MARY HUDDLE and PHILIP JOSEPH, et. al., ) ) versus ) CA 88-3130-JHG ) Judge Joyce Hens Green RONALD WILSON REAGAN, et. al., ) defendants ) ________________________________________)
I, Michael Cronin, hereby declare under penalty of perjury that the following is true and correct to the best of my knowledge and recollection:
l. I, Michael Cronin, am a demonstrator in Lafayette Park. On October 30, l989, Officer Marsh stopped at the signs beside mine. Officer Marsh said, "You have to remove the plastic." The tone of his voice told me that there was going to be trouble. I got up to go over in support.
2. When I got there, I was joined by a few other vigilers. I tried to explain that plastic wasn't in violation of the regulation.
3. I wanted to talk about the intent of the regulation and the Constitution. Officer Marsh said I couldn't talk to him like that. I tried to explain that in theory we live in a democracy, and yes I can speak to him like that.
4. I was told that when he (Officer Marsh) is in this park, I do what he tells me to do. By this time, he was off his motorcycle, and kept telling Nakita (Jeffrey Brown) to remove the plastic.
5. Nakita asked, "Where in the regulation does it say you can't have plastic?" Many other things were said, and it quickly turned into an argument.
6. Officer Marsh eventually found out he was wrong, but not until such statements as "I'm sick of this shit," "I'll quit this job and kick off in your ass."
7. This type of behavior is not unusual. Three days earlier, when Officer Dahl had been harassing me, I tried to reason with him, and asked him why he hated us (demonstrators). He said he didn't hate us, but let the word "resent" slip out, and changed it to "I am disappointed in you people."
8. On November l0 the problem continued. Sometime between ll and l2 p.m. Officer Dahl approached Nakita's signs. He said that plastic was in violation of the camping regulation and tried to take it off by force.
9. It quickly broke into a shouting match which ended as quickly as it had begun. I went back to my signs.
10. Officer dahl stopped about 50 feet away and started talking to two men who had heard what had been said. They all started laughing. The two men started yelling obsenities like "f***ing bums," and "if you want rights get a job."
11. I asked these two men who they were and they replied they were police officers. They seemed to be friends of Officer Dahl. One can was between 6' and 6'2". The other was approximately 8" shorter. The two were dressed alike in tan trench coats, casual slacks which matched their coats, and black shoes.
12. Soon after that I heard a second shouting match, also at Nakita's signs. I went and asked what had happened and was told that Officer Dahl had told Nakita that he was "just a lazy mother f***er" and he was "too damn lazy to go out and get a job."
l3. It seemed that things were getting out of hand. I went to talk to Officer Dahl. When I asked him what he had said to Nakita he got very close. His nose was no more than half an inch from mine with his finger in my face and I was told to go back to my signs and mind my own business. I told him what I heard and he said I was looking to get hurt. He turned to leave. I said he had no right to talk to anyone like that.
l4. There was another officer with him at this point who started poking me in the chest with his flashlight, telling me to back off. I told him that I was talking to Officer Dahl and that I had no intention of backing off and that I was not in violation of any regulation. This second officer, who wouldn't give his name, said I might like to take a walk to the dark side of the park and talk about it.
l5. I told them that they were a disgrace to their badge. I mentioned that an officer of the law is a peace officer. The officer said that the badge stood for power.
l6. Some time later, Officer Dahl said "I don't care what the regulation says."
17. At other times I have also been threatened, pushed, and been exposed to intimidation and outright lies about my rights.
18. The events I have described are isolated cases. To gain an accurate understanding of the situation, you would need to know that other like them go on daily. In themselves thay are no more than an annoyance. On an ogoing basis it becomes an almost impossible burden.
19. Many people choose to give up trying to talk in the park because of it. One day in a conversation at Hardy's resturant Mary Huddle said that dealing with the police at the vigil was too much stress, and that she just couldn't take it anymore. She has stopped coming to the park.
Under penalty of perjury,
P.O. Box 272l7
Washington, D.C. 20038