Citizen's Arrest: A Simple How-To Guide
a war criminal: Many of these lawyers, advisors, former vice presidents,
are now making the rounds on the speaker circuit, giving interviews
and speeches in cities around the world. Check out local event calendars
and make a habit of surfing the web to see who will be where. Below
are some names, charges against them and more--you can see a longer
by state here. Or check out WarCriminalWatch
or view Crimes
and Misdemeanors--Slate's Interactive Guide: Who in the Bush administration
broke the law, and who could be prosecuted?
- Strategy: Once you find a war criminal's whereabouts, get a few members
of your local peace community together to plan your strategy. Will you
be buying tickets and going inside or staying outside with banners and
signs, etc? Will you be doing a symbolic citizen's arrest or will you
actually be trying to slap the cuffs on 'em?
Go for it! Be courageous, be bold, be loud, be smart and stay on message!
- Hand-cuffs (local costume shop)
- Pink fabric banner that folds up small and discreet (for the inside
action) or bigger banners and signs (for the outside action). Keep
the messaging simple. "Arrest (war criminal's name here)"
and "War Criminal!" are great--don't forget to put CODEPINKalert.org
on the bottom!
- Arrest Complaint (to be presented to the war criminal)
- Camera and/or Video Camera + someone on your team in charge of documenting
the action. 2 members of CODEPINK recently stormed the stage of RadioCity
Music Hall to arrest Rove. Over 1,000 people saw it happen and not
one photo or video clip. Don't let that happen to you! Be prepared
to post the photos/video online after
- Citizen's Arrest complaint (to hold as a visual and read to the
war criminal present). We have one for Rove using California code
here & a Citizen's
Complaint for Chevron lawyer William Haynes here.
Note: It will be necessary to modify according to state and the charges
against the individual. Some charges are listed below but it could
be helpful to do some research and or consult with any friends of
yours in the legal community.
| ACCOUNTABILITY PIE by Jodie Evans
- 1/2 cup Courage, steeped in 1/2 Cup Street Smarts
- 3/4 cup Strategy
- 1 Pair of Handcuffs, as a prop
- 1 (or more, use your discretion) War Criminal
- 1 tablespoon Extract of Level-Headedness
- 1 Citizen's Arrest Complaint, adjusted to the laws of your state
- 3 heaping cups of Desire to See War Criminals Held Accountable for
- 1 Photographer and 1 Videographer (to spread the story to the media
and give inspiration to others)
- Optional: a team of dedicated peace activists to
join your action by holding banners, asking questions, holding an outside
- Educate yourself on who’s who in the war criminal community. Find
out about war criminals through CODEPINK’s card deck online at www.codepink.org/warcriminal
- Keep your eyes open for speaking engagements, book tour stops or other
appearances by any war criminals (government or corporate). Depending
on the circumstances, purchase or reserve a ticket, buy a book, stand
in line or otherwise peacefully enter the proceedings. Discern whether
your bag will be searched by security at the event. If so, handily slip
your handcuffs and other arrest materials into your sleeves, your pockets,
your pants or any other inconspicuous areas. Choose your seat carefully
and observe the general "feel" of the crowd.
- While you wait in line or sit in the audience, you may feel nervous
and doubt your ability to pull this off. Instead of dwelling on your
fear, think of the millions of Iraqis who've been cast from their homes
by the war Bush brought to their country. Think of the thousands of
American sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters who've
given their lives to this fruitless enterprise. Think of the hundreds
of thousands of Iraqis who've been killed, maimed, raped and plunged
into destitution. Think of the inhuman, incalculable tragedy that this
war has brought to everyone it's touched.
- Then remember that this is your job and your right as a citizen, look
into the eyes of the war criminal, keep your cool, and non-violently
attempt a citizen's arrest.
- Rise from your seat and say loudly “(ie DICK CHENEY) You are under
arrest for war crimes!” Be prepared with a short line to say over and
over. Hold up your handcuffs and your citizen’s arrest complaint. Unfurl
a banner if you have one. Make sure that your friend is recording you
with a video recorder (a Flip camera works great for quick uploading
to YouTube after your action).
Note: Do NOT actually place the handcuffs on the war criminal’s wrist
or touch the criminal. Making physical contact with a war criminal may
be construed as assault by the police; handcuffs are only for use as
a prop. Only an on-duty police officer has the right to actually cuff
the War Criminal in a citizen’s arrest. Your arrest complaint is your
- After your action, immediately get the story out by calling reporters,
writing a blog, posting your video and/or photos, and getting in touch
with CODEPINK by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org!
Another slice of justice, served up with courage!