Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Selling Lemonade in America: A Criminal Offense

On August 20th 2011, Will Duffield, Meg Mclain, and I were hand cuffed, kidnapped, loaded into a van, chained to a wall for hours, and taunted by armed men and women in blue uniforms for selling lemonade at 10 cents a cup on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol.

I knew there was a possibility of arrest for our action of free trade on the capitol lawn, but the physical implications of arrest were something I had not expected. I was initially handcuffed by what looked like a 6 foot 6 linebacker with metal cuffs. The officer held tight onto my hands and would not let me even wiggle my fingers. The officer immediately began taunting me, and tried to turn me against my friends by telling me “All your friends are using you as a pawn, they are walking around with video cameras and you 3 are the ones in handcuffs” to which I replied “Dont you dare try to turn me against my friends, YOU are the one that has me in handcuffs.” After several more baffling comments he realized his attempt of duping me into a state of Stockholm syndrome had failed. The three of us were loaded into the van that had no air conditioner. My hands were behind my back, I had no way to push my hair out of my eyes or wipe the sweat from my face.



Once we arrived at the station Will Duffield was taken into the station for processing, leaving Meg and I in the van with no flowing air or air conditioning, and no idea how long we would be in the van. I asked the officers to please loosen my cuffs because they were slicing into my skin. To this they mocked me and told me “You should have thought of that before you were arrested” They kept looking through the window at Meg and I laughing about how they were going to keep us in jail all weekend,and happily repeating “you have just ruined the rest of your lives” Next Meg was taken in for processing leaving me alone in the heat filled van for several additional minutes. Finally an officer came into the van, unfastened my seatbelt, and took me into the station, where I was placed on a hard wood bench while I waited to be processed. Again, I asked the officers repeatedly to loosen my cuffs. While sitting on a bench a female cop kept yelling at me from the other room mocking me with statements such as, “your parents must be so proud of you” telling me that I am a shame to my family, and that I have ruined my life. She gleefully said that she would gladly arrest people like me all day long.



Finally it was my turn to go through initial processing. All I could think about was getting the cuffs off my hands. The same female cop who had just mocked me was the one who did my initial processing. She asked me If i had any scars or tattoos to which I replied “only the scars from the handcuffs” Finally my handcuffs were removed to reveal deep red indentions in my skin, upon seeing this the officer said it was my fault because I didnt ask the officers to loosen my cuffs. WTH? She had me place my hands on a metal bar and began groping my entire body including my breasts and vagina. At this point I felt extremely violated, how did selling lemonade somehow make me deserving of physical molestation? How did it make me un deserving of basic human decency? The officer then made me take off all jewelery, I obliged but stopped when she told me to take off my ring. It was my grandmothers ring that I had worn every day of my life since the day my grandmother died when I was 10. I begged her to let me keep it on. I said “please just let me keep this ring on, it is my most prized possession, I never take it off, I don’t know what you are going to do with it.” This was the only point of the day where I became emotional, my eyes started brimming with tears. I explained to them I would not sell the ring for a million dollars, please just let me keep it on what will it hurt? To this she seemed joyous, and exclaimed “ I hope you are kidding” and “You should have thought of that before you were arrested” Again, as though I should have expected selling lemonade for 10 cents would make me un deserving of basic human decency. My ring was removed and I was taken into a a small square room and chained to a wall, where I would remain chained for the next 4 hours.

A series of officers came in and out of the room asking me various questions about myself, my family, and our “group”. The officers wanted to know my associations, where I was from and a series of other questions. An hour or so later an investigator came in and said they had been anticipating us. He told me he had been on the www.lemonadefreedom.com website, and had also been watching us on livestream even before we were arrested. The officers kept repeating “if you had just sold somewhere else, you could have sold lemonade all day long” or “if you just gave it away instead of charging, you wouldnt be here right now” or “if you had just gotten a permit, this could have all been avoided” Clearly they are incapable of grasping the point.



Do they think we needed the 10cents? Of course not, the very reason why we charged, was because it was “illegal” to sell. We were protesting an unjust law. People wonder why there is homelessness in America, why the unemployment rate is so high, It is because the simple act of buying and selling in America is a criminal offense. You have a God given right to barter, buy and sell, and take control of your own livelihood. If you get a permit, you are waiving your right and asking permission.Why would we ask permission for something that is a fundamental right? if you don't want to be slave, you have to assert your right. If something as simple as buying and selling is “legal” then why do we need a “permit” (permission) to do it?



