Occupy Wall Street. Police vs people in NY.

DSGamer wrote:
Got it. So they need to go the the fenced and approved "protest zone". You don't really understand what a protest is, I take it. Incidentally this is the attitude that will ensure the US is a perpetual police state and nominal oligarchy. If you can't protest in a peaceful, but disorderly fashion nothing will change. People of color would still be at the back of the bus if obeying every small law was the standard for a proper protest.

You are saying that civil disobedience is a fairly effective method of lobbying for change (I agree) while complaining about being arrested for it. You certainly have the right to block traffic if an issue is that important to you, but being hauled off on a disorderly charge is simply a risk you take.

Keep in mind that's not the same as saying people should be maced and batoned if they accidentally step off the curb. No one here (I think) is saying that.

NormanTheIntern wrote:
DSGamer wrote:
Got it. So they need to go the the fenced and approved "protest zone". You don't really understand what a protest is, I take it. Incidentally this is the attitude that will ensure the US is a perpetual police state and nominal oligarchy. If you can't protest in a peaceful, but disorderly fashion nothing will change. People of color would still be at the back of the bus if obeying every small law was the standard for a proper protest.

You are saying that civil disobedience is a fairly effective method of lobbying for change (I agree) while complaining about being arrested for it. You certainly have the right to block traffic if an issue is that important to you, but being hauled off on a disorderly charge is simply a risk you take.

Absolutely. That's why, from the start, I've lauded these "kids and their iPhones" for having the guts to protest. Having the guts to protest means risking arrest. Americans, by and large, are either too at risk of losing their jobs, too scared or too comfortable to take risks like this. So I fully support people who have the ability to do so (I fall in the category of too at risk of losing my job and don't live in NYC). Heck, I'd take a chunk of my paycheck and send it to them for their legal fees if I knew of a place to send that money. Real change often comes from risking arrest. The line is crossed when either side starts using violence. And I'll give you one guess which side usually abuses their power with violence. Hint, it's not the protestors. It's the guys with clubs and guns who hate "hippies".

NormanTheIntern wrote:

Keep in mind that's not the same as saying people should be maced and batoned if they accidentally step off the curb. No one here (I think) is saying that.

I think some people are, actually. Or at least they implied it at the beginning of this thread. Which, once again, is why the US will always be cowed into accepting a police state.

I wonder to what degree hipster, ironically bearded, iPhone using, trustafarians being treated like this is a case of class warfare.

Maybe the cops are just...envious of kids with the money to ride bikes around all day, work in a coffee shop, and still afford to live in NYC in an apartment that looks like The Apple Store?

Dimmerswitch wrote:

That's fair. Would you agree with me that the use of pepper spray on peaceful protesters who were already corralled and off the street was unjustified and inappropriate?

Based on the evidence I've seen I would agree that it was inappropriate.

Dimmerswitch wrote:

I agree that the memo is intended to maximize disruption without giving an excuse for police involvement. Citing the memo was only to show the absurdity of characterizing Tea Party protestors as orderly and nonconfrontational.

So you do agree that it doesn't show any evidence of Police involvement, which was my point to begin with; that they may treat the police with more respect and do not do things that would require Police involvement.

My point is absurd now? I was hoping for more respect than that.

DSGamer wrote:
The line is crossed when either side starts using violence. And I'll give you one guess which side usually abuses their power with violence. Hint, it's not the protestors. It's the guys with clubs and guns who hate "hippies".

I'll agree that's a general problem but I don't really think there's evidence that's a widespread problem in this case, yet:

Ms. Lembitz, another medic, was tending to one of the most common injuries: blisters on a bongo drummer's fingers.

The only other common injuries, Mr. Pilon said, were cuts from food preparation and cases of foot fungus caught by activists who didn't change out of wet socks.

MattDaddy wrote:

My point is absurd now? I was hoping for more respect than that, especially given how careful I've been with my words. You showed one example, and one that was a memo, not any actual action. So as soon as there is a single report of a bad action by a Wall Street protester I can paint the entire group with that brush?

"A single report"? Were you around when people were bringing guns to rallies, shouting that Obama should be lynched, threatening their representatives? When the next US civil war begins, I'd bet good money that someone from the Tea Party fires the first shot.

MattDaddy wrote:
My point is absurd now? I was hoping for more respect than that, especially given how careful I've been with my words. You showed one example, and one that was a memo, not any actual action. So as soon as there is a single report of a bad action by a Wall Street protester I can paint the entire group with that brush?

Yes, clearly it was an isolated incident (oh wait that's wrong).

It's a derail, and I'm not interested in getting into "which side behaves better", so I'll drop it - my point is (still) only that characterizing Tea Party folks as not being disorderly or confrontational is absurd.

