The End of the Occupation: Scenes From Dallas Police's Raid on Occupy Dallas's Encampment

Categories: City Hall

PoliceRaidonOccupyDallas1.jpg
Photos by Justin Terveen, slide show here
In the shadow of Dallas City Hall, officers on horseback and in riot gear prepared to raid the Occupy Dallas encampment early this morning.
A little past 11 last night, one of the protesters camped out behind Dallas City Hall was walking from tent to tent, shouting: "Anybody in there? Anybody in there?" From one emerged a groggy, irritated "What?" He was told: "You gotta go, you gotta go. Police are coming." And they were, from all sides -- on horses and on motorcycles and in paddy wagons, some in shirt sleeves but most decked out in full-on riot gear. But ... when? No one knew. "Soon," said one of the Occupy Dallas members sitting outside his tent, smoking. "Soon."

As it turned out, most of the tents were empty, having been abandoned a little earlier on this cold night. Farther inside the massive encampment, close to the Canton Street side behind City Hall, protesters began congregating. They were being told by Occupy Dallas media liaisons and attorney Jonathan Winocour to leave. The city had revoked the October agreement that would have allowed Occupy Dallas to remain on the property till mid-December. One Occupier told the others: "Clean up your shit, take everything. And collect the trash. This place is a mess!" One reason, among many, the city would cite in its eviction notice, a version of which you'll find below in a statement sent by City Hall spokesman Frank Librio a few hours after the occupation of City Hall officially ended.

A little past 11:45 p.m., Winocour gathered the remaining Occupiers, perhaps two dozen, and read to them the letter dispatched via email by First Assistant City Attorney Chris Bowers. The Occupiers repeated after him, part of their so-called "mic check" call-and-response routine.

"The city of Dallas hereby terminates, cancels and rescinds the settlement agreement between it and your clients," said the attorney, reading from his BlackBerry. "The city's termination is due to Occupy Dallas's numerous and material breaches of that agreement, some of which are ongoing since it was entered on October 17, 2011, and since the city gave Occupy Dallas written notice of some of its breaches in a letter dated November 8, 2011." Winocour told the protesters that the city considered them "an increasing health and safety hazard to themselves and others," and that the occupation was over -- immediately.

"Persons who fail to take prompt action will be subject to arrest and have their property seized," he told them. The letter also said: "The city regrets that it is not able to give you and the participants more notice of the timing of the termination of the agreement, but the need to reduce the risk of serious injury to participants of Occupy Dallas, Dallas Police officers and others prevented the city from providing more advanced notice. Lots of love, Chris Bowers."

PoliceRaidonOccupyDallas5.jpg
Winocour added that last bit. But as if on cue, police cars and SUVs -- initially, just in front of City Hall -- began encircling the entire block. Just after midnight, it looked like a fully lighted movie set -- something out of, say, RoboCop, filmed on this very spot. It was surreal, the site of mounted officers lined up beneath OCP headquarters. And then, over the bullhorn, Dallas Police began warning: Get gone or get arrested. And media were warned: Leave the camp, because "your safety cannot be guaranteed." Then, a little later, we were told that if we did not walk out of the tent city, we too would be arrested.

Police gave Occupiers 20 minutes to pack their belongings and vacate the area. They said that if someone needed extra time, they could request it and return later to collect their things. As about 15 Occupiers began building a barricade out of overturned tables, decorated with American flags, Winocour advised them, "Do not resist arrest ... Gandhi up." People piled belongings into trucks, chattered about whether they would stay and go to jail, and chanted in protest. Occupy participant Malina Stroup remained calm. "We need cool heads if the cops are gonna come in," she told a girl who seemed to speak louder than she realized and repeated herself often.

Asked whether this was the end of Occupy, Stroup said, "Not at all. We built a community so that can't be torn down with some tents."

PoliceRaidonOccupyDallas2.jpg
At a little after 1:10 a.m., after numerous warnings, officers finally moved in to the encampment and arrested 18.
After issuing several warnings to vacate the area and moving all media across the street, police moved in. From where we were placed by police, reporters could not see the 18 arrests that took place within the camp, though the sheer volume of police vehicles created quite a spectacle.

PoliceRaidonOccupyDallas3.jpg
Angela Hunt speaking with reporters shortly before the raid went down
Council member Angela Hunt, who had seen news of the raid on Twitter, came down to see what the hell was happening. She said she'd called City Manager Mary Suhm and asked her to explain. Suhm told her to check her email, that she's received the same letter was Winocour at the same time. Hunt was not pleased.

"Obviously, the plan had been made well before then," she said, adding that she did not know of a particular event that led to police to descend upon the camp. "[Suhm] certainly didn't talk to me about it ... and there was plenty of opportunity. Mary was with us all day" at a council briefing.

