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At around 7:30 p.m. on December 29, San Diego Police officers raided the Occupy San Diego general assembly of approximately 25 people at the Civic Center Plaza and arrested three protestors.

A witness identified the arrestees as Hex, “British Will," and Matt Snell.

In the following video, the cameraman can be heard repeatedly asking officers why participants of the general assembly were being arrested.

After ignoring the inquiry multiple times, SDPD Sgt. Joseph Steffen said, “I don’t see why that concerns you.”

Later, Officer Steffen said the arrests were for “Encroachment.”

Municipal Code 54.0110 (Encroachment) reads:

"It is unlawful for any person to erect, place, allow to remain, construct, establish, plan or maintain any vegetation or object on any public street, alley, sidewalk, highway, or other property or public right-of-way, except as otherwise provided by this Code."

The cameraman can be heard asking Steffen several times whose orders he was following to disperse the general assembly.

Steffen eventually responded, “I was hearing voices and the voices told me.”

A man was then arrested apparently under suspicion of being drunk in public (though Steffen's sobriety was never debated).

Steffen told protesters watching the arrest, “If you use profanity, I’m going to arrest you.”

Protesters asked for a legal definition of profanity, to which Steffen responded, “Go home and ask your mom and dad, because they should have told you when you were, like, ten.”

An officer confiscated a box of about 1000 fliers from protester Mike Garcia.

“I told him he could have as many as he likes,” Garcia said when other protesters asked why his personal property was being taken.

Occupiers read the police the declaration of the occupation in a call and response “mic check” and resumed the general assembly.

Watch Occupy San Diego live.


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SurfPuppy619 Dec. 30, 2011 @ 7:43 p.m.

The cop is a jerk, but the cop does NOT need to know the exact code section. He will need to know it if he arrests someone.

But in a way I think the OSD guy was being argumenative with the cop-and the cop hadnled it very poorly. This cop is why you don't hire GED cops, if he had better communication skills he could have got his point across without being sarcastic and demenaing to the OSD guy.


SurfPuppy619 Dec. 30, 2011 @ 7:52 p.m.

I must admit, this is serious civil disobediance at its best, very confrontational, at least in the verbal words............


xians421 Dec. 30, 2011 @ 10:11 p.m.

The pigs have completely exhausted all reasonable reasons to arrest anyone. Because of this, they arrest people for no reason whatsoever and call it 'encroachment' or 'illegal lodging'. Laws that were written for dumpsters in alleys and homeless sleeping in parks, respectively. These laws are being selectively enforced, as there are unaccosted homeless sleeping 24/7 less than 100 yards from Civic Center.

Just imagine if these thugs had stayed in school. They could get jobs much better suited to their sadistic tendencies, like Dentistry or golf course design.


philosopher3000 Dec. 30, 2011 @ 11:37 p.m.

This is sick. The police are using 'encroachment' to arrest people when they put their signs down to have a general meeting. They are actively breaking up a public assembly, harassing protesters, confiscating press materials, and threatening protesters with arrest. These actions are a violation of 1st Amendment rights, and an obvious abuse of police powers, they are misusing the municipal codes and this should not be allowed to continue. We need to sue the City and bring this recording to court. Get an injunction preventing the police from harassing occupy protesters, and set up a trust fund to educate people about their rights and the law.

Please contact the City Citizen's Review Board, and document your complaint. http://www.sandiego.gov/citizensreviewboard/pdf/complaint.pdf http://www.sandiego.gov/citizensreviewboard/filing/complaint.shtml ...
If you are arrested, here is the # for the NLG: 1 619-500 4486


SurfPuppy619 Dec. 30, 2011 @ 11:55 p.m.

4.This is sick. The police are using 'encroachment' to arrest people when they put their signs down to have a general meeting. They are actively breaking up a public assembly, harassing protesters, confiscating press materials, and threatening protesters with arrest. == Then go down to 880 Front Street tomorrow monring and file for an emergency injunction against the cops. That will end their harrassment and violations.


bryan Dec. 31, 2011 @ 2:25 a.m.

My mother was a concentration camp survivor as such she dealt with the germans, than the americans when they captured the camp, and than the russians when the americans turned it over to them.

I'd have to say, in her opinion, this officer is no better than the germans, nor the americans that took over the camp.

