Grandmas arrested after trying to enlist!
October 19, 2005 5:36 AM   Subscribe

Grandmas protest the war in Iraq and get the cuffs Funny, great story. We tried to ring the bell at the booth, but no one answered," Wile said. "I saw a head poke up from behind the counter every once in a while and then duck back down. I don't know what they were afraid of. Maybe they don't know how to deal with a bunch of grannies."
posted by mountainmambo (84 comments total)
 
"Land of the free, and the home of the brave".

Must be those holesome family values.
posted by Goofyy at 6:07 AM on October 19, 2005


Yes, send your family to Iraq and they will come home with holes in them.
posted by caddis at 6:17 AM on October 19, 2005


<obligatory>

Hey, Grannies can be pretty tough!.

</obligatory>
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:21 AM on October 19, 2005


So showing up at a recruiting center and ringing the doorbell constitutes "disorderly conduct" now? New York's gone way downhill since Ray Kelly became the junta leader there...

I mean, they didn't even leave a flaming bag of poo in front of the door or anything like that.
posted by clevershark at 6:39 AM on October 19, 2005


Let's not forget the Raging Grannies.
posted by 327.ca at 7:02 AM on October 19, 2005


Since Grandmas are not considered untouchable, I suggest we send in the big guns: the 60 year old virgins!

~ that is if we can find any that aren't to busy telling Bush how "brilliant" he is ~
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:05 AM on October 19, 2005


"I saw a head poke up from behind the counter every once in a while and then duck back down."

Heh. Hell's Grannies isn't the only MPFC reference to spring to mind...
    (After a pause, very slowly indeed an identical mask to the first appears over the top of the counter right next to the first assistant, making the same noise very quietly. The first assistant sees him, starts and nudges him hard.) Second Assistant: Woooooo...ooooooo... First Assistant: It's not him! (The second assistant makes a disappointed noise and disappears below.)
posted by soyjoy at 7:14 AM on October 19, 2005


What is the issue here: Is it that they should be able to do whatever they want because they are old? Or is it that since they are protesting a war we don't like they should be able to do whatever they want?
posted by dios at 7:24 AM on October 19, 2005


Group A protests against Issue B.

Why is this even a FPP, let alone a story?
posted by Dagobert at 7:30 AM on October 19, 2005


Group A protests against Issue B.
Why is this even a FPP, let alone a story?


Because spunky old ladies are adorable.
posted by scratch at 7:42 AM on October 19, 2005


What is the issue here: Is it that they should be able to do whatever they want because they are old? Or is it that since they are protesting a war we don't like they should be able to do whatever they want?
posted by dios at 7:24 AM PST on October 19


The issue is that they were arrested for peacefully protesting. I know that you would rather watch them being teargassed and beaten with billyclubs, but sometimes dreams just don't take flight. :(
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:47 AM on October 19, 2005


Because spunky old ladies are adorable.

Then explain why they never made Cocoon III.
posted by Dagobert at 7:53 AM on October 19, 2005


dios: oh you...
posted by odinsdream at 7:54 AM on October 19, 2005


Group A protests against Issue B.

Why is this even a FPP, let alone a story?


I wish war supporters had original arguments. I wish they weren't so predictable. If there was a trace of reasoned thought behind these knee-jerk, autostimulatory comments, I would rejoice. That would mean that we aren't looking at an involuted, pathological political force in America, but you guys aren't giving me much hope.

Comments like this seem to serve no purpose but to reinforce, though active projection onto the imagined other, the commentor's own beliefs.
posted by sonofsamiam at 7:58 AM on October 19, 2005


Who said I support the war?

Talk about predictable.
posted by Dagobert at 8:01 AM on October 19, 2005


So it's the latter. Thanks. I just wanted to confirm that.
posted by dios at 8:02 AM on October 19, 2005


You would say then, dios, that American citizens should not be allowed to peacefully assemble and protest?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:04 AM on October 19, 2005


What is the issue here: Is it that they should be able to do whatever they want because they are old?

[From the story:] Police arrested the women, ranging in age from 49 to 90

Another thing I like about 'Merika is how you're *old* at 49.
posted by NorthernLite at 8:06 AM on October 19, 2005


Dagobert: I've read most of your previous comments, and that was the impression I got. Sorry if I misconstrued you.

So it's the latter. Thanks. I just wanted to confirm that.