"I'm just suggesting that this could have been handled in a much more responsible fashion," Hunt said.

"This seems to me like a grossly disproportionate use of force," Winocour said to Hunt, as they eyed the rows of police SUVs.

"Ya think?" she said in response.

A press conference will be held this morning at 10 at DPD HQ.

PoliceRaidonOccupyDallas4a.jpg
This is the statement sent by Occupy Dallas at a little past 4 this morning.
City Manager orders raid of OccupyDallas camp

Dallas, TX, November 17, 2011 -- Police officers in riot gear raided the
OccupyDallas camp early Thursday morning after City Manager Mary Suhm
rescinded the agreement with protesters and ordered evictions. Members of
the camp who have been protesting for over 42 days were given no notice
from the city before police strategically surrounded them.

In an excessive show of force, mounted officers on horseback trotted onto
the scene while police sport utility vehicles lined the streets. Jonathan
Winocour, the lawyer working with OccupyDallas, was sent a fax at 11:46
p.m. from the City Attorney's office informing him of the city's
intention to forcibly remove the peaceful protesters. Minutes after
Winocour relayed the message to protesters, the members of the media were
warned to leave by police loudspeaker. They were relocated across the
street while the police loudspeaker issued a statement to the remaining
OccupyDallas members. The protesters were given 20 minutes to collect
their personal property and vacate the park.

After the 20 minute deadline had expired, police officers carrying
shields lined the sidewalk and began moving into the camp. They searched
each tent before arresting those who had chosen to stay. In total, 17
protesters were arrested for refusing to leave the park.

The raid on the camp comes less than 24 hours after Winocour met with
city officials who assured him that there were no plans to evict the
protesters. Protesters were warned by members of the media that police
officers were being briefed and prepared for the raid on the camp.
OccupyDallas advisor Glynn Wilcox was shocked to discover that City
Manager Suhm failed to notify Mayor Rawlings and the members of the City
Council of the police action. The raid comes on a day which has been
planned as a National Day of Action across the country.

Additional reporting by Robert Wilonsky.

My Voice Nation Help
160 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
Jane Phillips
Jane Phillips

these doofus fools need to take a bath, get jobs, and pay income taxes!

RTGolden
RTGolden

After some off-handed consideration, I think both sides lost an opportunity to benefit from the situation, and neither side is worse off for the actions taken by both sides.

Occupy Dallas lost the opportunity to come forward and clarify the concrete issues their movement stands for.  They would have been the first of the Occupy groups to actually do so.  As it is, the Occupy movement as a whole has become a movement about whether or not protest groups have a right to camp in public space.  The media attention was rarely focused on the marches or sit-ins, and more focused on attempts to drive the groups out of their occupied parks.  As such, I don't think the protests against income disparity and tax imbalance have been critically damaged, especially since those issues were already in the national discussion.

Dallas City Hall lost the opportunity, as a municipal government, to be seen as a governmental body that is in touch with its constituency, no matter how small or fragmented a group may be.  Continued discussion with the Occupiers might have led to a resolution of the differences between the City and the ODers.  Occupy Dallas and Dallas City Hall already had led the other movements in terms of cooperation and compromise.  I believe they were the first to come to some sort of written agreement spelling out parameters for continued occupation.  However, as Dallas doesn't really have a reputation for being a progressive and tolerant city, I don't think the city's image was tarnished all that much, and probably was elevated by the relatively calm and orderly eviction witnessed here.  (I actually would have liked to see a Horse charge through the remaining tents after assuring all the campers were out of the way)

Hopefully, as many on here have mentioned, the Occupy movement will seize this opportunity to organize, solidify their grievances, coordinate their activities, come up with solutions (which is what is needed far more than protests), and get active in realizing those solutions.

Remember, Voters can effect term limits, even when Congress doesn't.  Simply vote out the incumbents.

WW
WW

And the squad car lights red glare, the mace bursting in air,Gave proof through the night.. that our flag was NOT there.Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet waveO'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?Have saved the picture of the the Occupy people..sitting in the dark, with the American Flag..illuminated only by a by flashlite.. about to be forcefully removed..for protesting something EVERYONE KNOWS IS WRONG.But since a majority of the 99% have IRA's ,501K's etc..They are too, are part of the problem, since the Wallstreet people are playing with their money..

RTGolden
RTGolden

You're exactly right. We live in a police state, down with the cops!! I should immediately cash in my hard-earned retirement plans, buy a tent, and hope social security lasts long enough to keep me living in poverty for the rest of my life.

