By Laura Montilla.
I was arrested for peacefully protesting in DTLA. When people tried to leave the protest, as we had now passed the updated curfew* & police tension increased, we realized we were cornered. There were hundreds HUNDREDS of cops and national guards that cut us off for blocks. Those who tried to leave peacefully were jumped on by multiple men and tased. *(at 4:21 they changed the curfew from 6pm to 5pm) Everyone was peaceful, getting on their knees and even laying face down to show compliance. Then each person was arrested. What happened next was not only unnecessary and illegal, but inhumane.
We were zip-tied and put in cages on a bus separated by gender, and without telling us where we were going, they took us to a cemetery parking lot and left us there for five hours. My zip-ties were so tight that when they finally were cut off, I couldn’t even hold my arm up to sign my citation or feel my right hand. Days later I still have painful bruises. We were never read our Miranda rights. When I asked where we were being transported, the cops admitted they had no idea.
They turned the lights off, leaving us in the dark, cuffed. People started having panic attacks, even pissing themselves. We called for help as a mentally-ill woman (a homeless woman who wasn’t even protesting but was ripped from the street) began having a major panic attack. An officer came on board to “help” by drowning out the sound of her cries with BLARING HEAVY METAL & ROCK MUSIC. The music was so deafening and triggering that more girls on the bus had attacks, so we begged for them to turn it off. After 20 minutes they finally did, so again, we asked if we could: 1. Get medical attention for those who needed it and 2. At least know where we were/how long we’d maybe be there.
There were too many people speaking at once, so I volunteered to ask the officer for us. As we were piled together in cages, I stood up because he said he couldn’t see where the voice was coming from. When I stood up to ask, he reached for his gun and threatened me. Even though I was clearly still cuffed. Had no possessions (trust me they checked my vagina more than my pockets) (4 times to be exact although I was cuffed the entire time with my possessions removed). We received no clear answers.
When I got off the bus, an officer told me I was in Westwood (an hour away from home). We had to point out what bag was ours from a giant pile & I had a small black fanny pack way at the end. They ask which is mine & I’m still cuffed, so I just point w my head. I SLIGHTLY LEAN SLOWLY & MULTIPLE MEN GRAB THEIR GUNS READY TO SHOOT ME!!???
When we were finally let off the bus, a girl slipped out of one of her cuffs, so a cop pulled it tighter. She expressed that it was too tight, so the cop responded by laughing in her face & making it even tighter to the point where she cried in pain until another officer said it went too far. They attempted to cut off the cuff with bolt cutters but only managed to slice her hand open & told her she’d have to figure out how to remove it herself. She was sent up the hill in the dark, still cuffed, bleeding and phone-less.
My phone has been dead for hours at this point, so I asked if I could borrow a charger or use their phone to call someone. An officer told me no, that I had to figure it out, but I could walk up the hill into a nearby neighborhood & hopefully find a safe option there. So they abandoned a bunch of young women into an unknown neighborhood at midnight, phones dead. But don’t worry, they wished us the best! No really, it was very reassuring to be sent off with the final wishes of, “hope you find a way home safely,” from someone whose job is to keep me safe. I caught a ride with a stranger who thankfully proved to be friendly. I pray no one was kidnapped that night.
By no means did we experience the level of brutality the black community has faced & faces daily. But to witness even a taste of the mockery. The inhumanity. The EVIL of the LAPD. No desire to protect. No conscience. A fulfillment from belittling others & abusing power. This is unacceptable. ps: they weren’t even wearing face masks
Defund the police. Vote in local elections. Your DAs, mayors, etc. Donate. Don’t stop sharing your experiences. & Don’t stop saying their names. Black Lives Matter