Sitting in a D.C. Jail Cell


Dr. King reminded us during the Vietnam War buildup: “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” Spiritual and psychic death is what we encountered in our tour of the DC jails. We continue to sow death and reap the whirlwind.

The powerful words of the late Dr.King is how Minneapolis peace activist and T.C. Daily Planet journalist Steve Clemens ends his report, Adventure at the White House. He then goes on to describe his recent experience with a Justice System that may be described as far more more systematic than just.

After 28 straight hours in four different jails, I was physically and emotionally exhausted. We had been arrested the day before as part of a civil disobedience action against the wars in front of Obama’s White House the day before his first State of the Union speech. I think all 13 of us who had been arrested had been traumatized by witnessing the continual crushing of the human spirit by the cruelly named “justice system.”

So when I was led into the courtroom with leg irons, and a waist chain attached to the metal handcuffs, I looked like a hardened criminal facing murder or kidnapping charges. Was the overkill on the part of the Washington, DC Metro Police strategically designed to demoralize and denigrate the “criminals” caught in its web, or was it merely a bureaucracy gone amuck with no idea how to discriminate and apply sufficient restraints where needed.

(h/t DBrauer)

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