I don't know about you, but
I'm getting fed up with self-important gangs of masked, black-clad agitators
running roughshod over our cities streets. They've occupied parks, shut down roadways,
vandalized private property, assaulted law-abiding citizens and left entire
communities afraid to venture into financially struggling downtown business
districts. They've wielded spray cans and left behind eyesores that have
incensed the community.
I am speaking, of course,
about the police.
It's one thing if a group of
political anarchists walks into a bank and spray-paints slogans on vaults and
filing cabinets. It's another thing when police march into a peaceful tent
encampment brandishing batons and pepper-spray.
Question: What's the difference between a cop and an anarchist?
anarchist defaces files. A cop defiles faces.
During a single Oakland night
in early November, the violent misdeeds of these anarchists-with-badges
shredded Constitutional rights, amassed a growing body count of innocent
victims (including several combat veterans hospitalized with crippling
injuries), and turned downtown Oakland into an urban No-Buy Zone.
Meanwhile, in Seattle, a
flurry of in-your-face police assaults left an 84-year-old woman blinded by a
blast of pepper-spray. At the same time, a 19-year-old woman who screamed at
police, "Don't hurt me! I'm pregnant!" was singled out for another
blast of pepper-spray while a police officer took aim and kicked her in the
stomach. She was rushed to a hospital where she subsequently suffered a
miscarriage. (This appears to be the first police-related death attributable to
the nationwide crackdown on the Occupy movement -- it was, tragically, a literal
"miscarriage of justice.")
In theory, the police exist
to enforce laws. Increasingly, in post-911 America, the police seem to exult in
defying laws. In many cities, the
police now have more power than mayors, council members and judges. In
November, despite a court ruling that Zuccotti Park was to remain open to the
Occupy Wall Street campers, the NYPD refused to allow the demonstrators to
re-enter the public park -- an act of constabulary defiance that constituted
obstruction of justice.
In a pattern that has been
seen in Occupied cities across the US -- from Manhattan to Santa Cruz -- local
police have tried to stoke social tension and civil unrest by encouraging
hungry, homeless, drug-addicted and violent individuals from other parts of their cities to relocate to the nearest "Occupy" site where, the police
promise, they can expect free food, shelter and medical assistance. It would
appear that the goal is not to improve public safety but to raise the potential
for disputes and disruption that might contribute to discrediting the Occupy
Another tactic used in
cities across America is for city officials to claim that encampments must be
eradicated because they constitute a "health and safety hazard." This
meme is then driven home by orchestrated "photo ops" featuring city
workers who are ordered to don full-body hazmat suits and gas-masks before
hosing down sidewalks and lawns with blasts of high-pressure steam.
How Police Are Empowered to Violate the Constitution
Another example of the
Police Establishment's imperial power: local police enjoy the unique ability to
suspend the US Constitution -- on a whim! In a court of law, a judge needs to
convene a hearing and weigh both sides of an argument before rendering a
verdict. In the streets, a city police sergeant has the power to void the First
Amendment simply by declaring a peaceful public gathering to be an
In the new United Police
States of America (UPSA), you don't even need to commit a crime to become
eligible for arrest, detention and/or physical abuse. Citizens swept up in
police raids can be charged with nothing more than "resisting
arrest." In a truly free country, any citizen would be perfectly within
his or her rights to resist being
arrested on that charge alone. Seriously, if the police can't be bothered to at
least fabricate some trifling criminal pretext for an arrest, they shouldn't be
allowed to bust someone for "resisting." Not only is resistance in
the name of self-defense not a crime, it is recognized as a right under international law.
(Resisting police-inflicted crime should not be a crime. Consider: If you thwart
a pickpocket or chase away a burglar, you aren't charged with "resisting
The Costs of Policing Occupations
As far as the charge that
Occupy Wall Street activities cost cities money that could better be spent on
social services, let's take a look at one preliminary estimate for the City of
Oakland. In mid-November, Oakland officials announced the " costs spent on responding
to Occupy Oakland events" topped $2.4 million. But most of this money was
doled out to pay for police who were either (1) standing watch over nonviolent
assemblies, (2) challenging people trying to exercise their First Amendment
rights or (3) pushing, beating and tear-gassing crowds provoked by the police presence.
According to official city expense figures quoted by the ACLU, Oakland paid $1.04 million to the OPD, $1.09 million to city personnel, $500,000 to other police agencies in the form of "mutual aid," and $540,000 to VMA Security for a "30-day contract." The cost of "policing" would appear to far outweigh the city's costs for any "clean-ups" or "property damage."