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Two Occupiers Arrested At Bloomington's People's Park

Last updated on Monday, January 9, 2012

(BLOOMINGTON) - Bloomington police arrested two people early Saturday morning at People’s Park after several people who identified themselves as “Occupiers” continued to remain in the park in defiance of a city deadline to end the three-month protest.

Walker Rhea and Charis Heisey, both 27, were arrested and taken to the Monroe County Jail, where they were booked on preliminary charges of misdemeanor trespass. Both were released on their own recognizance, according to jail records.

Heisey said she was sending a message that public spaces for free assembly and free speech are precious and valuable. She also said Mayor Mark Kruzan's decision to break up the encampment that provided shelter to a number of homeless people was wrong.

She said People's Park is still occupied. Daily assemblies of Occupy supporters would continue to be held at 6:30 p.m. daily.

Bloomington police were alerted that Heisey had chained herself to a tree at the park, Saturday afternoon,. But it wasn't until 4:13 a.m. when police arrived at the park. They are not saying why they waited until that hour to investigate the complaint.

When police arrived, they began dismantling the barricade that had been erected around a tent where Heisey had been chained to a tree since Friday afternoon.

They also found Rhea standing behind the barricade, according to a police report by arresting officers Lt. Scott Oldham and officer Tracy Headley. Police told the two the park had been closed since 11 p.m. and advised they were trespassing.

Neither Heisey nor Rhea spoke a word to officers. They only stared at police and refused to communicate. Heisey said she was meditating.

Bloomington firefighters had to cut the chain binding Heisey to the tree. She was taken to an ambulance and taken to the hospital to be checked for exposure before she was transported to the jail.

Police loaded the barricade material into a dump truck. Officers used ladders to remove two tents from a tree at the park.

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