Today, an awesome lady, who has welcomed a few of us NYC occupiers to stay at her house during the RNC, drove us from her house to the Romneyville Camp in Tampa. She stopped in the street near the camp (which is not a busy street whatsoever), and after a couple of the others hopped out and grabbed their stuff out of the trunk, a swarm of bike cops pulled up. This just so happened to be right when a march was leaving the camp. They said that she couldn’t stop in the street, and asked her for her ID. Those who were already out of the car hung around to wait for us, but there were still three of us in the car, plus the driver.
The cops did not tell us to move the car, so it sat in the same place that they were supposedly so worried about it being when they decided to confront us. They stood behind the car, checking her ID, writing information down, and talking on the radio. Most of the time they were just standing around doing nothing productive. About 20 minutes later, one of the officers came back to the car. He asked some questions about the car registration, etc. After all of it was cleared up, he then asked the driver if she was a supporter of “the cause”, and was wondering why she was driving protestors around. She said that yes, she was a supporter, and that she was just giving us a ride to Romneyville. He then gave her ID back, told her that he wasn’t going to write a ticket, but that she shouldn’t stop in the road again.
His comments made it obvious that were targeted. This was only done to intimidate us, and possibly to cause us to miss the march that had just started. We had livestreamers and photographers in the car, and all of us were unable to cover the march because of this unnecessary stop by the police. Later in the day, while we were at another march, the driver of the car ran into one of the police officers who was on the scene of the traffic stop. He told her that she should have driven us to Lowry Park (the Tampa zoo) instead.
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