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Arrested for Supporting Local Business: Occupying Black Friday at the Big Boxes in Oklahoma City

“We heard the cops yelling, `Get on the ground!'" said Bronwyn Agnew. "And I saw one put a taser against Sean's back and say, `Get down now if you don't wanna get tazed.'”

“They tackled a few people and cuffed them," said Thomas. "I think the others stopped and dropped to the ground when they were told to after witnessing several people being tackled. Some cops had their tazers out and shouted at us, `drop to your knees or you will be tazed.' This was after several people had already been tackled and cuffed. Then I heard one of the officers yell, `Grab the cameraman!'”

At first Thomas wasn't sure if the officers were referring to himself or another cameraman. Then he saw his filming partner about 40 feet up the aisle, trying to slip out of the store unnoticed. Just then, Bronwyn Agnew turned on her camera phone and captured video of police officers running after the cameraman, tackling him from behind, pushing him down on the floor and handcuffing him.

The officers then turned their attention to Agnew, the only person still shooting video. “I didn't realize any officers were near me until they reached from behind me and grabbed my phone,” Agnew said. "As the officer was taking me out of the store, Jay was still shouting things like `Support local business,' and the cop said to him, `See? That's why you're getting arrested.'"
 

 pissing off the EstablishmentJay doing what he does best: pissing off the Establishment (photo copyright LD)
 



Gay Jay

 

Jay Vehige, aka “Jay Fox,” or “Gay Jay,” as he's affectionately known by the group, is one of the most politically active and most controversial members of Occupy OKC. Openly gay, Vehige has often shocked conventional Oklahoma sensibilities, and while others may sit around and talk about acts of civil disobedience, Jay is out doing them. He's gone to jail twice over the past month for taking part in Occupy protests.

The previous arrest was back on on Nov. 3rd. Jay and 15 other members of Occupy OKC had traveled to stand in solidarity with Occupy Tulsa after the notorious pepper spray incident. When police returned the next night to clear an even-bigger crowd from Centennial Park, five Occupy OKC protesters offered themselves up as sacrificial lambs for arrest, including a pregnant woman. (Two others arrested that night – Jay's friends Destiny Smith and Sean Lovell – proudly bore the cuffs again on Black Friday.)

On that blustery, cold night in Tulsa, Jay's performance was fearless. Leading chants of “show me what a police state looks like!,” hoisting the American flag, and doing a little dance while being arrested, he looked like young David Bowie in a hoodie and skinny jeans. He struck such a memorable pose that the Tulsa World newspaper put him on the front page. Jay's the kind of guy you notice. Unfortunately, Oklahoma cops really notice him, too.



story | by Dr. Radut