Detained at University of San Francisco for passing out prop K flyers

“You in the cowboy hat. Stop right there. We need to talk to you.” said university cop#1, cop #2 took my campaign cohort Slava to the side and started to question us about this so called “disturbance” someone had called in to complain about on campus.

I knew that I had not done outside of my first amendment rights so I was mellow and calm.

“Can I see your ID?” cop #1 said. Damn, I just got through discussing with my lawyer that you DO NOT have to show any police officer your ID unless you are being detained or arrested.

Apparently, we were being detained.

I decided to produce my ID. In these situations, a sex worker must think very very quickly and decide which battles she would like to try to fight at what time, because from the moment you realize that LE is just “having a conversation” with you the battle begins. If I had had my ID on me when I got arrested, I could have gotten out of jail before spending the night there on my own recognizance (O.R), which means that you don’t have to pay expense bail bonds to get out, you can get out on your O.R that you will show up to court. You can always apply for O.R release, even with prior arrests, as long as you have made all your court dates and have no warrants.

“Do you have any warrants?” NO, I said. I have a charge of prostitution that I am fighting in court, I left out, but I will be not guilty of that charge someday soon and I am NOT GUILTY of that charge now, so you don’t have shit on me. “Can we go?”

The casual conversation ensued. Slava and I were separated. In explaining what I was doing, I was just going into the PROP K talking points that I had been doing in talking to the residents of the precinct around USF that we were previously canvassing. “It’s great to get the workers from out of the underground so that they can access rights and resources. We were just on campus trying to motivate the students about an important local issue. We were trying to hit the voters where they were at. No disturbance of anything really. I’m not sure what the problem is.”

“We could arrest you for trespassing. Or on the grounds of the disturbance that was called in.” one cop said. Are you serious? I was thinking silently.

“I used to work on this campus, lots of my friends work here, I really think of it as part of my communtiy.” I said.

They explained that there were appropriate venues for doing this type of thing on campus, that they were going to let us go. I had garnered that none of the 3 cops were san francisco voters, one of the cops had been to the Mustang Ranch and bought a t-shirt (“Just a t-shirt, right?”I teased.) Mustang cop then asked me,”So-do you do G.F.E?” I laughed and just talked about prop K some more. This is the tactic I used when i was arrested. Oh, you want to talk about me? How about we talk about sex workers RIGHTS in general..

“We’re not going to arrest you, I’m just trying to have a casual conversation..”

God, I had READ about this in the SWOP-Chicago Know Your Rights material! There were 3 cops actually, and all of them were playing the roles so well.

“Are you a sex worker?”he asked.

Now, I’ve been thinking about how to respond to this with different people and in doing my PROP K campaign stuff, I’ve generally been saying, yes. I had been passing out flyers for my legal defense fundraiser with the prop k flyers so i decided to not lie about the undeniable so, fuck it.

“Yes.” [I am a sex worker.]

“Well, you know,” I said,”we had explained that the criminalization PROP K is trying to fight, is the reason why we don’t have a great relationship with police and the reason, why I can’t trust you.” [not antagonistic, smiling and friendly]

“Yeah,”Mustang cop said,”we get it.”

After about ten minutes sitting on the ground, Slava was allowed to return to standing near me and then we were eventually let go. They took down my name and called it in, but as I predicted they had nothing. I don’t even think that they could just arrest me on one complaint that was actually heresay anyone from some staff or student of the college who obviously was an opponent of decriminalization.

They let us go and we walked and talked back to the car parked several blocks away.

The whole ordeal was kind of unbelievable.

They had no idea that I had once actually done an outcall with a professor there in his office on that very campus, but in this scenario, that, like my court case was a non issue and could not be used against me.

I really hope PROP K passes.

If you are in San Francisco or know anyone who is, I am having a fundraiser for my legal defense and a prop k q&a cabaret with Scarlot Harlot tomorrow Oct 18th. You can also privately donate. All donors of $100 or more get a custom made artbook for the holidays!

http://marikopassion.wordpress.com/mariko-passions-oct-18th-arspace-fundraiser-prop-k-qa/

10 Responses

  1. […] like, hello, privilege talking! When sex workers are no longer arrested for doing their jobs or for advocating for their own rights, disbelieved because of their job when they are sexually assaulted (or the charge reduced from rape […]

  2. mariko- gah, what a pain! glad you just got to walk off campus though. Good luck with your fund raiser, and everything else!

  3. too bad he wasn’t offered a bj and someone secretly filmed it.
    That would’ve been fun

  4. It’s always scary when college campuses decide to practice censorship. Dittoing the good luck with your fundraiser! I wish I could be there!

  5. One of the reasons why I belong to a political club is because its one of the ways to effect change at the public policy and practice level for example, supporting college board candidates who support decrim. Our club has questionnaires that candidates have to fill out and I make sure that a question about decrim is always included so we can get all candidates running for anything answers’ in writing. There are at least 3 people running for college board who support us who have a really good chance of getting on in SF and several other school board members and candidates who support decrim as well. So, regardless of the out come of this election, we need to be crafting policy to address this police harassment on campus as well as the hate speech that is being manufactured and taught in schools about prostitutes that perpetuate discrimination and stigma.

  6. Oh man. I love the police double speak! “Casual conversation” uh huh… We’ve been having lots of political activity down at SFSU lately for 4 and 8 but I haven’t seen anything for K. If you had any thoughts about coming down here I’d be happy to help, and I know some of the other women I know in FIA (Feminism in Action) are behind Prop K too. Cops can’t harass us when we are students at the school, can they?

  7. For those of you not familiar with USF, its a private Catholic university, so I’m not sure if that had something to do with it.

    Here’s some coverage today of Prop K from San Mateo Times:

    http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_10770854

  8. “Oh man. I love the police double speak! “Casual conversation” uh huh… We’ve been having lots of political activity down at SFSU lately for 4 and 8 but I haven’t seen anything for K. If you had any thoughts about coming down here I’d be happy to help, and I know some of the other women I know in FIA (Feminism in Action) are behind Prop K too.”

    That’s nice to know, because when I was at SFSU (which was up until a year ago), I really thought that, if anything, a lot of campus feminists leaned more toward Melissa Farley’s views on sex work, etc. I specifically remember during one of the weekly political political bull sessions over on the quad, somebody from a campus feminist group getting up to denounce Berkeley’s Prop Q, and I don’t recall hearing or reading anybody on campus who on the other side of the issue. Then again, the last year I was at SFSU, Nina Hartley spoke there and was sponsored by one of the student groups.

  9. SF State will be better than USF. I have contacted whatshername and she is checking on it for me so we can get there and have a presence..

    I LOVE working on PROP K. We’re going to do outreach in the jails tomorrow, and creating a Day of Dead event for Nov 2nd…Wish you were here!

  10. […] BnG: Detained for promoting Prop K […]

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