On March 29, 1999 at 4:00pm, I was picketing in front of the British Embassy by myself. I was in no way, shape or form engaging in any disorderly behavior. I was located across the street from the embassy. I was walking up and down the length of the sidewalk.

A short time later I observed persons at the front door area of the embassy staring and pointing at me. Five minutes or so later, two incidents of threatening gestures and shouted words in a language I did not understand happened. It came from people in cars that slowed down as they got closer to me. At this point, I was very concerned about my personal safety.

About 4:20pm a Secret Service police car pulled up along side me and a female officer spoke to me through the passenger side window and demanded that I tell her my name, organization, and how long I would be there.

I told her that I could not comply with that request because I was concerned about my safety. She insisted, but I still told her I cannot comply with that request because of concerns for my safety. She got out of her car, very agitated, stating that I am in DC now and I have to tell her my name, that there is a DC law requiring me to tell her my name. I told her I know of no such law and that she was incorrect. She then stated that I was demonstrating without a permit. I said that a permit is not required for a person picketing peacefully by themselves.

By this time four more Secret Service undercover police cars had arrived. An older officer with stripes on his arm (sergeant?) stated that I must comply with the other officer's request or they will take me to central cell block as a John Doe and that I will not enjoy the experience very much.

They kept asking the question: "Do you want to get arrested? It's up to you." I asked the sergeantt, "What is the charge? On what charge am I to be arrested?"

He did not say anything. After a minute of silence I said: All I want to do is walk up and down the sidewalk and be left alone.

The sergeant answered: If you don't tell us your name, you're going to jail. After a minute of silence, he tells another officer to cuff him (me). I was put in the back of a squad car and taken to second district police station. As I was being booked, I asked again, "What is the charge?"

The officer stated, "It is up to the Corporation Council to determine that." As the officer was writing the report, his radio was activated by a transmission from Secret Service Uniform Division to say a camera was on the way to take pictures of my signs. A voice replies that it is no longer necessary.

The sergeant comes into the room and states that it I tell them who I am they will let me go without charge. He further states that if I had just told them ANY NAME, John Smith, etc., I would not have this happening to me. If I had just done what the officer asked and told her a name, it did not even have to be a real name this would not have happened. To end the harassment, I volunteered to tell them my name and address. I was then released without charge and given a document.


I was standing with my sign in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the white house on the right side where the press campout is. All of a sudden four Secret Service police on bicycles and one on a motorcycle, for a total of five, rode up to me and placed themselves around me in a circle.

I spoke first and asked if I was in violation of anything?

One stated, "No, you are not in violation, we just wanted to talk to you." He went on to say, "We see you support the Serbians."

I responded that I am here to exercise my First Amendment rights, while I still have them.

He said, "Yes, we understand that, and you still have First Amendment right to do what you am doing. I just saw that your sign says Serbia and we have a concern about that and we need to check that out."

I politely repeated that all I am doing is holding a sign and using the first amendment right. A man from the crowd, who had been observing the situation, walked over to hear what was being said. A Secret Service officer told him it did not concern him. I heard the man from the crowd say that he was concerned about what was happening. I told the man the police told me I was not in violation of any law. I then asked all the officers one question before the man left: "Am i free to leave?"

They said, "Yes," I was free to leave.

I said, "In that case I am going to start walking along Pennsylvania Avenue holding my sign."

After I was 20 feet away, a Secret Service bike officer rode over to me and told me: "We know who you are and it's my job to know everyone down here. We are at war and your sign says Serbia on it. It implies that you support Serbia and we needed to check that out. Plus, you were just standing there and we have to guard against terrorism."

I said, "In that case, I will keep moving. He struck a friendly tone and said he would appreciate that, and thanked me. He then rode over to the man who had inquired about what was the reason I had five Secret Service police around me. I do not know what was said between them. But the officer would occasionally point over at me as he was talking.