I am one of the occupiers still stuck in the court system…
For those of you who don’t yet know the story, Cobb County Police arrested me for protesting what I believed was an unlawful detention and shake-down of someone for simply standing outside while being a minority… I really hit a nerve when I said “F* the police! Cobb Police suck!” while passing by. I also have a case in the Atlanta Muni Court – I was lucky #8 among 53 arrested during the Occupy Atlanta encampment raid.
I am fighting in federal court but need ~$1,300 for transcripts for state court, and am on appeal to fight for property rights but am required to pay a filing fee to engage in that fight, another ~$500. I do not want to hold out an open hand and offer nothing in return.
Now, the poll…
*I do not use PayPal. They messed up an account over an error and blocked my ability to accept payments from an ad-sharing blogging platform, so I now boycott PayPal.
Thanks to all who support me in my case and lawsuit – I am not fighting just for my own rights; I am fighting to force Cobb County to pay reparations for my false imprisonment and for the hell and humiliation of restricted release while facing jail time for free speech.
For nearly a year, I was required to agree to live under conditions of pretrial release that mirror the conditions of punitive probation. The county stripped me of my gun rights, no alcohol was allowed, and I had to report every week (by phone). Add to that a travel ban that required me to stay in the state. I ended up missing the opportunity to travel for free to New York with friends and fellow Occupiers. I could not attend a wedding. I could not afford the time off to go to friends’ houses to celebrate, because I had case work due.
Two police officers and the County should pay reparations for what they put me through. The stress of a twelve-hour court day does not include the nearly-thousand-hour odyssey that was my first six months after release: calling dozens of attorneys, doing legal research, editing documents, preparing my own trial binder, filing FOIA requests, fetching certified documents from various sources… the odds and ends required to help win a trial.
Finally, after I won my state court case, there is still the fact that I cannot erase the horror of social media calls for me to be killed for “disrespecting the badges.”
Activism does not pay, but it should – activists are the only “politicians” for the people willing to fight to keep our rights intact. So, the best I can do for now is to release cartoons and hope that people are willing to pay for them – unless you, dear reader, have a better idea (I already do contract work, it just does not pay enough to make ends meet).
Thanks to all who support me in my endeavors. One day I hope to go into law and politics professionally – and get paid enough to do this critical work – because someone has got to take a stand for the poor and underserved. And ALL of law is derived of politics, so the fight for and against laws is quite literally a requirement if we want to stay safe and free.
– Amy Barnes,
cartoonist and #OccupyTheCourts activist.