Huddle, et. al. CA No. 88-3130 Plaintiffs pro se Judge Joyce Hens Green v.
Reagan, et. al. Defendants.
DECLARATION OF WILLIAM THOMAS
I, William Thomas, hereby declare under penalty of perjury that the following is accurate and correct to the best of my knowledge and recollection.
1. I sincerely believe the greatest service that I, as a puny human, can perform for our universal Creator is to devote my life to the establishment of peace on earth.
2. As I've already said, "practically my purpose (for being in the Park) is that I can be available at all times for clarification of actual reality." United States v. Thomas, 486 F.2d 864 188 at 193.
3. For me "actual (or "elemental," as in the hundred-odd elements composing the earth) reality" is a manifestation (creation) of the universal Creator.
4. "I can clearly see that there are many different concepts of reality, but a concept of reality doesn't change the actual reality." Exhibit 15.
5. Open and honest dialogue is the only method I know of to identify my own subjectivity and thus clarify "actual reality" (i.e., draw closer to objective Truth). Because clarifying actual reality is an extremely expansive, time consuming, and serious undertaking, I remain in the park on a continuous basis so as to be readily available to anyone who is willing to seek common understanding of "actual reality."
6. Additionally, I have certain sincerely held beliefs, and a religious commitment to proselytize.
7. "There is a real plane and an imaginary plane, and when we live in the imaginary plane, it causes chaos -and that, I believe, is why the world is in the mess it is in, festering with war, crime, cruelty, starvation, poverty, oppression and assorted petty personal problems.
"There's only one reason I bother to talk to other people: to provoke them into thinking about the existence of God, because if they believe there is no justice beyond what we can see in one lifetime, then the rule of the earth will continue to be Might is right and it isn't." Exhibit 15.
8. To my mind the American lifestyle is, in various ways, precluding peace on earth. Thus, to illustrate my belief that Life is more precious than lifestyle, since June 3, 1981 I have attempted to maintain a continuous presence, without living accommodations, in Lafayette Park across from the White House.
9. My purpose in this exercise has been to communicate with the general public on issues relating to peace on earth. Initially my continuous presence was intended to symbolize both commitment to my beliefs and the concept that a responsible individual wishing for change in the world should, despite personal discomfort, be prepared to demonstrate how to live without injuring others in person or mind. I refer to this discipline as "Peace through Reason." The guiding principle of this discipline is "Truth makes Right."
10. On January 12, 1991 native Americans came to Lafayette Park to begin a drum prayer circle for peace in the Persian Gulf.
11. When the indian drumming began, it was alien to me, and I did not immediately see it as a useful activity. Making music, singing, and dancing have, to my mind, always seemed to me more akin to a waste of time than to furthering understanding of actual reality. However, the peace drum became a spontaneous assembly place; observing the human inter-action around the drumming caused me to change my mind. I saw people from different cultures, nations, colors, and very different ways of life -- attracted by the sound or activity of the drums -- assemble to play the drums, sing, dance, and pray.
12. A woman whom I had often seen living in the streets, and whom I had never known to speak a word, began tapping her foot to the beat of the drums. After some days the woman began speaking.
13. I regularly saw many what I believe could be called "healing" incidents in which the behavior of hostile, belligerent individuals appeared to be positively affected by their participation in the drumming assembly.
14. I met another native American who had been residing in New Jersey. He told me that he had had a striking vision, instructing him to travel to Washington, D.C. to share some enlightenment concerning the peacemaking power of the drum. I was very impressed by the realizations I discovered about the drums by observing this individual.
15. In the drum beats I was able to perceive meditations, "Truth is God," "God is Life," "God is Love," "God is Truth." It seems natural to think of the peoples' drums as the voice of God.
16. Communication on topics of broad public concern began to flourish around the peace drum assembly. Common interests were discovered, friendships formed, a sense of common understanding began to emerge.
17. I noticed that an individual's drum could be the sound of a heartbeat. It seems natural to think of the drums as symbolizing the heartbeat of humanity.
18. My religion is my way of life. In the establishment of one's religion, I believe, one should be free to adopt a harmonious, peace-promoting ritual. In this sense my adoption of drumming as a ritual in my life could reasonably be termed "newly found." See, Plaintiffs' Motion for Sanctions, filed February 8, 1989, pg. 1. Nonetheless, I would hope prayerful drumming would still be protected under civilized law.
