Protestor Accused of Assaulting Cop Now Accused of Punching a Fellow Occupier

Categories: Crime
benavides.jpg
Photo by Brantley Hargrove
Stephen Benavides
Earlier this morning, Occupy Dallas posted to its website an item headlined: "OccupyDallas supporter assaulted." That supporter: Glynn Wilcox, who was among those who helped hash out the agreement between City Hall and the protesters that allowed them to camp out behind Dallas City Hall.

And according to the account, written by Occupy Dallas spokesman Michael Prestonise, and subsequent interviews, Wilcox was assaulted by none other than Stephen Benavides, the very man charged with assaulting a public servant and resisting arrest after that off-duty Dallas Police officer appeared to shove him from the planter at the downtown Bank of America.

According to Wilcox, Prestonise's account and the Dallas Police report, several Occupiers and their attorney, Jonathan Winocour, were meeting at BuzzBrews in Deep Ellum Tuesday evening -- just an informal, what's-next planning session. But at some point their "political discussion" (per DPD's account) turned into a full-blown argument, which turned into an assault on the Commerce Street sidewalk. Says Wilcox: "It just went down the rabbit hole pretty quickly."

Here's Prestonise's account:
As a dozen members of the group, including supporters Wilcox and attorney Jonathan Winocour, engaged in conversation, an argumentative Benavides approached and began criticizing them for their involvement. "You're not a part of the 99%" shouted Benavides. He went on to demand the expulsion of two members of the Media work group on the grounds that they were "elitists" and criticized them for inadequate food preparations at the camp. As Wilcox and the other members present attempted to de-escalate the situation, Benavides lunged forward and violently assaulted the supporter. After striking him in the face several times, Benavides turned and ran from the scene.
Winocour tells Unfair Park he never saw the attack. He was inside having coffee when, "next thing I know there's a cop car outside and someone said Stephen was in a fight." DPD had already been called to BuzzBrews earlier in the evening when one Occupier said Benavides was "making threats of violence," according to the department. Wilcox says BuzzBrews's owner asked Benavides to leave. But he returned later, a little past 9, and found Wilcox and others outside, talking. Wilcox said he called them "conservative moderates" and insisted, repeatedly, "I am a revolutionary."

At which point the DPD report has Benavides punching Wilcox twice -- on the left side of his neck, then again on his right ear. It also says he was choked to the point where he was "unable to breath[e]." Wilcox says he did nothing, just stood there with his arms folded. Then, he tells Unfair Park, he took "two, three more hits bent over the planter box with someone holding me up so I wouldn't go over."

(Update at 2:32 p.m.: Benavides has sent a very lengthy statement, which follows in full. Its title: "Occupy Dallas Self-Proclaimed Leaders Seek To Create the 'Tea Party for the Democrats.'")

Wilcox says Occupy Dallas posted its account to get ahead of the story -- and to show the group will not tolerate violence from its members, even its most visible and vocal.

"We've stressed the non-violent nature of Occupy Dallas, and any violence as a whole needs to be addressed," Wilcox says. "Its unacceptable regardless of how bad a week or month he's having. We appreciate the DPD and our relationship with them. It isn't malicious toward him. Its an event that occured, and everyone has to deal with the consequences of their actions. It's unfortunate. It sucks all around. Stephen's a great guy, but he'll have to deal with the consequences of his actions. Violence is never the answer."

Prestonise writes in his account that "this episode of violent rage highlights the issue of radical individuals attempting to incite violence among fellow protesters." Winocour prefers instead to refer to Benavides as "a passionate young man" dealing with the aftermath of his brother Jesse's murder last month. And though he's bruised and banged up this morning, and on his way to DPD HQ for a chat with detectives at this very moment, Wilcox likewise has nice things to say about Benavides.

"This isn't anybody going after Stephen," he says. "I've had interactions with him literally every day when I go down to the camp. He's been very supportive of the Occupy movement and has been a great organizer when he's organized events. But it's a shitty situation. He's been a good part of this for the most part, and for it to come down like this is a crappy way for him to resolve a situation. It's a crappy muddling of everything."

