Posts tagged police brutality
Posts tagged police brutality
When NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly stopped by Columbia to answer questions for a class taught by former New York Mayor David Dinkins, an Occupy Wall Street sympathizer whipped out a projector and started displaying images of police brutality.
From the Philadelphia branch of Workers World Party, 11/30/11
Some members of Occupy Philly want to keep insisting that “the police are our friends.” They are “our relatives,” some say.
Some of our relatives may be right-wingers who support what the 1 percent does – that makes them politically “right” but not correct – just relatives. There is nothing one can do about who is connected to you by blood – but any thinking person can choose who you consider “friends.”
Friends do not beat up on other friends. Friends do not open cans of pepper spray into the faces and throats of their friends. Friends do not trample each other purposely on horseback. Friends do not stab one another. Friends do not arrest one another. Friends do not bring one another to court – or threaten to imprison one another. Friends do not purposely injure each other so severely that it leads to hospitalization.
When you say “we did nothing to provoke the police,” is the message to the oppressed communities that they “did something” to provoke the police? Is this the message that the Occupy Movement, which claims to stand for social change, really wants to convey?
We also ask you to consider how this sounds to members of the Black and other oppressed communities, who also may have relatives who are police, but who have repeatedly been victims of police brutality. These communities are also part of the 99% - mostly on the bottom economic rungs.
Some members of Occupy Philly say that “police are part of the 99%” or that they are “union members.” Economically this may be true, and yes, the Fraternal Order of Police claims to be a “union” representing police. But police have never functioned on behalf of the economically disadvantaged. That is not part of their history. Their role has been and remains one of protecting the private property interests of the 1%. Failing to do this, they would be fired.
The police have systematically been used to break the strikes of other unions, thus calling into question the validity of their “union” status. It does not matter what class or economic strata the individual police come from – what matters is which class or economic strata they serve. The FOP has long ago given up the right to be classified as a “union”. Just ask Black police officers who have been forced to file charges of racism against this organization.
In Philly the police department was formed in the 1800s by organizing gangs of Irish immigrants to be pitted against the growing abolitionist movement and later former enslaved Africans moving to the north. This racist history carries forth into the 20th century and beyond.
From 1989 to 1995 there were 2,000 documented citizen complaints against the Philadelphia Police Department. During a two-year period in the mid-1990s, the city paid $20 million in damages to 225 people who were beaten, shot, harassed or otherwise mistreated by police. The 39th Police District scandal in 1995 led to the dismissal of 1,400 criminal cases where cops ignored suspects’ rights and sometimes framed them outright.
In 2009 a group of Black Philadelphia police officers filed a federal lawsuit against their department, alleging an online forum geared toward city police is “infested with racist, white supremacist and anti-African-American content.”
During Frank Rizzo’s tenure as police commissioner in the 1970s, the predominantly white police force was feared and hated in the Black and Latino communities because of its brutality and racism.
Police attacks on the Black Panther Party, the MOVE Organization and the public led to many demonstrations. This period is chronicled in the documentary film “Black and Blue.”
Black journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal wrote about many of these cases. Abu-Jamal was also targeted by the police. In December 1981 he was shot, kicked and beaten by cops and subsequently sent to death row for allegedly killing of Police Officer Daniel Faulkner. Abu-Jamal continues to maintain his innocence, and millions of supporters around the world maintain that he was framed by the cops, who were desperate to silence this “voice of the voiceless.”
Philadelphia police are not only brutal. They are notorious repeat offenders.
During a 1978 confrontation with police in Powelton Village, four cops dragged MOVE member Delbert Africa by his hair, then kicked him in the head, kidneys and groin. Like the Jones case, this brutality was also captured on video and later led to the indictment of three officers on assault charges. In February 1981 a judge acquitted the cops. Delbert Africa was subsequently arrested and is now one of the MOVE 9 prisoners serving a 30 to 100-year term. The three acquitted cops went on to participate in the murderous assault on the MOVE house on Osage Avenue on May 16, 1985. A bomb was dropped on the house, killing 11 children, women and men and burning down the entire block.
Early in the morning of November 30, 2011, hundreds of cops, some on horses, evicted Occupy Philly from City Hall, then surrounded supporters. Some police violence occurred, with 50 arrested. Video can be seen here: http://occupyphillymedia.org/video/police-attack-occupy-philly
Similar raids and attacks took place in Los Angeles this morning. This is not by accident. Yes – the police could have demonstrated more brutality – as they have in numerous other cities where Occupy movements have come under attack. That Philly and LA showed even limited “restraint” had more to do with the images that the two cities most identified with police brutality hoped to project than any other factor.
Had this been a “protest” of the right-wing Tea Party there would never have been a police presence. The police would have looked the other way – as they have repeatedly when Tea Party activist show up in public bearing arms.
If the Occupy movement is serious about standing up for the rights of the majority of people whose living standards have been pushed down under the weight of a global economic crisis that has only benefited the very wealthy, then we also have to be serious about the role played by the state apparatus that protects and defends the economic system that allowed this to happen.
While we were focusing our energy on the arrests of our friends, a piece of legislation passed the U.S. Senate today that should have all of us up in arms.
The Senate voted on a bill today that would define the whole of the United States as a “battlefield” and allow the U.S. military to arrest U.S. citizens in their own backyard without charge or trial. This should be sounding an alarm with every Occupy participant across the U.S. – because this is directed against the movement we are part of.
Big cheers for my awesome friends who mic checked Philly Mayor Michael Nutter the day after he brutally cracked down on our wonderful Occupy Philly brothers and sisters.
