Around midday on August 30, tenant organizer and co-chair of Spokane Democratic Socialists Jeremy Logan, was seized by unidentified law enforcement officers driving an unmarked vehicle while on his way to a protest, reminiscent of recent similar events in Portland, Oregon. Logan spoke with Liberation News about his ordeal.
All but one of the officers were dressed in plainclothes, and they all refused to identify which agency they were working for. Other members of Spokane DSA members, with whom Logan had made plans to meet, witnessed the arrest and immediately shared what little information they had with other friends and activists, including those in the Party for Socialism and Liberation.
A long-time activist in the Spokane area, Jeremy Logan founded Spokane Area Tenants United to give a voice to tenants who are otherwise marginalized compared to the powerful landlords in the area. SATU has helped countless evicted tenants move, providing basic necessities like cleaning supply kits. Logan is also a long time anti-police brutality activist especially after the killing of his close friend Matt Folden at the hands of Wenatchee Police in 2017.
Logan had just parked his car at a prearranged meet up spot near the corner of Stevens Street and Second Avenue in downtown Spokane when he was apprehended by two men who, moments earlier, appeared to be on a stroll. Soon, an old, beat up, unmarked silver Dodge caravan arrived at the scene, out of which came, according to Logan and his friends’ best estimates, six additional plain clothes officers, none of whom read Logan his rights. Logan was thrown into the back of the vehicle and driven to an apparent rendezvous, where he was handed to a local police officer. One person who witnessed the incident, William Neville, made note of the car’s licence plate number; later that day, during the march, it could be seen following protesters.
Logan was initially told the reason for his arrest was a warrant in Okanogan County, Washington, a place he has not been for nearly 20 years. The officer was either unable or refused to identify those who carried out the arrest and the agency for which they worked. The reasons for the arrest became more uncertain. Later, he was told he had a warrant in Chelan County, another place Logan has not visited in years.
It is true, as Logan will freely admit, that he has unpaid fines from 2013 in Wenatchee, Washington (which is part of Douglas County, not Okanogan, or Chelan County). However, assuming these fines were the reason for his arrest, that still does not explain why he was targeted the day of a protest held in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake and at the precise location where he planned to meet up with friends. Putting aside the heavy-handed and destructive nature of such a response to unpaid fines, the police have had seven years to act on this, but they chose this particular date, time, and location.
Logan was taken to the Spokane County Jail, where he was thrown into a filthy cell — part of the wall was splattered with food, and crumbs littered the bed. Such treatment is shamefully abhorrent under any circumstances, but possibly life threatening during a pandemic. The jail’s complete lack of concern for the dangers posed by COVID-19 were obvious. Shortly after his arrival, Logan was forced into a crowded elevator, in which everyone was touching but no one was wearing a mask. “The cells were unclean. There was food on the walls and on the beds. They weren’t cleaning the mats in between inmates, and this is with COVID.”
This arrest caused a mental toll on Logan: “I didn’t know if I was ever going to get out and because of that, the fear got to me and I felt overwhelmed with dread.”
While in jail, Logan was asked — repeatedly — if he would talk to the Feds. (He emphatically refused.) What federal agents would want from someone arrested for alleged “unpaid fines” is unknown at this time.
Thankfully, within two days of his initial arrest Logan was bailed out due to the dedicated work of local activists from DSA, Spokane County Mutual Aid and his father. Logan spoke about how thankful he was that people came together both to get him out, and to take care of his cats while he was in jail. Since his release local activists are demanding the City council “investigate and tell us who is responsible, and to take concrete action to put an end to the kidnapping of protesters.”
After his release Logan stated, “The thing that concerns me about my abduction and those similar to mine is that this opens up all-new territory for fascist counterprotesters to abduct people who go willingly not knowing that they are not law enforcement. Innocent protesters who are active and strong in the community can be disappeared now, and it will be the fault of Homeland Security and local law enforcement.”