Official Statement from Mike Roy and Bailey Lamon
To whom it may concern,
Our names are Mike Roy and Bailey Lamon, and we are students, activists and journalists in London, Ontario. In the afternoon on Wednesday, July.24th, 2013, several police officers entered our apartment with a search warrant and aggressively arrested us as well as Bailey’s partner, Dan. We were both charged with mischief and conspiracy to commit mischief, for allegedly painting on a brick in an alleyway, which read “I’m not just another brick in the wall”. All three of us were also charged with possession after a small amount of marijuana was found in the apartment. At no point did the authorities sit down with us and explain why we were arrested, show us any evidence, or explain why there was a search warrant issued for a simple act of graffiti. Apparently this was not legally necessary.
We were both held in custody for several hours before being offered release under the conditions that we would not associate with one another, not have access to the internet or own a computer, camera or recording device of any kind (which implies that cell phones would also be forbidden). We were held overnight in the police station after refusing to sign the papers, and appeared before a justice of the peace the next afternoon. We were in custody for approximately 24 hours for again, an act of graffiti. When we returned home we found that our apartment was in ruins and the police had taken every computer, laptop, camera, external hard drive, cell phone and basically every data-storing device for the reason of possibly finding video footage of the graffiti taking place. We are university students as well as journalists who run a media organization, so this is extremely problematic for both of us. This equipment is an integral part of what we do to document and create awareness of positive activism in our community. It is also necessary to be able to aid and continue our academic studies.
Upon inquiring about if and when we could retrieve our possessions, we were told that it was not possible to even look into this until August.15th, when the investigating officer returned from his vacation. Our first court appearance was on August.16th where our lawyer told us that we would probably not be getting our stuff back until this whole situation is over with. This is particularly bad for Bailey, as she still has school responsibilities from last semester that were delayed due to being hospitalized in April.
The reason we are sending this letter is because we do not believe that the arrests, raid on our apartment and seizing of possessions has anything to do with “graffiti” at all. We strongly believe that the “graffiti” charge is a scapegoat for a political targeting by the London Ontario Police Department due to our involvement in the Occupy movement as well as our continued involvement in activism through our media organization, The Indignants.
The Indignants are an alternative media team based out of London, Ontario, Canada. We identify as an anarchist collective and seek to fill in the gaps left by the mainstream corporate-controlled media and their lack of accurate representation at the community level.
We are here to help promote the voices of the oppressed, marginalized, and underrepresented. We make every effort to present our ideas within an anti-colonial and anti-oppression framework. It is our belief that we need to collectively develop a culture of intellectual self-defense to protect ourselves from manipulation and build a movement based on diversity of tactics, direct action, civil disobedience and participatory democracy.
We have many contributors and supporters from which we have formed a steering committee to democratically decide our direction.
We feel that we have been unfairly targeted as leaders of a group that operates in a horizontal democracy, as well as for our beliefs and activism in general. In constitutional terms, the attack by police and attempt to separate and silence us, is an infringement of our rights to association and expression. We need to create awareness of recent events and seek support from our community and allies. Thousands of dollars worth of equipment was taken by the police, all things that we need to continue our media work, academic studies, and to promote community outreach programs such as Food Not Bombs, Really Really Free Market and Critical Mass, among other things. We are asking for support in whatever way possible, including monetary donations so that we can get some new equipment and continue our work. More information on how to donate can be found here: http://theindignants.org/donate/. We realize that this may not be possible for everyone, so we also ask that you help us by spreading this message so that more are aware of our situation. Most importantly, we need to engage more heavily in the discussion about the criminalization of dissent and the behaviour of the police in London and all over Canada and the world.
Thank you for your time and consideration in aiding our cause. All cats are beautiful.
Mike Roy and Bailey Lamon.
Video by Zach Ruiter about our arrest: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UqDO1JYuyTA