So I expect she would have been a bit profane for her in this officers face........... She had little patience for hypocrites....


SurfPuppy619 Dec. 31, 2011 @ 9:11 a.m.

So am I reading you right when you say the Americans who freed your mother from a concentration camp are no better than the Germans who ran it?


Ponzi Dec. 31, 2011 @ 9:18 a.m.

At least we are back to calling them "pigs" again. If they behave like pigs, they should be called pigs in public. In the 60's a lot of cops behaved like pigs and that's when they were called pigs.

First of all they work for us. They are supposed to uphold the constitution. Of course these pigs are just doing their job. There is some senior pig telling them to go out and harass the protesters.

There is something seriously wrong with arming uneducated pigs with lethal weapons. I feel that something dreadful is going to happen if the pigs are allowed to continue their nightly raids on peaceful protests.


TerrieBest Dec. 31, 2011 @ 10:24 a.m.

Awesome video. The cameraman risked his freedom to document this abuse of power. Thank you for posting it.


nan shartel Dec. 31, 2011 @ 11:25 a.m.

u r so kool Chad!!!

keep on keeping on!!!


libertathiest Dec. 31, 2011 @ 1:17 p.m.

It would certainly be the ultimate in civil disobedience if everyone arrested did NOT take the plea, and instead insisted in a trial. This way you flood the court calendar.

The possible downside is the government court employees might find this as "job creation." That's a common term Todd Gloria uses. He might be of assistance in that field.


SurfPuppy619 Dec. 31, 2011 @ 5:49 p.m.

11.It would certainly be the ultimate in civil disobedience if everyone arrested did NOT take the plea, and instead insisted in a trial. This way you flood the court calendar. == NEVER, EVER take a plea deal on a misdemeanor accusation if you're not guilty, in felony trials where long jail terms are involved it could be worth it to take a plea even if you're innocent. But NEVER on a misdemeanor. Invoke your right to a speedy trial, within 45 days if you're out of custody- 30 days if you're in custody (misdemenaors) and tell it to a jury.

In CA (lucky for us) all citizens in this state are guaranteed a right to a jury trial in all misdemeanor cases(and felony criminal cases but not on infractions though) under the CA Constitution. Even if there is no jail time involved, which is a much stronger protectiion than the US Constitution where you are only entitled to a jury trial in cases where the term of confinement is in excess of 6 months, I LOVE CA!!!!!!!


Fred Williams Jan. 1, 2012 @ 11:12 p.m.

At what point does it become moral and ethical to confront this kind of official violence in kind?

I spent four years in our military (84-88) to be part of the fight against totalitarianism and governments that persecute their own citizens merely for daring to disagree. I was willing to fight, kill, and die for this.

Today it's not the commies who are throwing people in jail for the "crime" of disagreeing with the government, but my own country.

Today we celebrate the brave few who fought against the official lies, abuse, and illegal behavior by police under repressive communist regimes. The world's leaders praised Vaclav Havel for his bravery in defying the illegal and corrupt regime of his country.

Tomorrow will we celebrate the ones who dare to stand up to official thugs like Sergeant Steffen, and are arrested, charged, and persecuted for daring to exercise their rights?

One thing is clear to me...as long as ignorant, abusive, arrogant, and out of control cops like Steffen are on the SDPD, they deserve zero respect and cooperation from the citizens of the city.

So again, at what point is it moral and ethical to respond in kind to this kind of abuse of official power? It's clear to me that Sargeant Steffen is hiding behind his badge, deliberately breaking the law (false arrests under the color of the law for non-existent infractions) in an attempt to provoke and thereby justify his outrageous behavior.

Sargeant Steffen should be in jail, or at best pumping gas for minimum wage. That this goon still wears a SDPD badge is a disgrace to our city.

Fred Williams (former member, San Diego Crime Commission)


Visduh Jan. 3, 2012 @ 8:40 p.m.

Far too many of those who wear the uniform of the SDPD are a disgrace to the city. Sadly, the city is a disgrace to the people who reside or toil within its boundaries. So the PD isn't really a disgrace at all; rather it is a reflection on the depths to which the city has fallen. I am so happy I neither reside or work in, and only seldom visit, "America's Finest City." Somewhere along the line, it exchanged the word "city" for "cesspool."


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