Arrested Reporter Writes His Story

Jonathan Meador, the Nashville Scene reporter arrested along with Occupy Nashville protesters, has written up an account of the evening. Excerpts:
While waiting in line to be processed onto the idling Department of Correction bus along with the others who’d been snatched up, I started to burp up my meal from earlier in the evening — an overpriced hamburger with fries and Jack and Coke. The trooper shot me a smirk.
“Smells like you been drinkin’ tonight,” he said. A few moments later, he informed one of his comrades to cite me for public intoxication.
“You’ve got to be kidding me!” I said. At that moment I happened to notice my colleagues standing near the bus, in various stages of what I can only describe as freaking the hell out. I yelled out to them to call my editor.
…(After being arrested and listening to conversations of others arrested) Normally, such talk strikes me as the fringe ramblings of stereotypical anarchists or right-wing conspiracists. But after what happened tonight, I felt only a chill.
On and on it went, while all I could think of was getting home to bed. Abruptly, we heard cheers erupt from the women’s cell. One of them had been checking her Twitter account. She learned that the sitting magistrate — again, Tom Nelson — threw out the charges against us and demanded that we be released immediately.
Since the troopers hadn’t confiscated any of my equipment, I pulled out my phone and began clandestinely tweeting in the cell. Indeed, multiple sources were reporting that Nelson declared our detainment unconstitutional. “Can I go home now?” I tweeted. To celebrate, I gathered the men into a line and proceeded to take their picture with my smart phone.
“All right,” I said. “Say, ‘Bill Haslam!’ ”
It was a stupid act of bravado, though. When I attempted to upload the picture to the Internet, one of the guards caught me. “Hey!” he shouted. “You can’t be playin’ with that in here!”
He attempted to take it from me and I pulled it back. That was a bad idea. The guard smacked the phone out of my hand, and it ricocheted off the concrete cell wall. “You know I could charge you with a felony for that?” he screamed. “That’s contraband! You’re not supposed to have that in here! That’s a felony!”
Everyone was quiet. I didn’t feel so brave now. I said I hadn’t been searched. I said nothing of mine had been confiscated. I even pointed out no one had told me the items were illegal.
“I know your little buddy, this guy, here was here last night,” he said, pointing to one of the men who’d been arrested in the previous night’s raid. “He knows better. He shoulda told you. I know he knows better.”
“Nobody said anything,” I said. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know.”
For a moment the guard stood there. He turned around and picked up my phone, which, surprisingly, was intact. He handed it back to me.
“Since these are … special circumstances,” he shouted, “I’m going to give this back to you. But don’t play with it again!”
I thanked him. I slid the phone into my laptop bag. My cellmates started laughing when he left the room.

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