19. On January 16, 1991, according to reports in the public media, President George Bush ordered initiation of deadly force against Iraq. As a direct and proximate result of President Bush's initiation of "Peace through Strength," Lafayette Park -- directly north of President Bush's official residence in the White House -- quickly became a focal point for the public articulation of opposition to the use of munitions against human beings in the area of the Persian Gulf. This opposition spontaneously manifested as continuous prayer drumming by different individuals.
20. On January 24, 1991 Park Police agents, acting under chain-of-command supervision, assaulted me and attempted to seize, entirely without probable cause, a legitimate sign from me and my associate Concepcion. My left arm was injured as a result of this assault. Exhibit A ("Video") @ 1.30.
21. It was widely reported that on January 25, 1991 defendant Bush publicly complained, "those damned drums (in Lafayette Park) are keeping me awake." Exhibits 5(a) and (b).
22. On or about January 26, 1991 D.C. Metropolitan Police, in concert with Park Police and DOI agents, acting with the knowledge of certain defendants, seized, entirely without probable cause, a conga drum which was loaned to me, and which I in turn had entrusted to Scottie Williams, who was playing the drum on the south sidewalk of Lafayette Park at the time of the seizure.
23. On or about February 2, 1991 Park Police agents who were acting with the knowledge of certain defendants, seized, entirely without probable cause, a sign from plaintiff Karin ("Love") Cartwright. Video @ 1.58.
24. On February 7, 1991 Lt. Clipper, acting in concert with numerous identifiable Park Police and COI agents, ordered the arrest of Song, myself, and several others under color of 36 C.F.R. 2.12, purportedly for violating a 60-decibel limit.
25. On numerous occasions over the years I have communicated with Richard Robbins and various officials of the National Park Service requesting the formulation of an enforcement policy that would insure we would not be arrested, harassed and threatened or have our vigils interrupted under color of the "camping" regulation. See, e.g., Appendix to Plaintiffs' January 17, 1989 filings, Exhibits 111-B, 111-C.
26. On February 3, 1991 Sgt. Rule stated that anyone sleeping for longer than two (2) hours in Lafayette Park would be in violation of 36 C.F.R. (i)(l), and subject to arrest. Although he stated that 24 hour vigils were permitted -- "no question about it" -- acting in concert with numerous identifiable others, Sgt. Rule proceeded to enforce his edict.
When questioned about his decision Sgt. Rule replied, "Take it to court." Video @ 45.00, 45.17.
27. On or about February 5, 1991 Sgt. Rule stated that anyone sleeping for longer than one (1) hour in Lafayette Park would be in violation of 36 C.F.R. (i)(1), and subject to arrest. Acting in concert with numerous identifiable Park Police agents, Sgt. Rule then proceeded to enforce that newer edict. Sgt. Rule also stated that what I was considering a "vigil," he was considering "camping." He again indicated that our differences should be resolved in court. Video @ 47.56, 48.03.
28. Enforcement of Sgt. Rule's second edict superceded his first. As a result of this enforcement it was routine for Park Police officers to inquire, at intervals of less than an hour, whether I was awake, threaten me with arrest for "camping," and be just plain rude.
29. On or about February 25, 1991 I witnessed United States Park Police agents harass, threaten, and intimidate Scott Galindez and tear up his sleeping bag. Video @ 58.25.
30. On or about February 27, 1991 Sgt. Rule threatened that I would be in violation of the camping regulation if I was only in the park overnight, laying down "bedding" and in possession of property. Video @ 105.50.
31. On February 28, 1991, in the immediate presence of Concepcion and myself, nine individuals were arrested and charged with "camping" pursuant to Sgt. Rule's most recent dictate. Video @ 106.25
32. I am in Lafayette Park for the purpose of communicating my beliefs and opinions to the public. Repeated threats from the police distract me from that purpose.
33. These threats and hostile encounters owing to Sgt. Rule's various dictates were extremely distressful. Prior experience has convinced me that Park Police officers will not hesitate to arrest me. I do not like to be arrested, nor do I like to be incarcerated. Therefore these threats cause me to suffer emotional distress.
