An alleged organizer of the Friday, April 16, 2021 protest proclaimed that he was a victim of police brutality and that the police did not respect their journalistic capacity when they was arrested for a failure-to-disperse charge.
Olympia Police have released the jail interview audio of Miguel Lofland, along with audio interviews from two other individuals who were arrested that night. Lofland stated to police a preference for the pronouns they and them. The recordings, edited for brevity, are available below this story.
“They point to me, because I’m the only brown guy with a phone in his hand,” Lofland said. “They did this because I am press, and had the right to be there. Instead, they want to charge me with failure to disperse. I’m going to sue the shit out of the Olympia Police Department.”
Lofland told police said that it was “obvious” that they was “press” because the OPD “knows” them and their “role” covering events.
Olympia Police reported that Lofland was carrying a “fake” press pass. Lofland admitted that it was inside his duffle bag, not seen visibly by anyone.
“I left my press pass in my bag and didn’t get a chance to pull it out,” Lofland said.
When challenged on why they didn’t have their press pass out and visible, Lofland immediately stopped the questioning by Olympia Police during the jail interview.
Lofland further said that they was “tackled” by Olympia Police.
According to the Olympia Police report, Lofland was ordered to the ground multiple times. Lofland lowered themself to their knees with hands raised. Lofland stated to police that they "didn’t do anything" and that they was press.” When the police had Lofland’s arms behind their back, the suspect “removed all his weight” and “voluntarily lowered himself to his stomach.”
Olympia Police found a holstered can of Bear Mace on Lofland’s right hip.
“I was standing, putting my phone away, making it clear that I was putting my phone away, and they grabbed me and shoved me to the ground,” Lofland said.
Olympia Police filed in their report that Lofland was witnessed several times during the April 16 event, flipping their middle finger to police as the protest march continued. The Olympia Police reported that in their view, Lofland was “part of the protest from the beginning.”
When Olympia Police attempted to gain authorization from Lofland to photograph the injuries he claimed were “sustained” during his arrest, Lofland declined.
Olympia Police’s audio interview with Lofland had them catalog that Lofland had no visible injuries based on their claims of arrest.
“I’m okay,” Lofland said. “It’s just absolutely inappropriate for them to target a brown journalist on the ground like this. I’m complaining because this is an unethical, racist use of force.”
Lofland’s final words to the Olympia Police in his jail interview were, “abolish the police.”
The police released two other interviews with individuals arrested on April 16, 2021. These included interviews with Helen Cultee and Breanna Kilbourn.
Cultee complained that her zip tie-style cuffs were applied too tight and that she was not offered a mask upon her arrest, only receiving one in the Olympia Jail. She was not wearing a mask nor had one on her when she was arrested.
Breanna Kilbourn informed the police that his chosen name is "Breyson" and his pronouns are he and him. He told police that he was unaware of the protest until he came upon it during a walk in the neighborhood. But when he saw other people running from the protest he became scared and hid in a wooded area until an officer had taken him by the arm and ripped him “out of the wood.” Kilbourn confirmed to Olympia Police that no force was used against them.
This is the interview conducted by Olympia police staff of Miguel Lofland on April 16, 2021.
This is the interview conducted by Olympia police staff of Breanna Kilbourn on April 16, 2021.
This is the interview conducted by Olympia police staff of Helen Cultee on April 16, 2021.