By Lindsay Toler
By Ray Downs
By Lindsay Toler
By Village Voice Writers
By Lindsay Toler
By Lindsay Toler
By Danny Wicentowski
By Lindsay Toler
Editor's note: A correction ran concerning this story; see end of article.
When he moved to South St. Louis from Champaign five years ago and bought an $800 fixer-upper out of foreclosure, Dan Green never imagined that on May 16, 2003, he'd watch as the building was raided and condemned and fifteen of his friends were handcuffed and hauled off to jail in a paddy wagon. But that's precisely where he found himself, as a small battalion of St. Louis police officers accompanied by a city building inspector staged a Friday-morning spree that took them to Green's "Bolozone" housing collective and two other South City properties.
Police arrested 27 people, all of them associated in one way or another with protests directed at the third meeting of the biannual World Agricultural Forum, set to commence that weekend at the Hyatt Regency at Union Station.
At a press conference that Friday afternoon, Police Chief Joe Mokwa somberly displayed a table full of the booty his officers had seized. "We are very concerned," the chief said ominously, surveying an assortment that included whips, nails, lighter fluid, butane, a slingshot and a bag of rocks, two lengths of PVC pipe and a bottle with a rag jammed into its neck. "We can certainly draw conclusions and expectations after we found these items."
Two days later the conference went off without a hitch. The downtown protests, which had been portrayed by Mokwa as a calamity to be feared, were sparsely attended and peaceful. Only a few hundred turned out. Not a single arrest was made.
Some of those who were pre-emptively arrested, including members of a touring bicycle circus, have filed suit, demanding that property be returned. The American Civil Liberties Union is considering suing the city of St. Louis for violating the Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable search and seizure. Mokwa, meanwhile, is awaiting the results of an internal affairs probe into the affair, based on allegations that his officers harassed residents and ransacked their property.
But for the most part, city officials are standing pat, defending the raids on the grounds that, according to Mokwa, "there were large numbers of people -- meaning twenty, thirty, forty -- going into a condemned house." Says Mokwa: "If there's any criticism that I'd be willing to recognize, it may be that emotions and anxiety and overstimulation of some officers may have gotten involved with it."
A month after the debacle, the residents of Bolozone and the other raided properties are still attempting to reconcile such statements with what they say transpired.
"The space I'm going to live in was really almost done; I had some plastering to do," says 23-year-old Tom Hallaran, a resident of a housing collective called the Community Arts and Media Project (CAMP). "But I've been just so demoralized since they came through, since they emptied out all my drawers onto the floor and turned boxes over. Emotionally, everyone was set back."
Beyond those directly affected by the arrests, some believe the raids and their aftermath represent a setback for the entire community. "One or two things like this can send a very distinct message: that we're not going to be welcome here," says Christina Reid, president of the downtown booster group Metropolis. "Or, I may be welcome here -- because I wasn't part of the protests. The establishment looks at me as not being threatening, so to speak.
"But I don't know if that's someplace that I want to be," Reid says. "Because I feel most comfortable when I see self-expression, when I see creativity, when I see lots of people that aren't necessarily like one another."
Dan Green sits at a little table in front of what he affectionately calls Momozone, the house next door to Bolozone. At age 24, Green, who's originally from Texas, looks like a young Thomas Jefferson. You may have seen him riding around the area on the ridiculously tall bicycle he welded out of scraps in Bolo's bike shop. "Bolozone" doesn't really have any specific meaning, Green says; it just sounded good. And "Momozone" is a simple term of endearment for the collective's second building.
Illinois Avenue in South St. Louis is a few blocks west of I-55, just north of Cherokee Street's antique row. From the doorway of 3307 Illinois, Green could probably hit the old Lemp Brewery with Molly Dupre's slingshot, if the police ever return it. Grape vines and honeysuckle overwhelm the front fence, and the vibe here is more lazy country than hectic city. Close your eyes and all you can hear are the birds. Next door at 3309 Illinois, the garden that is Bolozone's front yard creeps skyward; the raspberries are just past ripe, and the blackberries and peaches are on their way. Two pears droop from a dwarf tree in back, near an herb garden. "We share the food with anyone who wants to come pick it, pretty much," Green says.
Bolozone supports itself as a collective. Each occupant of the three-bedroom house shares in the cooking, gardening, maintenance, etc. In exchange, they get cheap rent -- $155 a month -- and kindreds for roommates. Only two people were living on the premises at the time of the May 16 arrests, 23-year-old Molly Dupre and 24-year-old Kelley Meister. Both spent the day in jail. The dozen other Bolozone arrestees had come to town for the protests.