34. On January 27, 1991 Lt. Clipper, supervising numerous identifiable Park Police, ordered my arrest and the arrests of a number of other individuals, purportedly for creating an "audio disturbance." Ellen's arabic drum which I had been playing was seized as "evidence," and has not yet been returned. A red snare drum entrusted to us was also seized and held for "evidence."
35. At all times during the course of my presence in Lafayette Park I have altered my conduct to conform to the ever changing regulatory dictates of the National Park Service.
36. When 36 CFR 7.96 (g)(x)(B)(2) became effective during April, 1986, together with Concepcion Picciotto and Ellen Thomas I carefully engineered a total of four signs with the intent of being in strict compliance to the size limitations laid out in 36 CFR 7.96 (g)(x)(B)(2).
37. Beginning in April, 1986, together with Concepcion I have jointly attended two signs and various literature -- held in different trays to separate different pieces of literature -in the park, in precisely the same configuration virtually each and every day, with the exception of a period of incarceration under the "camping" regulation -- until February 2, 1991.
38. Beginning in April, 1986, excepting ninety days during the late winter early spring of 1989, Ellen Thomas and I jointly maintained two signs and literature -- held in different trays to separate different pieces of literature -- in essentially the same configuration in the park each day until February 3, 1991.
39. On many occasions I have personally been present when each and every one of our signs were personally inspected by defendants Robbins, Meyers, Irwin, Clipper. On each occasion I have inquired from the inspecting officials whether they had any objections to the configuration or nature of my demonstration. The standard response was, "If something is wrong you'll be told about it."
40. Not only had these signs been photographed numerous times by Park Police agents, but they had also been measured and examined many times by Park Police agents.
41. On February 2, 1991 Sgt. McNally, acting in concert with Park Police agents under the direct supervision of Lt. seized the signs and literature which I had maintained in conjunction with Concepcion since April, 1986.
42. On February 2, 1991 Sgt. McNally read, apparently to the public in general, a provision of 36 C.F.R. relating to demonstrations in Lafayette Park. Video @ 3.05.
43. Because I was demonstrating in Lafayette Park, and because Sgt. McNally had conducted his public reading approximately fifteen feet west of my demonstration site, I said, "Let me tell you something, Sergeant, I have some things here, and if you think I'm in violation I suggest that you simply remove whatever you believe is in violation and leave what is not in violation." Sgt. McNally did not respond. Video @ 5.00.
44. On February 3, 1991 Sgt. McNally, alleging a profusion of generalities, claimed that I was violating a sub-section of 36 CFR 7.96.
45. I directly asked Sgt. McNally to detail or discuss specific violations. He stated that my literature trays were "structures," and that my signs were illegal.
46. I suggested that if he thought that the trays were "structures," he should confiscate only the trays, leave the literature, and write a C.F.R Violation Notice for the alleged "structures." I also asked Sgt. McNally to explain why -- after 52 months of a continuous daily presence in the Park -- unchallenged by Park Police agents these signs had suddenly become a "violation."
47. Sgt. McNally did not comment on my suggestion about the "structures," and refused to discuss the alleged illegality of the signs.
48. Sgt. McNally, under the command of Lt. Clipper, with the assistance of numerous identifiable Park Police and DOI agents, seized the signs and literature which I had maintained and used in conjunction with Ellen Thomas since April, 1986. Vido @ 5.15.
49. Among the literature seized on February 3, 1991, was a great deal of material concerning Proposition One, a national voter initiative campaign, including official D.C. Board of Election-approved Initiative 32, presently in the signature collection phase of qualifying for the 1992 D.C. general election. The seizure of this material interfered with our ability to promote Proposition One/D.C. Initiative 32. Exhibit 2(b). Video @ 7.28.
50. I was arrested, handcuffed, bodily removed from the signs I was closely attending, escorted to a paddywagon, transported to the Park Police substation at Anacostia Park, searched, incarcerated, fingerprinted, photographed and released to make my way back to downtown D.C.
51. Ellen, who had been driven to Anacostia Park by her daughter, requested a receipt for the signs and literature as we left the Substation. Park Police agents refused, claiming that those articles would be held as "evidence."