Exactly. You just wanted some outside actor to behave in a way that reinforces your already-held beliefs.
posted by sonofsamiam at 8:06 AM on October 19, 2005


I support the right to peacefully assemble. But if you cause a disturbance, you pay the price. There was a time when it was understood that civil disobedience was necessarily linked to a form of punishment. After all, that was the point.

Now we have a situation where people are demanding that protesters should be allowed to do whatever they want and wherever they want, merely because you agree with what they are protesting about.

If you want to protest, do so with an exact compliance with all laws, or suffer the consequences. The right of assembly is not a license to violate law.

I say this because I don't want to be the kind of person who lets grannies go free, but then has to be hypocritical when it comes time to clamp down on neo-nazis, abortion-protestors, anti-gay rights protestors or whatever. The law is the law. It applies neutrally.
posted by dios at 8:11 AM on October 19, 2005


Hells Grannies
posted by Joeforking at 8:11 AM on October 19, 2005


What is the issue here: Is it that they should be able to do whatever they want because they are old? Or is it that since they are protesting a war we don't like they should be able to do whatever they want?

It's my understanding dios is an attorney. For me, that raises a question: Do they even make law students read the bill of rights (much less study the history of constitutionally protected political expression) before they take the bar exam these days? 'Cause it's pretty hard to believe how clueless some of these jokers can be. Talk about excluded middles! By dios' standard of protected political expression, only acts of political expression performed in one's bedroom, during off-work hours (preferably with your employers' consent), and with the lights off, are granted any protections at all--and even then, I suspect he'd offer up some kind of theoretical limit. Sorry to be snarky, dios. But by your logic, those anarchists who threw the Boston Tea Party should be locked up, and that clearly violates the spirit (if not the letter) of the constitutional protections on political expression. You must be the descendent of some bitter clan of loyalists who were never really on board with the American democratic project in the first place.
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 8:12 AM on October 19, 2005


clamp down on neo-nazis, abortion-protestors, anti-gay rights protestors or whatever.

umm, but the recent Nazi marchers had police protection, and abortion protesters have been allowed to verbally and physically harrass medical professionals with impunity in deference to their constitutionally protected speech rights. so what's your point exactly?
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 8:17 AM on October 19, 2005


all-seeing eye dog, perhaps you should bone up on the law before you make misinformed insulting statments.

There is, and always has been, time, place and manner restrictions on protesting. There are all kinds of content-neutral restrictions on your freedom of speech. So might I suggest to you that before you get all snarky, you read the law in addition to superficial reading of the Bill of Rights.

Freedom of speech, which is primarily freedom of political speech, is a protection that you will not be arrested for the content of your speech. It is not a license to break law. It never has been. You can say whatever you want politically within the constraints of the law.

At least know what you are talking about before being snarky.
posted by dios at 8:19 AM on October 19, 2005


Dios, anti-abortion protesters are rarely arrested and they do stunts that make my hair curl - screaming at women, grabbing at them, holding up signs of (ostensibly) aborted fetuses. I've seen it happen with my own eyes. Laws that regard peaceful protest as being a public disturbance are clearly unConstitutional.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:20 AM on October 19, 2005


dios: what law did they break, and were subsequently arrested for?
posted by odinsdream at 8:22 AM on October 19, 2005


But by your logic, those anarchists who threw the Boston Tea Party should be locked up, and that clearly violates the spirit (if not the letter) of the constitutional protections on political expression.
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 10:12 AM CST on October 19


Absolutely they should be arrested. They weren't there trying to make peaceful political points. They were engaging in insurrection, which is a crime.

You need to read up on the concept of civil disobedience. The "getting arrested" part is the key part. Read your Thoreau. "The question is, why are you out there?"
posted by dios at 8:23 AM on October 19, 2005


Some poor citizens suffer from the misapprehension that the letter of the law in any way reflects the actual application of it.
posted by sonofsamiam at 8:23 AM on October 19, 2005


Your conflation of civil disobedience with peaceful protest is shockingly stupid. If I hold up a sign in front of the Capitol that says "The PATRIOT Act is Bad," and take no other action and break no law, is that really civil disobedience, and further, is it truly worthy of arrest?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:26 AM on October 19, 2005


odinsdream: the article doesn't say. But I am sure there was loitering, trespassing, and/or blocking the entrance violations. I doubt they applied for a permit to engage in a protest. I doubt they petitioned to comply with time, place and manner restrictions.
posted by dios at 8:26 AM on October 19, 2005


Optimus Chyme, according to dios, if you did it with anyone else, you better be sure you have the appropriate government paperwork.