Meister and Dupre grew up in the St. Louis area, went away to college, then decided to return. "I knew that I wanted to live with people," Dupre says of her housing choice, "and that I probably wanted to live in a collective. And I started talking back and forth with people at Bolo and really liked the idea of a place that is owned, that's not controlled by a landlord, that you can live in very cheaply." The collective repairs neighborhood kids' bikes for free out of the back garage; in an electronics workshop in the basement, they build guitar effects pedals.
"It's very project-oriented," Dupre explains. "Everyone has a project, and the space itself is a project on all these different levels. It's a social project to have people interact, it's a project of urban sustainability to see how we can live more ecologically in the city, and that's really interesting. It's just a place where there's always something going on, and a lot of people consider it their home whether they live there or not."
Bolozone was born in 1998, when Green, unwilling to go into debt with student loans after scholarship money dwindled, left the University of Illinois engineering school after a year there. "Me and a friend of mine started asking around Champaign if anyone knew where cheap buildings were," he recalls. "And someone there had lived in St. Louis and said, 'Oh yeah, there's tons of buildings in St. Louis. So we came down, went to the CDA [Community Development Agency]. And they had a list of buildings that no one had paid taxes on for years and years and no one had bid on. So we looked around, and we found that house there." He points toward Bolozone. "We offered $800 on it, and they accepted it."
A few months before they bought the property, the entire back of the house collapsed into the alley, which caused the city to condemn the building. After taking possession, Green and his friend set to work to reconstruct it. "We built a 60-foot wall by hand," he says. "It took us a long time, but it's just as good as a wall you could have built with all the tools."
What they didn't do, however, was check in with the city's building division. "I was dirt-poor," Green recalls. "I couldn't afford the permits. I just needed a place to live. But we didn't start on the right foot with the building division, and it's been haunting us ever since."
Before any St. Louis resident undertakes major construction, the city requires permits; as part of the process, architectural and engineering plans must be reviewed and approved by the building division. "We didn't bring them out and fully do all the inspections before we started work," Green confesses. "We started working on it, and then later we're like, 'Oh, let's get our permits together.' They want to get their nose into everything before you even touch the building, whereas we saw it as an emergency situation. A wall had collapsed, and we just wanted to get it stable and secure, not go through the red tape."
Building inspector John MacEnulty kicked off May 16 like any other day. The go-to guy when it comes to problem properties -- crack houses, homeless havens and the like -- MacEnulty that morning had received from the police a list of addresses slated for investigation in South City: on Illinois, Cherokee and Lemp.
MacEnulty says he wasn't told why police were interested in the properties. He looked up the records for 3309 Illinois. According to the city's paperwork, the property had been condemned since 1999. Work was under way to bring the building up to code, the records indicated, but the last construction permit had expired in February; with no proof that the owner was still working at the property, the city had nullified the permit. The owner, MacEnulty says, should have received a letter from the building division informing him of the status.
Next, MacEnulty pulled up the records for 3022 Cherokee, a mixed-use storefront owned by members of CAMP, and noted that some of the owners had listed Bolozone as their primary address. "These two addresses set off warning bells with me," MacEnulty recounts. "I'm looking at these thinking: Okay, something's not right. Someone's pulling a fast one somewhere. We have the Community Arts and Media Project giving their address as a condemned property -- and a residential property to boot."
(That's a red herring, counters CAMP's Mark Bohnert: "When you're filing with the Secretary of State, you need a street address for your incorporation papers; you can't have a P.O. box. I filed for the incorporation of CAMP, and we did it at the Bolozone because there were other people living at the Bolozone who also filed for incorporation papers.")
MacEnulty also checked on the property at 3509 Lemp, next door to the Off Broadway nightclub. Then he headed for the Bolozone.
A city ordinance permits surprise inspections on properties police deem to be a nuisance. That same ordinance also allows police to secure a property prior to its condemnation. "The first time I go [to a property], I take the police," says MacEnulty. "I'm unarmed. I don't have a bulletproof vest. I've got little kids I want to go home to."
The World Agricultural Forum was created to address big-picture ideas and problems associated with agriculture. Founded in 1998, the forum held its first congress the following year in St. Louis, where it has continued to convene every two years. A glance at the board of directors suggests the conference isn't going anywhere: executives from Anheuser-Busch, Monsanto and Emerson Electric; Peter Raven, director of the Missouri Botanical Garden; Dick Fleming, president of the St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association; and a smattering of local academics. The advisory board is likewise a virtual smorgasbord of St. Louis impressives, including U.S. Senator Kit Bond, former Senator John Danforth, Congressman Richard Gephardt, and a host of CEOs.
