My earlier post on the professional protester/activist Emily Good: https://a12iggymom.wordpress.com/2011/06/25/activist-and-professional-protester-goded-cops-into-arresting-her/
Seeing she is making the rounds on CNN, MSNBC and the alphabet TV channels…along with the print media… again I throw the BS flag…she is milking this temporary ‘fame’ for all it’s worth…funny she calls the very organization she despizes when her ‘friends’ broke into her home…things that make you go Hmmmm…
Emily Good: The making of an activist
elf-described introvert known in her neighborhood for her colorful, bell-laden recumbent bicycle, Emily Good says that she never meant for this to happen.
Good had been arrested prior to May 12 — four times, actually. And she readily admits that she’s been part of actions in the past that were meant to get attention.
But when a friend peered out her window late that night and told her that someone was being apprehended by police, she ventured outside with her camera only because the incident “literally came to my front yard,” she said.
“I was planning to just quietly observe,” said Good, 28, of Rochester. “When people are watching police, they’re not going to abuse their power in the same way that they might if they’re not being watched.”
More than a month has passed since the home video of her May 12 arrest on a charge of obstructing governmental administration surfaced. In the week that followed, Good said that someone broke down her back door and stole the recording device used to make the video, and Rochester police officers issued parking tickets to cars at a community meeting she was attending. City Councilman Adam McFadden told her to make sure she was never alone.
The District Attorney’s Office in June agreed to the dismissal of the criminal charge against Good. The police are continuing their own investigation into the incident, and Good will be filing a wrongful arrest lawsuit on Tuesday.
But while some activists would relish having her notoriety, so far, Good has been reluctant to use her newfound celebrity to publicize the causes she’s passionate about.
“I do think the way my name is recognized might give me more future ability to get media to demonstrations,” she said. “But right now I’m hardly thinking about that. I’m overwhelmed. I just want to get my life in order. We still don’t have a back door — right now it’s just a big piece of plywood.”
The controversy has taken on a life of its own. National media outlets continue to look into incidents involving the community interactions of Rochester police, and several other people, including Monroe County Legislator Willie Lightfoot, have been interviewed on cable news. Her run-in with police has even been made into a homegrown play titled Midnight in the Front Lawn of Good and Evil.
But the attention focusing specifically on Good has died down somewhat, and she’s pleased that things are starting to return to normal. So are her family members, who have been concerned about the welfare of their daughter and sister.
For the first five years of her life, Good lived in the 19th Ward in Rochester, just a block from the spot of her recent arrest. Her family eventually moved to Penfield, and she entered the Webster school system. Even at age 7, she showed some indications of a future life in activism.
“One of the first things that comes to my mind, which was just kind of very cute and interesting, is that she decided to go vegetarian at a young age,” said her father, Bob Good, 62, of Rochester. “She was eating chicken McNuggets, and asked some questions about it, and we said that actually comes from a chicken, and she just sort of didn’t like it.”
As a grade school student, she organized a small protest outside a Monroe Avenue fur shop.
By age 13, she was heading to Chiapas, Mexico, with her sister Camille to help build a school, and that year, she had three letters to the editor published in the Democrat and Chronicle.
“I see Emily’s social action coming from her compassion rather than a negative view of society,” said Carole Barnabas, Good’s seventh-grade teacher, in an email. “She was a caring girl in seventh grade, totally present to whatever we did, and therefore dear to me and a favorite student.”
For her strong convictions, Good may have her father to thank. A social activist himself, Bob Good in 1971 was one of 28 people caught breaking into a Camden, N.J., draft office and destroying documents in protest of the Vietnam War.
The “Camden 28” trial received national attention and became a referendum of sorts on the war. After moving testimony from Elizabeth Good, Bob’s mother and Emily’s grandmother, the jury found the defendants not guilty in a famous example of jury nullification.
It was discussions with her father and grandmother about the trial that showed her how ordinary citizens can make a major impact, said Good.