I like how dios invented a new definition of "sure," as in:

"the article doesn't say. But I am sure ..."

dios, you're a lawyer, right? So, you're familiar with the concept of evidence. Let's apply it here. The article doesn't say, but you're sure. How are you sure? What are you basing your "sureness" on?
posted by odinsdream at 8:29 AM on October 19, 2005


I am sure
I doubt
I doubt


I am sure that you would be an utterly inappropriate juror.
posted by sonofsamiam at 8:31 AM on October 19, 2005


Is anyone here actually interested in a discussion? Or is the only goal to insult me?
posted by dios at 8:33 AM on October 19, 2005


dios: I am not insulting you. I am asking you to tell me how you know that they broke a law. Specifically, I want you to tell me what law it is that was broken.

That should be easy, since you claim to be sure that you know which one it is.

Do you know, or don't you?
posted by odinsdream at 8:35 AM on October 19, 2005


Dios is right about them getting arrested, well except for the "they should have been arrested part." The authorities could also have just ignored them. Nevertheless, protesting in such a manner usually leads to arrest. Frequently that is the goal and it certainly gets you some press. If they get convicted and have to do jail time then that would be an outrage. They won't though - time served, court costs, please don't do that again ladies.
posted by caddis at 8:38 AM on October 19, 2005


I answered your question. You seem to demand that I give you firm evidence even thought the only account of the story doesn't include it. Thus, we are left to ask what possibilities exist.

It is entirely reasonable to assume that there was a basis for the police action that the reporter just didn't bother to include in the article.

I thought such a point would be fairly innoccuous, but your response did come off insultingly, whether you meant it or not.
posted by dios at 8:38 AM on October 19, 2005


If I wanted to insult you I would call you a time-wasting little sociopath with a Napoleon complex who has a hard-on for torture.

But, no, I'm interested in the discussion. You've repeatedly conflated civil disobedience (Thoreau, Rosa Parks, Gandhi) with peaceable assembly and protest (a group of women who should be silenced because they don't have a permit).

You also think that petty laws about fucking loitering trump Constitutional rights when, in fact, those loitering laws would never be applied if those women were merely gathering to talk about the latest ish of People Magazine.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:39 AM on October 19, 2005


odinsdream - disturbing the peace would be one crime with which they could be successfully charged.
posted by caddis at 8:39 AM on October 19, 2005


Am I the only person who thinks that "disturbing the peace" is a really worthless catch-all?
posted by Jon-o at 8:42 AM on October 19, 2005


It is interesting how a thread with eight replies in just under two hours can explode to quadruple that in a half hour with the comment of a polarizing member.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:42 AM on October 19, 2005


Well it's also 8:00 on the West Coast so everyone is getting to work now. :)
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:44 AM on October 19, 2005


caddis, you're missing my point. I'm not asking for dios to imagine what they could possibly have been arrested for, I'm asking if he knows what they were actually arrested for. I wouldn't normally expect him to know this, since it isn't in the article, but he claims to be sure he knows, so I'm asking him to be more clear and explain why he is so sure:

"But I am sure there was loitering, trespassing, and/or blocking the entrance violations."

He probably meant "I firmly believe, and would hazard a guess that there was loitering, trespassing, and/or blocking the entrance violations." But that isn't what he said. Words mean things. Lawyers of all people should know this.
posted by odinsdream at 8:45 AM on October 19, 2005


... with the comment of a polarizing member

and the equally polarizing responses
posted by caddis at 8:46 AM on October 19, 2005


If you read the article it says they were charged with disturbing the peace.
posted by caddis at 8:48 AM on October 19, 2005


If I were a right-winger, I would have had the army recruiter sign them up. The recruiter gets his quota and when the ladies tried some civil disobedience as members of the armed forces they would get in real trouble.
Otherwise a good story. Little old ladies are adorable.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 8:49 AM on October 19, 2005


He probably meant "I firmly believe, and would hazard a guess that there was loitering, trespassing, and/or blocking the entrance violations." But that isn't what he said. Words mean things. Lawyers of all people should know this.
posted by odinsdream at 10:45 AM CST on October 19