52. Police seizure of our signs and literature on February 2 and February 3, 1991, effectively ended the joint expressive activities of Ellen, Concepcion, and myself in Lafayette Park by rendering us essentially no more expressive than a person sitting in the park, reading a newspaper. I am afraid to return my signs and literature to Lafayette Park, because I expect that they would again be seized by the police, and that I might be arrested.
53. On February 4, 1991, when it was necessary for me to leave the Park, I left an orange conga drum with Karin Love Cartright. That drum was seized by police who charged no violation regarding the drum. I returned in time to witness Park Police push Love around, pull her sweater up exposing her breasts, twist her arms behind her, and arrest her when she requested that the drum be returned to her.
54. On February 7, 1991 Lt. Clipper, acting in supervision of numerous identifiable Park Police, ordered my arrest for purportedly creating an "audio disturbance" in violation of Title 22 D.C. Code 1121, and 36 C.F.R. 2.12, when I began to quietly play a drum after Lt. Clipper had declared there would be absolutely no drumming at all.
55. I was very distressed by this arrest because -- even assuming that Lt. Clipper had the technological ability to accurately measure sixty decibels (infra, paragraph 72-74) -- I was definitely drumming below sixty decibels, no one else was drumming in the park; therefore, I believe Lt. Clipper ordered my arrest illegally. Although I desire to play a drum, since this arrest I have not done so, due to fear of further arrest.
56. Because of my belief that I had been, and -- absent judicial review -- would continue to be falsely arrested, I decided to seek swift judicial review.
57. Subsequently, at the Anacostia Park Police facility the Park Police booking agent asked for my identification.
58. I told him that I had no identification.
59. When the booking agent asked my name, I said that he could "just call me John Doe."
60. "I don't want to play games, Mr. Thomas," the booking agent told me.
61. "I didn't ask to come here, and I don't want to play games either. I think that I have been illegally arrested, and I want to get to court as quickly as possible, because the game you are playing is interfering with my life," I said.
62. I refused to answer any questions about my identity or address, or to sign any forms including fingerprint cards. I explained my refusal to cooperate by informing the officers, including Officer Watson, that, although I definitely did not wish to be incarcerated, I was willing to suffer a night in Central Cell Block in order to get to Court in the morning.
63. The booking agent said that since they could identify me from prior arrests they had no choice but to release me on a C.F.R. Citation Violation Notice. I was told that my court date had already been set for April 4, 1991, handed a C.F.R. Citation Violaton Notice -- which I refused to sign -- and was instructed to leave the police station.
64. On or about February 13, 1991 after numerous unsuccessful attempts to ascertain the whereabouts of the purloined conga drums (supra, paragraphs ## 22 and 53), the drums were released to plaintiffs by the Park Police. Both drums had been seriously damaged while in custody.
65. Also on or about February 13, 1991 I received word -- through Ellen who, at my request, had gone to the Brentwood property office to recover the conga drums -- that Park Police Sgt. Malhoyt requested that I retrieve the signs and literature which had been seized from Concepcion, Ellen and myself on February 2nd and 3rd from police custody. I went to the Hains Point sub-station, where I discovered that our signs and literature were "stored" in a caged area unprotected from the elements. Sgt. Malhoyt informed me that he could not guarantee that our signs would not be seized again if we returned them to Lafayette Park. I also discovered that two bicycles which I recognized as those which had been stolen from Song on or about February 11, 1991, were also being held by the Park Police at Hains Point, which discovery in turn led me to assume that the bicycles had been stolen by the Park Police. Video @ 10.00.
66. Since December, 1982 there have been a succession of groups and individuals who have maintained a round-the-clock vigil at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. At all times the participants have engaged in activities more closely approximating the "indicia which constitute camping" as defined at 36 C.F.R. 7.96 (i)(l). To the best of my knowledge there has never been a "camping" arrest at the Veterans Vigil, and the vast majority of arrests which have been made under that regulation have been made within one hundred feet of my demonstration site in Lafayette Park.
67. Daily, in pleasant weather, I have seen office workers, tourists or others lying on blankets, apparently asleep. While I do not think they should, I have never seen a Park Police officer threaten to arrest any of those people.
68. Moreover, on the basis of past statements from various police officers who stated that they did not enjoy making these threats but were doing so because they had been ordered to, I believe that instructions from superiors to police officers on the beat to threaten arrest for sleeping serve to create undue misunderstanding, even hostility, and inhibit communication between myself and those officers.