Back on topic, peaceful protesters should not be met with violence by the police - regardless of where either group is on the political spectrum.

Maybe the cops are just...envious of kids with the money to ride bikes around all day, work in a coffee shop, and still afford to live in NYC in an apartment that looks like The Apple Store?

Or, maybe, CheezePavilion is making sh*t up wholesale about people he doesn't know?

I'm only able to vouch for what I saw - and what I saw today was ironic AIG and lehman polo shirts

Dimmerswitch wrote:
Yes, clearly it was an isolated incident (oh wait that's wrong).

It's a derail, and I'm not interested in getting into "which side behaves better", so I'll drop it - my point is (still) only that characterizing Tea Party folks as not being disorderly or confrontational is absurd.

Back on topic, peaceful protesters should not be met with violence by the police - regardless of where either group is on the political spectrum.

You either totally missed my point or chose to ignore it. From what I saw, none of those videos (or the memo) refutes my point. I won't bother reiterating it, it's only 1 page back.

Edit: I think you're also failing to recognize the difference between protesting and being disorderly and confrontational. Maybe I should be more specific: confrontational to Police. Protesting is pretty much always confrontational. The difference is in how you go about it.

MattDaddy wrote:

Edit: I think you're also failing to recognize the difference between protesting and being disorderly and confrontational. Maybe I should be more specific: confrontational to Police. Protesting is pretty much always confrontational. The difference is in how you go about it.

Send me your dos and don'ts of protesting and I'll try and get that to the protestors. Thanks.

I think you're making a false dichotomy. Folks in the first video I linked are also spilling out into the street. You can see the brake lights of traffic having to avoid the protesters. Meanwhile, the folks who were maced in the OP's video are corralled, and on the sidewalk.

The article in question wrote:
As more people spilled into the street, police started to demand that protesters stay on the sidewalk. But as people seemed to be retreating from harm's way, police began pushing the protesters. I saw police use large nets to corral people en masse. I watched as police pepper sprayed several young women in the face. (An NYPD spokesperson confirmed the use of pepper spray to MetroFocus.) I saw senior citizens and teenagers get arrested. I saw about 20 or 30 police officers tackle people and prod them roughly with police batons.

Folks were in the process of complying when the police chose to escalate the situation.

That's not being confrontational to police.

Dimmerswitch wrote:
I think you're making a false dichotomy. Folks in the first video I linked are also spilling out into the street. You can see the brake lights of traffic having to avoid the protesters. Meanwhile, the folks who were maced in the OP's video are corralled, and on the sidewalk.

Folks were in the process of complying when the police chose to escalate the situation.

That's not being confrontational to police.

Stop trying to link my point to the macing incident. I already said I agreed with your stance on that. My point isn't about the mace.

In this particular case, they were disorderly by blocking the street (that happened before 1 minute the video). Filling the street and blocking traffic is being disorderly to the point of needing the Police to get involved. Once report I read had a quote from the one of the girls that was maced admitting some of the crowd was being unruly. That gets the Police involved too. Again, this does not condone the use of mace.

Are you referring to the first few seconds of your first video? Cars driving slowly by a group of people gathered along the side of the road is not the same as a group of people blocking traffic.

NormanTheIntern wrote:
I'm only able to vouch for what I saw - and what I saw today was ironic AIG and lehman polo shirts :)

Is it so wrong to protest in the United Colors of Benetton? : D

I'm not trying to link your argument to the use of mace, and appreciate your willingness to condemn the inappropriate use of force there.

My point (again) is simply that you are asserting some form of uniquely confrontational behavior on the part of Wall Street protestors which seems unsupported by the facts. Folks who are violent or refuse to comply with police orders should be arrested (as DSGamer notes, a willingness to be arrested for your beliefs can add weight to a movement). Folks who are nonviolent and are working to comply with police direction should not be arrested. The journalist whose arrest was linked upthread indicates that the crowd was in the process of complying when police chose to escalate and start arresting folks. The arrests sound fairly indiscriminate, as evidenced by the fact that his fellow arrestees included a bystander who stepped out of the Barnes and Noble she was shopping in long enough to take a picture and get handcuffed.

In more on-topic news, it sounds like the protestors are about to get a lot more company.

Some of the biggest players in organized labor are actively involved in planning for Wednesday's demonstration, either directly or through coalitions that they are a part of. The United Federation of Teachers, 32BJ SEIU, 1199 SEIU, Workers United and Transport Workers Union Local 100 are all expected to participate. The Working Families Party is helping to organize the protest and MoveOn.org is expected to mobilize its extensive online regional networks to drum up support for the effort.

“We're getting involved because the crisis was caused by the excesses of Wall Street and the consequences have fallen hardest on workers,” a spokesman for TWU Local 100 said.

