• News Ticker alerts

A 28-year-old man was choked and arrested at around 2:35 this morning on the Civic Center Plaza after police reportedly told him to exit his sleeping bag and sit up, inciting accusations of police brutality from onlookers.

Eyewitness Julie (she declined to provide a last name) reports the events as follows:

“I have been involved with the Occupy San Diego movement since October 7th, 2011. I have not missed a 24 hour period since the beginning of this protest, and I have spent over a dozen nights at the Civic Center. Last night at Civic Center Plaza I witnessed unbelievable brutality committed against a good friend, Bob O’Grady. Thankfully the entire incident was caught on film.

“…around 10:30 or 11:00 P.M I was distraught about the weakened morale of our Occupation and decided to take a stand. I went to the middle of Civic Center Plaza and laid down underneath an American flag next to a protestor sitting on the stairs. At one point I fell asleep and was woken up by a police officer. He said ‘Excuse me ma’am! You have to sit up. That’s it, just sit up.’ His tone was not overly confrontational, and he walked away. I sat for a while, and then a few more protesters showed up, so I laid back down.

“I was in the plaza for about 3 hours, laying down most of the time, and as the night wore on more people came into the Civic Center Plaza. It was the largest group we have had in the Civic Center that late in quite some time. Other people laid down. We sat, we talked about why we were there and future plans for our Occupations. It felt liberating. Police continually walked by and glared at us. At one point a cop car did a quick and deliberate donut in the Civic Center. We ignored it. We felt safe in our group of 8 or 9 protesters.

“At around 2:30AM my friend Robert walked into the Civic Center Plaza. He went about 30 feet away from our group and laid out a sleeping bag. He zipped himself in and stayed still. I was laying down at the time. Within 4 minutes two cops approached him, and told him to get up. He asked why. They didn’t answer. They said he couldn’t be in a sleeping bag, so he unzipped himself and laid on top of it. They said he couldn’t be laying down in a sleeping bag, so he sat up. Then they told him to stand up. He asked why. I continually asked the police what laws he was violating. They would not answer. The other people I was with also asked questions, demanded answers and were given none.

“As Bob was sitting on his sleeping bag in the process of standing up the cops grabbed him and put him under arrest. Three cops had him and he was saying ‘I’m up! I’m up! I’m not resisting!’ when one cop decided to put him in a choke-hold and take him to the ground. The cop choked him for over 30 seconds while he was on the ground, until Bob literally turned blue. We were screaming at the cops telling him to stop. The cop was visibly suffocating Bob and it was absolutely terrifying. It was blatant police brutality, and excessive force. They cops were on top of him crushing him, while one of them choked him for half a minute. There is nothing okay about this. This is on video.

"They continued to hold him on the ground and the pulled him away in handcuffs, holding his arms as high as they could behind his back inflicting the most pain they possibly could on him. He screamed in pain, and told the cops they were hurting him and they did not stop. They walked him over a minute in this painful position, twisting his hands, arms, shoulders and neck.”

Photographer Adam Plantz, who filmed the above YouTube clip, writes, “I took an oath to protect people 15 years ago. Just because I am not active military anymore doesn't mean I can't protect the People still. My weapon now instead of my firearm is my camera. I have been volunteering my time at the San Diego Civic Center Plaza with the Occupy San Diego movement constantly since I heard about the police raid on the occupiers on October 28, 2011.

“After a successful day celebrating Veteran’s Day with Occupy San Diego, me and several others congregated in the plaza to sit and enjoy conversation underneath the United States flag… At about 2:45 a.m., Bob O’Grady was arrested in the San Diego Civic Center Plaza for laying inside of his sleeping bag to stay warm. SDPD used excessive force to apprehend Bob. An unnamed SDPD officer is caught on video using a choking technique I never knew was legal in the continuum of force ladder.”

After being apprehended by police, O’Grady was found to be in possession of narcotics without a prescription and was arrested.

O’Grady’s $5000 bail has been posted with donated money.

On Tuesday, attorneys representing Occupy San Diego held a press conference at the Civic Center Plaza to announce their intention to file a request on Friday for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against the City of San Diego and the San Diego Police Department for violating the First Amendment rights of protestors.

The spokespersons called the city ordinance — San Diego Municipal Code Section 54.0110 (Encroachment), which allows police to selectively cite persons placing any item on public property — unconstitutional.

  • News Ticker alerts


angellike Nov. 13, 2011 @ 12:13 a.m.


LAW Enforcement Code of Ethics USE THEM Primary Responsibility as a Police Officer: A police officer acts as an officialrepresentative of government who is required and trusted to work within the law. The officer's powers and duties are conferred by statute.

The fundamental duties of a police officer include serving the community; safeguarding lives and property; protecting the innocent; keeping the peace; and ensuring the rights of all to liberty, equality, and justice.