69. I have by no means recounted herein all incidents involving threats of arrest for "camping" after allegations of "sleeping." Baseless sleeping/camping threats are a routine occurrence. Although the videotape "camping" segment is only thirty-five minutes long, the pattern and practice shown there is indicative of (albeit generally more civil than) the enforcement policy suffered by plaintiffs for years.
70. On numerous occasions during the period between January 24, 1991 and the filing of this action I have witnessed incidents where regulations regarding signs and "abandoned property," and police use of physical force were not applied against others similarly situated to plaintiffs, except that they were demonstrating in favor of defendant Bush's war policies.
71. I have by no means recounted herein all incidents of sign seizures, seizures of other lawful property, or incidents of intimidation, assault, or harassment attributable to the exercise of my First Amendment activities, and which has had a chilling effect on those activities.
72. I have examined the sound meters used by the U.S. Park Police to measure decibel levels and upon those observations know those meters to be Radio Shack "Realistic" brand sound level meters (Cat. No 33-2050). I have also been told by a Park Police agent who was using such a meter that it was "identical" to a Radio Shack "Realistic" brand sound level meter (Cat. No 332050).
73. Page 12 of the Radio Shack "Realistic" brand sound level meter Owner's Manual says:
"Important Note: For meaningful readings, any particular sound to be measured should be at least 10 dB louder than the background noise level." Exhibit 6.
74. My own independent meter readings with a Radio Shack "Realistic" brand sound level meter indicate that the background sound level of the streets around Lafayette Park always exceeds 60 decibels.
75. Due to my poverty, which is a direct result of my religious beliefs, virtually the only means of expression 14 available to me is limited to my body, literature, and signs in a public place. See, Declaration of William Thomas in Support of the Original Complaint, filed October, 1988, paragraph 5.
76. The continuous harassment of Park Police agents is causing me stress, anxiety, and to be distracted from the goal of disseminating my opinions.
77. For example, on March 5, 1991 I received a telephone call, which interrupted my work on these very papers, from a very distraught Concepcion. Concepcion told me that she was being threatened with arrest by Park Police agents for having more than three cubic feet of property.
78. I had been feeling very guilty, having left Concepcion all alone in the Park to face the police force while I worked on these papers. When I learned she was being threatened with arrest, I became very concerned for Concepcion's well-being. I hurried to Lafayette Park with a video camera. Video @ 21.00. When I arrived in the Park and inquired of Park Police agents as to their opinions of Concepcions's danger of arrest, the agents would not give me a definitive answer, which in turn caused me greater distress.
79. On February 9 and 10, 1991, to mention only two of many occasions when I have witnessed Park Police agents forceably take harmless objects from peaceable people, I saw a large number of Park Police agents assault Stuart Morris and Brian Barrett, and the next day Jim Galvin, for no apparent reason except to confiscate the "drum-like devices" which they were holding. Video @ 23.18, 25.36.
80. On February 28, 1991 at approximately 3:30 AM I witnessed an operation involving numerous uniformed and ununiformed Park Police agents. Video @ 106.25. At first two agents in plain clothes approached the sidewalk from the north side of the park; when they arrived on the sidewalk they began taking pictures of everyone who was not standing up. Next a force of uniformed agents rushed into the park from Pennsylvania Avenue. These agents began telling people, including Paul Sather who was seated on my blanket holding a video camera case, that they were under arrest. A second group of agents rushed toward the sidewalk from the north side of the park. During the arrest I witnessed one agent with a dog repeatedly strike a man named Steve. Steve did nothing to deserve being struck. Video @ 107.58.
81. On March 7, 1991 I witnessed a Park Police agent, under the supervision of Sgt. Rule, threaten to arrest Concepcion for "camping" while she was sitting on a piece of cardboard. Video @ 109.04.
82. Mercedes Villacres, interviewed by me on March 7, 1991, and recorded at the end of the accompanying videotape (Exhibit A), was taken by Park Police later that day, and is presently held -- against her will -- in St. Elizabeth's Hospital. Video @ 114.17.
Under penalty of perjury this _ day of March, 1991,
William Thomas, pro se
2817 11th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20038