Incidentally, Winocour says he met with Dallas city attorneys this morning, including First Assistant City Attorney Chris Bowers, and says that "nothing has changed" following yesterday's ruling by U.S. District Judge Jane Boyle. "There is no impending doom, I've been told." A message has been left for Bowers.
Statement from Stephen Benavides About 11/15/2011 Assault on Occupy Dallas Protester
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48 comments
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Concerned Texan
Concerned Texan

It's bad when channel 8 news says in effect, when you have members choking each other it's time to shut it down. These incidents have given the city so much ammunition:/

Mbernadiner
Mbernadiner

Occupy Wall Street (OWS) gangs commit criminal sabotage, a deliberate action aimed at weakening another entity through subversion, obstruction, disruption, or destruction (Revised Code of Washington 9.05.060): disruption of operations of one of the world biggest ports resulted in revenue losses; disruption of work of small businesses resulted in laid offs and unemployment fund losses in NY; disruption of banks' economic operations; etc. Criminal sabotage is a class B felony punishable according to chapter 9A.20 RCW (Revised Code of Washington). US and local Authorities shall take bold measures to enforce the US LAW instead of cover it under "freedom of speech" umbrella twisting the US Constitution in anti-American way. Moreover, OWS use anti-Semitic rhetoric and intimidation tactics demonstrating their real “face” and intention.

Love & Kisses
Love & Kisses

Looks like Stephen Benavides spilled the beans on the connection between the Occupy movements and the Democrat Party. It also looks like Occupy Dallas is no longer at Dallas City Hall. Do you think Benavides was there late last night helping his pretesters to move out? lol

Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

So, let me see if I get this---

A cop pushes a Steve-o off a planter, and he is vilified. But....Steve later "allegedly" attacks a member of his own group--again, involving a planter--and he has defenders? A 'great guy" who wants to be a martyr and then attacks one of your own? You used the word "suck" in a statement? What, is this Facebook or a serious, adult group we see here?  He is trying to justify his actions with misdirection that he was not invited to a meeting? Well, good luck with being invited to ANYTHING now, friend. Or is he still a part of your movement?" If he is, you lose credibility. You might as well invite that cop into your fold, because according to your group, they have the same demeanor and same temperament. No, wait, a the cop was protecting property, Steve was protecting--what?

So, Steve-If these "white, middle class males" were good enough to stand with you since "day one," why you be hatin on them now? Enough with the race card, brother, or I will subject you to the same rants I give Joyce Forman on this blog. You can't just go dropping the "white bomb" whenever you disagree.

You need serious help, fella. Dead serious. Sympathies on the loss of your brother, but you are way over the top, and you will now endanger the very movement you think you represent. Oh, and notice how he is trying to breed mistrust by calling someone, "an anonymous source" at the meeting. Ha! OMG, this is just hilarious. This is the best soap opera in town. It sounds as if they are quietly acknowledging they need a plan, an organization--and he comes along and makes them sound evil. To me, it makes them sound rational--FINALLY.

Gangy
Gangy

Why are you so threatened by Occupy Dallas?

Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

I am not threatened by them, rather, I am sorry for them. They are mostly well-intentined, but severely misinformed people who THINK they are doing something, when they are not.

I don't like my tax dollars having to be spent on spoiled, crying wannabes. You want to change the system? By God, register people to vote, come up with a plan and run your candidates. Open businesses to compete for customers away from the bad old corporations.

But to whine and cry over where they can pitch a tent? To complain about being treated badly when they were trespassing?

The left has one big problem: It NEVER can get is act together. NEVER. And that is why the T P is winning contorl of our gov't, our banks, etc...

Their griping about where to place tents is akin to arguing the placement of the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

Oops. Yes, I need to a much better job---I think I corrected my mistakes--a crime for a teacher, I must say! Like when I talk, I type fast and hit send before checking. Good catch.

As for the CAPS, I do that as vocal emphasis, since we cannot use italics...

But---- I am not arguing--never have--about their RIGHT to protest, just their insistance that they can protest wherever, however and whenever they want---not true. There are limits, even to the 1st Amendment.

Dallas Diner
Dallas Diner

An admonition to "use Spellcheck," in a post rife with spelling and grammatical errors.  Now that's funny!  For instance...