So in other words, you understand what I meant, and you aware that I don't know any more than you do because the article is silent on it, but you feel it necessary to try to make some insipid point regarding my word choice and try to score a point against me. Am I understanding your correctly?
posted by dios at 8:49 AM on October 19, 2005


Like caddis, I assumed from the article that they showed up looking to get arrested. The FPP characterized the story as funny, and it was. A lot of us may have been cheering them on, but I don't think anyone was up in arms over some perceived persecution until dios' comment.
posted by brundlefly at 8:50 AM on October 19, 2005


You mean disorderly conduct.
posted by odinsdream at 8:50 AM on October 19, 2005


Here is the NY Statute on disorderly conduct:
240.20 Disorderly conduct.
A person is guilty of disorderly conduct when, with intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof:
1. He engages in fighting or in violent, tumultuous or threatening behavior; or
2. He makes unreasonable noise; or
3. In a public place, he uses abusive or obscene language, or makes an obscene gesture; or
4. Without lawful authority, he disturbs any lawful assembly or meeting of persons; or
5. He obstructs vehicular or pedestrian traffic; or
6. He congregates with other persons in a public place and refuses to comply with a lawful order of the police to disperse; or
7. He creates a hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act which serves no legitimate purpose.

So apparently, they were arrested for either sitting down in front of the doors of the recruiting office (section 5 of the ordinance) or not complying with police requests to disperse. Fair enough. From what I've read, it appears the grannies had absolutely no problem with being arrested.
posted by Chrischris at 8:51 AM on October 19, 2005


Is anyone here actually interested in a discussion? Or is the only goal to insult me?

Can I be honest and say both? =)
posted by stenseng at 8:52 AM on October 19, 2005


You are understanding me just fine. When you say something that's wrong, I'm going to make note of it, publically. When you say things like "Is it that they should be able to do whatever they want because they are old? Or is it that since they are protesting a war we don't like they should be able to do whatever they want?"

Where "whatever they want" is hyperbole, just like "But I am sure".

You're using words incorrectly, and you're relying on the fact that people will interpret them incorrectly to support your point. Nobody wants grandmothers to be able to do "whatever they want," most of us just want grandmothers (and everyone else) to be allowed to peaceably assemble and protest without being arrested on some obscure law like "can't sit on the sidewalk for more than 2 hours at a time" that nobody knew was on the books before that day, or even worse, something as vague as "disorderly conduct." This is distinctly different than "whatever they want," and you know it, yet you refuse to use accurate language.
posted by odinsdream at 8:55 AM on October 19, 2005


It is not a license to break law. It never has been. You can say whatever you want politically within the constraints of the law.

For the sake of argument (and I mean that literally--I'm not granting you this point generally, it just doesn't have any bearing on my counter-argument), let's say I grant your points regarding time, place, manner restrictions (which for all I know are an historical result of the judicial branch overreaching its authority in the first place), my point is this: What does it mean to protect the "content" of political expression while allowing so many de facto restrictions on the act of political expression itself? I think we've seen a steady erosion over the years of the concept of public space in deference to the interests of the private sector and governmental authority, and it's finally reached a point at which we have in practical terms very few remaining avenues for political expression with any potential to meaningfully impact public discourse. So, effectively, what your arguing is that the bill of rights only grants the right to nurse private grudges, not to petition publicly for the redress of grievances. It seems your conception of political expression is purely academic: In theory, you have the right to express a political view, but that doesn't mean the government has any role to play in ensuring you're free to do so--in fact, it can play an active role in discouraging political expression, when it serves its own political interests. How is such a wispy, theoretical construction of the right to political expression at all meaningful in practice? What does it mean to say the content of my speech is protected, but I'm not guaranteed the right to any particular vehicle of political expression, which I think is a fair characterization of your position based on your previous comments in this thread?
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 8:56 AM on October 19, 2005


Maybe the grannies should have found a barbed-wire-rimmed "free speech zone" instead.
posted by brundlefly at 8:59 AM on October 19, 2005


What does it mean to protect the "content" of political expression while allowing so many de facto restrictions on the act of political expression itself?

