Occupy Tampa arrests at 31; Black Friday shoppers mic-checked

11/28/11 Josh Holton
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Two more Occupy Tampa members were arrested for trespassing last Wednesday night. Daniel Walford was arrested at the amphitheater on the west side of Kiley Garden, where he said police singled him out.

Eyewitnesses say they were surprised to see that even with such a large crowd gathered to see the musical and poetic performances by local artists, that Walford was the only one arrested at the time. Walford said that police claimed he was the only member of Occupy Tampa there, and took him into custody. But he said there were other reasons that officers may have picked him out of the crowd.

He admitted he was verbally taunting the officer.

Tampa Police say that he and several others were issued a verbal warning the previous week. But Walford denies being given verbal or written warning prior to his arrest.

The other person arrested last Wednesday was Daiquiri Jones. It’s the third time he has been arrested. Several hours after the open mic, Jones was arrested for trespassing in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park.

Protesters say this is the first time police started collecting their property without first being given the opportunity to claim it. Jones was arrested after entering the park to reclaim the property the police had put there. In a YouTube video shot by a fellow protester during the arrest, Occupy Tampa members can be heard shouting slogans at the arresting officers.

Following his release, Jones still feels that he is on the right side of the law.

By early evening on the following day, Thanksgiving, many Americans had set up tents outside retail outlets. They were not part of the Occupy Movement, but were instead camping out in front of big box stores for Black Friday deals. After midnight some members of Occupy Tampa mic checked several stores. Here’s video archived from Occupy Tampa’s UStream feed inside a Tampa Wal-Mart.

Mike Madison says he’s a journalist embedded with Occupy Tampa. He regularly files reports on Occupy Tampa, but has recently joined in on the action. He marched with the protesters through the department store aisles as they shouted their messages to shoppers and store employees.

Income inequality has been at the core of the Occupy Movement’s outrage, but Madison said they also wanted to draw attention to the role that corporations play in affecting change in the political system.

Other protest groups joined similar actions nationwide to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Buy Nothing Day. Supporters say it draws attention to the negative aspects of consumerism, and the positive aspects of buying locally produced goods.

There have been 31 arrests since Occupy Tampa began camp on a public sidewalk seven weeks ago. Occupy Tampa will protest a Mitt Romney fundraiser at the Tampa Museum of Art tomorrow at five in the afternoon. And this Thursday they plan to set up continuous encampments inside a park.

Video footage:

Daiquiri Jones' arrest

Occupy Tampa mic-checks Wal-Mart

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