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hairbrushes and a letter addressed to 'Ms. Jean Berkman' and asked me, 'Are you a transvestite?' I explained about computer mailing lists."
Berkman was eventually charged with possession,
not sale, of marijuana by narcotics officer Sargent
Slayton. R. L. Chapman of the Vice Squad filed a
warrant for seizure of the money. Berkman spent the
night in jail before he was released on personal recognizance bond. In the morning, Berkman was given a
styrofoam cup of "Florida orange juice," which tasted
like a soft drink.
"The jailer came down the line of cells repeating
'Florida orange juice. Here's your Florida orange
juice,'" Berkman relates. "He was obviously trying to
get some kind of reaction out of me. I finally did
what, any native Californian would do. I said 'I'm from
California. I want California orange juice.' The jailer replied, 'I hear when you suck a California orange,
it sucks back.'"
Along with the harrassment, a clear-cut legal
issue is involved, Berkman says. "The police are
attacking the right of legitimate businesses to do business in cash and to maintain cash assets on the business premises. How many times have you taken marijuana
to your place of work? Next time you go smoke a joint,
you better bury the money in your cash register. And
forget about the money in your safe."
The police rummaged through $13,000 worth (wholesale value) of merchandise before seizing the $7,000.
"They acted like Bulls in a China shop," Berkman commented. Boxes of soap, books, hairbrushes, shoes, and
dozens of other products were scattered and searched,
including many products still in manufacturer's seals.
The police eventually left, taking Berkman's personal stash, The Queens, a book about transvestit.es,
and a stack of invoices. "The cop said, 'Look at some
of these titles,' when they showed my attorney the
evidence they are introducing," Berkman states. These
include Morals and Liberty, Why Wages Rise, Rule of Law,
and Violence as a Product of Imposed Order. An invoice
for bath towels, paper fans, and women's brocade slippers, is also being introduced. "I suppose that's
evidence I'm a transvestite," Berkman remarked.
Berkman sees the charges he now faces, especially
the civil suit to allow the police to keep the money,
as "legalistic blackmail." "They seem to be acting on
the principle that they have it in their possession and
I won't contest their keeping it because I have something else to hide. I suspect they brought the Vice
Squad in with the hope that I'd be afraid of being
publicly identified as homosexual. But they can't blackmail me. I'm too proud of all my deviations."
Gene Berkman moved to Austin from California in
1977. He owns the Pacific Sunrise Trading Company,
which wholesales imported products, and operates
Anarchodillo, which is a retail outlet and bookstore.
The $7,000 had been earmarked as the down payment on a
building to house his expanding business. He had been
in contact with several realtors concerning the acquisition of a South Austin property in the week preceeding
.his arrest. The new location, at 1712 South Congress
Avenue, is scheduled to open in September, 1980;
The preliminary hearing was set for Monday, June
23. However, the District Attorney has requested a
continuance, which is a tactic usually employed by
defense counsel. The hearing will be delayed until
Berkman has retained the Austin law firm of Presse
and Grizzard, specialists in drug laws and money seizure
cases, for his defense. Libertarian publications are
giving the case nationwide publicity. Friends have
formed the Pacific Sunrise Defense Committee to finance
his legal fees in the separate criminal and civil cases.
Contributions should be sent to Pacific Sunrise Defense
and Reconstruction Fund, Box 6023, Austin, Texas 78722.
Anarchodillo owner Gene Berkman.
Metropolitan Community Church
614 E. 6th ST.. AUSTIN. TEXAS 78701
2:00 NOON AND 7:30 P.M
REV. CANDACE A. NAISBITT
Tuesday Bible Study: 7:30
POTLUCK SUPPER SATURDAY JULY 19, 7:30 p,m,
C H U R-C H PROGRAMS
Sunday Worship: 12:00 noon and 7:30 pm
Wednesday Counseling: 7:30 - 9:30 pm