The Olympian April 10, 2010
OLYMPIA - A woman arrested on suspicion of kicking a police officer in the
groin during Thursday night's anti-police rally downtown told an officer,
"The last time an officer said I assaulted him the charge got dismissed,
no contest. My mom has a lot of money, my friend," court papers state.
Anarchists Protest Leads to 29 Arrests
The woman, Margaret Belknap, 22, and Paul French, 25, were ordered held at
the Thurston County Jail with bail set at $2,500 during a court hearing
Friday, a day after their arrests on suspicion of third-degree felony
assault of a police officer. Belknap has denied wrongdoing.
According to court papers:
French is accused of hitting an Olympia police officer in the face, and
Belknap is accused of kicking an Olympia officer in the “upper right
inside thigh near his groin” and kicking him in the knee while wearing
black “military type” boots.
French is scheduled to walk during graduation ceremonies for students at
The Evergreen State College in June. He has worked off and on as a land
Belknap is a former Evergreen student. She was arrested in San Francisco
in 2009 on three counts of third-degree assault, but the case was
dismissed after she completed a diversion program.
Twenty-nine other people were arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor crimes
during Thursday night’s anti-police march in downtown Olympia.
Jami Williams, 20, was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor assault and
vandalism after allegedly assaulting Tony Overman, a photographer for The
Olympian. Overman said protesters spray-painted his face and camera as he
took a photo of someone spray-painting a street sign. He said protesters
also shoved him, wrested control of his cell phone and attempted to smash
it on the ground.
The 28 other protesters were arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor riot.
Everyone arrested on suspicion of misdemeanors had been released from the
Olympia Municipal Jail as of Friday morning.
The march consisted of a large group of people clad in black with their
faces covered in hoods and scarves. Some protesters wear such clothing so
police won’t recognize them. The march began on Olympia’s west side and
continued down the Fourth Avenue Bridge to downtown Olympia.
The purpose of the march was to protest alleged police brutality,
including recent officer-involved shootings in Portland. Leaflets passed
out during the protest also cited the 2008 fatal shooting of Jose
Ramirez-Jimenez by Olympia police officers as a reason for the protest.
The Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office deemed Ramirez-Jimenez’s
fatal shooting justified. According to police reports, the officers
involved in the shooting described Ramirez-Jimenez reaching for something
in his vehicle during a standoff. They also said Ramirez-Jimenez ignored
their orders to show his hands. Ramirez-Jimenez was fatally shot at the
end of a high-speed police chase in Lacey. Police were trying to pull over
Ramirez-Jimenez’s vehicle because it matched a vehicle used in a drive-by
shooting of a pedestrian earlier in the evening.
After that shooting, police found methamphetamine and a 9 mm
semi-automatic pistol in Ramirez-Jimenez’s vehicle. Forensic tests later
identified the pistol as the firearm used in the drive-by shooting of
Joshua Eden earlier that evening. Eden said in an interview last year that
he has a 13-inch steel rod in his leg as a result of the shooting.
Olympia Police Lt. Ray Holmes said police would not have interrupted
Thursday night’s protest had it remained peaceful. But there were numerous
reports that protesters were breaking the law by throwing bottles and
rocks at buildings, spray-painting property and dragging trash containers
into the streets, blocking traffic, he said.
Police blocked the march at Adams and State streets about 9:15 p.m.
Thursday and arrested some of the protesters.
Police reports obtained by The Olympian contain more details about the
protest and the response by Olympia police. According to the reports:
• About 8:45 p.m., one protester was witnessed spray-painting “Kill Cops”
on a large utility transformer box owned by Puget Sound Energy after
passing the Heritage Park fountain.
• A citizen called 911 about 8:50 p.m. to report that members of the
group spray-painted the wooden front doors of the New Caledonia building
at 116 Fifth Ave. The building houses a police substation. An officer
observed an anarchy symbol and the words “(expletive) cops” spray-painted
on the door.
• Also about 8:50 p.m., some protesters threw a rock at First Citizens
Bank on Fifth Avenue, breaking a window.
• Officers saw protesters throwing rocks at the Manium building at 421
Fourth Ave., breaking windows there.
• Police blocked the group at State and Adams. A skirmish broke out when
police tried to detain Williams, “who had already been identified as the
suspect responsible for assaulting Tony Overman.”
• Police collected several cameras and a digital recorder while booking
the suspects at the Olympia Municipal Jail. Many of the items “displayed
stickers indicating they were the property of The Evergreen State
College” and were “seized as possible evidence.”
In addition to the two people arrested on suspicion of felony assault and
the woman arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor assault, the following were
arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor riot during:
Names omitted by editor.