[Noisebridge-discuss] getting sleepers to leave without calling police

Jake jake at spaz.org
Fri Nov 29 22:40:26 UTC 2013

Hi Al and everyone else,

I appreciate the effort you're putting in to help noisebridge avoid 
becoming a squat and being used inappropriately.

I know that there have been situations in the past when calling the police 
was necessary, but I think that in many situations it can be avoided, and 
I think that we should call the police only as a last resort.

Unfortunately, if someone like you or I is at noisebridge and finds a 
sleeper who won't leave, it can be hard to find alternatives if there are 
not other noisebridgers who are willing to back us up.  In that situation, 
I would want the 311 system (it used to work if you would dial it from the 
payphone) to be able to summon noisebridgers who live nearby and are 
willing to come down to the space on little notice.

If there are already other noisebridgers present (or after they arrive 
because of a 311 call) I recommend discussing the problem with them before 
confronting the sleeper again.  Remind them that three or more people 
presenting a unified stance that they have to leave now is much more 
effective than a single person saying so.  Hopefully they will overcome 
any fear of this unpleasant situation enough to at least stand silently 
beside you while you confront the person refusing to leave.

When three or more people stand shoulder to shoulder insisting that a 
person leaves, they usually give in pretty quickly.  If you take out a 
camera and prepare to take a picture of them, that is another thing that 
usually helps (they forfeit their right to not be photographed by refusing 
to leave when asked).  Sometimes they will really stand their ground even 
with several people standing around, and if that happens usually it is 
enough to tell them that you are going to call the police.

If it gets to this point, I would tell them that this is their last chance 
to leave without being taken in by the police, and that if they refuse 
this request to leave, you will call the police and the person will not be 
allowed to leave before the police arrive (this is a citizens arrest). 
Hopefully this is enough to get them to give in and leave already.  You 
should have actually taken a picture of them by now by the way.

If you have done the above things and they still won't leave, it is likely 
that you and the other noisebridgers with you agree that calling the 
police is necessary.  Whether you want to actually prevent the person from 
leaving before the police arrives (if they try to) is up to your group, 
but i can see advantages to having a person like that recorded in a police 
report if they are going to cause that much trouble and waste that much of 
peoples time.

This is all in context with us doing our best not to prejudge or exclude 
people from our process, which is (in theory) that anyone can show up to a 
tuesday meeting to discuss their exclusion (in case it was erroneous).

Since we have a policy of people (members included) leaving voluntarily 
when a conflict arises, nobody should refuse to leave when there is a 
problem, but i feel strongly that for many reasons, we should only call 
the police as a last resort after our other available methods fail.


More information about the Noisebridge-discuss mailing list