TPD issues new rules to Occupy Tucson protesters
Web Producer: Marissa Pasquet
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - No longer will Occupy Tucson protesters get out of receiving police citations simply by leaving Viente de Agosta Park when officers arrive. The Tucson Police Department said it will now issue tickets to everyone caught at the park after hours, even if protesters leave the park.
The new tactic began early Wednesday morning as officers issued 34 citations to protesters who stayed at the park after hours. The police department released the following statement regarding their new approach to enforce the park ordinance.
The Tucson Police Department’s approach to enforcement of Tucson City Code violations by
Occupy Tucson demonstrators has been to enforce the law, while exercising discretion in the
form of allowing those in the park at the time of the enforcement the option to leave without
receiving a citation.
Over the course of time, members of the movement have adopted a tactic of leaving the park while officers are conducting enforcement, waiting from an adjacent sidewalk, then returning to the park to camp as soon as the officers have left the area. In the past two weeks, a significant number of demonstrators have employed this tactic, leaving a token group of demonstrators in the park to be arrested, while the majority simply returned to the park with impunity after officers completed the deployment.
On the morning of November 22, 2011, Tucson Police Assistant Chief Klein met with members
of the Occupy Tucson movement at Veinte de Agosto Park and informed them that beginning on
the evening of November 22, 2011, the officers conducting enforcement of after-hours violations
at the park would no longer be allowing demonstrators to circumvent enforcement by leaving
after the officers arrive.
The Veinte de Agosto Park operating hours are from dawn until dusk, and demonstrators are in violation of Tucson City Code if they remain in the park after dusk. Demonstrators who attempt to leave the park when officers arrive after-hours will be contacted, arrested, and issued a criminal citation for applicable violations.
On November 23, 2011, officers contacted demonstrators at the Veinte de Agosto Park at
approximately 12:30 a.m. In spite of the information communicated directly to the designee at
the park earlier in the day, a number of demonstrators attempted leave the park as the officers
arrived. They were identified, contacted, and arrested, as were the demonstrators who chose to
remain in the park. Thirty-four demonstrators were arrested, issued criminal citations, and
field released at the scene for violation of Tucson City Code (TCC) 21-3(7)(3). No force was
used during the contacts.