“That was the fundamental thing: being raised by people who really cared,” she said.
Her first arrest came in high school when she was protesting outside the School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Ga.
The school, a federal military training facility primarily for Latin American soldiers and civilians, has seen many of its graduates go on to commit atrocities in their home countries, said Good. She ultimately was not charged with any crimes, she said.
After being accepted into an area Rotary program that would allow her to spend a year living in Venezuela, she compressed all of her remaining studies into her junior year, graduating a year early from Webster Schroeder.
The year in Venezuela was followed by college at Tufts University, where she double-majored in community health and peace and justice studies.
During her college years, she petitioned for better benefits for the Tufts janitorial staff, attending her senior dinner at the university president’s house with a protest sign draped around her.
She also spent time protesting at meetings of the International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C., and at the Free Trade Area of the Americas in Quebec City in Canada. She was arrested for a second time at the School of the Americas. Again, charges were dropped.
After college, Good spent several months caring for her dying grandmother in Pennsylvania. She then headed out West, where she worked two stints with AmeriCorps. The first term took her to Montana, where she helped maintain nature trails. During this spell, while protesting the Iraq War at a busy intersection in Kalispell, Mont., she was knocked down and spit on by a man in an incident that garnered local media attention.
Good’s second turn with AmeriCorps brought her to Portland, Ore. While there, she posed as a reporter to gain access to the shareholders’ meeting of NW Natural, a natural gas distributor that was attempting to build a pipeline that stretched through some of Oregon’s open space.
Once inside, she set off stink bombs hidden under her shoes and fled, while fellow activists unfurled a banner on the building across from the company’s headquarters.
Good’s time in Portland also brought police-community interactions to the forefront of her thoughts. She arrived in the city in 2007, in the wake of the death of James Chasses Jr., a musician with schizophrenia who died after being beaten by police officers.
“Their police force has been involved in a huge number of deadly shootings,” said Good. “So it’s something that’s been on my mind a lot.”
Her third and fourth arrests came in Rochester, where she returned in 2008.
During a tax day anti-war protest in 2009, police pepper-sprayed her and dragged her from a tree in downtown Rochester after she refused to come down. She was charged with trespassing and resisting arrest, but the charges were eventually dismissed after an adjournment.
In March, she was one of seven people arrested for protesting the eviction of a woman on Ravenwood Avenue. She was charged with obstructing governmental administration and trespassing, and again issued an adjournment with the contemplation of dismissal.
Following her May 12 arrest for videotaping a police stop, Good said that almost everyone who has approached her has been encouraging. The families she works for — babysitting and mowing lawns are her primary sources of income, she said — have expressed their support, as have her landlord and housemates.
But Good is certainly not without her critics, both in the community at large and within her own family.
Her sister, Camille, said that she was very angry with Good after hearing about the most recent arrest. Camille Good felt that her sister’s previous arrests were more justified.
“I think the time before, it was an act of civil disobedience,” said Camille Good, 31, of Rochester. “I’ve been brought up in a family that does that purposely, and in certain situations, I don’t know that that’s wrong.”
Camille Good, a physician’s assistant at Anthony Jordan Health Center, said that the May 12 arrest instead seemed to be the result of an impulsive act on her sister’s part, and the arraignment the following morning meant that Good was unable to fulfill the babysitting appointment she’d made with her.
“I was like, ‘You know, you need to stop this,'” said Camille Good. “You need to get a job, and help people in a more effective way.”
But Camille Good said that she was even more infuriated in the aftermath of the arrest, when police suggested that Good had done something to indicate she knew the people being arrested. Good has maintained that she never knew the individuals in the vehicle.
“I couldn’t believe (the police) lied like that,” said Camille Good. “I don’t feel that strongly against the police, but that’s the only thing I felt really disappointed about. I felt they were being dishonest.”