Very nice, a-sed. An excellent explanation and question.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:04 AM on October 19, 2005


Dios: Am I right in reading your earlier post on civil disobedience, “The "getting arrested" part is the key part" that compliance with the law during protest somehow diminishes the impact of the protest? This isn’t meant to be insulting, just a clarification of an interesting point. I’m getting the impression that filing the appropriate permits, following all matters of law inevitably makes the message impotent. But if you get thrown in the slammer, well then you’re making a point.
posted by pathighgate at 9:13 AM on October 19, 2005


Is anyone here actually interested in a discussion? Or is the only goal to insult me?
posted by dios at 11:33 AM EST on October 19 [!]


Any reason why we can't do both?

Ha! Dios the troll has ruined another thread (although this one wasn't much to start with). When will you people learn? Dios' posts are without any merit whatever. He picks and chooses what he responds to and becomes (IMO) willfully obtuse whenever his points are civilly and rationally countered. Ignore him or suffer the consequences.
posted by a_day_late at 9:14 AM on October 19, 2005


The discussion whether the arrest was in order aside - is it mandatory for US police to use handcuffs in an arrest (as I know it, the legal act of arrest has nothing to do with the application of actual physical restriction if the subject complies and poses no threat)?

Sounds snarky, but I'm really genuinely interested, because I've read similar stuff about arresting children, etc., who posed no threat at all.
posted by uncle harold at 9:18 AM on October 19, 2005


pathighghate: You're assuming protest is automatically civil disobedience. If you go to a protest march that has a permit, and you don't break the law, that isn't civil disobedience. It's just protesting.

Civil disobedience is, by definition, breaking the law in order to make a political point.
posted by brundlefly at 9:27 AM on October 19, 2005


Ha! Dios the troll has ruined another thread (although this one wasn't much to start with). When will you people learn? Dios' posts are without any merit whatever. He picks and chooses what he responds to and becomes (IMO) willfully obtuse whenever his points are civilly and rationally countered. Ignore him or suffer the consequences.

That's just total BS. Just because dios has a different viewpoint does not mean he's trolling. Why are you guys so obsessed with trying to tear down dios in every single thread he participates in? It's the dios haters that have ruined this thread, not that the FPP was that good in the first place.
posted by gyc at 9:42 AM on October 19, 2005


A_day_late's post was worthless and you should take it to MeTa, gyc.

But with respect to the matter at hand, I am very interested in any rebuttals or answer's to a-sed's kickass post.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:45 AM on October 19, 2005


Oh my god: answers, not answer's; I suck.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:46 AM on October 19, 2005


Just as a question, does every assembly of people protesting anything in the US need a permit, no matter how many they are and where, or is it only something required of protests above a certain number of participants? Or is everyone allowed to gather for protest without permits but then the police can come and decide it's not ok and disperse/arrest them? How does it work?
posted by funambulist at 9:59 AM on October 19, 2005


The article said they sat down on the sidewalk in front of the recruiting office. Assuming the article is accurate, I'd say it's prety clear that they had "intent to cause public inconvenience", they likely "obstruct[ed] vehicular or pedestrian traffic" and may have "refus[ed] to comply with a lawful order of the police to disperse". (thanks to Chrischris for finding that reference).

Your conflation of civil disobedience with peaceful protest is shockingly stupid. - Optimus Chyme

You need to read up on the concept of civil disobedience. The "getting arrested" part is the key part. - dios

Look past who is saying it, and realize that sometimes even the people you disagree with can be right about some things. Dios and O.C. are absolutely correct that there is a difference between peaceful lawful assembly and civil disobedience.

The point of civil disobedience has usually been to get arrested to try and draw attention to the cause. Often protesting groups that plan to take part in civil disobedience have very carefully studied the laws to see how they can cause the most inconvience while committing the fewest and least serious crimes.

Example: A group is protesting logging in a certain area. If they arranged to carry signs around and walk back and forth across the logging road forcing the trucks to stop briefly then allowing them to continue and chanting slogans, that is a protest that is NOT civil disobedience.

If instead, they organize to sit in a group, arms linked together across the logging road to stop the logging trucks. They are disrupting vehicular traffic. The police arrive and order them to disperse. They stay were they are. The police begin picking them up to handcuff them and arrest them for disorderly conduct. The protesters do not attempt to fight the officers, nor do them attempt to help the officers get them off the road. It's a peaceful protest, but it's still unlawful conduct. This is civil disobedience. The protesters knew that they would sit there until they got arrested.

