Atlanta: Bizarre Behaviors of Sheriff BrownOccupyOurHomes on June 13, 2012
From Occupy Our Homes Atlanta:
June 11th played out like a soap opera for those involved in Occupy Atlanta actions. The story starts however over a month ago when the Dekalb County Sheriff's Department startled a senior woman out of her bed. They informed her that she had to leave her home of 18 years and take her elderly mother along with the rest of her family and whatever she could grab on the way out with her. Although the family showed no signs of resistance and posed absolutely no threat they were met with 40 armed Sheriff Deputies swarming the house from all possible directions. All of the family's belongings were then strewed across not only their lawn, but that of the neighbors.
After rushing to get the homeowner, Christine Frazer, settled into a temporary living space it was time to let the Sheriff know that everyone had in NO WAY forgotten that he was the one that made the call to force this family on to the streets at 3 a.m. On May 7th there was a demonstration at the Sheriff's Office where many of the discarded items from the eviction were relocated from the Frazer's lawn on Wellhaun Road to the Sheriff department's lawn. As those that fought to defend Christine's home were leaving the demonstration a few of them were tailed, pulled over, handcuffed, and put into police cars all without being given any explanation as to why they were being detained. One demonstrator was immediately released then given a citation for littering while another was given the same citation after being hauled down to the Dekalb County Jail and the vehicle towed away for "investigation". Surprisingly, Sheriff Thomas Brown got on television stating that he would not take action against those involved in the protest since no officers were hurt and no property was damaged.
Still, after repeated bullying and lies on behalf of the Sheriff's office, things died down. Then weeks later, on May 29th, Sheriff Brown decided to take yet another step and sent officers out to visit several activists at their homes. Some [homes] of which were far out of Dekalb county sheriff's jurisdiction just to hand deliver 3 citations a piece regarding their actions at the May 7th protest. The citations charged demonstrators for littering, disorderly conduct, and creating hazardous conditions all of which the people know the Sheriff's department are guilty of. Another action was soon organized. Things started looking up when on June 6th, less than a week away from the action, Brown reached out to Senator Beasley and an Occupy Atlanta organizer expressing regret about the fashion in which he executed the Frazer's eviction. He went on to say he'd like to donate to Christine's legal defense fund and meet with her in person to not only receive a People's Citation but apologize for his distastefulness.
June 11th a "People's Court" was held right outside Sheriff Brown's office where individuals testified against Brown and showed evidence of his wrong doing. A few were allowed in his office as promised but the mood quickly changed once the Sheriff entered the room. Instead of Ms. Frazer receiving what could have been at least vague traces of an apology she was repeatedly insulted by the man who was elected by the people of her county to defend them. He went as far as to not only retract his apologies about the 3 a.m eviction but added that, " it wasn't a difficult decision to make in the first place but if I had to do it again I would." When Ms. Frazer's Lawyer, Joshua Davis, expressed to him the status of the court case on the home he simply replied that he had misinformation. After a drawn out meeting that only resulted in Ms. Frazer's tears and her losing all faith in this elected official the demonstrators peacefully left the premises.
As one group of demonstrators were making their way home their vehicle was immediately surrounded by law enforcement forcing everyone out. Upping the level of police intimidation they targeted the individual that presented the evidence at the "People's Court" just an hour earlier. They asked him to take off his hat, pull up his t-shirt, and then proceeded to film his tattoos. After a half an hour of mindless scare tactics one member of the group attempted to end it by simply leaving the situation but was then told that if he proceeded to do so they would detain the fellow activist. Everyone was released shortly after but though a bit traumatized by the days events and Sheriff Thomas Brown's bizarre behavior. At a time when activists hoped for de escalation Sheriff Brown's arrogance and lack of empathy for those prayed upon by unethical banking and investment practices will only mean further friction between protestors and the Sheriff.