After putting it off for more than a month, Camille Good finally watched the video of her sister’s arrest. She said that after watching it, her opinions have been swayed even further, and that she definitely doesn’t support the officer’s decision to arrest her sister.
The two have since reconciled, and Good served as the maid of honor in Camille’s wedding, which was last weekend.
Chief James Sheppard has said he is awaiting the results of an internal investigation to determine whether there was any misconduct in the arrest of Good. He said he thought the video showed the police officer acted professionally, and said the stop that precipitated Good’s arrest — the activity partly filmed by Good — was an example of “proactive” policing.
Police said there were suspected gang members in the car. No one from the vehicle was arrested.
Sheppard said the incident does show the need to remind police officers that they shouldn’t be concerned if someone video-records them without interference.
The video of her arrest went viral because it so thoroughly “told a story in and of itself,” said Bob Good, who works in information technology at Rochester Institute of Technology.
“I think these things just happen to be like slot machines where the apples all come up three in a row,” he said. “Once it went, it went. We were stunned.”
Good’s mother, Susan Schickler, said that she received dozens of calls from all over the country after the incident, but it was the break-in at her daughter’s house — in which the recording device that was used to make the video was stolen, while laptops were left untouched — that really shook up the family.
Schickler also said that at one point when she and Good were out riding their bicycles together, they were being followed by a suspicious individual.
“I realized that I had a very, very small sense, between what we were going through together, of what anyone that has championed a cause has (gone through),” said Schickler, 62, of Rochester. “I felt like a real kindred spirit with those people, and it’s hard to go through that. You really have to be a strong person. You have to have a tough skin.”
In the wake of the burglary, Good was approached by City Councilman Adam McFadden.
McFadden, who had a well-publicized run-in with city police in 2004 and recently wrote a scathing letter to City Council and Sheppard regarding police relations with minority communities, told Good to make sure she was never alone.
“It did not surprise me that she was having these weird occurrences, because I had the same,” said McFadden. “I’m very familiar with that.”
Good said that her lawyer, Donald Thompson, told her that the legal proceedings surrounding her wrongful arrest lawsuit will be a “long, slow process” that could take up to three years.
In the meantime, she’s attempting to continue spreading the word about causes she’s passionate about. But while other activists have encouraged her to channel her high-profile status, she’s unsure how to proceed, given all that’s happened.
She says she’s planning a trip to Bolivia this winter, where she’s eager to become a “no-name person” again.
“I’m grappling with how to use my voice now that it’s really loud,” said Good. “I’m really not very comfortable with it, and that’s what I’m struggling with right now.”
The following comments are from letters to the editor published since June 26 in the Democrat and Chronicle:
“Emily Good deserved to be arrested. After watching the video, I believe that the Rochester Police Department handled the situation accordingly. The officers never raised their voices, and acted politely. I believe that Good acted as an instigator trying to make the police department look bad.” “Ben Franklin got it right when he said that those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither. … Contrary to what some would like, this is not a police state and I do not have to do anything simply because a man with a badge told me to. Keep standing for what is right, Ms. Good.” “For those of you who think Emily Good is some kind of hero because she is harassing the Rochester police force, I have a suggestion. The next time you are being robbed, raped, stabbed, shot, beaten, mugged, assaulted or accosted in some other way, call Good and her small band of supporters to bail you out.” “I believe Good’s actions, in a neighborhood where crime is prevalent, constituted activism, self-aggrandizement and clearly interfered with the administration of criminal law. The fact that the DA’s office chose not to prosecute is unfortunate, and will encourage future interference with police in the proper execution of their duties by activists such as Emily Good.”
Emily Good’s father among the ‘Camden 28’ in Vietnam War era The nut doesn’t fall far from the tree…IMO…
Bob Good and Susan Schickler, parents of Emily Good. Both are 62 and live in Rochester. / Sean Dobbin/staff photographer
In the early morning hours of Aug. 22, 1971, under the cover of darkness, several activists broke into a federal building in Camden, N.J.
