Occupy Oakland rough sketch by cartoonist Susie Cagle
In Tuesday's night's confrontation between police and Occupy Oakland protesters, a cartoonist documenting the protest says she was among those tear-gassed.
In an interview with alternative comics site the Daily Cross Hatch, Cagle told her story. Cagle's spent the past week camped out at Occupy Oakland for an illustrated history she's trying to produce about the Oakland occupation. She's raising money for it through community journalism site Spot.us.
She was shooting video when hit by tear gas; you can watch the video below. (Warning: Contains strong language.)
She says that medics from the group Anonymous helped her after she was tear-gassed. "This guy in a gas mask pulled me out of there and washed my face," Cagle says. "It was amazing."
She says that, while she supports the protesters, she's serving as a member of the press. However, she says that you end up looking like one of the protesters due to the nature of the events. "You have to cover your mouth with a scarf for the tear gas."
Originally, Cagle planned to do a series on how Oakland was different from the rest of the Occupy Wall Street movement and how it could serve as a model. "They were primarily concerned with creating this functional mini-city," Cagle says, "rather than doing focused protests and actions, which is very different than the other ones. They spent more time trying to figure out how to feed everyone and building a kids’ area, and a library and a community garden." However, the confrontations with police have led her to reconsider her approach.
Given what the public at large thinks about comics, Cagle's shied away from using the term with those she speaks with people at the protests. "I don’t use the word 'comics.' I’m very careful about that." She says it usually takes too long to explain, but if she has time, she says “'I’m doing art and a story and I’ll put them together. It’s kind of like comics,' and people are like, 'OK.'"
You can read more about Cagle's experience and her project at the Daily Cross Hatch.