Mercury Staffers are Sent on the Worst Assignments of their Lives... by YOU
But Mubarak—after pleading not guilty to charges of interfering with a peace officer and criminal trespass—promptly told reporters outside court that he had other plans: "Of course," he told reporters when asked if he'd ignore the order by Judge John Wittmayer. Mubarak says he and other homelessness advocates aren't done helping some of the people who've been sleeping under the bridge in recent weeks.
"That's my job," he says. "They're trying to stop me."
Mubarak also made a disquieting accusation about what happened after he was taken into custody. When told he wouldn't sign papers under his birth name, Keith Jackson, because he changed his name to Ibrahim Mubarak upon converting to Islam several years ago, he said officers mocked him and put him in a small, cold holding cell until he changed his mind.
"When I told them that's not my name, they told me they're not going to call me what Ali Baba named me," Mubarak says, "that they'd call me what my mama called me. I stayed in there for four hours."
In court, he was called under his birth name, but referred to throughout as Mr. Mubarak. His case came up after several other misdemeanors, mostly for charges like driving under the influence and shoplifting.
Mubarak says conditions for the people sleeping beneath the bridge have been rougher and rougher over the past few weeks. Guards and police officers have been moving people off the parking lot and onto sidewalks, and then warning people about trespassing arrests, or worse, if they get up in the night to use the bathroom and set foot on the U of O lot again. He says people who cops and guards don't see as homeless have been allowed to walk through at the same time, however.
"I was irritating her by standing my ground" last night, Mubarak says of the officer who ordered him arrested. "I'm going to fight this case."
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