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Stories of Police Violence in Omaha 7.25.20 Part 3: Anonymous

I was arrested while participating in the march in solidarity with Portland and to demand justice for James Scurlock, Saturday 7/25.

Because so many have already given their accounts of what happened during the peaceful protest and on the bridge during the initial police action, I will skip that part. My story of those events does not differ from anything that I have read. 

After about 1.5-2 hours in zip-ties on the bridge I was told to get up. A female officer came over to me and escorted me towards a squad car. She told me she needed to pat me down and did so. While she was patting me down, she dislodged my shirt and my breasts were exposed. I asked her to fix my shirt because it easily opens up and she remarked that I shouldn’t wear those types of shirts.

I was put in the squad car and taken to the police station where we were kept outside for a couple more hours. We asked for water but they either ignored us, laughed at us, or told us no. During this time an officer took a picture of us on the ground while smirking at us. Many of us were experiencing heat exhaustion and dehydration and we began chanting for water. Several minutes later, officers arrived with a few 24 packs of water. Instead of giving us each our own (there was more than enough for them to do this) they made us share water bottles, and poured it into our mouths. I declined water, because that’s disgusting and unsanitary even when there isn’t a pandemic. 

I was chosen seemingly at random with four other people to get up and enter the garage. Here I waited for another hour / hour and a half. The garage was extremely hot and at this point I began feeling nauseated and dizzy from the heat and lack of water. 

We begged for water and after a while the officers brought us water. Again we had to share bottles as they poured it into our mouths, but I was too dehydrated at this point to decline. Immediately after the officer finished pouring water into my mouth, another officer opened the door and said it was my turn. My mask was down after drinking water and because I was about to enter a much smaller room, I asked her if she would lift my mask over my nose and mouth, she said no and to “get in here.” I asked again saying, “please there’s a pandemic, I don’t want to be in a small room–” She cut me off and said “Fine, you can wait, next!” I couldn’t handle the heat in the garage anymore so I went into the room, mask down. 

She patted me down, once again dislodging my shirt and exposing my breasts. She didn’t fix my shirt and I stood there for a while with my breasts out of my shirt, not even realizing it because I was still so dizzy from the heat and dehydration. I noticed a male officer looking at my breasts and that’s when I realized my shirt was dislodged and was able to fix it. 

For much of my time in the cells I had my eyes closed, trying to sleep–but never succeeding, so I was not keeping time astutely. 

But while I was being booked, I remarked to the officer booking me that the conditions in which we were being kept were unsafe considering the current pandemic. She made light of this and said that officers were tested weekly and only came in if they were asymptomatic. She said about 95% of the officers who tested positive were asymptomatic so those still came into work. Obviously I can’t verify whether or not this is true. But if she was being honest, that meant a number of our arresting and handling officers that night / next day were likely sick with covid-19, but merely asymptomatic.

During most of the night and much of the following day, there were 35-40 women in a 14 capacity cell. After complaining about the heat for a while and asking for many different solutions, a guard said “we can make it hotter” and slammed the door. (It should be noted, we were not given water if in the cell and were told to drink the water from the sink which was dirty and honestly disgusting.)

At one point, half of the women were taken into a large room with two jugs of water. The room had cots and chairs lining the walls. It was big enough for about sixty people to inhabit comfortably and safely. We begged for the other women (about 25 still in a 14 capacity cell) to be let in with us–one woman was suffering a panic attack, another had called for the nurse (the nurse was not brought to her), and all of them were overheated and distressed. Most of us in the large room were talking / yelling at the same time and a female supervisor (white) came in and only took the one Black woman who was with us at the time and locked her in the bathroom then left the room.

About three hours before I was released, I watched an officer throw a man (not a part of the protestors) to the ground, the force of which broke his head open, and repeatedly punch him in the face.

I was eventually released after nearly 24 hours at approximately 9:45 PM 7/26.