Drawing of two police arresting a guy and carrying him

My name is Micah Naziri. I am a doctoral student; have penned numerous published articles and books; I am months away from getting my PhD and then beginning teaching part time at a local university; I am a business man, a real estate investor and an activist.

Last Saturday, August 19, I was asked to attend a protest in the City of Columbus. Myself and a small group of activists with largely executive protection, martial arts and military backgrounds, were asked to be at the Christopher Columbus statue protest at Columbus City Hall in dual roles as activists and security. The concern was that an incident like the domestic terrorist attack in Charlottesville would happen here.

As we have at numerous other protests where security was needed, we showed up wearing relevant political anti-racism t-shirts and concealed our lower faces in the event that local Neo-Nazis showed up and took pictures to identify us. We had visible, legally-carried weapons – not to intimidate the public or the police, but to intimidate the Nazis who had pledge to counter protest.

I am already a well-known activist to the police, so there was no hiding who I am from them, nor did I see a reason to. Our concern was with the Daily Stormer types, nearby in Worthington, Ohio, who had specifically threatened to disrupt this protest. Our presence there intimidated them into not showing up.

The protest proceeded without incident. Afterwards, the police saw us go right over to my SUV, unload our rifles, store them for legal transport in hard cases in the trunk, and then eventually pull away.

We were immediately followed by several police SUVs as we made our way to protest a Confederate monument at a park on Marconi Blvd. My iPhone does not agree with Columbus very well, so it told me to turn right on Marconi, which was a one-way street, heading to the left. So I pass it, was on the bridge – not yet to COSI – and made a U-Turn, per the iPhone’s instructions.

In Ohio state law, U-turns are entirely legal unless marked. My understanding is that there are contexts in which they are legal in Columbus too, such as if you are so many feet from a bridge or intersection (we were close to both). In any event, normally state law cannot be superseded by local ordinances, but several police cars instantly boxed us in from all sides except the right (which was to the edge of the bridge, and construction cones set up).

The female officer who was directly behind me turned on her lights, as others pulled up alongside of us with their lights on, and in front. She ordered me to turn off the vehicle. I complied.

She said “Turn off the vehicle or I will shoot.” I said “I already have turned it off.”

She said “Let me see the keys.”

I threw the keys out, not wanting them to be mistaken for a weapon in my hand. She said I should have held them out. I explained I did not feel safe doing that.

When she saw I was reaching for my driver’s license and concealed carry permit, she immediately told me to reach my hands out the window. I can’t recall if she threatened to shoot again at this time or not. I reached both out, but even though both hands were in clear view of the officer, she told me to reach further with my right hand. I told her that I have a somewhat larger frame chest, and reaching further across is not possible while I am buckled in.

She then said to reach down with my left hand and open the vehicle’s door. I complied.

She then said to put my hands together behind my back and walk towards her backwards. I complied.

As I got about three yards away she yelled for me to get my hands up or she would shoot me in the back. I said, “You’re going to shoot me in the back in broad daylight for not having broken any laws?”

I informed her “Had you told me to have my hands up, I would have had them up. You said to keep them behind my back so I complied.”

Next, she and a male officer handcuffed me. I asked what the probable cause was for them to arrest me. They replied, “We aren’t arresting you yet, we are detaining you.”

I said, “Then what reasonable suspicion do you have to detain and search my person and vehicle?”

They said “You made a U-Turn, and U-Turns are prohibited in the City of Columbus.”

Being from Yellow Springs, Ohio – a popular “hippie” tourist destination, I did not know the unique and bizarre Columbus prohibition against U-Turns, without signage being required. Believe it or not, I’m a bit of a hippie myself – vegetarian, a peace activist for Israel and Palestine reconciliation and social justice, a Tai Chi and Taoist meditation teacher, certified to instruct both Chen and Yang styles (as well as two other Kung Fu systems).

In any event, I explained to them “You can detain me to check my license, CCW, insurance and registration in that case, but you have no legal grounds to search my person or vehicle. So what is your reasonable suspicion that I have committed a crime that would give you legal justification for conducting this clearly illegal search?”

