Holocaust Survivor Arrested at Non-Violent Michael Brown Assembly Downtown

Categories: Michael Brown

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@dylanbrady | Twitter
Hedy Epstein, center, is arrested outside the Wainwright Building in downtown St. Louis on August 18.

Hedy Epstein knows a thing or two about human rights. As a Holocaust survivor, German-born Epstein has seen her share of abuse and oppression. After all, the Nazis didn't care much for the civil liberties of Jews or for anyone who wasn't of the Aryan race.

Epstein's experience is why she eventually immigrated to the United States, where she has been an outspoken activist for affordable housing, anti-war and pro-choice issues. The St. Louis resident, who was born in 1924, even founded the local chapter of Women in Black, a group that began as a response to Israel's occupation and has broadened to become anti-war in general.

With that kind of résumé, it's no surprise that Epstein wanted to voice her opinion about Michael Brown's death and the handling of the investigation. But what's surprising to many is that Epstein would be taken into custody while doing so.

See also: Cops in Ferguson Detain Journalists, Threaten to Shoot Cameraman, Mace Reporter

Epstein was part of a crowd of about 100 people who gathered in downtown St. Louis on Monday, August 18. The group's plan was to march down Market Street near Kiener Plaza and turn toward the Wainwright Building on North Seventh Street, where Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has an office:

The group arrived at the Wainwright Building, perhaps confusing bike patrol officers:

Protesters tried to enter the building, ostensibly to meet with Nixon:

But then the group turned the protest into a sit-in:

Eventually, some protesters spoke on a bullhorn and led the group in chanting "Hey, hey, ho, ho, the National Guard has got to go," and "Whose building? Our building," among other things:

The police and security officers again denied protesters entry to the Wainwright Building:

And that's when the St. Louis Business Journal reports that police arrested eight protesters -- including Epstein, who was wearing a shirt that said "Stay Human" -- for blocking the Wainwright Building's entrance:

Read the Riverfront Times' complete Michael Brown / Ferguson coverage.

Follow Allison Babka on Twitter at @ambabka or email allison.babka@riverfronttimes.com.

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49 comments
LauraLaFleur3
LauraLaFleur3

@Ivanroberson That's low. Let's arrest a survivor of Hitler's death camps you freaking morons. Could u b more insensitive? Seriously? Idiots

Erica Horton
Erica Horton

Can you see she is a survivor of a military whisking away a race of people and we all know what happened there maybe she is scared it might happen again maybe she could shed light on a matter.

Rinat  Gabbasov
Rinat Gabbasov

Michael Brown is innocent! Rest in peace little boy! African Americans of USA, rise to struggle against tyrants in power! Stop Cop mayhem! Down with American cops, down with the State Department! Give Maidan opposite to the White House! Hold on Ferguson!

Phil Janovick
Phil Janovick

I myself am ready for Martial Law..... bring it on..... OUR AMERICA IS LONG GONE !!!!!! :-(

Ashpit Digger
Ashpit Digger

You can voice your opinion without impeding the entrance to a building. There is a difference between protesting and just being arrogant and obtrusive.

Ashpit Digger
Ashpit Digger

Yes Jason Ledet I agree, Americans have the right to assemble and protest. They however do not have the right to impede the entrance to a building, any building. When peaceful protests draw in the elements that these protests have, then I agree with the police stepping up and doing what is necessary to curb the looting and vandalism. The police are damned if they do and damned if they don't. Look what happened the night they decided to lay back and let things unfold, idiots ran rampant looting and destroying hard working peoples businesses. This isn't about Michael Brown anymore, every nut bag around wants to make a statement. The curfew was put in place to stop the violence not to curb peoples voices. Sharon Walker, you say the people want change and they want it now? You have your change, this country has been more divided over the last 5 years than it has in decades. Racism has gotten out of control yet again. Marjorie Williams, I for one certainly agree with the National Guard stepping in. The Guards sole role is to protect the command center as to free up police officers, so they may protect the innocents from looting and vandalism. Donna Glass, I agree with every word you posted.

Daniel Carter
Daniel Carter

Should have kept her old ass home like she apparently did a long time ago

Blubdha
Blubdha

@RiverfrontTimes 90 year old female social activist survivor of life doing something positive to show support for the ppl of Ferguson.

Kathy Wibbenmeyer
Kathy Wibbenmeyer

Who cares??? Why do you keep throwing gasoline on the situation?!

David Kaltenbronn
David Kaltenbronn

You would think that if your 90 years old you would know right from wrong. They told her to move on and she didnt. Good grief people are stupid.

