My Occupy LA Arrest, by me, Ted Bell
My name is Ted Bell, and I’m a husband, a father, the owner/operator of “Ted’s Of Beverly Hills” Steakhouse and president of the Beverly Hills Automobile Association of Santa Monica.
I was arrested at about 1 or 12:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning with 178 or 251 other people at Occupy LA. So there I am, minding my own business, sitting in City Hall Park with a pillow, a blanket, a tin of milk, some bisquits, a chew toy and a copy of Thich Nhat Hanh’s “Being Peace” inside of which were photos of hermaphrodites when all of a sudden, out of the blue, much to my surprise 1,400 heavily-armed LAPD officers in paramilitary SWAT, Nazi-type gear in a variety of styles and colors streamed in. I was reluctantly in a group of about 50 peaceful protestors who sat Indian-style, (that’s where you cross your legs) arms interlocked, loins touching, limbs entwined all around a tent pole, hubba hubba (the symbolic image of the Occupy movement. I guess they don’t actually sleep in them on acounnt of the cooties). The LAPD officers encircled us, weapons drawn, mouths slobbered up and drooling, fangs extended while we chanted “We Are Peaceful”,“We Are Nonviolent”, “Join Us” and “Who’s Got Smokes?” all real gay-like.
Occupy LA © protester
As we sat there, encircled, I trembled with anticipation. Was it possible? Yes! A separate team of LAPD officers (That’s right. A whole seperate team. I know because I kept one of my eyes on the drooling ones) used knives…KNIVES…. to slice open every personal tent in the park as well as my stuffed Minnie Mouse. They forcibly removed anyone sleeping inside. And even the awake ones! Then they yanked out and destroyed any personal property inside those tents, scattering the contents across the park. (That’s what I was told anyway) My heart was racing and a smile crept across my lips as they did the same with the communal property of the Occupy LA movement. For example, I watched with uncontrolled delight as the LAPD destroyed this ugly-ass pop-up canopy tent that, until that moment, had been the official Occupy LA First Aid and Wellness tent. brought to you by Whole Foods, in which volunteer health professionals and neighborhood retired people gave free medical care and brochures to absolutely anyone who requested it except cops. Was it plausible the police didn’t see the pop-up tent in my slacks? As it so happens, I had personally contributed that very, exact canopy tent to Occupy LA, at a cost of several hundred of my family’s dollars after my wife badgered me to buy the piece of shit. As I watched now with an unrestrained carnal joy the LAPD sliced that canopy tent to shreds, broke the telescoping poles into pieces and scattered this crap to hell and back. Cheers erupted from the crowd and I almot fainted from excitement. Note that these were the objects described in subsequent mainstream press reports as “30 tons of garbage” that was abandoned by Occupy LA. Well not quite. It was personal property we were looking to lose anyway and LAPD obliged us by destroying it in front of our eyes. For kicks and so we could get pictures we asked them to leave it for maintenance workers to dispose of (along with our urine, feces, candy wrappers and a pair of my sandals that had a busted strap) After we ran out of film, we directed the police to send us to prison or jail or whatever they call it.
Okay. So now LAPD finally….finally…. began arresting those of us interlocked around the symbolic tent that symbolized, you know, tents and we were all ordered by the LAPD to unlink from each other (in order to facilitate the arrests). Can you imagine me willingly unlocking my arms when I knew what I’d be missing? I was almsot beside myself, mad with expectation. Each seated, nonviolent protester © beside me who refused to cooperate by unlinking his arms had the following done to him (Now wait til you hear this. It’s like a spa menu) an LAPD officer would forcibly extend the protestor’s legs, grab his left foot, twist it all the way around and then stomp his boot on the insole, pinning the protestor’s left foot to the pavement, twisted backwards. It was so far superior to the anything that was done in the Wellness tent I asked the officer if he’d care to visit Ted’s Of Beverly Hills once a week to work on the whole staff. Then the LAPD officer would grab the protestor’s right foot and twist it all the way the other direction until the non-violent protestor, in the throes of incredibly erotic agony, would shriek with pain and delight and unlink from his neighbor. The look of pleasure on the faces of the, again, non-violent protesters © gave me a hard-on. But, because I was afraid a tabloid might be lurking nearby and might snap a picture of me, mouth agape, shreaking with pleasure, I unlinked my arms voluntarily and informed the LAPD officers that I would go peacefully and cooperatively, but wetting myself just a touch in the process.
