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Thursday, February 16, 2006 

Arrested for Hanging a Poster? (Updated numerous times)

Well, Cleveland Heights police don't have the best reputation but - there is a big difference between excessive traffic ticketing and arresting & assaulting a 57 year old cancer survivor because she was hanging a poster. Don't they get any training on how to handle situations without violence? There are posters on many poles in Cleve Hts, how come they decided to crack down on the Anti-Bush lady? I suspect they feel more strongly about our president and those whom choose to protest the administration than they do about the bands that play at the Grog Shop or the family that found the dog. Just a guess.

Anyways, This story won't help me when I try to convince people to move to the Heights. Most of my friends love the community but say they can't stand the police force. (sometimes prefering to have group events outside of the Hts due to it's history of speed traps and parking violations.) So, I hope this story is resolved soon and if any police officer acted with force unnecessarily - they should be fired.

Update 4-30 - Carolyn Fisher is found guilty on all counts. The PD has the story here. I object to them calling her a "peace" activist because that does not seem to accurately describe her. It looks like she is going to get a psychiatric evaluation. (Which implies to me, that perhaps it was obvious that she needed one - which is sad) The PD does note that " The prosecution and defense stories diverge at the point Fisher was told to stop putting up the posters." I heard her speak on the Joe Finan show and she told a convincing story but it did not seem to jive completely with the original story she gave when I first wrote this diary. Still, I'd like to know if the police did make ProBush/ Anti-free speech statements while arresting her - If that part of her story is true, the police acted inappropriately. That is one of those details though, that noone except those involved will ever know for sure. Overall, it still seems that the police could have done a better job handling this situation. I hope they were just caught off guard and not poorly trained. I'd also like to note that her "supporters" did her a disservice. They came off immature and disrespectful in reports and that detracted from Fishers believabilty. Anyways, I am glad it is over and I hope Carolyn Fisher gets some help.

Updates 3-3 - Since I first read this story more info has come out . Here is a witness account of the events:

Witness in Carolyn Fisher case speaks up

Update 2-27: As the facts come out, it seems to me that Carol Fisher is "looking for a controversy", Please read my update "Looking Bad for Carol Fisher"

Update 2-16: I thought I'd add links to additional news sources for this "he said, she said" case:
"Differing Accounts" Via NewsNet5
"Heights Crowd steps up for Fisher" Via SunPress
"Step Away from the Poster" Via FreeTimes
Accounts from Fisher and her protest group members via ClevelandIndyMedia

That's all I could find right now. I did get her age wrong, she's 53. If this is a case where the woman is exaggerating the claims for attention then the Cleveland Heights police force should be smarter, her claims paint the police department in a pretty poor light.

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Terry Gilbert's one of the best. Good luck to her (although I really hope that if she bit, she really needed to!).

No kidding. Biting is rough! You never know what happened until all the facts come out - if they ever do. Still you'd think the Police Officer would know how to handle this more appropriatly - preventing the situation from turning into this.