Sharon Walker
Sharon Walker

The leadership at every level of government has been atrocious. This is not the 60's. People are not going to be stroked into a coma by some cleverly worded speeches. They want to see real change real fast all over the country. They want all levels of government to acknowledge the issues at hand. Police have enormous power and when they use it,...they better know they are gonna be held accountable. The cops use tasers like a new toy at Christmas, cursing at people when they are stopped (especially teenage boys), and parking their cars wherever they want. In the past year, I, as a white woman in St. Louis, have been stopped for speeding and cussed out by a police officer who let me go with a "warning". I raised a son, whom, as a teenager, was taunted by the police several times after being pulled over. They use any excuse to infringe on a person's rights as if it is a fun challenge for them. A personal friend who happens to own a local bar business says the cops park in his business's parking lot to scare away his customers. He, runs them off and threatens to sue the department. Yeah, he is their favorite guy in the world. So...my point is....since 9/11 the police have too much power and wield it like another weapon at their disposal. Something needs to be done. Now is the time.

Kevin Menéndez
Kevin Menéndez

If you don't want prejudice why complain about her getting arrested she broke the law plain and simple, doesn't matter your color, age, sex, or religion you break the law you get arrested. Stop glamorizing criminals!

Phil Janovick
Phil Janovick

Or should the state twitch their nose & instantly build a bigger lobby for them ????????

Phil Janovick
Phil Janovick

So when she gets trampled ,,,, then who's to blame,,,,,?????

Phil Janovick
Phil Janovick

Oh well..... Not when it gets over whelming & too much to handle.... other wise it'd be chaos

Kimberly Mix
Kimberly Mix

Compliance with what.....her excercising her right to free speech! Really, because last time I checked, you had a right to peacefully protest and that was what she was doing..but I bet if we wanted to take your guns away, you'd be all up in arms... smh!

Laurell Stevenson
Laurell Stevenson

Marjorie Williams Rights? The police are down there blatantly violating people's rights... I've seen it with my own eyes

Marjorie Williams
Marjorie Williams

I had been trying to figure out the point of this particular protest. I don't agree that the National Guard was a bad move, and I really don't agree with the number of people who are not from the general vicinity coming out to protest here, but I'm glad to have a better understanding of why this one happened. Thanks for explaining, Nikki Fields.

Billy Shaw
Billy Shaw

Nikki Fields that's fine just don't act like it's police misconduct when you get arrested. And not saying you in particular but the people who do.

Walter Moss
Walter Moss

Hedy will be just fine. She may be 90 years old but she is still tough as nails.

Nikki Fields
Nikki Fields

Wasn't the point. The point was to bring attention to the issue and keep putting on pressure, which we did.

Donna Glass
Donna Glass

The whole point here... To someone addressing the race card earlier, they have been arresting WHOEVER is in non-compliance with the law... It's very plain and simple but I understand plain and simple is difficult for some people to understand. If you don't comply with the law not to block entrances or congregate unlawfully then you will be arrested. It's been that way at every demonstration or rally since the beginning of time...over 75 years... this is nothing new people....it called the law. Regardless of whether you're a 90 year old white woman.. Which in my opinion... Shouldn't be putting herself in harm's way... There are other ways to get your point across or talk to people... or a 20 year old black man... or 45 year old asian pastor...You still have to abide by the law. The laws have to be followed more stringently, when people are breaking them in these situations more frequently due to anger and bad judgment. Bottom line: if you want to put yourself out there for whatever reason and you don't comply with the laws due to blatant disregard or just plain ignorance, then you will be arrested!

John Lewis
John Lewis

The people of fudges on are not all protesting peacefully in fact the protest shouldn't even be going on any more the autopsy is out big mike had it coming just as most sane people said to start with

Deja Lynn
Deja Lynn

How u gonna arrest a 90 year old lady :(

Gina Evans
Gina Evans

I'll keep saying it.... Our freedoms are disappearing. These are the times it really comes to light!

Jason Ledet
Jason Ledet

When the police and state overstep, so shall the citizens.

Gina Evans
Gina Evans

If anyone deserves to be heard, it's her

Jason Ledet
Jason Ledet

Phil, the problem is that Americans have a right to assemble and protest. Having police overstep, having a govenor set curfews, and having a militarized police force point guns at innocents (which the military doesn't do, they keep their guns at their sides unless they are met with a threat which is someone else with a f**king gun pointed at them) is wrong. It goes against what your military has been fighting for.... for you and the rest of us to have freedom. If you want to give up your rights, move to iran. It amazes me how the same people who would normally talk about the government taking away their rights and guns aren't standing up for the people of ferguson.

Billy Shaw
Billy Shaw

Blocking the entrance to a state office building is illegal so why shouldn't they be arrested? I also don't think trying to forcefully enter is peaceful. And no they do not have the right to bring the protest inside the building.

Tim Leach
Tim Leach

So she is a Holocaust survivor, what dose that have to do with anything with Michael Brown case, other then the news outlets sensationalising the news.

Marjorie Williams
Marjorie Williams

These people are clearly from out of town if they think Nixon uses that office for anything other than a place to change when he's in St. Louis.

Phil Janovick
Phil Janovick

Get in compliance !!!!!! That's the consiquences when you don't comply ..... simple as that !!!!

dalediversity
dalediversity topcommenter

Whether or not she is a holocaust survivor is irrelevant. She was trespassing. Period. 

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