This year's forum drew bigwigs from, among others, Monsanto, Dow Chemical, Dupont and IGA Grocery, as well as agricultural officials from Peru, New Zealand, Indonesia, Belgium, Australia, France, Brazil and more. The agenda included panels on free-trade agreements, technological advancements in agriculture and public-policy issues.
Civic leaders have worked hard to cast St. Louis as a hub for the industry, with one central aim: to lure new businesses to the area. Already the region is home to one of the most advanced biological engineering corporations in the world, Monsanto, whose name is nearly synonymous with genetically modified food. Add the chemical and biopharmaceutical company Mallinckrodt, life-science research firm Sigma-Aldrich and a few others, and you've got a little Petri dish that city fathers hope will multiply. "My administration strongly supports all efforts to establish St. Louis as the center of the 'BioBelt,'" Mayor Francis Slay remarked at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Sigma-Aldrich's Life Sciences/High Technology Center in midtown last year. "The biotechnology industry has limitless potential to create good jobs, to generate wealth, and -- above all -- to benefit humanity. The city that emerges as the center of this industry will become one of the economic capitals of the new century. St. Louis is very well positioned to become that city, and my administration will do everything in its power to turn this possibility into reality."
What the mayor failed to mention, of course, is the fact that while the biotech industry embodies profound financial potential, equally profound are the ethical debates it tends to inspire. In other words, if St. Louis does indeed strap on the BioBelt, a maelstrom will arrive along with it.
"It's messy," says CAMP dweller Tom Hallaran, who moved here three years ago from college in Oregon to work on the human genome project at Washington University. "There's a lot that's tempting about genetic engineering," Hallaran concedes. But he adds, "You can say all you want about feeding the world, but Monsanto isn't concerned primarily with feeding the world. They're concerned with their bottom line; they're concerned with their stock price. So it's peripheral if golden rice feeds the world."
A lot of people share Hallaran's views and aren't afraid to say so. The same weekend the World Agricultural Forum came to town, Forest Park Community College hosted the seventh installment of Biodevastation, a smaller, much-less-monied international forum devoted to concerns about genetic engineering. Biodevastation's Web site detailed information about its St. Louis congress, which included panels such as "Resisting Genetically Modified Organisms in Africa" and "The Future of Indigenous Agriculture." Also included on the conference's home page was a link to a site maintained by the Flying Rutabega Circus Review, a traveling activist group that plies its trade on bicycles. Its site, in turn, detailed plans to convene in St. Louis the weekend of May 19 to protest the WAF and kick off a caravan trek to Washington, D.C. The Rutabegas' central meeting place was none other than the Community Arts and Media Project at 3022 Cherokee Street. Circus members began arriving in St. Louis on Tuesday, May 13; as they rolled in, CAMPers directed them to housing arrangements. A few stayed at CAMP, a dozen more stayed at Bolozone.
None of this activity, of course, escaped the notice of Police Chief Joe Mokwa. Although he didn't know quite what to expect that May weekend, Mokwa had received reports from other law-enforcement agencies that indicated St. Louis may be a powder keg. "There was a lot of chatter on [protest] Web sites about coming to St. Louis," says Mokwa. "And that's really what provoked our interest." Mokwa's World Agricultural Forum team, headed by Deputy Chief Everett Page, conferred with a St. Louis-based private firm called Allied Intelligence, which had been hired by WAF officials to provide security during the Union Station meetings. (Page recently announced his resignation, effective July 8, rather than face disciplinary action on sexual harassment charges unrelated to the raids.)
The department also consulted with Seattle police officers -- who'd been in the eye of the storm of the protests that accompanied the 1999 World Trade Organization meetings there -- and they studied videotapes of police clashing with protestors in other cities, tapes that showed officers in riot situations, and violent protestors attacking police dogs and horses.
On May 13 Mokwa met with several local activists who had requested an audience to air grievances about alleged police misconduct in an incident following an antiwar protest in Forest Park in March. Seven people were arrested in the fray, and protestors claimed police used unnecessary force. According to activist Bill Ramsey, who heads the Human Rights Action League and the St. Louis Instead of War Coalition, the conversation soon turned to the upcoming anti-WAF protests. "I guess they assumed that we were somehow responsible for it," says Ramsey. "We immediately said, 'First of all, we don't have any responsibility for what is happening next Sunday.' And we said, 'There are other people responsible for that. You need to talk with them.'"