"Maybe so, but they still have the right to protest. They are there to get people to think about how they vote.It doesn't take long to check your spelling, use 'Spellcheck'-that's what I do![spaces missing]P.S. [P.S. to what?  This is still part of the text, not something added after a signature.]  Please go easy on those large "CAPS," because you non-left  (with one big problem) need to protect them.[another missing space, and this makes no sense] P.P.S. I will take the deck chairs next to the life boats. [Same problem with the "P.P.S." as with the "P.S."] (just saying.)  [while the 'just saying" is inane, the period should have been outside the parentheses, not inside.]

And no, I did not spell check the above

ChaunceyGardenour
ChaunceyGardenour

Maybe so, but they still have the right to protest. They are there to get people to think about how they vote.It doesn't take long to check your spelling, use 'Spellcheck'-that's what I do!P.S. Please go easy on those large "CAPS," because you non-left (with one big problem) need to protect them.P.P.S. I will take the deck chairs next to the life boats. (just saying.)

Sam
Sam

I don't care what anybody says about Benavides, any dude that can pull off that sweet Mary Tyler Moore circa Dick Van Dyke haircut is a-ok in my book.

justagirl
justagirl

Sam, that's the funniest thing I've read all day

RTGolden
RTGolden

...white, middle class, elitist, trying to hijack the movement for his own agenda.... sounds like exactly what Benavides is doing.  He's not white, but the rest fits, he's middle class, obviously he's elitist if he can't learn to work along with others in his organization (i.e. my way or the highway), paid union organizer, so he has an agenda he wants Occupy to adhere to.

By the way, who proclaimed Benevides the spokesperson for 99% of Americans?  Nobody asked me.  I got news for Mr. "escalate and evacuate".  Not all middle class, arrogant, petulant, subversive assholes are white.  Some might even be Union Blue.

Chris T.
Chris T.

Let's remember that a person is innocent until proven guilty.   This incident is "alleged", and Benavides is innocent until a court of law fins him so.  As to the connection to the incident where Officer Hollis shoved him prove the planter, Im not sure where any of you are going with that.  That was police brutality and is not related to this in any way.

Benavides' brother was brutally murdered...then he was the target of a police attack and brutality...then he allegedly gets into a fight in an effort to protect the Occupation being sold to corporate interests...I'd say he's a real fighter and believes in what he does...any other person would have wilted long ago.

RTGolden
RTGolden

Let me get this straight, witnesses say police brutality was evident in the benevides incident at BA plaza, so officer is automatically convicted in the Observer.  Witnesses say benevides assaulted another ODer, and it is alleged?  How does that work exactly?

Dallas Diner
Dallas Diner

"This incident is "alleged", and Benavides is innocent until a court of law fins him so.  As to the connection to the incident where Officer Hollis shoved him prove the planter, Im not sure where any of you are going with that.  That was police brutality and is not related to this in any way."Wow, they must have convicted that police officer pretty quickly.  But if the police officer hasn't been convicted, don't you think that if Benavides is entitled to the presumption of innocence, the police officer entitled to it too?

Mike
Mike

If the Occupation is being sold to corporate interests, who in their right mind is buying?

Concerned Texan
Concerned Texan

That's what I'm saying. This movement is crumbling as we speak because of its own members, who would consider it a big enough threat to buy it out? All they have to do is sit back and wait for occupy to dissolve.

Concerned Texan
Concerned Texan

A fighter indeed. Look, there is no doubt from the video that the police officer was absolutely out of line, however, allegedly shouting "I'm a revolutionary" and punching an occupy member is not the way. A protester should be a punching bag, and invite being unjustly attacked by police and anybody else who opposes, it's those opportunities that will help the cause. A non violent protester should leave no doubt that they are not he cause of violence, or be anywhere near an alleged assault.

Juxtapose1
Juxtapose1

Prestonise is the spokesperson for OccupyDallas  He is one of the white elite elements within the group who is trying to sell the Occupation Movement to the Democrats.  I would not listen to anything he says. 

