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Friday: Two TABD Arrests, Felony Charges

Chicago police arrested two young women cyclists Friday on disorderly conduct charges, which they later upgraded to felonies. The two area university sophomores, who were accompanying other youth gathered as part of anti-TABD protests, are scheduled to appear in bond court at 1PM Saturday, November 9 at 26th & California. Activists are urging jail solidarity.
Chicago police arrested two young women Friday evening for riding their bicycles 'illegally' in the loop. Caren Berlyn and Katie Williams, who are sophomores at local universities, were accompanying other activists gathered for a Food Not Bombs event as part of anti-TABD protests.

Police originally said the women would be held on state misdemeanor disorderly conduct charges, but then later tonight upgraded those to felony charges. The two women are scheduled to go before a judge for a bond hearing on Saturday, November 9 at 1PM at the Cook County Criminal Courthouse at 26th and California in Chicago.

Local activists have issued an appeal for jail solidarity for the women at their Saturday bond hearing.

The women were arrested as part of a contingent of roughly 60 mostly young activists who were stopped by police for marching on the sidewalk in the downtown area. The group had originally attempted to assemble along with approximately 100 other people at the Federal Plaza at Adams and Dearborn, where Food Not Bombs volunteers had gathered to distribute free food to passers-by.

The people attempting to peacefully assemble at the Federal Plaza included at least one middle-aged suburban mother who accompanied her daughter to the action, and another mother/daughter team who came down from Chicago's west side to support anti-TABD protesters.

Police presence at the Federal Plaza was reported to be massive and aggressive. Those gathered at the Federal Plaza reportedly spontaneously organized a downtown sidewalk march that took the group through areas of the central loop, up to Chicago's gold coast on north Michigan Avenue, and back south to the loop.

The two women cyclists, Berlyn and Williams, were arrested at the intersection of Dearborn and Randolph. Police originally asserted that the women were collared for riding against traffic, despite the fact that they were traveling with traffic in the correct direction on Dearborn. Several protesters suggested that cops were ripped off because marchers crossed against traffic lights several times. At several points, some of the sidewalk foot traffic spilled several feet over the curb, and cyclists accompanying the participants were also occupying a lane of traffic alongside the marchers, as is dictated by Illinois Rules of the Road, the prevailing traffic law for the state.

Friday's action was also notably spontaneous and 'leaderless', two conditions which seemed to particularly perplex and alarm the police.

Marchers say police did not give any formal warning or order to disperse to Williams, Berlyn or others before the arrests, nor did police tell marchers they were violating any laws before they grabbed the women.

Several witnesses also report that one woman was slapped or punched by police after she quietly submitted to arrest.

Late tonight, Chicago police announced that the two women will be transferred from Area 5 headquarters at Grand and Central to women's lock-up at Cook County Jail at 26th and California.



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