Performance of the Duties of a Police Officer: A police officer shall perform all duties impartially; without favor or affection or ill will; and without regard to status, sex, race, religion, political belief, or aspiration. All citizens will be treated equally with courtesy, consideration, and dignity. Officers will never allow personal feelings, animosity, or friendships to influence official conduct. Laws will be enforced appropriately and courteously and, in carrying out their responsibilities, officers will strive to obtain maximum cooperation from the public. They will conduct themselves in appearance and deportment in such a manner as to inspire confidence and respect for the position of public trust they hold. Discretion: A police officer will responsibly use the discretion vested in the position and exercise it within the law. The principle of reasonableness will guide the officer's determinations and the officer will consider all surrounding circumstances in determining whether any legal action shall be taken.

TO BE CONT'D.........


angellike Nov. 13, 2011 @ 12:18 a.m.

PART 2..............

Consistent and wise use of discretion, based on professional policing competence, will do much to preserve good relationships and retain the confidence of the public. There can be difficulty in choosing between conflicting courses of action. It is important to remember that a timely word of advice which may be correct in appropriate circumstances, rather than arrest, can be a more effective means of achieving a desired end.

Use of Force: A police officer will never employ unnecessary force or violence, and will use only such force in the discharge of duty as is reasonable in all circumstances. While the use of force is occasionally unavoidable, every police officer will refrain from applying the unnecessary infliction of pain or suffering and will never engage in cruel, degrading, or inhuman treatment of any person.

Confidentiality: Whatever a police officer sees, hears, or learns of, which is of a confidential nature, will be kept secret unless the performance of duty or legal provision requires otherwise. Members of the public have a right to security and privacy, and information obtained about them must not be improperly divulged. Integrity: A police officer will not engage in acts of corruption or bribery, nor will an officer condone such acts by other police officers.

The public demands that the integrity of police officers be above reproach. Police officers must, therefore, avoid any conduct that might compromise integrity and thus undercut the public confidence in a law enforcement agency. Officers will refuse to accept any gifts, presents, subscription, favors, gratuities, or promises that could be interpreted as seeking to cause the officer to refrain from performing official responsibilities honestly and within the law. Police officers must not receive private or special advantage from their official duty. Respect from the public cannot be bought; it can only be earned and cultivated.

The YOUNG men that are sent to fight a real war one were innocent blood is shed for the freedom of YOUR every day LIFE is done with more courage than those of you seen in videos will ever have.

When a Veteran ASK YOU TO COMPLY with the US LAWS and you are under oath of the above mentioned.....YOU MR OFFICER.... are the one that should say "YES SIR" You owe them.. You owe US!!


angellike Nov. 13, 2011 @ 12:28 a.m.

I watched this video in horror It is as if the officer walked around taunting and awaiting their prey...Once the few of you had settled in for the cold night ahead. the Cowards moved in for the Kill The COPS were desperately looking for a reason to make an arrest. I bet that SD cops feel that A night downtown with arrest is childs play... I can almost hear their arrogance. Such Cowardly Pork. ...

Seriously. WHY CANT THEY JUST stand and keep peace WHY MUST THEY torment everyone.

A WISE MAN ONCE SAID.......... When the Government fears the people. ...there will be Liberty


watcher2 Nov. 13, 2011 @ 3:41 a.m.

I just saw someone that refused to obey instructions to place his hands in a position for handcuffing,and told the officers expletive you ? With several others inciting with the constant yelling of he's being choked-stop that..Im sorry but i would love to have those officers in my backyard- the bullies with badges were showed remarkable restraint- no comparison to the tragedies of Oakland other protested ocuppy areas.


geomike Nov. 13, 2011 @ 5:54 a.m.

"No, no, no, f--k you," is pretty explicitly resisting arrest. I find it hard to believe that my fellow readers fail to see how the methods used by the police in this situation were both reasonable and less than lethal. In a situation where a suspect is placed under arrest, the officers must restrain the suspect and search him to make sure he does not have anything he could use to harm himself or the officers. Police are trained to restrain the suspect by using minimal force necessary, which can be observed in the video. The vascular neck hold clearly did not obstruct the suspect's airway as he continues to shout and resist arrest following its application. Both that neck hold and the positioning of the suspect's arms behind his back and above his head are designed to prevent him from injuring himself or any law enforcement officer.


SurfPuppy619 Nov. 13, 2011 @ 6:42 p.m.

geomike, a "carotid choke hold" is EXTREMELY dangerous and is never appropriate for this kind of passive resisting arrest, minor in nature where the guy WAS resisting but was no threat to the cops, he was not attacking them, just passivly resisting. A "carotid choke hold" is NEVER a use of "minimal force necessary" it is used only as a last resort.

Most major police deparmtents have banned this choke hold because of the danger it presents, including the LAPD.


BigBadWolf Nov. 13, 2011 @ 8:31 a.m.

