The Bay Area Anti Repression Committee (ARC) has joined with those who have taken to the streets to protest the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisonsin, and the subsequent murder of two BLM protesters by 17 year old white supremicist Kyle Rittenhouse. We stand in solidarity with those that are in mourning, we are mourning too. We stand in solidarity with those that feel rage at the continued racist attacks on Black people by police, we are enraged too. We are inspired by the ongoing protests across the country and are committed to providing support to all those who face local and federal repression.
Since Wednesday August 26th, 2020 we know that of those arrested in the Bay Area, most were cited and released. Those that required bail accomplished their own bail fundraising efforts started in the immediate aftermath of their arrest by those closest to them, and were supported by ARC and NLG through the bonding process. One person chose to remain in custody and declined bail for their own political reasons. They were arraigned two days ago in court with no charges filed and released. If you were cited and released it is important that you call the NLG public hotline at 415-909-4NLG to document your arrest in order for ARC and NLG to track your case and stay in touch with you for support as needed throughout your case.
Preparing for coming repression
We know that despite months of protests against racism and police terror, the police continue to murder Black people. We know repression against protesters has escalated, and white supremacists, with the backing of local and federal governments, have been emboldened. We also know it’s an election year. Knowing these things we can anticipate more state and federal crackdown against protestors. We want to take this opportunity to provide information on how to prepare for potential arrests at upcoming actions and how to connect with ARC for bail funds and ongoing support around your case when needed.
What happens if you are arrested
If the police physically arrest you at a protest, there are a few things that might happen: potentially people will de-arrest you in the moment, and if not, you could be cited and released, or booked into county jail.
Cite and release occurs when you are arrested, but are then released with a citation to appear at court on a later date. Police can cite and release you at the place of arrest, or they can they take you to a random place far away from the point of arrest and release you there. This recently happened when people who were arrested fighting fascists on the Golden Gate bridge were dropped off in Tiburon. In some cases, they take you to jail, book you, but then release you with a citation. When this occurs you may have to wait several hours or overnight while the jail processes your information before you are released. Bail is not an option in this case. ARC and NLG do not always know when cite and releases have occurred. For this reason it is very important that people call into the NLG hotline to report that they were cited and released so we can help get you the appropriate legal support. Additionally, if someone you know was arrested, call the NLG public hotline at 415-909-4NLG and they might be able to give you more information as to whether they will be cited and released and need jail support.
Under pandemic regulations, if your arrest charges are misdemeanors you are usually cited and released before arraignment with a later court date, while those with felony arrest charges may be held in custody depending on the nature of charges. If you are held in custody, you have the option to be bailed out, unless a hold has been placed on you.
For people who remain in custody for various reasons (such as holds making them ineligible for bail, inability to find a co-signer for bail, or for personal political choices, etc.) arraignments typically occur within 72 hours after arrest not including weekends and holidays. Arraignment is the arrestee’s initial court appearance, and can be a time when bail amounts are reduced or people are released without charges being filed. If you are released, the DA may still choose to file charges at a later date.
In the past, ARC only bonded people out after their arraignment, with exceptions made for emergencies, but we have adjusted this policy so as to limit the amount of time people need to stay in jail during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are a co-signer or the arrestee in jail you can call the NLG and request bail support and they will put you in touch with ARC or other bail funds.
Accessing bail funds after arrest if you are NOT cited and released:
ARC has bail funds available for ALL people arrested at any protest related activity who don’t already have the resources to bail themselves out. Before doing your own crowdsourcing, you should reach out to the bail funds that already exist. Call the NLG hotline and they will connect you to these community bail funds. If someone you know needs bail support, the most important information that the NLG hotline needs to know is that a co-signer is available and the person in custody consents to being bailed with the identified person as their co-signer. A co-signer is a support person who is willing to be financially responsible for the total bail amount if the arrestee does not show up at court. Once a co-signer has been identified, ARC can begin the bonding process. Finding a cosigner is often a lengthy task. We are therefore recommending that people find a co-signer before going to an action, in case they do get arrested and need to be bailed out. Give that potential co-signer the NLG public hotline number so they can call if you are arrested and expedite the bonding process.
Once the bonding process begins, we can get information on the approximate time of release, and supporters should prepare to do jail support.
Some Tips for Jail Support
It is important to note that NLG hotline and ARC do not know the exact time people will be released, but often it is after any public transit is running and far away from where people live. For this reason we encourage all protesters to plan to go to Santa Rita Jail (if arrests occur in Alameda County) or their local county jail if they witness an arrest at a protest.
- If you know of people being released, start organizing rides to bring them home from jail. Waiting for someone to be released can take many hours – be prepared. Jail staff are usually unfriendly and unhelpful. Santa Rita has been known to give a release time, but hold people for several hours beyond that or even overnight.
- Be aware of anything you may have on your person or in a car. Anyone on jail property, even just sitting in a car, can be searched without reason.
- Bring warm clothes, drinks, food, and cigarettes.
- The food in jail can be so bad that people often skip meals. In places like Santa Rita, the water is so bad that many prisoners add sugar in order to drink it.
- Be prepared to give emotional support to released comrades and to each other. Incarceration affects more than the person behind bars.
- While doing Jail Support, do not talk about what you or others did at the protest. You should assume anything you say outside of the jail is being heard by law enforcement.
If you are arrested, call the NLG jail line at 415-285-1011 to report your arrest.
If you witness an arrest or someone you know was arrested, call the NLG public line at 415 -909- 4NLG to report what you witnessed.
If you have an ongoing legal case, you can always contact the NLG public line for more information and legal advice if you are unsure what is happening in your case.
Keeping Yourself Safe at the Protest:
As people continue to take the streets against the police and white supremacy, here are some tips on how to keep yourself and others safe against possible state repression:
- Do not let your phone be a snitch! Do not take or post pictures or videos at the protest. Law enforcement is combing through social media and watching livestreams to identify and charge protesters. Do not help the state repress our movements!
- If you get arrested, do not talk to the police! Not only is it your right to remain silent, it is your obligation to remain silent for the safety of yourself, your comrades, and the rest of the political movement you are a part of. The best strategy when dealing with law enforcement agents is to remain silent.
- If you are taken into custody, the only information you need to provide is your legal name and address. Other than that, just keep asserting your right to remain silent. Remember, cops can and will lie in order to get you to talk–don’t fall for it!
For questions and tips on organizing jail support and Know Your Rights info, please contact
[email protected] or look at our website antirepressionbayarea.com