APD arrests four Occupy Asheville participants ***UPDATED 11 a.m. SUNDAY***

The Asheville Police Department arrested four Occupy Asheville participants on Nov. 5. for alleged actions on Nov. 2.

According to warrants from the Buncombe County Magistrate’s Office, Natalie Nicolay, Lisa Landis, Joseph Bacanskas and Terry Whittey all face charges of resisting public officers, impeding traffic, unlawful assembly. Whittey faces an additional charge of wearing a mask in public. The warrants were issued Nov. 4. The four were arrested this afternoon, and released on a written promise to appear.

On Nov. 2, Occupy Asheville protesters held a march from Lexington Avenue to the Vance Monument, followed by a vigil. During the march, some protesters refused police instructions to remain on the sidewalk, though no arrests were made during the march and the APD departed once demonstrators reached the monument. Later, after the park’s 10 p.m. curfew, 24 protesters refused to leave the area around the monument, and were arrested.

Occupy Asheville released the following statement on the arrests last night:

Asheville, NC- Occupy Asheville organizers have been arrested today, Nov. 5th, for alleged participation in the Nov. 2nd Occupy Oakland Solidarity march and vigil. Arrestees include Natalie Nicolay, Joseph ‘Virato’ Bacanskas, Terry Whittey, and Lisa Landis. They all have been charged with Obstructing the Flow of Traffic, Unlawful Assembly with the common intent to commit disorderly acts, and Resist, Delaying, and Obstructing a Police Officer. Terry Whittey has a fourth charge, wearing a mask at a public demonstration.

Occupy Asheville condemns the arrests of any of our organizers or supporters without qualification, as they were marching in solidarity with Occupy Oakland’s national call to action and general strike. The arrestees include both lawful media observers, participants, and non participants. Occupy Asheville demands that all charges against our activists be dropped without exception.

” Lisa Landis and myself were waiting to be processed at the jail. As Lisa was contesting her guilt with one of the officers, the officer made the off-handed comment that they seemed to be targeting those ‘people of influence’ and those recognized within the occupy movement . I believe this to be true based on Virato’s targeting with a warrant for arrest, despite having not participated in the event,” said Natalie Nicolay following her release. “In that conversation, I heard the arresting officers state that they would have preferred to make a public announcement with a list of those with warrants but were instructed by a sergeant to instead pull them away and arrest them individually to ‘avoid causing a scene’.”

As officers attempted to lead the initial arrestee, Terry Whittey, away from the scene of the closing General Assembly they were confronted by Occupy Asheville members demanding to know the circumstances of his arrest. When the OA members began filming the incident, the police proceeded to begin arresting other occupiers without informing them of the reasons for their arrest and warrants. Virato was not arrested in Pritchard Park but was stopped on Asheland Ave., while driving with his wife. He insisted that he was not present at the march in question, rather he was sick at home.

Occupy Asheville is releasing video of the arrests made at Pritchard Park today, three days after the march on Nov. 2. There are still an undisclosed number of warrants out for OA participants. Occupy Asheville condemns the criminalization of dissent.

Video

Occupy Asheville is dedicated to liberating public space in peaceful protest and coordinating networks of resistance to corporate dominance with our sister cities across the nation and globe.

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11 thoughts on “APD arrests four Occupy Asheville participants ***UPDATED 11 a.m. SUNDAY***

  1. AshevilleNCNative

    Oh for crying out loud. There are rapists and murderers and thieves and pedophiles to be dealt with in Asheville and the APD is spending its time trying to track down and arrest and process a handful of citizens who simply walked from Lexington Avenue to Vance monument on our public streets one evening? How ridiculous.

  2. Anonymous

    Illegal to wear a mask in public? Then maybe we need to strip the officers and thier families of thier anonimity as well. Wage war, we shall rise to defend that which is ours.

  3. glolady

    Whoever gave the orders to operate in such manner is sensationalizing the cost of the police by Occupy Asheville. Working overtime finding ways to distract, discredit, and detain the occupiers. If there were warrants, the police had many chances to disclose the information and had the people be responsible for turning themselves in, Saving “tax payers” money.

    Ask yourself, what information is so important to the masses that some people will do anything to stop it?

    oops…. did I say Ron Moore one to many times? Is that why I was targeted with a warrant or is it the connection to him?

  4. Selene22

    Um…Am I following this correctly? They trumped up frivolous charges on 3 selected participants after the event had peacefully dispersed. Then they arrested someone after the fact and accused him of being a participant when he wasn’t even there. I have only been in town a short time, but my impressions of the APD have certainly changed. Many words come to mind, including shiftless, stupid, cowardly, and shameful. I would be embarrassed to be a part of the APD.

    • Bill Rhodes

      Yes, and not only that one of those arrested today was a legal observer at both marches, Wednesday and today on charges from Wednesday’s march.
      Also an attorney, a member of the Buncombe county bar was arrested and jailed for 5 days.
      Very strange.

  5. Susan

    And today, the police were at the very public meeting that the Occupy Asheville group was holding, and filming them!

    this opens up amazing tourist opportunities (come to Asheville and get arrested for something dumb), and this picture would look GREAT on a tourist brochure:

    http://dancewater.blogspot.com/2011/11/upcoming-events-in-asheville-area-this.html#links

    Welcome to Asheville, the heart of the mountainous police state!

    2 people were arrested today for their actions last Wednesday, and there are warrants for six more people. It is rumored that the APD are still trying to identify people who were walking in the streets and who caused — HORRORS!!!!– a temporary traffic backup.

    Sure glad there is no real crime in this town for the police to worry about!

  6. dpewen

    The APD is making fools of themselves the way they are behaving. Instead of fighting real crime, they drum up charges for these protestors!
    Come on APD … solve real crime and leave the protestors alone!! Keep up the good work protestors … we stopped the Vietnam War by protesting!!!

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