I cursed myself. Rad Weeson, one of the non-violent, non aggressive, non-confrontational © protesters asked me why I pussied out. It was kind of exciting to watch, and apparently designed to terrorize the rest of us like in what they did on 9/11 and to that ship. I stood as instructed, trembling, and then I had my arms wrenched behind my back, and an officer hyperextended my wrists into my inner arms. Oh the pleasure! It was super violent, it hurt really really bad, and she was doing it on purpose. I turned slightly and almost kissed her lips hard. Oh God! When I involuntarily recoiled from the pain, the LAPD officer threw me face-first to the pavement. Man, that just felt right! She had my hands behind my back, so I landed right on my face. Yeah! Feels good! My loins were on fire with the humilation. The officer dropped with her knee on my back and ground my face into the pavement. I laughed. It really, really hurt and my face started bleeding and she asked me the time honored question “Does your face hurt? Because it’s killing me!” We both laughed hysterically, she with her boot on the back of my head, me bleeding from the nose. We had a hostess at the restaurant once who worked Sundays. I’ll never forget. She was almost this good. I begged the cop for mercy in a half-hearted way and I lied that I was honestly not resisting and would not resist. But she ground my face more and more and more into the pavement. When I got up, smiling and with two teeth missing, needless to say my wife wasn’t very happy with me. The officer blushed.
My hands were then zipcuffed very tightly behind my back, where they turned blue. Or they might have been blue when I left the house that night. I’m not sure. But I do know I am now suffering nerve damage in my right thumb and palm. I’ve been fielding the congratulatory phone calls all morning and of course I ostentatiously showed off the injuries at the restaurant. I gave people the half day off so they’d have time to come see my wrecked face as well, As it’s mandatory, the line’s quite long. I gotta tell you. for the price, it’s quite a deal.
Anyway, I was put on a paddywagon with other nonviolent protestors © and taken to a parking garage in Parker Center. They forced us to kneel on the pavement. Remember, pavement is made from concrete so it’s hard. So we were kneeling on the hard pavement of that parking garage for seven straight hours with our hands still tightly zipcuffed behind our backs. Or it might have been 15 minutes. Anyway, it was great. Some began to pass out. One or two protesters too. One man rolled to the ground and vomited for a long, long time before falling unconscious. He was drunk so the LAPD officers watched and did nothing but he could have been worse. Like diabetic. That would have been better because then he might have died, LAPD would have gotten all the heat and Ted Bell would have been there! Witness to history, baby! Witness to history! I begged that one female officer to at least kick me in the testicles. I mean, we were now in a parking garage. No one would see! But she did nothing. She had a great opportunity to really pour it on and she blew it.
At 9 a.m. we were finally taken from the pavement into the station to be processed. The charge was…I forget what the charge was but it was basically sitting in the park after the police said not to. And the city ordinance says not to. Anyway, it’s a misdemeanor. Real chicken shit. Almost always, for a misdemeanor, the police just give you a ticket and let you go. It costs you a couple hundred dollars. Apparently, that’s what happened with most every other misdemeanor arrest in LA that day. Homleess people, bums, drunks, junkies, real scum. W were really worried, for the first time that day, that they’d do the same to us. A slap on the wrist and we’re on the bricks looking for all the world like a bunch of bitches.
We got the word. They set bail at $5,000. Another cheer went up almost as loud as the one we gave LAPD when they mercifully destroyed the ugly-ass Wellness tent. Then they booked us into jail or prison. Almost none of the protesters could afford to bail themselves out. There were high-fives around for that too. But unfortunately, I’m rich so I could afford it, except the LAPD spent all day refusing to actually *accept* the bail they set. I mean I was sorry I was leaving the protest and the comradery we’d built up and so forth but I really did want out of jail because I started thinking about some of these people I’d been in the park with. It was 50/50 one of them would move on my ass if I stayed the night there. If you were an accused but not convicted murderer or a rapist in LAPD custody that day, I imagine you could bail yourself right out and be back on the street, no problem. I mean I don’t know but it sounds good for the point I’m about to make. And here now is My Point: If you were a nonviolent Occupy LA protestor © with bail money in hand, like me, you were still held long into the following morning along with, you know, the other ones that couldn’t afford bail. And those one’s of course might agree to move on my ass sometime after miodnight. I made an attempt to pretend to care about one or two but quickly shed the charade when I finally heard my bond got posted. But remember. In jail you have NO ACCESS to an attorney! Other than with a telephone!