Not a single cop out of the over a dozen who responded could answer that question.

Next, one officer ordered my sons out of the vehicle. They saw my oldest son Elijah was recording them. They told him “Stop recording!” I said “He doesn’t have to stop recording, this is protected and has been upheld by the Supreme Court. He has not approached you and is not interfering with you conducting official police business, so he has a right to record.”

An officer was then recorded saying “Sir, you’re under arrest, I’m going to mace you, you’re under arrest."

He then tackled my 17-year-old son, maced him and while searching him repeatedly grabbed his genitals. My son said “I think you’ve grabbed my dick enough, big boy.”

You have to understand my son is normally very reserved. He is an AP honor roll student. He just returned from a very selective summer intensive prep for the pre-med program at the University of Chicago. He was on his way the day after this incident to California, where he had been invited to tour other medical schools and inquire about their pre-med programs and emphases. My sons have never been in any kind of trouble with the law. They volunteer in local community organizations, including one that gets Jews and Muslims to sit down face to face and discuss the “hard issues” of the Israel and Palestine conflict, respectfully and peacefully.

The officers charged my sons – Elijah and Gideon Naziri (17 and 14, respectively) – both with “failure to comply,” because after telling them to exit the vehicle, they said to reenter it, but before they could, they were tackled. This is proven by multiple live streaming videos that show them just out of the vehicle, then told one would be maced, then both were sacked. Elijah, for his troubles, was also eventually charged with “resisting arrest” because the officer said the following four, ever-changing reasons – explaining this is why he had to mace him:

1. “He called me ‘Big Boy.’”

2. “I thought he might pull away.”

3. “His hands were by his waist and I thought they might be weapons.”

4. “His elbow bumped me.”

The final excuse was penned in the police report.

But a live-streamed video that caught the audio proved the officer said he would mace him before he actually made contact with him. The officer didn’t know this was live streamed. He thought the only video was the one that he deleted from Elijah’s cell phone.

After this, they refused Elijah medical treatment, or even to wipe off his eyes once restrained, for nearly an hour. Finally, an EMT arrived and wiped off his eyes. That whole time, Elijah and Gideon were – like myself – locked in the back of two separate vehicles with no air conditioning, with the windows up, and in over 100 degree interior temperatures.

They saw my windows were down and one officer said specifically “Go make sure his windows are rolled up.”

I said, “Could you please not? It is very hot in here.”

He said, “It’s hot out here too,” ignoring or unconcerned with the fact that we could have literally died from this.

For more than an hour my son writhed in pain in the back of this over-heated vehicle. The police officers were cold and unconcerned about his health.

They then wrote down a wrong address for me to pick up my sons. Understand that after threatening to impound my vehicle and charge me with felonies I did not commit, they finally let me go with three minor traffic citations, two of which were trumped up.

They wrote down on a slip of paper, the wrong address for the kids to be picked up. I have a photograph of this in the officer's handwriting. The former officer at that address said “There is no reason they would have given you this address since they know your kids are from out of the county. We never take kids from outside of Franklin County.”

So I called the police, called the Juvenile Detention Center, and was told by everyone that my children not only were not there, they had not even been arrested. “We are called immediately after such an arrest, and told to expect juveniles.”

It was only once several dozen people saw my posts about this on Facebook and called the police and detention center, that they called me back and said they had in fact been there the whole time.

The kids clarified that before they were brought in, the police made sure to leave them for nearly another hour in the back of an unattended, non-air-conditioned police van.

Finally, they were released. Elijah had to miss his pre-med tours out west because court was scheduled for Monday, the 21st. We now have obtained the legal services of an attorney, and we intend to file suit against the city after beating these charges.

Please help get the word out about Elijah and Gideon’s case and donate to their legal fundraiser at the following address: https://fundrazr.com/01Guc8?ref=ab_26oXfe; or mail checks to P.O. Box 622, Yellow Springs, OH 45387.

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