As to the objection, we should have just “done it somewhere else”...my question is why? We were on public property. Property paid for with our own tax dollars. People say that if they allowed vending near the capitol then there would be tons of vendors all around the capitol, my response to that is “so what?” We had a huge line of thirsty people wanting lemonade, clearly people would like vendors near or on capitol grounds, thus adding to the enjoyment of tourists, and providing a livelihood for vendors. I am glad we did this on capitol grounds. It exposed in broad day light what happens in silence every day. Curious and excited children who want to be productive and learn the value of a dollar and the basics of entrepreneurship are told they are criminals, law breakers, and punished for their vision and imagination. I dont want to live in an America like that, I dont want to live where a child is told to go inside, that they can not make a difference in the world, that their ideas are “wrong” and to go back to playing video games. To this I say “No”. Good people disobey bad laws.



I was then told each Meg, Will, and I were being charged with 3 misdemeanors.



- Unlawful Conduct

- Failure to obey

- Vending without a permit



After the paperwork was filled out, I was placed in a room where pictures were taken from every side of my face, and each of my fingers were scanned into a system where they will remain for the rest of my life. After providing references and getting my thumbs printed onto my documents, I was told to wash my hands, my belongings (including my grandmother’s ring) were returned to me, and I was released from the building. Meg, Will, and I reunited outside of the police station, to find that a call launch was made by our friends demanding for our release. That a group had been standing outside of the police station for 45 minutes. I was overwhelmed with love and support. I couldnt believe there were so many people who cared about our well being. To everyone who called the station, and to all those who gave support and demanded our release, I say thank you, To be treated with such kindness and thoughtfulness was overwhelming.



Our court date is October 4th 2011, I hope as many of you as possible can come and show your support as Meg, Will, and I face our captors once again. Mostly I would like to thank Robert Fernandez who did not let the crushing of children’s dream happen without an uproar. Also each of the children who defied the police and purchased a cup of lemonade deserve to be commended. It was the children who were the most courageous. They had not yet been brainwashed to fear that which is not scary. Their instincts of natural rights had not yet been deluded. To me that is beautiful and inspirational. We should all hold on to those instincts and inherent rights and assert ourselves as free people, just as those children did on August 20th 2011 as shown below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04MNf1YdNxI


As for the cops who said I am a shame to my family, last night I got a call from my father, after I said hello, he goes “Well, I just saw you on the news..” ...I held my breath as I anticipated a long lecture about the long term implications of my actions, but instead after the pause my father replied “I’m proud of you”.

12 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry about how you were treated. It disgusts me to hear stories about how badly innocent people are treated by cops. How did the court date go? I just found out about your blog from your YouTube video called "Why I Do Not Support the Troops." I agree 100% with you. I even posted your video on my blog with a few personal comments.

    Take care and keep up the good fight.

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  2. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

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  3. Wow. So let me get this straight; you believe that it should be OK to break the law? What kind of message is that to say? Even at the beginning of your post, you write that there was a possibility that you could get arrested. Therefore, you knew that what you were doing was wrong and illegal, yet you did it anyway to make a point. Hmmm, but when a soldier accidentally does something that causes a mistake, he is a serial killer. So you break laws on purpose while you bash troops for doing their job. Sounds like typical uneducated logic to me.

    You might say that killing someone is far worse than selling lemonade, but who are you to decide that. Seeing as how you claim to be this ultra Christian, aren't you forced to believe that all sins are equal. Just because man has put a hierarchy of crimes doesn't mean that you can do that spiritually. Since you believe in God, you are presuming that you know what God thinks is bad. Therefore you are a blasphemer.

    I just wish people like you used facts instead of regurgitating the same shit you here from other people. That is called hearsay. It holds about as much weight as a feather.

    And Arizona Atheist, why don't you grow an opinion of your own? Your entire comment said nothing of value. So you agree with her 100%? That is a bold thing to say. I am sure, like most people of your caliber, that you just casually wrote that to make Kassie feel good. Well, by saying that, you are also saying that you:

    1. Support the Germans attempted genocide of the Jewish people.
    2. The U.S. fighting and winning two World Wars.
    3. Defending our borders from smugglers and drug cartels.

    That is just to name a few. You believe in these things because you said it with your own mouth. How you ask? The troops stopped the Germans from slaughtering Jews. Kassie does not agree with ANYTHING the troops do. Therefore,by the law of the transitive property, the stopping of the Jewish genocide is against what you and Kassie believe in. Fucking Nazi propagandists. You all should be ashamed. If you don't support the troops, then fine, but at least provide real, valid reasons.

    http://www.realmenhavespoken.com/2011/11/if-you-dont-support-troops-fuck-you.html

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  4. I hope all that effort to make a point made one. The point I got was breaking the law will get you punished. That is something I learned since I was 2. Thanks for wasting your life to make such a mundane point.

