Arrest changes views, energizes Goodman's daughter
The daughter of longtime former Haines Police chief Greg Goodman has a different view of lawmen following her involvement in the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York City.
Alixanne Goodman, 24, was one of 700 protesters arrested during a march on Brooklyn Bridge Oct. 1.
Goodman said New York City police misled her and others in order to corral and arrest them. They also made sexually abusive remarks to her during booking. Another was caught on camera before a demonstration saying his nightstick was going to get a good workout.
"I’ve always thought of cops as really good people out for the common good, but something needs to happen with them. They’re out of control," Goodman said in a phone interview Tuesday. "I don’t think they realize how many cameras there are around. There’s going to be consequences."
Goodman was texting her parents in Haines before the arrest. Greg Goodman said he wasn’t impressed by the NYPD, but said he and wife Carole were supportive of their daughter’s actions. "We were both concerned for her welfare, but her feelings and politics were spot-on. I think it’s wonderful."
A 2005 Haines High School grad, Goodman lives on Staten Island. She is finishing up a college degree in German and international studies and working in a clothing store while her fiancé attends school in the Bronx. She said she has never participated in protests, but became curious when she received a Facebook message from an Alaskan friend asking about the demonstration.
"It seemed like a good cause. It’s been coming for a long time. There’s a lot of inequality in the country," she said.
Economic conditions on the East Coast are vastly different from Alaska’s, she said. Goodman recently was working two jobs and has friends holding down three. "Living in Alaska, things are so much different. Over here, it is so tough to make it, just to make the rent. All my friends struggle."
After getting arrested on her third day at the rally, Goodman became more involved, making trips to the protest headquarters daily. "I do anything to help: Make signs, hand out flyers, do outreach, help in the kitchen, anything that needs doing, even if it’s as simple as picking up trash."
Goodman said she had no intention of getting arrested when she joined the bridge march. There are scheduled, daily marches from the protest site and organizers have been good about getting permits from authorities. Goodman was about halfway across the bridge when she found herself in a group on the roadway surrounded by police.
They used orange plastic fencing to trap marchers, but initially said the fencing was there for safety, to make sure no one fell off the bridge, Goodman said. Getting arrested was a "total shock" to her and many in the crowd, who felt some security in the group’s sheer size.
"At first it was scary. We were singing the national anthem and just giving each other support. Then the mentality and attitude of the crowd changed from ‘We’re going to jail’ to ‘We’re making history. This is going to get the media’s attention.’"
Goodman faces counts of obstructing vehicular traffic and being on a prohibited roadway. Other than the sexual remarks, the arrest was "not an altogether horrible experience," she said. "I don’t think (the police) even took us seriously. They were joking about it."
The protesters are a diverse bunch, including young and old, blue collar and white-collar workers, even businessmen, she said. "It’s not an uneducated group of people mad at the system. It’s amazing. Their slogan is, ‘We’re the 99 percent.’ How respectful they are with each other is amazing too. I see a lot of love and compassion there."
Goodman said she has learned "quite a bit" as rallies have targeted issues including social injustice, police brutality, corporate greed, unemployment, and sexual abuse. "Now they’re on to fracking. (A controversial method of mining for natural gas). It’s just a lot. Name one thing you think is wrong with America and that’s what they’re fighting against."
The protests, she said, also give her more motivation to pursue a career in environmental work. "Once I got there, (the protest) just felt right. Whatever happens, I think just the awareness of these issues is going to make a big difference."