Clearly, Mokwa didn't walk away from the meeting feeling reassured. The following day he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "We don't expect the same level of violence or intensity .... But we do know that we have some visitors in our city who were involved in the Seattle protests and other protests."
Adds the chief in retrospect: "What we were confronted with, was people of good faith that would say, 'Don't worry about anything, but I can't speak for any of the strangers coming to town.'"
Residents of CAMP believe that the police department's intelligence efforts led them to the St. Louis Independent Media Center's Web site, www.stlimc.org, where a plethora of information detailed the upcoming Biodevastation conference, planned WAF protests and housing arrangements. (CAMP residents maintain the Web site; the collective also comprises the Gateway Green Alliance and Confluence, a local environmental and activist newspaper.)
Mokwa declines to discuss his department's intelligence-gathering methods. In fact, after an initial phone interview, the chief failed to return multiple calls detailing specific follow-up questions. Tellingly, though, Mokwa's meeting with Ramsey and his colleagues was the only WAF-related interaction between the police department and the local protest community -- until the raids on Friday morning.
The Bolozone's a funny house for South City, a two-story wood-frame edifice that sits back from the street and is aesthetically at odds with the brick boxes that surround it.
To get to the front door, you walk through overgrown foliage, up a flight of concrete stairs, and past a garden. At around 10:30 a.m. on Friday, May 16, building inspector John MacEnulty arrived at Bolozone with his police escort.
Dan Green witnessed the scene from the second-floor window of Momozone next door, where he lives. "They pulled up in about three paddy wagons," Green recounts, "five or six cars; a giant, maybe 40-foot-by-15-foot cargo vehicle; a board-up crew."
Police simultaneously appeared at the rear of the building, where a few people were at work outside, painting butterflies on flags to adorn the Flying Rutabegas' two-wheelers. Bolozone resident Kelley Meister recalls greeting the officers, who demanded to enter the house. When she asked if they had a search warrant, she says, they responded that they didn't need one to enter a condemned building. Police cleared the house, handcuffed fifteen people in the front yard, and commenced to search the premises. Then they loaded out their evidence, boarded up the doors, arrested fifteen people on charges of occupying a condemned building and left.
Oddly, Green was not among those arrested. The officers simply didn't see him, he says, and they failed to realize a connection between Bolozone and the house next door.
About a half-hour earlier, nine Flying Rutabegas had been stopped by police as they rode out of Tower Grove Park at Kings-highway. Circus member Tom Shaver, of Santa Cruz, California, says an officer asked to see their bicycle licenses. Confused by the request, Shaver asked whether police often pulled people over to check bike licenses. "He said, 'Yeah, sure. This happens all the time.' They handcuffed us to each other and put us in a van and took us to jail."
The nine circus performers weren't charged with bike-license violations -- that ordinance was rescinded two years ago -- but with impeding the flow of traffic in Tower Grove Park.
Elsewhere in South City, a van full of people was pulled over by police. One of the group, Sara Lantz of Columbia, Missouri, was helping to organize the coming Sunday's protests. She says she and her cohorts were ordered out of the van and vigorously questioned. Lantz was handcuffed and arrested on an outstanding traffic warrant from Columbia. The rest of the group was sent on its way after officers searched the vehicle.
Meanwhile, MacEnulty's caravan headed to CAMP. When the inspector and police arrived, recounts resident Art Friedrich, he was ordered to kneel on the ground and told that if he did not consent to a search of the premises, the building would be boarded up and condemned. According to Friedrich, MacEnulty and the officers went inside. When they came out some time later, he says, some of the officers left to obtain a search warrant.
"The warrant had one blanket statement that said, 'Items of crime for use during protest,'" Friedrich says. "Two cell phone bills, multiple journals, assorted paperwork that I was not allowed to inspect and a CD-ROM drive were all taken."
Lists of missing items drawn up by protestors also claim that police at various locations seized an unspecified number of glow-in-the-dark juggling pins, two black-and- white polka-dot flags, a number of personal journals, cell phones, two computers, a Buckminster Fuller book and an unspecified number of puppets.