The group — a collection of clergy, blue-collar and white-collar workers, and students, all of whom opposed the Vietnam War — was part of a national movement known as the “Catholic Left,” and once inside, they began destroying draft documents.
But an informant was in their midst, and FBI agents stormed the building. Twenty-eight people were arrested, including a 22-year-old named Bob Good.
Forty years later, Good, a Rochester resident and father of activist Emily Good, still has vivid memories of the raid.
“There were eight of us that went inside,” he said. “Others were on the outside with walkie-talkies. I was inside.”
But it was the legal proceeding that followed, which became known as the “Camden 28” trial, that captured national media attention and was seen by many as a referendum on the Vietnam War.
A family torn apart
For Good, joining with the activists was an easy decision. Several years earlier, his brother had lost his life in Vietnam. “He wasn’t anti-war, and he wasn’t pro-war,” said Good, 62. “He was an average kid that worked his way through high school and graduated and wanted to get a car and wanted to get a girlfriend.”
The draft notice arrived in 1966, and Paul Good shipped off to war. At that early point in the conflict, there were seemingly no options for those who didn’t want to fight. No one thought to flee to Canada, and conscientious objection had yet to enter the mainstream, said Good.
“He was drafted, he was trained, he was sent overseas, and six weeks later he was killed,” said Good. “Came back just like that.”
The death tore the family apart, said Good. Some, including his mother Elizabeth, felt that Paul had died as a patriot, protecting the country from a communist evil.
Good didn’t feel the same way. So when the opportunity arose to join the Catholic Left, he jumped at the chance.
“They weren’t going to be out there throwing rocks and bombs, but they weren’t just going to stand around with the protest signs,” said Good. “They were finding a way to do something that would actually be effective on some level.”
Hoping to disrupt the draft process in Camden, the group planned a draft office raid for several months in 1971. But one member of the group was feeling uneasy about breaking the law and contacted the FBI.
The 1973 trial, chronicled in the 2007 documentary The Camden 28, saw most of the activists defend themselves. Though they were potentially facing more than 40 years in jail, the group collectively rejected a last-minute plea offer from the prosecution that would have greatly reduced their sentence.
The defendants testified one after another, saying that most of the equipment for the raid came from the FBI through the informant, suggesting they may not have been able to accomplish the raid without federal resources.
But the most pivotal point of the trial was the testimony of historian Howard Zinn, said Marty Stolar, a defense lawyer for the Camden 28.
Zinn gave a history of civil disobedience and its importance in the American way of life, and then launched into an analysis of the Pentagon Papers, portions of which had been leaked two years earlier.
As he detailed what he saw as the government’s true motives behind the Vietnam War — which repeatedly came back to the acquisition of tin, rubber and oil — a cry began emanating from the courtroom audience.
Elizabeth Good was breaking down.
“It was quite dramatic,” said Stolar, 68, who now practices in New York City. “She was shrieking. Now, she understood that her son was lost for nothing — for somebody’s greed, not for upholding the American way of life.”
Elizabeth Good was the next to take the stand.
“I think if our country is attacked, I don’t think there is a boy in the country that wouldn’t fight for the defense of it … All of my boys surely would,” she said, according to transcripts of her testimony. “But I don’t believe in sending them to these places for tin, rubber and oil.”
The jury ultimately dismissed the charges against all 28 activists, citing “outrageous government conduct.” The trial became a famous example of jury nullification, and according to the documentary, it was the only time in the country’s history that a jury dismissed charges on these grounds. The late Supreme Court Justice William Brennan called it one of the great trials of the 20th century.
“It became a forum about the war, and the jury recognized that,” said Bob Good. “In the shorthand version, it was: If you feel that all this was right, and the war was right, and all these lives being lost in vain was right, then convict us.
“But even though we were caught red-handed at 4 in the morning — inside the draft board with files all around us — in the end, the jury came back and found us not guilty on all charges.”