One of the protesters arrested during Occupy Wall Street's massive New York protest last week was held on $25,000 bail for a weapons charge, and on Monday night the occupiers voted to post it for him. The evening meeting of the spokescouncil, which is the movement's organizational body, was recorded on various Twitter accounts compiled in this Google document. In it, the participants debate whether to post bail for someone charged with a crime far above the disorderly conduct charges most of those arrested in the protests face. In the end, they decided to lift a previously designated $1,000 cap so their legal team could post bail.
The jailed protester drove a truck up from Ashville, North Carolina, with a load of military surplus tents for the occupation and arrived in New York the night of the Zuccotti Park raid on Monday, Nov. 14, the spokes-council notes say. His lawyer, Gideon Oliver, identified him as Joshua Fellows, who the New York Post reported on Monday is a 32-year-old charged with criminal possession of a weapon. According to that report, police initially let Fellows go after they impounded his rented moving truck, but tracked him down and arrested him on Saturday when they found the .45 caliber handgun "wedged between the two front seats." The New York City Department of Correction website indicates Fellows hasn't been bailed out yet. Oliver said a grand jury was due to convene on Wednesday.
The Post reported that police stopped Fellows for reckless driving at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, the day a massive protest ranged through Manhattan. "Up to 40 people were jumping in and out of the open back of the moving Budget rental truck," the report says. "I haven’t heard that from anywhere but the Post," Oliver said. Though he conceded Fellows was driving without a license. "I think there are serious questions about the stop. The police are supposed to have at least reasonable cause to suspect that criminal activity was afoot." The notes from Occupy Wall Street's meeting indicate Fellows and some other protesters decided to transfer the tents from his truck to another one.
Fellows has by far the highest single bail of anybody arrested in connection with New York's Occupy Wall Street protests. Another man arrested last week was also reported to have had a $25,000 bail, but Oliver said that was a mistake, and his bail was "$3,500 tops." Still, the question of whether to post high bails for folks arrested at Occupy Wall Street protests is one the movement is still grappling with. "By posting bail, we're saying 'we don't know what you did, but we're standing in solidarity," the legal team said, according to the notes. One meeting participant raised the question: "Re: solidarity, are you saying that anyone that does anything at one of our events is from OWS and we'll bail them?"
Some at the meeting called for the details of the arrest circumstances, saying it was necessary to share them in order to make sure the bail was going to an arrest directly related to the Occupy Wall Street protests. But the legal team wanted to protect Fellows's privacy as the meeting notes were going out online. Someone eventually put it to the meeting that he'd been picked up on gun charges. In the end, they voted to bail him out. "At long last, we have modified consensus that we are raising the bail limit, including getting out the guy w/ $25K bail! Woot." Tweeted Carrie M., a meeting participant.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.