It seems to me this is exactly what the Grannies in this story were doing. The didn't damage property or fight with the cops because that would result in more serious charges, and it would stop being peaceful. I imagine it was important to them that their protest remain peaceful.
posted by raedyn at 10:01 AM on October 19, 2005


One weird thing that stuck out for me was dios' use of the word "insurrection". In my experience, that's another way to say "revolution" which is a pretty strong term to stick on a civil protest action when there were no weapons present.

It's an usual word in this day and age. Just seems like it might be a window into how he feels about this kind of thing. Which is also a window that reveals why so many people are utterly insane in their hatred of him.
posted by Irontom at 10:06 AM on October 19, 2005


Very nice, a-sed. An excellent explanation and question.

Thanks Optimus; I just thought it had to be asked...
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 10:28 AM on October 19, 2005


raedyn, that's all well and true in general (the difference between protest and disobedience) but looking at the actions of this case, you have:
- tried to enter the station, they found it locked
- ring the bell at the booth, but no one answered
- sat down in front of the Times Square recruiting station and began to chant, "We insist, we want to enlist."

Which part is disorderly conduct or anything worth of instant arrest?

Ok so it's not like an organised demonstration. But it's also nothing like trying to stop trucks. It's more like your example A. I don't know, I just don't see the disruption and the civil disobedience part. It doesn't just sound peaceful, it also sounds extremely weak as far as protests go.

(And again, which kind of protests require a permit?)
posted by funambulist at 10:36 AM on October 19, 2005


Arbitrary ones.
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:38 AM on October 19, 2005


Something else worth questioning:

""refus[ed] to comply with a lawful order of the police to disperse"

What is a "lawful order," exactly? Clearly, the sentence does not mean that police can come to my office and ask me and my coworkers to disperse for no reason, otherwise it wouldn't include the specific word "lawful."

What makes an order to disperse lawful, then, instead of just one human asking another human to do something?
posted by odinsdream at 10:43 AM on October 19, 2005


Which part is disorderly conduct or anything worth of instant arrest? - funabmbulist

I think there's two parts to that question:

1) Which part is disorderly conduct?
Having not been there, I can't say for sure which piece of the legislation they were arrested under. But looking at the legislation:
A person is guilty of disorderly conduct when, with intent to cause public inconvenience ...
5. He obstructs vehicular or pedestrian traffic
I think it's reasonable to speculate that when they sat down in front of the recruitment center they likely obstructed traffic. The article also doesn't state if the police ordered them to disperse and if they complied or not. This could also be the piece they were arrested under.

2)Is this worthy of instant arrest?
Well, it breaks the law, so they were arrested. The police did their job. No one should be surprized that the police enforced the law as they currently stand. If there's a problem with how the laws or written, the laws themselves should be corrected, instead of shitting on the police who are paid to enforce them.

What makes an order to disperse lawful, then, instead of just one human asking another human to do something? - odinsdream

I don't know. I'm also curious of the answer. Does anyone here know? Dios, you're a lawyer, right? Can you explain? (Maybe it varies from state to state, but you could give us a general idea better than I could.)
posted by raedyn at 11:33 AM on October 19, 2005


What makes an order to disperse lawful, then, instead of just one human asking another human to do something? - odinsdream
I am also very curious, because it seems to me that the NY statute (to use an ordinance close at hand), by specifically stating that their must be ...a lawful order of the police to disperse, implies that there are situations wherein it it unlawful for the police to issue such an order. What statute defines this, and how--given that failure to comply with a police request is almost always grounds for detainment and often arrest--does (if it exists) such a law work (other than ex post facto)?
posted by Chrischris at 11:59 AM on October 19, 2005


Dios, you're a lawyer, right? Can you explain?

I'm pretty sure he's done with this thread.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 12:02 PM on October 19, 2005


loitering, trespassing, and/or blocking the entrance violations

i really doubt this guy is a lawyer. i think he just plays one on metafilter. and badly. loitering has been struck down just about everywhere. criminal trespass requires a prior warning most places. a blocked entrance violation wouldn't pass muster in front of a locked door. he says he's not sure why they were arrested, but he's all too ready to say they did break the law.

these grannies were put in handcuffs for singing. sad day.
posted by 3.2.3 at 12:07 PM on October 19, 2005


i really doubt this guy is a lawyer. i think he just plays one on metafilter.

I agree. There are just to many factual problems with his legal-themed posts that laypersons and lawyers alike can easily take apart.
posted by Rothko at 12:19 PM on October 19, 2005


raedyn, I wasn't "shitting on the police" and I'm not arguing about what people should or shouldn't be able to do in principle or based on constitutional rights or whatnot, I just don't know how laws work specifically in the US about this kind of thing, and that's why I was asking.