First, yes it is illegal in Cleveland Heights to post any type of advertisement on utility poles. It is called posting handbills and there are several laws on the books prohibiting it. If Carol Fisher was not ignorant to the law in the first place, she could have avoided this whole situation. Secondly, I did observe this confrontation first hand. I had just left Subway with my young son and had watched Carol Fisher staple several posters on both sides of telephone poles in front of the store. About this time I heard a police officer call to her that she would face a fine if she didn't take down the signs. Carol Fisher took another sign from her bag, and as to shove it in the face of the officer, stapled it up with authority. The police officer then asked Carol Fisher for her ID, and Carol Fisher started to walk away from him, he asked her several times. She began screaming in an attempt to draw attention, that she did nothing wrong and would not give her ID to the officer. The officer attempted to stop her by stepping in her way, Carol Fisher began to swing her arms wildly. The officer then called for another officer that was standing across the street. Carol Fisher began clawing at the officer's face, and kicking him. Both officers then held her against the building. Both officers were telling Carol Fisher to stop resisting and just settle down. This woman was out of her mind, kicking, punching, and spitting. The woman then fell to the ground on her own, the officers actually tried to soften her fall by grabbing her coat. Carol Fisher laid face down with her hands interlocked so the police could not handcuff her. As one officer knelt on the ground, Carol Fisher tried to bite him in the face several times, and did get ahold of his shirt with her teeth. The police officer then told me to call 911 and tell police dispatch they needed help. More officers showed up and finally were able to control. These officers never struck, brutalized, or my favorite... abducted Carol Fisher. They were nothing short of professional. I had to post this real account of the "story" as I was sick and disgusted with all the false facts of this non news worthy story. I look forward to testifying against Carol Fisher in the above matter. I find it amusing that in Carol Fisher's statement of what happened to her, her last comment is... any legal help would be greatly appreciated. If she did nothing wrong, why would she be trying to recruit national legal representation ?

First, I never said posting handbills wasn't illegal just not vigoursly enforced.

Second, If you read my second article on this - you'll see I come to the conclusion that she seems to be looking for "controversy".

I stated in this article " if any police officer acted with force unnecessarily" implying that there could be reasons to use force necesarily, even in this situation - I just hadn't heard the facts. It is still "he said she said" until the case is over. I look forward to reading about your testimony.

I ,in no way, favor one side over the other - it is just an interesting thing happening in my neighborhood. Although, as the story gets out there, in my opinion, - Carol Fishers account of the events loses crediblity.


Carol is being released tonight.

I saw this blog referenced at Daily Kos and wanted to share my personal experience:

I was headed out to flyer on January 28th for our January 31st Anti-Bush concert at Peabody's when I received a call that a friend had been called by an EMS driver who told her that Carol was in police custody and was headed to University Hospital. We were concerned for her especially since she is a cancer survivor whose jaw bone is in a weakened state from chemotherapy. A group of us met outside of the hospital and discussed what needed to be done. We all agreed that we didn't want to cause any commotion in the emergency room. We just wanted her nurse to see her to make sure she was okay. We filed in quietly and sat down in the waiting room while her nurse approached the counter and requested to be allowed to see Carol. She was at first told okay, but then the police spoke with the hospital staff and told them she wasn't allowed to see anyone. She told them (quietly so as to not disturb anyone in the waiting room) we would stay until they let one of us see her. Some of the other people there did strike up conversations with us, but we were all speaking in hushed tones so as to not disrupt hospital business. A couple of Cleveland police officers entered the waiting room and one started shouting that we were being disruptive. After some discussion, we were told we had to leave and were escorted off of the premises.

I also observed some of Carol's trial. The initial account on Indy Media is the story she wrote immediately following this incident and is consistent with her talk in front of the Cleveland Heights City Council meeting and with her testimony. As far as differing accounts of her story, you can write that off to bad-reporting. During this whole thing, I've witnessed first-hand how much of the press doesn't appear to value accuracy (misspelling of the arresting officer's name and differing accounts of events that I witnessed).

The only injury sustained by the police was a scratched hand from when Carol was lying on her stomach with two police officers on top of her and she couldn't breath. Both of Carol's arms were bruised and so was her chin. The only biting that I heard being testified about was to the officer's shoulder which he said left a red mark and no breaking of the skin. Because of the condition of her jaw and her height, this accusation is highly suspect. I was also told by several observers in the court room that one of the prosectution's witnesses testified that Carol was thrown to the ground as if she was a man and that the police twisted Carol's arm in a way that she thought for sure it was broken. The EMS driver on the scene definitely saw her as the victim, not the police.

By the way, Carol's supporters weren't at the City Council Meeting to disrupt it, but to make them aware of what happened in their City. These same people had approached Cleveland Heights City Council just a couple of weeks prior to this to ask them to sign on to World Can't Wait's call which they considered.

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