“I slept overnight in a seat in the arena”

From Steven Locke, Wayland, Massachusetts:
I was there – along with Dr. Spock (not Mr. Spock) and Abbie Hoffman. I was a named plaintiff in McCarthy v. Kleindienst, an ACLU lawsuit that arose out of the mass arrests.

I was there with a medical school classmate, Eric Plakun, and we each had backpacks with first aid supplies (each marked with a big Red Cross) to provide emergency medical care in case of violence. We were in a group of five men and three women walking down a street near Dupont Circle that morning, doing absolutely nothing, when two police officers arrested four of the men. The arresting officer refused to answer why we were being arrested. He later completed a falsified arrest form.

I was incarcerated at the Redskins practice field and then transported to the hockey arena, where we were processed, fingerprinted and photographed. I slept overnight in a seat in the arena stands. Made bail and left the next day.

In the lawsuit the ACLU brought on behalf of my group of defendants, a federal judge in Virginia (Judge Gasch, the uncle of a fraternity brother of mine) disallowed it as a class action. [Note: Another ACLU case, Sullivan v. Murphy, did become a class action, and the courts eventually threw out virtually all the 12,000 Mayday arrests as unconstitutional, ordered the arrest records expunged, and directed the government to pay millions in compensation to the detainees.]

2 thoughts on ““I slept overnight in a seat in the arena””

  1. This story confirms what wasn’t so apparent at the time — police were so intent on sweeping all traces of the Mayday group off the streets that they arrested not only protesters but anyone who they thought might be helping, even if they weren’t breaking any laws, including medics and volunteer lawyers.

    • I too was arrested for mere assembly in Dupont circle. I came to D.C . with another NYU Freshman to protest. My illegal captivity in the practice field and later the floor of the hockey arena sparked my desire to be an attorney. I was a named plaintiff in the class action that was not certified by the court. I donated the $10,000.00 award back to the pro bono attorneys that prosecuted the action. I went on to defend the Attica Prison brothers, graduate law school and represent anti – nuke demonstrators. I continue to this day to be a criminal defense attorney – a calling forged in the chaos of May Day !


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