Saturday, November 19, 2011

Police attack passive protesters

The media insist on describing every interaction between law enforcement officers and Occupy protesters as confrontations. This was not a confrontation. This was an unprovoked attack by police against passive protesters.

Look at the videos:

It's clear the cop sprayed these kids directly in the face because he told them to move and they decided to engage in the time honored practice of passive resistance. The police were free to simply remove them physically. There was no need to spray them with a toxic substance as if they were nothing more than a swarm of pesky insects.

The police defend this needless attack, citing fear:
UC Davis Police Chief Annette Spicuzza said officers used force out of concern for their own safety after they were surrounded by students.

“If you look at the video you are going to see that there were 200 people in that quad,” said Chief Spicuzza. “Hindsight is 20-20 and based on the situation we were sitting in, ultimately that was the decision that was made.”
By all means, watch the long version video. The police weren't surrounded until after they pepper sprayed defenseless students. The police were armed with high powered guns. The students were not armed with anything but their voices. The students made no menacing moves towards the police. And pay special attention to the pepper spraying cop in these videos. Even as the police are leaving, he's still obviously agitated and brandishing the pepper spray can in a threatening manner. It appears to me, his fellow officers are urging him to back down.

And by the way, this is the "huge encampment" that the university considers such a threat to the learning environment. This necessitated an armed police response? Really? [Many more photos at the link.]

Meanwhile, though I didn't see it on the video, there are reports of students injured by being pepper sprayed directly into the mouth and Joshua Holland of AlterNet reports, "One of those UC Davis students, a brave young woman, was reportedly hospitalized w chemical burns."

Similar incidents are happening all over the country where concerned citizens are exercising their right to peaceably assemble in protest. This is not what democracy looks like. It does however pretty well fit the description of a police state.

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Blogger jurassicpork said...

I can understand the so-called necessity of nonviolent resistance. But the former Navy SEAL in me wants to see young people take this to the next step. It never made any sense to me to bring a flower to a gun fight.

4:42:00 PM  

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