Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
  • Kelly O
  • "Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?"

At around 9:30 this evening on Capitol Hill, an employee of Bill's Off Broadway was standing outside explaining their busted window to someone on his phone. A phalanx of officers was lined up outside Walgreens, where a couple windows were broken. Another phalanx of officers was lined up against a road blockade across Pine Street at 11th Avenue, one block from the East Precinct police station. Still more phalanxes of officers were darting through streets on bikes, like schools of fish.

Cal Anderson Park seemed dead at first—at least by the playfields. Certainly the park was not full of protesters, as suggested on Twitter. But then as Kelly O and I walked farther into the park, we had to step aside to led an SPD SUV through. The reflection pool was black and sparkly. The other fountain (the volcano leading to the flat steps with the rocks) was dry. In between the two water features was another pool of officers, standing with bikes, their white reflective features shimmering in the distance. Kelly O and I got closer. The cops in the SUV drove up to the cops on bikes, and they talked for a while, and then all of a sudden a whole bunch of cops charged through the empty fountain. One on his bike drove through the center of it, up the shallow steps. They converged on a group of people at the far side of the fountain, and to shrieks like, "He didn't do it!" and "Don't arrest him!" and etc., they arrested a young man in face paint and a fedora.

"For what?" the arrestee yelled.

"Throwing rocks," was the reply.

The agitated friends started calling things out to him as he was arrested. One of them said, "You have to sing a song as you get arrested!"

"What should I sing?" the man being arrested called back.

"'Bohemian Rhapsody'!" someone yelled.

And then all his friends started shout-singing "Bohemian Rhapsody." Badly and with vigor. They started right at the "I see a little silhouette of a man..." part, because of course they did—right where the song has a panic attack. There were 10 or 11 of them, I'd say, these friends, going, "Thunderbolt of lightning, very very frightening me!!!" The man being arrested did not sing along. Even for the call-and-response parts. That seemed like a wise move on his part.

Then, with a cop on each arm, the man being arrested sauntered very casually toward the SPD SUV. He seemed resigned to his fate and determined to strike a heroic posture. And it was kinda working: He still had the straw fedora still on his head. A woman who'd been singing "Bohemian Rhapsody" called out to the cops, "Don't touch his hat!" Someone else called out, "You can't touch his hat!" Right away, one of the cops grabbed the hat off the man's head. And his friends went, "Aw, man!" and "No!" and etc. And then into the SPD SUV the man went.