Concerned Texan
Concerned Texan

What's with this elite white business? Being white doesn't make you elite, and race has nothing to do with being a bad person that craves power and control. I don't see race, I see people, people doing bad things are bad people, not bad white or bad African American people, just bad people. It's a disservice to the population of the planet to go around identifying ourselves by race, it encourages division, and division makes us, the people, weaker as a whole.

Concerned Texan
Concerned Texan

I'm gonna be honest here. I completely support the initial idea behind the movement, but unfortunately, with all the internal division and separate agendas working, the movement isn't even a big enough threat to infiltrate and buy out.

Aaron
Aaron

The Democrats are welcome to join us. The thing is we do not vote on people any more. We vote on solutions to problems. The fact that you think this movement can be co-opted still, shows that you know little about the occupy movement. There is no "Offical" spokesperson for OccupyDallas. Prestonise is just a member of the Media team who talks to media. I do the same thing. Does that make me a white eliteist? Our greatest challenge is not the Police or the City. It is dealing with ignorent people like you.

Travis Rex
Travis Rex

ROFL...the Special Olympics comes to US politics...."we don't vote on people anymore"..OH? They don't actually engage in politics..the just vote on solutions to problems?  Your greatest challenge apparently is finding someone literate to get your message across...REALLY. 

Agent Smith
Agent Smith

that's cute Stephen.  Nice name change btw.  You are the only person that uses the term "white elite" in that the camp and it is funny to watch you cower behind another person's screenname. Your transparency is pathetic. 

towski
towski

"Benavides turned and ran from the scene."

I'm sensing a theme here...

Chillaxe
Chillaxe

This Stephen dude can relax.  The Democrats don't want Wilcox's sorry carpet-bagging arse any more than he does.

Craig T
Craig T

This certainly gives credence to the accounts of the DPD officers who say that Benivedes started the violence outside the bank. Obviously he is a violent individual.

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

I feel for the guy due to the loss of his brother, but I cant support this guy being a dumbass, Benevedes needs to leave accordingly..

J. Erik Jonsson
J. Erik Jonsson

JS, are we allowed to call him a union thug now?

ThaDude
ThaDude

I think it's fair to call him a thug, since this is at least the second time he's assaulted a fellow protester. But no reason to drag the Union into it. It isn't their fault he's a thug.

Watching South Detroit
Watching South Detroit

You wonder why these people can't get jobs?  They can't agree on the goals are protesting for or how they will protest.  Now they are fighting amongst themselves.  They are just occupying space to protest "something".  They have been there for over a month and I still can't figure out what they want to achieve other than staying in their shantytown encampment.   Maybe a business would hire 1% of these protesters. 

Concerned Texan
Concerned Texan

It's this kind of division that is going to give the government the ability to shutdown protests faster. This movement has proven to the government that we as a people can't organize, and conduct ourselves in a professional manner, and now they will become desensitized to the voice of the people.

BTS
BTS

Why is there constant whine that they should have jobs. What does that have to do with the protests? Do you know that they don't have jobs?  I think you don't know shit from shinola. LOL!

EDM
EDM

That is the problem with not having a professional astroturfing organization to create press releases, publish talking points, and support a cross-country bus tour.

RTGolden
RTGolden

In other words, that's the problem with being ineffective?

Kristi
Kristi

Poor Stephen.  His brother was brutally murdered just two weeks ago.  I think he is having difficulty dealing with this... I'll say a prayer for him.  There is no excuse for violence.

Dallas Diner
Dallas Diner

"There is no excuse for violence."  Yes there are instances where there is an excuse for violence.  In fact, there are quite a few.  For instance the shower in the Penn State locker room?

Phelps
Phelps

Schadenfreude.

I haz it.

Buckeye
Buckeye

Well, you can't go around calling people "conservative moderates" and not expect a fight to break out.

brett
brett

so Benavides is the 99% of the 99%?  Or is he just 99% douche?

Travis Rex
Travis Rex

Do they all argue in unison?  I watched the news yesterday with their lawyer guy droning on.."we will not smoke pot on public property" "we will not drink alcohol on public property"...all was well until his last statement about actually getting up and really protesting...none of them intoned after him....

Phelps
Phelps

That's their creepy cultish "human megaphone" brainwashing thing.  Which they use even when they have real megaphones (see: cultish brainwashing).

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