Three more arrests this morning of protesters Occupying Tampa's Kiley Garden

11/09/11 Seán Kinane & Josh Holton
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday | Listen to this entire show:


Three more Occupy Tampa members were arrested early this morning. A group was sleeping inside occupied Kiley Garden when police asked them to leave.

Protesters had occupied the park the previous night, but Andrew "Pepe" Kovanis complied when police ordered their group to leave Kiley Garden. Kovanis witnessed the arrests.

Stephanie Cannon, Fitzgerald Scott and Ryan Bee were arrested for trespassing, and at least one was charged for obstructing an officer without violence. Cannon bonded out of jail around 9:00 this morning. When she was arrested, she was lying down in her sleeping bag on the Kiley Garden grass.

Cannon said she is sick with laryngitis, but she will be back on the sidewalk again tonight.

Keith Cuesta said he joined about 17 protesters who walked to the Tampa Police Department this morning. He said they made requests for public records and were turned down.

Video shot by protester Karel Soucre shows that the Public Records officer told the group to make their requests online. Several protesters don’t have internet access, and officers told them to use the library on North Ashley Drive. The protesters returned to the amphitheater behind Kiley Garden, and spoke with mediators during a meeting with the Occupy Tampa non-violent direct action work group. Kovanis found out that Florida state law mandates that their requests be honored.

Kovanis said that he will be suing the Tampa Police Department for denying him access to public records.

During a Tampa City Council meeting last Thursday, Assistant Chief John Bennett reported that Tampa Police are maintaining open dialogue with protesters. Later that day witnesses said Bennett visited their sidewalk encampment, promising to return within a few days. But Stephanie Cannon said that a week later, Bennett is nowhere to be found.

Stephanie Cannon said that although she is frustrated with police for continually arresting protesters, they have always contacted police for help when they witness any illegal activity.

Two and a half weeks ago a pregnant protester was hit by a beer can thrown from a car. Kovanis said passengers threw beer cans out of a car window at protesters again last night.

Here's video of the interview with Andrew "Pepe" Kovanis:

Open Letter News has two videos of the arrests.

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WTSP hatchet job on Bruce Wright

WTSP, the local Channel 10 station, did a hatchet job on Bruce Wright, Occupy Tampa organizer. They're depicting him as a greedy, deadbeat dad. I don't advocate shirking child support, but I don't think that Wright is living high off the hog either. I wonder if this is Channel 10's effort, as a corporate entity (Gannett), to undermine the movement. Check it out here. I suggest that angry folks express their displeasure in the comments section at bottom. Check it out at wtsp dot com, and look in the Investigators section.

Can't take care of his kids?

Well at least Wright's kids will know what they don't want to be when they grow up.