When Melissa Lyon, twenty, left 14th District Court on September 1 she literally let down her hair–she took off a blond, pony-tailed extension to reveal that half of her scalp was shaved. Her attorney, Michele Kelly, had advised her to look nice for her court appearance, but now, Lyon was relieved to be herself again.
Lyon is one of the “Bandemer Eight,” as Kelly (who had donated her legal services) calls the people arrested at a punk cookout at Bandemer Park on August 15. Lyon admits there was nudity at the park, but contrary to complaints from other users, she says no one was smoking marijuana or having sex. She also says the police used unnecessary force in making arrests, including binding her feet with rope that abraded her ankles. (The police report says they did so only after she’d kicked an officer and tried to kick out the window of a police car.)
Lyon calls herself a “traveler.” She left a troubled home in Santa Barbara at age sixteen and has been on the road ever since, visiting some thirty states without a computer, cell phone or, usually, money. (When she needs cash, she panhandles.) “I like being able to go where I want, see what I want to see,” she says.
She’s filed a complaint about what she sees as her mistreatment by the AAPD. “Just because I don’t live in Ann Arbor doesn’t mean I don’t have rights,” she says. And she says that she and some of the others plan to someday come back to Bandemer Park. “We’ll roast chicken again,” she vows. ■