Community groups like Make the Road New York, the Coalition for the Homeless, the Alliance for Quality Education and Community Voices Heard are also organizing for Wednesday's action, and the labor/community coalitions United New York and Strong Economy For All are pitching in as well.

Signs and chants will likely call for an extension of the so-called millionaires' tax and a roll-back of state budget cuts. They will also likely show support for New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's position that a proposed settlement between banks and attorneys general over troubled mortgage pools is too lenient.

Organizers of the march said they aren't looking to take control of the Occupy Wall Street protest, which has captured headlines since it began nearly two weeks ago, but add to it.

Do folks think there is a reason to distinguish between protesting, demonstrating, and civil disobedience?

Seems like we're getting some semantic wires crossed by using the same terms to describe different activities.

DSGamer wrote:
NormanTheIntern wrote:
Why would a unionized governmental agency side with an anti-union group that wants to shrink the size of government agencies? That makes no sense.

Have you been around for the last 20 years? Cops tend not to like liberal protestors.

The right generally exempts the military and the police from all of their "improvements", like in Wisconsin when the Police Union was allowed to continue their collective bargaining. They know where the power is and how to stay on their good side.

MattDaddy wrote:
In this particular case, they were disorderly by blocking the street (that happened before 1 minute the video). Filling the street and blocking traffic is being disorderly to the point of needing the Police to get involved.

There is the problem. We know that the Police got involved. So they were disorderly to the point that the Police chose to get involved, but that does not necessarily mean that they were disorderly to the point that the police should have or needed to get involved. Many of us are arguing that that's not the case.

In this situation the police should be standing off to the side thinking "I really hope that this protest stays orderly enough that I don't have to get involved", however in cases like

Stengah wrote:
As someone who's been to a protest where people where arrested for "disrupting traffic," let me give you an idea of what that consists of. Once the cops told us to stay out of the street, all it took was one foot to come off the sidewalk and land in on pavement for them to force you to the ground, cuff you, and toss you in a paddy wagon.

it seems pretty obvious that the police are actually off to the side thinking "I really, really want to arrest these people, just give me a reason".

Dimmerswitch wrote:
I'm not trying to link your argument to the use of mace, and appreciate your willingness to condemn the inappropriate use of force there.

My point (again) is simply that you are asserting some form of uniquely confrontational behavior on the part of Wall Street protestors which seems unsupported by the facts. Folks who are violent or refuse to comply with police orders should be arrested (as DSGamer notes, a willingness to be arrested for your beliefs can add weight to a movement). Folks who are nonviolent and are working to comply with police direction should not be arrested. The journalist whose arrest was linked upthread indicates that the crowd was in the process of complying when police chose to escalate and start arresting folks. The arrests sound fairly indiscriminate, as evidenced by the fact that his fellow arrestees included a bystander who stepped out of the Barnes and Noble she was shopping in long enough to take a picture and get handcuffed.

You're still going too far. My applies to the Police getting involved due to things like this:

On Saturday, these guests of the municipality decided to march north to Union Square. Again, they did so without a permit. Had they asked for one, the NYPD would have secured a parade route that upheld both the right to protest and the public's ability to move.

As it was, the NYPD went with the flow, allowing the parade so long as the walkers did not interfere with sidewalk or street passage. Soon enough, a couple hundred marchers took too much of the real estate and became unruly.

People dodged in and out of traffic, sometimes surrounding cars to halt them. Officers began to break the throng into smaller groups, occasionally using plastic nets. Chaos ensued as the crowd now wailed about being victims of oppression.

A couple hundred unruly people surrounding and halting cars. That's the uniquely confrontational behavior that got the police actively involved. You don't see that type of behavior by Tea Party protesters. The macing was wrong, as was arresting people who were behaving. But to say that if Tea Party protesters did this same thing they wouldn't have been corralled off the streets is (to borrow a term) absurd. The reason you don't see this at Tea Party protests is that they don't escalate the situation to the point where Police need to act against them (In this case, the corralling them off the street).

Happy to have the debate about false dichotomies in PM, but not willing to continue the derail.

Interested to see what next week brings.

Oso wrote:
Do folks think there is a reason to distinguish between protesting, demonstrating, and civil disobedience?

Seems like we're getting some semantic wires crossed by using the same terms to describe different activities.


Civil disobedience is specifically disobeying laws in order to make a point. It is quite separate from just protesting or demonstrating (in this country).

MattDaddy wrote:
The reason you don't see this at Tea Party protests is that they don't escalate the situation to the point where Police need to act against them (In this case, the corralling them off the street).

Their ability to sound bigger than they are and their passive-aggression is very cunning.

The only quick link I found to this video was on an understandably biased page (you don't need to read the article).

I link it just to show that the tea party does its thing by bullying.