So by that definition of "disorderly conduct" the act of sitting down on a sidewalk may be considered as obstruction of pedestrian traffic which is worthy of arrest. Ok.

I guess that doesn't apply to the people who queue outside stores for the latest ipod or harry potter?

It just sounds a little arbitrary, you know. I'm wondering what are the criteria to consider an act one of disorderly conduct, if it's the act itself, or its intentions.
posted by funambulist at 12:28 PM on October 19, 2005


I wasn't "shitting on the police" - funambulist

I didn't intend to imply that you were. I'm sorry I didn't make that more clear. Some people do react to this sort of story by railing at the police, but that certainly hasn't been what you've said in this thread.

It just sounds a little arbitrary, you know. - funambulist

I agree. And it's my sense that it IS fairly arbitrary when laws are enforced or not. There seems to be a fair amount of leeway for the judgement of the individual officers involved. How often do police clock someone as driving over the speedlimit and not give a ticket? I think there's some good reasons for allowing a level of judgement to come into play. If the police spent all their time on every little violation of some code or other, they'd be so swamped they couldn't get to so many of the worst violations. But anytime judgement is involved, there is the possibility for disagreement with those decsions.

As to your question about what sort of assembly requires a permit: I don't know the answer. I'm not American either, and I don't even know the answer in my own country. Anyone?
posted by raedyn at 1:29 PM on October 19, 2005


Irontom, dios was talking about the Boston tea party. Read the quote he was referring to.
posted by Snyder at 1:46 PM on October 19, 2005


Yeah, that was just looney thinking that what happened at the Boston Tea Party was or should have been in any way legal. The participants took a huge risk and that is part of what makes it such a compelling story even many years later.

By the way, this thread is being discussed in MeTa.
posted by caddis at 2:09 PM on October 19, 2005


GILFs.
posted by bardic at 3:52 PM on October 19, 2005


You know what makes me laugh? These grannies were arrested by Ray's goons at the same place which, on a daily basis, has countless counterfeit dealers, the Black Israelites and the Naked Singing Cowboy crowding the sidewalk.

If you think they were actually "causing a disturbance" (WTF? in Times Square?) you've never lived in the New York area and therefore don't know what the fuck you're talking about.
posted by clevershark at 6:57 PM on October 19, 2005


wow. clevershark makes an excellent point here...
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 7:27 PM on October 19, 2005


raedyn: but you see, driving over the speed limits is a clear violation, whether police stop you or not. There is no room for disagreement with police who stop someone who's speeding.

18 people on a sidewalk? in a city centre? not quite the same thing. In that case, it looks like it's *all* up to the police's arbitrary decision.

I mean, ok, by sitting you obstruct passage more than by standing, but really, I don't see police intervention with handcuffs if those 18 people had been waiting for a store to open or something like that. I mean, you get people camping with sleeping bags overnight to queue for a product or show ticket or whatever. I've never heard of arrests in those cases.

It's hard to argue the intervention wasn't because of the political intent.
posted by funambulist at 12:48 AM on October 20, 2005


And to clarify: my point is that it's not clear at all (to me at least) that this is an act of civil disobedience. Civil disobedience is purposefully violating laws to get arrested to make your political point.

The kind of stuff I'm used to thinking of as civil disobedience is stuff like squatting, occupying schools or universities, stopping trains, interrupting a parliamentary session, throwing fire bombs at police, breaking shop windows... From milder to stronger violations, it's a lot heavier stuff than sitting on a sidewalk. Even the classic sit-ins of the sixties were supposed to be a lot more disruptive than that.

What happened here is not such a big deal - "the police were very nice" - but as a principle, I don't get how this can be seen as actual civil disobedience rather than a very weak form of something that isn't really picketing, isn't really a street protest, but sounds closer to that than anything else.
posted by funambulist at 2:22 AM on October 20, 2005


Wow - apparently italicized quotes were invisible to me yesterday. Sorry about that.
posted by Irontom at 3:30 AM on October 20, 2005


The article said that the name of the 90 year old was Marie Runyon. Perhaps I'm wrong, but isn't she a well known political activist?
posted by barkingpumpkin at 7:32 AM on October 20, 2005


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