March 19, 2004
Austin PD vs. Ozomatli and Fans
The Austin American Statesman reports on the Ozomatli police confrontation. (may require really invasive registration) Some photos are here.
I was there with front row seats to it all, and needless to say the police statements are far from accurate. Ozo walked out into the street and the vibe was all love.
Any and all provocation came from the police who charged the crowd. And their actions where way over the top. As in half a dozen cops violently slamming a man, who can't have weighed more then a buck ten, onto the hard concrete. Any violence and tension in the crowd came straight from the police and the Mace. And now percussionist Jiro Yamaguchi is facing 10 years in the pen for absolutely nothing. Damn.
Anyone else who was there should contact Ozo's lawyer to identify themselves as a witness. His office can be reached at (512) 476-7373. Their recommendation to me was to write everything down exactly as remembered and send it as a letter to:
Bobby Earle Smith
Austin, TX 78701