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More on the Die-In Bust

I interviewed Sergeant Jim Lunnen, the police officer who arrested this reporter shortly after the incident. Lunnen disagreed with several of the witnesses, in claiming he'd "three times" warned the reporter to "step back". Witnesses stated the reporter had stepped back. The reporter's tape indicated that Lunnen had only given one warning. The several people I spoke with seemed to confirm that the reporter was quickly grabbed, handcuffed, and put in the squadcar.

Sgt. Lunnen spoke in an agitated fashon and several times interrupted other witnesses as they gave their accounts, insisting he had acted properly. I played this account on Free Radio last Sunday (as well as that of the other witnesses).

The reason or pretext used to arrest the two had to do with the alleged need to drive an emergency vehicle through the blocked off area along Pacific. But, according to reports I heard afterward, the crowd was not cleared from the street, other than a warning or two and the one man arrested for standing in the gutter.

Martin, who was present when the warning was given on a "recumbent" bicycle (where the operator lies down to operate it), reported the warning was given in an abrupt rude and peremptory fashion without any explanation through a squadcar loudspeaker. No attempt was made to bring the emergency vehicle up or down Pacific avenue past the Cinema 9 theater, where the crowd was in the street.

I had informed one of the parade organizers, Joe Williams, some minutes earlier that a man had collapsed and was awaiting emergency services in front of Costa Brava. Williams assured me that the crowd would co-operate with any such situation. According to witness, Jim Ross, that situation was taken care of without requiring any movement from the street.

If anyone wishes to hear the taped testimony of the witnesses, they can contact me at 423-4833. I also do a radio show on Free Radio Santa Cruz (96.3 FM) Thursdays 6-8 PM and Sundays 10 AM -1:30 PM. I invite any witnesses or commentary about this incident (live call in: 427-3772)
 


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