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  5. Oh sweetie, you were "loaded into the van that had no air conditioner. My hands were behind my back, I had no way to push my hair out of my eyes or wipe the sweat from my face." Can you say first world problems? POW's in Afghanistan and Iraq are physically tortured everyday, and you're complaining about a hot van? My CAR has no air conditioning, and I'm in it for 30 minutes everyday. So, boo-freaking-hoo for you, you couldn't push your hair out of your eyes.
    You also knew what you were doing was illegal, and you're upset that you got arrested? Instead of complaining about how tight the cuffs were, you should have been thinking about how to fix the situation you were in. I'm also sure half of that post was complete libel. I don't think the officers taunted you as much as you imagined it.
    Oh, and "captors"? BS.

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  6. Look at you and you first world problems. OH NO, NO AIR CONDITIONING!

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  7. Arizona Atheist claims this is police brutality? Being arrested for breaking the law isn't police brutality. I doubt she was even grasped firmly. It just goes to show how delusional he is too. They should marry each other and live happily ever after.

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  8. So... to protest a law that you think is unjust... you broke that law. Bravo. you, miss are a moral crusader. It's Gandhi, Dr King and then you.
    Imagine your surprise when you were arrested for breaking the law. And do understand, you were Arrested and not "Kidnapped" as you so alarmingly put it.

    Let me explain a couple of these horrible injustices you experienced, if I may.

    First: You went through in processing. Everyone from drunk drivers, kids caught with a bag of marijuana right up to multiple murderers go through the same exact processing. Pictures, Finger Printing, detainment, questioning etc. You describe it as though you were repeatedly waterboarded.

    Second: The "Groping" by a female officer? That's called a search. Once again, standard procedure because they're not going to just assume you're not hiding something on your person because you're a dirty lemonaid seller and not a hardened, tattooed criminal. Fair and Equal treatment.

    My favorite part is the implication that somehow your friends are the ones that secured your release. You were charged with Misdemeanor crimes. Generally, the maximum punishment for a misdemeanor crime would be a year in jail (not Prison, there is a difference). More likely punishments are fines, community service etc. Thus they wouldn't clutter up their jail with someone charged with "Vending without a Permit", it would be a waste of time and money to do so.

    In closing? I wish you all the luck in the world in your personal crusade to make America into some kind of... lawless Theocracy where people hold hands and no one does anything wrong... because Crime, Poverty and War is only a product of the last 200 years due mainly to the creation of the United States Government.

    I hope you find your Utopia, miss.
    More than that, I hope you open your eyes to the real world because right now? You are firmly shutting them to this "Truth" that you so love. Your "Truth" as I see it, is anything that makes you nod your head and get outraged.

    In your profile, you thank me for looking closer. I have done just that and do you know what I see? A Spoiled Child who hides behind her Faith, believing it automatically gives her moral high ground. As a Sailor, you outrage me for the hate you've spewed towards me.
    As an American, you sicken me for perverting the ideals I hold dear.
    As a Christian, I'll pray for you... because you need it.

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  9. *Slow clap initiating*

    Bravo Sean, Bravo. Couldn't have said it better myself.

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  10. Why on earth any society would want to criminalise the selling of lemonade, I've no idea. But then US came up with Prohibition so I suppose nothing should surprise me.

    The American method of arresting people appears to me to be unnecessarily brutal. In the UK, handcuffs would be used only if a prisoner were violent. Recently HM Inspector of Constabulary gave Northumbria Police a dressing down for inappropriate use of handcuffs on prisoners. They would never be used for such a trivial offence as you were arrested for. But then we don't have people pulling out guns on the slightest pretext.

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    Replies
    1. ANother bleeding heart. Boo hoo. She broke the law and got arrested. Boo hoo. She didn't get manhandled and selling lemonade is not illegal. Selling without a permit is, like most civilized places on Earth. So, that whole point is moot. I have been arrested several times and the only time cops get rough is if you do. Of course there have been some cases of brutality, but that can be applied to any group of people.
      Also, cops don;t use handcuffs in England because firearms are outlawed. What kind of stupid country DOESN'T handcuff criminals? I have seen videos of people, after being arrested, pull out a gun and shoot themselves, or others. Hell, I can even send you a link if you don't believe me. The point, handcuffing a criminal is not only the right thing to do, it is also the safest. Sure, a weak person like Kassie poses no real threat, but how do cops know if she has a razor hidden somewhere or something? It isn't a Disney world, people of any gender and age are potential murderers. But I am sure if you were a cop, you would never use cuffs and would always feel safe. Give me a break. Spoken like someone who has avoided confrontation his/her whole life. It appears to me that you are some sort of British, American bashing person like the rest of the world. That is fine because you get the most hate when you are on top.

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