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Occupy L.A. protester builds treehouse to keep police at bay

November 28, 2011 |  1:45 pm

Protester Emmanuel Freeman built a treehouse at the Occupy L.A. encampmentAs the eviction deadline loomed for Occupy L.A. protesters to abandon City Hall Park, Emmanuel Freeman was preparing for a clash with Los Angeles police.

So he built a treehouse.

Freeman, a 28-year-old from the San Gabriel Valley, used scrap pieces of wood to build a roughly 10-foot tall treehouse held up by a few palm trees. The fort, which he began constructing Sunday morning, gives him a bird's-eye view of the south lawn and offers him some protection, he said.

PHOTOS: Occupy L.A.

If Los Angeles police want to arrest him, they'll have to climb up to get him, he said.

To make their jobs harder, he said he would deny officers access by kicking down a rickety ladder fashioned out of a wooden pallet. He was also prepared to push them away from his fort with a long, bamboo stick.

But the deadline passed, and come Monday morning the camp was still there.

FULL COVERAGE: Occupy protests

Freeman said he was known around camp as an expert on how to talk to police. He says that when he encounters police officers, he reminds them of their oath to uphold the Constitution and freedom of speech. This oath, he argues, gives him the right to stay holed up in the palm trees.

"This treehouse is me practicing my rights," he said. "We can stay up here. We have this right to stay."

On Monday morning, when police toured the camp taking pictures, Freeman challenged one officer to a duel and ordered her to stop taking pictures of his tree house.

The shutter snapped a few times, and then the officer strolled away.


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FULL COVERAGE: Occupy protests in California and around the nation

-- Ricardo Lopez

Photo: Protester Emmanuel Freeman built a treehouse at the Occupy L.A. encampment. Credit: Ricardo Lopez / Los Angeles Times