MacEnulty also made a stop at the building on Lemp, which is owned by the proprietors of the Off Broadway nightclub next door. What happened next was chronicled in the May 28 installment of René Spencer Saller's Radar Station column in Riverfront Times: According to musicians who use the unoccupied building as a rehearsal space, police and inspectors kicked down the door, telling co-owner Connie Garcia they were searching for squatters. The musicians told Saller that police slashed drum heads and left the place in disarray. (Incongruously, they also allegedly left behind bottles of bleach.) Garcia told Saller she had contacted an attorney but feared retaliation from the city and declined to comment about the incident.
By the end of the day, 27 people had been variously charged with occupying condemned buildings, public demonstration, failure to signal, a warrant relating to an outstanding traffic ticket, and impeding the flow of traffic.
Bolozone remains boarded up and condemned, although Dan Green is once again communicating with the city's building division and says he received a new batch of permits pertaining to the required construction of a retaining wall. Once that's finished and inspectors re-examine work that has already been done, Green is confident Dupre and Meister will be allowed to move back in.
Three days after the arrests, city officials allowed Bolozone residents to re-enter the property for three hours. Green says the place was a shambles: Every drawer had been overturned; haphazard piles of personal belongings were everywhere. A video camera had been crushed, posters ripped from walls. Someone had scrawled a Hitler mustache on a photo of Molly Dupre's boyfriend.
"They just tore things up," Green says. "They threw things around. Sliced open sleeping bags, urinated on clothes." According to Green, personal items had been thrown into a toilet and defecated on. "They shit in the toilet, but how can we prove anything? We're going to take a sample of it." He laughs, then adds, "I wasn't about to. Flush this. Forget it."
The city has disputed Bolozoners' allegations that some person or persons involved in the raids urinated on clothing in the house. MacEnulty claims to have seen two buckets of what he assumed to be urine in the basement. "Not, like, gallons of it, but I could smell the odor in the basement," he says.
Part of the confusion would seem to stem from a Post-Dispatch story that quoted Dan Green acknowledging that some Bolozone residents kept "pee jars" in their rooms rather than taking the trouble to use the house's bathroom. Green says the quote was taken out of context. Bolozone residents flatly deny that any urine-filled containers were on the premises.
Molly Dupre is exasperated by the subject. "Who the hell keeps piss buckets in their basement? We're not living in squalor," she says. "We have working plumbing. When we need to go to the bathroom, we use the toilet like everyone else."
"I think it's very clear that there's nothing in the housing ordinances that allows police to enter without a warrant and do the type of things they did," says Matt LeMieux, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri. "There is some language in the housing ordinance that would allow the police to enter solely for the purposes of removing individuals who refuse to leave a condemned property, but I don't think there's anything in the ordinance that allows them to go and conduct a full search and seize property, which is exactly what happened at the Bolozone.
"I think the chief just made a mistake here," LeMieux goes on. "And I think he probably had other options that for whatever reason he didn't choose. I think even if you take the police at their word -- which is that they feared violent elements infiltrating the protests -- that could have been handled by reaching out to the peaceful protestors and working with them to make sure that their protests weren't infiltrated by violent elements."
Housing inspector John MacEnulty declines to comment about alleged misconduct by police, but he contends that the raids and searches were justified. Police, MacEnulty argues, have a duty to search condemned properties before they board them up, to ensure that no one is hiding inside. Bolozone and CAMP, he says, were cases in which "some people were occupying a condemned building, running at least one, probably two businesses out of it -- it was grossly overcrowded in any case. They're trying to spin this to make it look like they weren't doing anything wrong and they're being persecuted, when in fact they were wrong every step of the way."
Green scoffs at MacEnulty's logic and cites occupancy and construction permits issued between 2000 and 2002. How could the building have been condemned all that time, he asks, when the building division itself issued an occupancy permit?
On June 13 attorney Rory Ellinger filed a court petition demanding the return of property seized during the raids. Although some of the goods were released after the raids, among the many items yet to be restored to their rightful owners according to the document are a 100-gigabyte computer hard drive, clown makeup, a "headset with attached kazoo," climbing gear, books and DVDs.
As word of the raids spread, Chief Mokwa addressed the charges of police misconduct by calling in the police department's internal affairs division to investigate. That report was due June 20, according to Mokwa, but as of press time it had yet to be filed. Once it does get issued, Mokwa is not certain that it will be made public. "Probably not," the chief says. "It depends on what's reasonable as far as Sunshine [law] and things like that."
Mokwa says that if individual officers are found to have destroyed property, they'll be disciplined. "I think most of the activities that the officers engaged in were appropriate," the chief says, though he concedes that some officers may have been overly enthusiastic, which "may have made them more stringent than they needed to be."