"Man resists arrest at Occupy San Diego" would have been a better title for this article. If the guy wanted to get arrested for the cause, there was no reason to resist the officers. It isn't like he was going to win. The courts have already ruled that cops have the right to use whatever force is reasonably necessary to overcome resistance - Graham v. Connor. The subject was placed in a restraint around his neck to overcome the resistance. Thanks to the wonderful videotaped evidence, the subject was obviously not "choked." He continually stated, "No!" to the officers verbal commands. Had be been choked, he wouldn't have been able to say anything. I dare the author of this article to swallow an entire marshmallow and choke to see if he can verbally say, "No!" several times. It ain't going to work. The credibility of the eye witnesses are diminished by their quotes.


SurfPuppy619 Nov. 13, 2011 @ 6:45 p.m.

Thanks to the wonderful videotaped evidence, the subject was obviously not "choked." He continually stated, "No!"

Another stupid GED cop, bigbaddork, with more GED cop spin

They were using a "carotid choke hold" you fool, it is right there on videotape.

Go back to your GED station house and talk turkey with some of your dork buddies, maybe they are dumb enough to belive your nonsense.


BigBadWolf Nov. 14, 2011 @ 8:33 a.m.

Troll. Go back to Michigan. Go Aztecs!


1mark Nov. 14, 2011 @ 7:18 a.m.

I think the cops did a remarkable job. If you do not obey a command as the police are trying to arrest you "put your hands behind your back" then you act like an idiot and began to curse, yell and say no no no, then yes the cops have every right to use a "choke hold" on you to get you to comply. What this video shows is the cops doing their job, not beating anyone, no extra punches, it shows them arresting and being as professional as possible under the circumstances given and with incredible restraint. The video shows the arrestee and other protesters being jerks yelling and filming the cops. While I agree with the aspects of Occupy Wallstreet I am left wondering what does this have to do with San Diego....The cities are powerless to do anything...The protesters should be at the state capital or Washington DC, those 2 places is where this needs to start. If you act like a jerk then the cops have every right to do what they need to do within the law to affect an arrest, simple as that, you act like a jerk you get treated like a jerk.


Dennis Nov. 14, 2011 @ 12:56 p.m.

Cities are not powerless to do anything! If you think this is all about Wall Street then you haven't been paying attention. This is about 99% of the people getting the short end of the stick from the 1% and this is just as true in San Diego as it is in New York. The 1% in SD are the ones that are telling the mayor & chief of police to send the goon squads out to quash this protest. I'm afraid that it's going to get ugly one of these days.


Twister Nov. 14, 2011 @ 1:15 p.m.

Tarring all with one brush is a typical goon-tactic.

Don't forget that in the 60's and 70's the FBI sent in their own troublemakers to provide a pretense to crack heads and jail citizens. Most of all, don't forget Kent State.

Above all, brothers and sisters, mothers, fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, maintain peace. Do not allow yourselves to be baited or goaded into breaking the law beyond lawful assembly under the Constitution.



Stay passive. Do not give them any excuse to move in. If so, when they do move in, all of the guilt is on their side, and all the King's talk, all the King's lies, all the King's manipulations, will be impotent.


sarez Nov. 15, 2011 @ 12:04 a.m.

Where is the sense of porportion here? Roughing up/chocking someone who won't sit up/standup, and then swears and "resists" by asking why should he put his arms behind his back. He is the face of those anti-establishment types, hated by the cops. But, they are just the public face of the 1%, following the orders of the power structure. They have to follow their orders--but please, with a little less glee. Right now, I think the OWS movement is at the cusp of leaving the "irritant" stage--and possibly and I hope, probably, entering a stage where there is some critical mass forming and there will be a societal shift towards taking care of all of us, health care for everyone, jobs, even if they have to be provided by the government, a la WPA (where is Roosevelt when you need him?). That is what those in power are afraid of. OWS = political movement, political force. Dismantle the old ways, the monied politcal power structure where the monied are coddled at the expense of the many.


bugmenot Nov. 15, 2011 @ 6:29 a.m.

I've supported OWS and called the Oakland PD out on their tactics. I've called for the arrest and prosecution of the officer who shot Scott Olsen.

But I'm sorry, this man was resisting arrest. He was combative, abusive and threatening. He was swearing at officers, refusing to give them his hands, and fighting them every step of the way.

That is NOT non-violence. Non-violence is being polite, respectful, passive and not resisting. Going limp and forcing the officers to pack you out like a slab of meat is an outstanding form of protest, especially if you are kind, polite and courteous to the officers hauling you out.

This guy was anything but. Sorry, but the choke-hold was appropriate use of force to get him to comply with police instructions. And they did let him go when he started to turn blue.

Regrettable, but I see no fault with police tactics here.


Sign in to comment

Let’s Be Friends

Subscribe for local event alerts, concerts tickets, promotions and more from the San Diego Reader