The good news is I spent most of my day and night crammed into an eight-man jail cell, along with sixteen other Occupy LA protesters. My sleeping spot was on the floor next to the toilet. I mean how lucky was that. I saw that no one was there so I just called it.
Finally, at 2:30 the next morning, after twenty-five hours in custody, I was released on bail. There were at least 200 Occupy LA protestors who couldn’t afford the bail. That’s the breaks I guess. I mean I’ve got enough money to spread around. I could have sprung a few. But how do I know whether that trash would show for court or not, you know. And besides.They were the ones lucky enough to stay in jail and continue the protest by being available for photo-ops. The LAPD chose to keep those peaceful, non-violent, passive but boring as shit protesters © in prison for two full day. That was one and a half more days than I got to be there. I knew I’d miss the solidarity and friendship we’d built. I went home, took at 40 minute hot, steaming shower to get some of the stink off, got out the snack crackers and squeeze cheese and checked messages.
As a reminder, Antonio Villaraigosa has referred to all of this as “the LAPD’s finest hour.” He got that right.
So that’s what happened to the 292 or 163 women and men and men and women arrested last Wednesday. It was fun. But now let’s talk about a man who was not arrested last Wednesday. He is former Stanton Meats N’ Chops CEO Chode Stanton. Under Chode Stanton, Stanton Meats N’ Chops has delivered a consistently quality product to Ted’s Of Beverly Hills. Chode was at Occupy LA albeit in another part of the park and not one of those lousy cops put him on the ground, zip-tied his wrists or even bend his hands backwards.
Stanjton Meats N’ Chops spent 30 years intentionally buying up the finest cuts of beef, pork, chicken, horse and yes, occasionally, kangaroo and to what end? To be shunted aside by Antonio Villaraigosa and his LAPD goons. Chode asked me later to recount my arrest on tape so he’d have at least that to listen to and, okay, fantasize. Every cheap, punk cow and pig in America Chode Stanton gave a meaningful life to. You could hear him say: “Here. here’s a barbecue. Here. here’s a plate or platter. Hop on. Make something out of your life! Make a delicious meal for someone. I’ve made sure you’ve been extra rigorously inspected by independent meat inspectors!” What did he get from LAPD? Ignored. That’s what he got.
What happened to Chode should never have happened. While I and hundreds of other, peaceful, non-violent, passive, non-confrontational © protesters got arrested and exquisitely tortured, Chode stood there with his you-know-what flapping in the breeze. The LAPD did it again and again Wednesday. They didn’t arrest everyone. That’s right. Some people they let go. Others they paid no attention to. I have it on good authority that most of the arrests the LAPD made that day were of peaceful, non-violent, passive, non-confrontational © Occupy LA © protesters, the so-called “biggest pains in the asses we have had to deal with today” according to one cop. Can you imagine that coming from the mouth of one of our civil servant peace officers? I’ve never, ever been called a pain-the-ass before!
In any event, believe it or not, I’m really not angry that I got released. I chose to get released because I’m a bit of a chicken shit. And I’m not even angry that the mayor and the LAPD decided to not give non-violent protestors like me a little extra shiv in jail. They could have. They could have shoved my face onto a drainage screen and then stood on the back of my head to get the impression pressed on real good.
I’m just really angry that every single Chode Stanton didn’t have a chance to be in jail like me. For years, I’ll be able to bore people to the brink of suicide with long, one sided speeches at parties about my “jail cred.” But Chode? He’ll just be a loser that missed out on that experience because LAPD decided to play it fair and enforce the law. F. It!
Thank you for letting me share that anger with you today. Also thanks to Stuart Greem, who held down the fort at Ted’s while I wrote this, J. Elmer Ruta for the coffee runs, Bill Premminger for his tireless hanging over my should and breathing on me Patrick Meighan for the inspiration to tell my story. Thanks. thanks to all. Goodbye, Thanks so much. I’m Ted Bell. Thanks. Thank you.