Code Pink Organizer Accused of Police Officer Battery

By Judith Scherr
Thursday June 05, 2008 - 09:51:00 AM

Code Pink organizer Zanne Joi was arrested May 29 on charges of trespassing, battery on an officer and resisting arrest at the downtown Marine Recruiting Station. 

Joi has been arrested there before, but that was in the course of committing civil disobedience—blocking the doorway or entering the recruiting office.  

Speaking to the Planet just after her release from jail on her own recognizance, Joi said the arrest took her by surprise because she was detained while helping a friend get her toddler son out of a stroller.  

As Joi tells it, she was on the sidewalk in front of 64 Shattuck Square a little past noon. Fellow Code Pinker Judy Christopher was taking her 13-month old son out of his stroller and Joi was assisting in getting the straps untangled from around his belly.  

“Then I hear a voice behind me,” Joi said. “Miss Joi, I want to talk to you. Then I get grabbed.”  

Joi said at that point she was facing Officer Melissa Kelly and yelling at her, “Get your hands off me—don’t touch me.”  

A number of officers then appeared—about six.  

Joi was handcuffed and told she was under arrest for spitting at an officer. Joi denies she spat at the officer. 

Police spokesperson Andrew Frankel told the Planet that the Marines called police to have Joi arrested for trespassing. They told police Joi refused to leave the alcove area where the doors to the recruiting station and a hairdresser are located, Frankel said. 

Frankel said Officer Kelly walked up to Joi, who was on the sidewalk “bent over a stroller, fiddling with the straps,” and told her to come over to where she was standing. 

When Joi didn’t answer, “the office grabbed her arm to get her attention,” Frankel said. Responding to a question about whether this kind of physical contact is normal procedure, Frankel told the Planet, “It is not inappropriate of [the officer] to grab her arm” to get her attention. 

Frankel and Joi both say Joi then yelled at the officer, telling her not to touch her. 

The stories then differ: Frankel says that when Kelly grabbed Joi’s arm to detain her, Joi pulled away and spat on the officer. 

“These are trumped-up charges,” Joi said. She will be in court June 30.