I hope you saved the picture of the Occupy Wall Street jackass pissing and shitting on the flag.  Not only is that action highly offensive to a large number of people, it's a clear, photographically preserved example of the "health and sanitation violations" people are claiming cities are making up.

You want to rely on social security and have a single payer health care system?  Go for it.  There is no SS 'trust fund', just a bunch of IOU's from current and former administrations and congresses.  As for national health care, join the military, get wounded, and wrestle with the VA for you health care.  Yeah, I want the government running my health care. NO I dont think so.

auralee
auralee

In what I've read re- the Occupy Dallas camp, including the Police Chief's most recent statements as reported by the press, the "violence" amounts to one scuffle that took place away from the camp, arising from a personal dispute between camp members, and the person responsible for the alleged "assault" apparently vanished some time ago.  As for sanitation, I visited the camp twice and both times found it immaculate. 

If the City considered the camp a problem, they should certainly put a stop to the Texas State Fair.

RTGolden
RTGolden

....except, of course, that the State Fair is a legal activity, conducted on grounds designated for that legal activity.

The devil is in the details

Master Sarcastician
Master Sarcastician

AAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA... HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA... Damnit I was hoping for tanks and armed soldiers...

Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

Thank you, DPD, for executing a thankless task. The City should NEVER have given in to them in the first place.

Ms Hunt. I really do like and respect you, but if they had told you or Caraway earlier, then you or he would have told them, and people might have gotten stiff-necked about it--and something bad could have happened. It is a GOOD thing they were quiet.

They showed a massive front in order to stop-check the OD into thinking they could make a stand that would only hurt them in the end. The few OD's there wisely gave in and left--or had already left. The other *martyrs* can go to jail.

REAL change in this city is needed. Maybe when they reorganize, get a firm sense of their message, their membership, their organization, more of us might step up and help. But when you lump together rational thinking game-changers with wannabe anarchists and shit-stirrers, you will not have success.

Ghandi-up? Neat phrase, but I hope they will go home and read history. Gandhi fought against the imperialism of the British Empire for about 50 years, not for a few weeks. He spent a lot of time in jail, not for camping in a park, but for genuinely going up against abusive authority. His message was ALWAYS clear, ALWAYS consise and ALWAYS actionable.

Re-boot and get back with us. Have a good holiday OD and DPD.

Jonathan Winocour
Jonathan Winocour

I did add "...for want of a better term." You can see that on the video. Thank you for your interest and attention.

Josh's broken records
Josh's broken records

Can't believe I missed this non news about the non movement. Go home Gen Y'ers..take a really long shower..put them tents on Craiglist (maybe EBay, tell em they were used in OWS operations..Buy it now option)..and then get a freaking job! Move out of Mom and Dad's garage "apartment" (They are more than ready for you to fly the coop) Get up at 6am atleast 5 days a week and take your ass to a job. Do that everyday for 30/40 effing years or so..while dragging the weight of the world with you (kids,sicknesses,loss of work,injuries) and then get back with me.

Sincerely,Working Man

nadadamnthang
nadadamnthang

6am? but my work doesn't start until 10am...what am i'm suppose to do till then, oh ye wise Working Man? and then what about the weekends? besides my mom says i'm her special little man and she bakes cookies for me, for when I return home from my hard day at work! at night she tucks me in and reads me bedtime stories(usually some books written by a guy name Marx or something)...anyway thank you wise Working Man for your many erudite and sincere words. 

Sincerely,Lazy Commie Manchild who lives in mommies basement

p.s. would you care to buy a sleeping bag from me? it has a couple of pee pee stains in them, for my momma wasn't there to change my big boy undies :(

John Anzaldua
John Anzaldua

Dallas County and Police Should (UNDER FEDERAL INVESTIGATION THEMSELVES) get a life. Let them keep working their corrupt life and for a government that could give a s***())) less about them but I forgot its all about the man and the badge always wanting to prove his own power within that badge. What bull if all could have been like my Grandfather as Chief of Police in Frisco. What a world coming to a closer. Forget your" freedoms"

Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

I am sure he was a great man, but I sincerely doubt Frisco would have allowed this to go on this way for this long...

james
james

wimps shoulda marched down boy george's street in preston hollow. his dumshit is the main reason the economy is in the shitter anyways.

james
james

NO GUTS NO GLORY

james
james

my mom usta say that i'd argue with a fencepost.  i've called various customer support (abuse) lines...from txu to ebay to city of dallas to banks to credit card companies to police to sears to wal-mart to at&t to sharp electronics to whirlpool to dallas observer to  ....an' i usually git a funny talkin' furriner that don't know shit an' barely talks pidgin english...there's only one of me an' a whole lotta goddam fenceposts, most of which cain't unnerstan even pidgin retard english an' jist need choppin' down. i feel like i'm actually the 1% an' the fenceposts that i cain't take two steps without trippin' ovur 3 of are the 99%. does that compute with any of ya'll intelligence types?

james
james

hey i've named several entities that ain't worth spit for customer service. are any of you #@!%^&* gonna sue me? mebbe ya c'n spend 20 mil$ to shut us up an' try to squeeeze a li'l more blood, oil or jist plain grease out of a turnip.

james
james

ain't i a great guy to argue with? this is almost as lively as oncors downe3d wires line.

pencil
pencil

Go occupy a job!

I'm stupid
I'm stupid

I've read all these posts and not one of them gives an actual reason to not support Occupy.  I suppose that the detractors don't believe that changes to our financial systems are needed?  or that levels of income disparity are where they should be?  I'm not an OD'er and haven't even bothered driving by the camp, but it seems from afar that their intentions are good.  they actually seem a lot like the early tea party with regard to their financial reform ideas. 

Ergo Shipspace 1
Ergo Shipspace 1

Good idea, bad execution- no one is arguing that they are protesting the wrong things, but where are the solutions?  Nothing will change if its all complaints and no substance. 

nadadamnthang
nadadamnthang

It was a great execution! Look out all the commenting, all over the Earth, that is happening right now...because of these Occupiers.

Ergo Shipspace 1
Ergo Shipspace 1

Were it only as easy as mere commenting and bemoaning the current state of affairs.  Who steps forward and does something concrete, success or fail, is when the movement's execution begins to have some meaning.

nadadamnthang
nadadamnthang

"What improves the circumstances of the greater part can never be regarded as an inconveniency to the whole. No society can surely be flourishing and happy of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable." Adam Smith

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

"Here's to alcohol. The cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems." Homer Simpson

I'm much more impressed when people use their own words to illustrate a point. The far greater part of the members don't give a rat's ass about Occupy because they're too busy working to camp or care.

RTGolden
RTGolden

"Sex is evil, Evil is sin, Sin is forgiven, so Sex is IN!"  --not sure who said it, but I'll bet alcohol was involved.

nadadamnthang
nadadamnthang

I must say that one was pretty lame...and that makes me sad. zero points for you.

nadadamnthang
nadadamnthang

Damn, you got me there. I just don't no how i'll go on...

Paul
Paul

"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to have fun."Ben Franklin

Paul
Paul

It doesn't take much to realize the relationship between men and women when it comes to having sex:

For the woman:

The mood must be right, the location must be right, the timing must be right, she must be intellectually, emotionally and physically stimulated.  If all of these things are present, done right and she considers you a suitable mate, then if you are extremely lucky and nothing inadvertant distracts her, you might have sex.

For the man:

Bring a six pack of beer ... ... and show up naked.

Ben
Ben

I think that one gigantic horse in that first photo is named MAXIMUS and during the State Fair it does a choreographed dance number to the COPS tv show theme song. I'm not kidding. It really dances around a show ring.

Albert
Albert

Some people become upset with the terms "Marxist" or "Socialist" being applied to this movement.

Ok then, how about "N17", which is the official OWS designation for today's efforts to "Occupy Wall Street" and other post-encampment actions across the country.

Hmmm.. "N17", would that be the Marxist urban guerilla organization?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R...

RTGolden
RTGolden

Isn't it a Rating for the MPAA?  Kind of like "R"

Albert
Albert

That's "NC17", which means no commies under 17 can watch.

pak152
pak152

shhhhhh that's supposed to be a secret and if you go to twitter just search for #n17

Buckeye
Buckeye

"As it turned out, most of the tents were empty, having been abandoned a little earlier on this cold night."

So most of the occupiers had gone home to stay warm in their own beds, leaving only their tents behind to occupy the park.  That's kinda lame, isn't it? 

RTGolden
RTGolden

Maybe that is the "Symbolic" speech they claimed was protected by the 1st amendment... symbolically camping.

Real
Real

Finally the smellies are out of here.. Go take a shower now and think about your next move. Bye.. No really, bye..

Patrick
Patrick

They don't have to go home .. they just have to go .. hopefully shower.

Phelps
Phelps

As it turned out, most of the tents were empty, having been abandoned a little earlier on this cold night.

Translation: Like in most Occupy Whatever camps, the majority of the tents are empty, because they are just astroturf shells set up to make the "movement" look bigger than it is.

Albert
Albert

Potemkin Obamavilles.

pak152
pak152

in England one of the papers (I think it was The Telegraph) used a heat sensing device one night at the St. Paul's Cathedral campsite. The device showed the vast majority of the tents were empty. Wonder if the Dallas PoPo used one of those?

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...