Maybe the Wall Street protesters would be better served by following a few 'Street employees at lunch or coming up to them outside their house, introducing themselves, talking about their problems, asking how their family is doing...

H.P. Lovesauce wrote:

Maybe the Wall Street protesters would be better served by following a few 'Street employees at lunch or coming up to them outside their house, introducing themselves, talking about their problems, asking how their family is doing...

They could just ask the protesters in Madison for tips. Madison protesters have been stalking Republican legislators daily for months now. One threw a beer on Robin Voss. Another was charged with making death threats to Scott Walker. Walker's kids have been harassed constantly.

BTW, that group in the video are idiots. Using them to say the entire Tea Party is like that is absurd.

MattDaddy wrote:
BTW, that group in the video are idiots. Using them to say the entire Tea Party is like that is absurd. :)

I hate how the idiots give the other 2% of the tea party a bad name.

There's not much doubt Anthony Bologna is one responsible for the pepper spraying. I think everyone here is in agreement that it was uncalled for. He should be punished by the NYPD in some way, although I'm not sure how far I'd go (suspension? firing? actual prison time?). I'm not bothered that he's been identified. Posting his address & phone numbers on the internet (which is pretty much inevitable once he was identified), that I'm slightly bothered by, but not much. The part that disturbs me is that he's getting death threats and that his family is being targeted as well.

I'm curious what others feel about this.

MattDaddy wrote:
There's not much doubt Anthony Bologna is one responsible for the pepper spraying. I think everyone here is in agreement that it was uncalled for. He should be punished by the NYPD in some way, although I'm not sure how far I'd go (suspension? firing? actual prison time?). I'm not bothered that he's been identified. Posting his address & phone numbers on the internet (which is pretty much inevitable once he was identified), that I'm slightly bothered by, but not much. The part that disturbs me is that he's getting death threats and that his family is being targeted as well.

I'm curious what others feel about this.

Of course that's out of line. Next question.

MattDaddy wrote:
There's not much doubt Anthony Bologna is one responsible for the pepper spraying. I think everyone here is in agreement that it was uncalled for. He should be punished by the NYPD in some way, although I'm not sure how far I'd go (suspension? firing? actual prison time?). I'm not bothered that he's been identified. Posting his address & phone numbers on the internet (which is pretty much inevitable once he was identified), that I'm slightly bothered by, but not much. The part that disturbs me is that he's getting death threats and that his family is being targeted as well.

I'm curious what others feel about this.

Pretty much the same way you do. He absolutely needed to be identified and I'm thrilled that he was. People abusing their power as a cop should be able to hide behind the badge. Everything else is various levels of too far.

Threatening family is hyper-super-mega uncool. But honestly, I think a fair bit of harassment of the officer himself is justified, considering both the video evidence and the likelihood that he skates without repercussions. I don't mean death threats, but surprise pepper-sprayings at random intervals would strike me as highly appropriate.

Malor wrote:
Threatening family is hyper-super-mega uncool. But honestly, I think a fair bit of harassment of the officer himself is justified, considering both the video evidence and the likelihood that he skates without repercussions. I don't mean death threats, but surprise pepper-sprayings at random intervals would strike me as highly appropriate.

Surprise pepper-sprayings would also be inappropriate (it was wrong when he did, why would it be right when someone else does it to him?) but I will admit I would feel some guilty pleasure to hear of it.

Stengah wrote:
Malor wrote:
Threatening family is hyper-super-mega uncool. But honestly, I think a fair bit of harassment of the officer himself is justified, considering both the video evidence and the likelihood that he skates without repercussions. I don't mean death threats, but surprise pepper-sprayings at random intervals would strike me as highly appropriate.

Surprise pepper-sprayings would also be inappropriate (it was wrong when he did, why would it be right when someone else does it to him?)

Because it's not that pepper-sprayings are always and in all circumstances wrong, it's that he pepper-sprayed people who didn't *deserve* to be pepper-sprayed.

I don't think he does either, but probably more out of a fear of slippery slopes than anything else.

CheezePavilion wrote:
Stengah wrote:
Malor wrote:
Threatening family is hyper-super-mega uncool. But honestly, I think a fair bit of harassment of the officer himself is justified, considering both the video evidence and the likelihood that he skates without repercussions. I don't mean death threats, but surprise pepper-sprayings at random intervals would strike me as highly appropriate.

Surprise pepper-sprayings would also be inappropriate (it was wrong when he did, why would it be right when someone else does it to him?)

Because it's not that pepper-sprayings are always and in all circumstances wrong, it's that he pepper-sprayed people who didn't *deserve* to be pepper-sprayed.

I don't think he does either, but probably more out of a fear of slippery slopes than anything else.


Right, that's why I said surprise pepper-sprayings were wrong, the surprise part would indicate he wasn't doing anything at the time that called for it.