Mayor Francis Slay issued only one statement the weekend of the protests and did not return several phone calls requesting comment for this story. "The vast majority of people who came to St. Louis to protest are peaceful and well-intentioned," Slay said back in May. "But there is no doubt that there is a small cadre within the group that came to St. Louis with the intention of disrupting lives and damaging property."
If indeed there was "no doubt" in Mayor Slay's mind about the presence of a violent faction bent on disrupting the WAF, the proof has been as elusive as Iraq's infamous weapons of mass destruction. More tellingly, the activists say, city officials were ill-informed of protesters' aims at the very least, if not openly hostile to their right to speak their minds.
"They brought people in from Seattle to tell them about these people that were living in Fox Park and Gravois Park," says CAMP resident Tom Hallaran. "There was no attempt at all to understand what these community projects were about. There was no direct engagement at all. No one ever talked to anyone who was organizing."
One of the most influential urban-policy works of the past decade, Richard Florida's The Rise of the Creative Class, traces the connection between successful urban centers and the creative minds that drive them. One of the book's central tenets is that business-based initiatives -- like the attempt to lure biotech firms to the St. Louis region -- are only one part of the equation, and that a more important piece of the puzzle is a community's ability to attract people willing to exercise their intellect and contribute their creative and emotional energy. "Cities such as Seattle, Austin, Toronto and Dublin recognize the multidimensional nature of this transformation and are striving to become broadly creative communities, not just centers of technological innovation and high-tech industry," Florida writes. "If places like Buffalo, Grand Rapids, Memphis and Louisville do not follow suit, they will be hard-pressed to survive."
Dissent and activism are elements of a creative community, contends Gary Gates, a research associate and demographer at the Urban Institute, a nonpartisan social-policy think tank based in Washington, D.C. Gates, who collaborates with Florida, says their research addresses "this idea of the broader social climate of a region and how welcoming a place is to ideas and people who are potentially different. And it's precisely in those differences that you create a place that's more receptive to creativity and innovation. If those differences are welcomed, and in fact understood to be part of what makes a place economically more viable, then that place is going to have a leg up on places that only focus on business-based incentives.
"We would argue that places that are tolerant of protest politics, of a wide range of political opinion, are probably going to be places that are going to be perceived as more welcoming to the people who, again, are increasingly the driving force of creativity and innovation," Gates concludes.
That's precisely the environment people such as Bolozone resident Kelley Meister say they were looking for when they chose to live in St. Louis. "I like St. Louis because you can do things here that you can't do in other places. People are constantly amazed that we can own our own house, and we can own our own community center, because they can't do that in other places. We buy buildings, and we rehab them, and go from there."
But can a city like St. Louis, whose leaders openly fret about an educated creative class that has long looked to other, more emotionally imagined urban centers, afford to alienate the very people who have discovered and harnessed one of the city's most inviting amenities, its cheap, beautiful real estate?
The creative class isn't going to drop from the sky into Washington Avenue lofts, responds Pat Schuchard, the E. Desmond Lee Professor for Community Collaboration at Washington University. "It bubbles up from the ground and it doesn't come from up top," says Schuchard. "And in a nutshell, that's the problem: They're coming down on these young people, and you need this kind of richness, this kind of fertility. I don't know if these kids were going to cause a problem or do property damage, but the idea is that people need to be able to build things, and do things. And if you don't have that operating, and if you only have a Washington Avenue that's being developed by developers and so on, then the citizenry has no ownership."
The last thing these investors want is undeserved harassment, adds Dennis Judd, an urban-revitalization expert at the University of Illinois-Chicago, who taught at the University of Missouri-St. Louis for sixteen years, until 2000. "The members of the creative class aren't going to put up with it," says Judd. "They'll put up with seedy streets and bohemian atmospheres that are exciting and so forth, but they're not going to put up with police harassment of any kind."
Chris McLaren, one of the eight pulled over in Sara Lantz's van, is troubled by what she witnessed in the days leading up to the WAF. When her crew was detained, she recounts, one passenger didn't have an ID. "She was not going to be let go until they could identify her," says McLaren. "They called her mother, and her mother identifies her by her piercings, and the cop says to her mother, 'Are you aware of the group of people that your daughter is hanging out with?'
"And then he says, 'Do you know what an anarchist is?'"
Correction published 7/2/03:
In the originally published version of this story, we mispelled the name of CAMP resident Mark Bohnert. The above version reflects the corrected text.