When I find the Coliseum and park, only a few people are
in line and Cemelli or the other womyn from Café Mayapan are not there. At
least I didn’t think they were but then when I approached two womyn standing
off to the side of the building to hand them flyers, I recognize at least one
of them from the café.
Most people are happy to take the flyer; maybe half are
aware of who Jill Stein is; one white male aggressively informs me he’s voting
for Hillary. Ok great I say and tell him I don’t care who he votes for as long
as it’s not 'rump. The womyn in the line laugh.
Soon Cemelli arrives with banners, more flyers, and other
womyn. As I continue to hand out flyers, a huge white man dressed in the neon
green shirt of the parking attendants puffs over to ask me if I have permission
to hand out flyers. First I say yes, I’m with the tablers. Then not wanting to
get the café in ‘trouble’, I attempt to give him a flyer and tell him it’s
information about an event happening on Friday.
He immediately talks in his walkie-talkie to someone who
says I’m not allowed to hand out flyers in the parking lot. I attempt to argue
my case – it’s a parking lot, it’s an event flyer, I’m not causing trouble.
He insists on me ceasing handing out flyers there and
directs me to the front of the building where there is a sidewalk and street. I
hear him talking about the police as I head that way, still handing out flyers
to the one or two people I’m passing.
When I get around to the front where people are slowly
driving in, I realize this spot is even better – I get to hand them a flyer as
they drive in.
But I don’t get to stand there very long before I notice
three armed cops marching in unison together across the parking lot on a direct
collision course with me. I whip out my phone and really do began videoing
them, not just faking it as I often do, especially when I'm outta battery... The one in the middle gets right in my
face, the other two flanking my sides as they try to march me backwards and
sideways, demanding I get onto the sidewalk.
I stand my ground and read their names off their tags onto the video so I
have a record of who they are. I point out that I’m off the parking lot,
standing on the cement that I try to pass off as part of the sidewalk. They’re
insisting it’s a driveway, which I agree, it is, a very long, big driveway.
They order me off the driveway onto the sidewalk, where
it will be almost impossible to hand any body a flyer – it’s too big and the
car would have to turn in sharply on my side to get a flyer. Grrrrr
After I ask them who the hell they are, they tell me they
are the El Paso police and this is private property I’m standing on. I should
have asked them why the El Paso police are here bullying a citizen on alleged private
I do not want to be arrested over handing out flyers in Texas so I retreat to the sidewalk but the police are not just wanting me on the sidewalk, they really don't want me to hand out flyers. Period.
They physically move so they're almost but not quite blocking me - which is really unnecessary because they are blowing whistles and directing cars around me swiftly into the parking lot.
I'm furious they are impeding my right to hand out flyers. I attempt to get drivers and passengers to take the flyer but they are attuned to police authority, not mine.
I need to head out anyway - I've got the whole fuckin state of Texas to cross.