-elect  said those who burn the American flag should "perhaps" lose their citizenship or be jailed. No matter what side of the fence you're on, Takei's 27 little words should ring in the heart of every patriotic American who cares about the First Amendment. /more/
  • LRPD Chief Buckner: community relationships crucial in a 'Dallas Moment'

    July 8, 2016
    At a 1 p.m. press conference at Little Rock Police Department headquarters near downtown today, LRPD Chief Kenton Buckner asked citizens to keep Baton Rouge, Falcon Heights, Minn and Dallas in their prayers before saying that violence and destruction of property would not be tolerated in Little Rock during demonstrations over police use of force. /more/
  • Interest light so far in Little Rock City Board elections

    June 25, 2016
    Interest seems limited so far for challenging incumbent directors planning to seek re-election this year to the Little Rock Board of Directors. /more/
  • 'Black Lives Matter' tees pulled from gift shop at Mosaic Templars

    March 10, 2016
    The interim director of the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center in Little Rock told the Arkansas Blog earlier today that she had been asked to pull t-shirts bearing the slogan "Black Lives Matter" from the museum's gift shop by Department of Arkansas Heritage deputy director Rebecca Burkes. /more/
  • VIDEO: Protester forcibly removed from last night's Trump rally in LR

    February 4, 2016
    Several videos and accounts have emerged today from protesters at last night's Trump rally at Barton Coliseum, including the video which shows a gaggle of Pulaski County Sheriff's deputies, black-clad officers, and a man in a dark suit forcibly removing a protester identified online as Nathan Fields from the building. The video ends soon after the man in the suit shoves Fields into a mulch-filled planter, with the man who pushed Fields then himself pushed away by another officer in a vest marked "POLICE." /more/
  • Protesters doused from Cache balcony: UPDATE: Harding apologizes

    August 12, 2015
    People protesting with signs on the sidewalk in front of Cache Restaurant last night, where Republican presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz was dining, say Cache owner Payne Harding emptied a champagne bucket of water on them from the second floor balcony of the restaurant. Harding later apologized. /more/
  • Police residency requirement fails

    June 17, 2015
    As predicted here, the City Board of Directors voted against an ordinance to require new police officer hires to be residents of Little Rock. The vote was 6 to 4, with Directors Erma Hendrix, who introduced the ordinance; Ken Richardson, Doris Wright and Kathy Webb voting for passage. Webb's vote kept the board from dividing along racial lines on the ordinance. /more/
  • City Board to take up residency requirement for police tonight

    June 16, 2015
    The City Board is set to vote tonight on an ordinance to require future police officers to reside in Little Rock. The ordinance was drafted at the request of Ward 1 Director Erma Hendrix. Directors Ken Richardson and Doris Wright, the board's other African American members, support the ordinance. Director Kathy Webb said today she is "leaning" toward supporting it, "but I am still not 100 percent decided." /more/
  • More »

Comments (32)

Showing 1-32 of 32

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-32 of 32

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • FOI lawsuit filed for State Police firing records on ABC enforcement boss Boyce Hamlet

    Russell Racop has filed, as promised, his lawsuit over the State Police's refusal — under guidance from Attorney General Leslie Rutledge — to release records that provide information that led to the firing of current Alcoholic Beverage Control Enforcement Director Boyce Hamlet as a state trooper.
    • Sep 9, 2015
  • Federal judge reprimands John Goodson for misconduct in class-action case

    John Goodson  — the Texarkana attorney, D.C. lobbyist, and husband of Arkansas State Supreme Court Justice Courtney Goodson — was reprimanded today by a federal judge for his conduct in a class-action case.
    • Aug 3, 2016
  • State Police issues statement on Jason Rapert 'threats'

    The State Police have issued a minor clarification in what appears to be an effort to soothe an enraged Sen. Jason Rapert, exposed here as overly excited about both a Conway parking lot question from a constituent as well as some inflammatory Internet rhetoric that he's interpreted as a dire threat on his life. State cops took his reports seriously, they say. But in the end, they found nothing actionable.
    • Sep 15, 2015

Most Shared

  • Former state board of education chair Sam Ledbetter weighs in on Little Rock millage vote

    Ledbetter, the former state Board of Education chair who cast the decisive vote in 2015 to take over the LRSD, writes that Education Commissioner Johnny Key "has shown time and again that he is out of touch with our community and the needs of the district." However, Ledbetter supports the May 9 vote as a positive for the district's students and staff.

Visit Arkansas

Haralson, Smith named to Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame

Haralson, Smith named to Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame

Chuck Haralson and Ken Smith were inducted into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame during the 43rd annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism

Most Viewed

  • Death watch includes a family reunion, arranged by a victim's family

    The execution of Kenneth Williams for his 1999 slaying of Cecil Boren during a prison escape remains scheduled for 7 p.m. tonight, though actions in state and federal courts are anticipated in the final hours.
  • New complaint filed in Kenneth Williams case

    Lawyers for Kenneth Williams filed a new lawsuit this morning in Pulaski Circuit Court claiming that his execution tonight would cause unconstitutional cruel or unusual punishment.
  • Griffen asks probe of Ark. Supreme Court and AG's office conduct

    At a press conference today at the Doubletree Hotel just across from the Pulaski County Courthouse, Pulaski County Fifth Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen and his attorneys announced that he has asked the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission to investigate the conduct of the entire Arkansas Supreme Court, and asked the director of the Arkansas Committee on Professional Conduct to investigate the conduct of Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and several others in the AG's office, related to what Griffen and his attorneys claim were forbidden ex parte conversations between the Supreme Court and the AG's office.
  • Can the Marijuana Commission receive paid travel?

    An official opinion from Attorney General Leslie Rutledge touches lightly on the many ways in which the medical marijuana amendment creates new legal concerns.
  • Arkansas Medicaid 'savings' will produce some losers

    The state offers an optimistic outlook on Gov. Asa Hutchinson's plans to reduce the number covered by the state's expanded Medicaid health coverage. There's reason for questions.

Most Recent Comments




© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation