Emily Yates is a United States veteran who served two tours in Iraq. She seems to be a seasoned activist, as she has a history of going to anti-war rallies. Perhaps Yates’s views do not align with your political beliefs. Perhaps she was goading the police (who bit, hard). But she enjoys the First Amendment protections that every citizen has — or should have.
Yates was protesting a potential military strike on Syria on Saturday at a rally in Philadelphia.
After the rally, while at Independence Mall, Yates was waiting to sing at a pro-marijuana rally. She was standing with her banjo under a tree when the Federal Parks Police arrested her for no apparent reason.
There are two sides to the story. The police seemingly overreacted, but Yates was admittedly being difficult. The police asked her to leave and she asked why. In this author’s opinion, the treatment of Yates was overkill by police.
It is difficult to hear the exact conversation, but at one point, one of the police officers who was holding her ankles asked jokingly, “Is she a fish, game or wildlife?” [The relevant portion of the video, which is here, begins at the 1:16 mark.]
This is unacceptable.
Today, PhillyMag.com published the Department of Justice’s criminal complaint against Yates:
On August 31, 2013, at approximately 3:25 p.m., NPS Ranger Eli Bowers, on duty and in uniform, approached a woman who was standing on federal property in Independence National Historical Park (“the Park”). The woman was standing in an area closed to the public inside the Park… At that time, the area was fenced off with “bicycle rack” fencing and closed for emergency use by the NPS and Philadelphia law enforcement officers to process evidence seized, if any, at an unpermitted marijuana legalization rally that was to take place later that afternoon. In fact, later that day, officers used the closed area to catalog the seizure of marijuana from several people who openly smoked marijuana at that rally.
When Ranger Bowers approached the woman who was standing in the closed area he asked her to leave the closed area. The woman refused to leave. Ranger Bowers repeated his request and the woman again refused to leave. Ranger Bowers then ordered the woman to leave the closed area and gave her one minute to comply with his order. The woman did not comply with his order and did not leave the closed area at the conclusion of the one minute.
Ranger Bowers and United States Fish and Wildlife Service Officer Derik Pinsonneault then took hold of the woman’s arms to escort her from the area. The woman actively resisted the officers by tensing her arms and fists and by trying to pull away. As Ranger Bowers attempted to place her in handcuffs, the woman leaned over a bench and began kicking Ranger Bowers and other officers who came to assist. The officers had to restrain each of her legs in order to control her. The officers eventually handcuffed the woman and carried her to a more secure area approximately ten yards away where officers checked her for weapons.
The woman continued to kick at officers and scratched NPS Ranger Layla Schade, who was trying to control the woman’s hands. Schade ordered the woman to stop scratching, and other officers ordered the woman to stop kicking. The woman responded to these orders with screams and expletives and she continued resisting. After an officer had checked her for weapons, officers carried the woman ten more yards to an NPS patrol car while she continued kicking at officers.
Officers placed the woman in the back seat… As Ranger Bowers was leaning in to secure the seatbelt, the woman spit in Ranger Bowers face, spraying saliva on his face. The woman then attempted to bite Ranger Juan Ibanez who was trying to restrain the woman…
According to PhillyMag:
Yates was released from federal custody on a $25,000 bond after being charged with resisting arrest, failure to obey law enforcement officers and disorderly conduct.
What do you think?
Follow Renee Nal on Twitter @ReneeNal and Facebook. Check out her news and political commentary on Tavern Keepers, Gather and the Examiner for news you won’t find in the mainstream media. Renee is also a guest blogger for the Shire Blog.