In addition to not arresting the hundreds of Occupy DC protesters who blocked the entrance of one of the city's convention centers Friday to prevent those who disagree with them from exiting, several members who attended the Americans for Prosperity Foundation event say police ignored their 9-1-1 calls for more help to in order to protect event attendees from the mob.
The foundation's director of programs Katie Engdahi told the Daily Caller that Washington D.C. 9-1-1 operators hung up on the organization's staffers four times as they asked for extra police Friday:
"Engdahl said she called 911 in the middle of the show and told them the protesters appeared organized with a plan of attack as they had all the convention center exits blocked.
'I did mention [on the 911 call] how coordinated I thought the protesters’ effort was, as well as how ill-prepared both MPD and the Convention Center were in communicating together on how best to solve the problem,' she explained.
'I said that I didn’t want it to rise to where we had a confrontation or other problems – and they hung up on me,' Engdahl said, adding that she and other AFP staffers and volunteers had made at least four 911 calls from inside the convention center asking for help."
“Last evening when we were in our dinner session, we actually noticed that there were protesters outside, and lined up on each corner,” de la Riva said. “We were getting ready to dismiss activists and let out for the evening. So, I did place a call to 911 just giving them a heads-up that we were going to be leaving the convention area and that there were protesters outside. I did understand that there was already a police presence, but I was hoping that they would be able to calm the situation so that we didn’t run into any altercations. And, they  hung up.”
AFP volunteer Melissa Ortiz, who is wheelchair-bound, said she also called 911 to ask for help leaving the convention center. “I personally called 911,” Ortiz told TheDC. “They said, ‘are the police there?’ I said, ‘yes they are.’ Then, click.” They hung up on her too, she said.
AFP representatives told TheDC that the protests led to some serious injuries for event attendees, including a 78-year-old woman who suffered severe injuries to her wrist, both legs and ankle after falling down a flight of stairs. The woman was not sure if she was pushed or fell as a result of the swarming mob on the porch of the conference center. Despite calls to emergency officials, no ambulance came to treat the woman's injuries and she claims that the few police on the scene did not even help her. She says a single protester claiming to be an Occupy DC "medic" came to her aid, and walked her back to the hotel. The woman and a man injured on the scene took a cab to the hospital.
Videos posted to YouTube and Twitter show large crowds massed in front of the convention center, chanting and shouting where the Americans for Prosperity “Defending the American Dream” summit was taking place.
Several videos from the event posted on YouTube show protesters blocking a woman in a wheelchair from exiting the event, as well as several police officers standing between protesters and the entrance, with others standing idly by in the street.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/v/b1K1r_w8u38?version=3&hl=en_US expand=1]
They pressed signs reading “Government for the people” and “I am a human being” against the glass and chanted “This is what democracy looks like!” as well as one protester pressing his bare rear end against the glass door at about (2:50):
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/v/gRpxJoROjb0?version=3&hl=en_US expand=1]
The woman in the wheelchair told TheDC that protesters screamed at her as she tried to exit, and when she was finally able to get out,the protesters "tried to pull me out of my wheelchair and take my service dog." The woman claims that nearby police did nothing while this all happened.
A spokeswoman for Washington Mayor Vincent Gray acknowledged to TheDC that four 911 calls were made from inside the convention center, but said the operators did not “hang up” on the callers.
Americans for Prosperity is funded in part by Charles and David Koch, the brothers who run Koch Industries — which is apparently part of the reason why protesters targeted the event. Several protesters told the Washington Post that their main goal was to prevent conservatives from leaving the site.
The AFP released an official statement on the protest:
“While we support the right to free speech and to peaceably assemble, it is saddening and unacceptable that the “occupy” group launched an attack on our own peaceable assembly and expression of free speech,” said AFPF Executive Vice President Tracy Henke.
Henke continued, “There is a deep divide in our fundamental vision for America. We at AFPF advocate for individual freedom and responsibility, ideas that enrich and empower society as a whole.”
Rather than inciting class warfare, our leaders need to focus on creating an environment that will enable American businesses to create jobs and economic growth--and they need to condemn these increasingly violent protests."
DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier told TheDC that “violent protesters were arrested on scene.”