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May1st Booksigning for Karl Rove A quick summary of today’s citizen arrest

Posted by Nancy M. -

Sun, May 2, 2010

Accountability

May1st Book signing for Karl Rove
A quick summary of today’s citizen arrest by Josie Lenwell
Hastings Book Store, Albuquerque, NM

The store was filled with young, friendly employees, more than you could ever imagine. The smiling faces followed everyone as the undercover protesters and true admirers began to come in the door. Karl Rove was not visible and later they snuck him in a back door and had him do his signing in the children’s section. The smiling staff was all around his area. The rest of us waited in line, next to Anne Rice’s Vampire books, a fitting place to wait. The dialogue in the line was about, Rove, Sarah Palin and some tea party stories. Amongst these admirers of Rove were undercover pinks and veterans for peace. Will Covert, aware of what I was about to do, said aloud that I was a bold woman and the Rove admirer next to him, said she agreed, I had a very bold look about me. Actually I was feeling scared and a little dingy. I was about number 20 in line. The early birds were welcomed warmly by Karl and he was feeling quite happy about this friendly reception. I approached him with my usual Josie “welcoming smile” and he warmly said hello and introduced himself. I gently laid my book down for him to sign and pulled out my complaint warrant and then I held my pink furry handcuffs high and announced that I was placing him under a citizen’s arrest for war crimes. He seemed confused, still smiling, till he backed away and pointed his finger at me and said “no, I won’t accept it” and I smiled and said “oh come on, symbolically accept it.” At that point one of the smiling staff, who was no longer smiling, grabbed me and started moving me away. I was able to raise my handcuffs again, but then she gripped both my arms tightly and the pink cuffs tangled beneath my fingers behind me, like a little tail. She told me she was taking me outside and thanked me for not resisting. The store was erupting, out of all the aisles, heads were appearing, yelling “that they arrested the wrong one: and “where is freedom of speech” and “arrest the war criminal” and on and on. The now unsmiling staff were coming from every direction, pointing and asking who was connected to me. My partner who was trying to video me was knocked aside and one of the no longer smiling faces, said “he’s one of them.” Steve squirmed out from under his arm to follow me outside. Other unsmiling faces were asking “who are they?” and my sorta mother-in-law was pushed into a table as she was yelling so loud about them taking me away. Another Code Pink woman was also pushed and then they took down a man wearing a “World Can’t Wait” shirt, as Liz Fox, the next undercover pink behind me, approached Rove and empathetically said, “I guess it’s not Utah” as she handed him her book to sign and then posed for a picture with him with her “war criminal” poster covering the book cover. She noted Rove seemed confused and lost his jovial banter.

As I was taken outside, a CNN ireporter, approached me to ask why I was being arrested. Optimistically, I noted, I was just being detained. Twice, the “now” police woman (who was dressed in pink) asked me if I had a weapon, to which I replied, “No, I am a Woman of Peace.” She noted she was concerned because of my handcuffs, which I thought were the most unthreatening pink fuzzy handcuffs ever used in an arrest. Later, as I sat in the police car with their plastic handcuffs on me, the officer noted that Hastings had decided earlier, that if there were any outbursts, the person would be arrested for disorderly conduct. I explained to the officers that I had investigated the citizen’s arrest very thoroughly, that I had not touched Mr. Rove and that I had left peacefully when requested. He acknowledged the information, but again noted that those higher ups wanted me booked. Staff from Hastings were ordering people off the sidewalk, and at least seven extra police cars had arrived. The officers then began to tell people they could not stay in the parking lot, to which my friends replied that they could not leave without me. They were given a little corner to wait on and then were given the address to the police station where I would be taken. They were told they could meet me there but could not follow the police car. One of the officers told me quietly, that he did understand what I was doing and the point I was trying to make. He was very kind, got me water, and later let me know that the higher ups had changed their mind and were going to let me go. Finally I was released and we began our long journey back to Taos.

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  • Mirabai Starr

    Brava, Josie! Your account brought tears of hope and pathos to my eyes. You are a hero, and I bow to you.

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