The Institute of Politics at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government hosted a forum on 30 November called “Mayors on the Front Line: Occupy Wall Street, Flash Mobs and Gun Violence.” Following more than 4,000 nation-wide Occupy arrests, hundreds of cases of police brutality, and media “black-outs,” it is puzzling that the Forum chose to frame mayors as the ones the “front line.” Indeed, in the opening address at the Forum tonight, the moderator said, “being a mayor is the toughest job in America.”
In two simultaneous midnight-hour raids last night police invaded Occupy LA and Occupy Philly. In Philadelphia, Mayor Michael Nutter’s police force used horses to forcefully control the movement of demonstrators, as this video shows. A police officer on a horse trampled one woman, Vanessa, crushing and fracturing her foot. She was hospitalized.
In the aftermath of this disgraceful show of force on Philadelphia’s denizens, Mayor Nutter spent the day today touring several schools at Harvard. At the IOP he spoke at length in response to the moderator’s question about the Occupy movement in Philadelphia. Rather than being truthful about the heavy-handed police action Nutter claimed that “no violence” was used and that there were “no injuries.”
While Nutter was still at the Forum Occupy Philadelphia tweeted that after more than 14 hours arrested civilians were released from jail. They also linked to a video of an Iraq veteran’s face being crushed by police on horses at a peaceful protest to draw attention to Nutter’s use of trampling horses.
Tonight at Harvard, he was met with a mic-check.
Mayors Greg Fischer (Louisville, KY), Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (Baltimore, MD), and Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock were also on the panel. Their commentary echoed Mayor Nutter who said: “We (mayors) run businesses. The business of government.”
I’m sure you are all aware of the disgusting behavior demonstrated by the Philadelphia Police Department on Tuesday night. The Philadelphia Police Department, especially officers on the “Strike Force”, are an absolute disgrace. I, along with several other women, had a bicycle shoved in between my legs, while screaming you’re hurting me. Several of us we’re thrown onto the ground without just cause, and beaten. They we’re using their bicycles as weapons. One police offer brandished a knife at a peaceful protester. These are the people in which we pay to protect us? SHAME. The brutality I saw that night I will never forget. They hurt my brothers and sisters, who remained peaceful. We’re not done, this is only making us stronger. Be aware. If you havn’t gotten involved in the movement, get involved now. It’s not too late, we’re not done. On to phase two, YOU CANNOT EVICT AN IDEA.
I got arrested at Occupy Philly last night. Don’t let corporate media fool you into thinking there was no police brutality involved in Philly’s eviction. This is only what happened to me.
This was after we were asked to get on the sidewalk, and we got on the sidewalk. Then I got beat by the cops for no reason. I’ve always been a firm believer in “fuck the police,” so this wasn’t a shocking experience for me.
For those of you that don’t know, I am a peaceful and unarmed protester, exercising my “free speech.” This is police brutality, completely uncalled for and unjustifiable.
Y’all can save all that “the police are the 99%” bullshit for the birds.
photo credits: http://www.michaelalbany.com/occupy-philadelphia-eviction/
Police brutality: They’re doing it right.
This kind of ignorance is physically depressing…
Scene from police clashes with #occupy oakland earlier this week.
Protester videotapes advancing line of militarized police, with burning barricades in the background. From this past Tuesday.
Week by week, the images of the police clashing with the protesters are resembling those from Egypt and Libya. Week by week, there is a growing sense among both liberal and conservative voters that our civil rights have been eroded and that Congress is doing nothing to defend the voters. Instead, they are supporting the corporations that fund them, and protecting their own benefits such as preferential health insurance and insider trading exemptions.
This is what a police state looks like.
(Also, not surprisingly, there was ALMOST NO COVERAGE of these events whatsoever).
Twilight vs. #Occupy #ows #N17
According to Twitter @OccupyArrests and Greg Mitchell of The Nation.
UC Davis Campus. If you pepper spray one of us, you better pepper spray all of us.
Today, Occupy Princeton wore green in solidarity with the UC Davis occupiers. I had a green scarf and a raised fist all day.
“Tear Gas: The most effective agent used by employers to persuade their employees that the interests of capital and labour are identical.” — T-Bone Slim, humourist, poet, songwriter, hobo and labor activist in the Industrial Workers of the World.
Media misdirection #24. Beautifully said.
LOOK AT THIS BULLSHIT. JUST LOOK AT IT.
Yahoo! “News” posted this article about the Occupy UC Davis attacks today. The headline reads, “Demonstrators pay the price after a tense standoff with the police”.
1.) Tense standoff? These kids were sitting on the ground with their arms linked. They were totally defenseless. If this was a tense standoff, then so is a game of Duck, Duck, Goose.
2.) Pay the price? Again, what did they do? Sit on the ground. So these people deserved to be maced point-blank in the face for sitting peacefully on the ground?! That would be the equivalent of a soldier punting a mother in the face for protecting her child. OH WAIT.
3.) The headline cleverly avoids calling the “demonstrators” by their true name, which is “adolescent students with no way to defend themselves”.
4.) That use of the words “Shame on you!” is completely out of context. Using the protesters’ words against them is cruel and pathetic.
5.) If you have the stomach to actually read this piece of filth, you will see some really great quotes. For example:
“There was no way out of that circle,” Spicuzza said. “They were cutting the officers off from their support. It’s a very volatile situation.”
Their support? So men armed with pepper spray, batons and full body armor need support against a bunch of students with no weapons and protection? Ooh, how terrifying! What a bunch of pussies.
“Video of a tense standoff between police and Occupy demonstrators at the University of California, Davis shows an officer using pepper spray on a group of protesters who appear to be sitting passively on the ground with their arms interlocked.”
Appear to be? So there is the chance that these people were actually being violent and obtrusive?
I am done. This is too much.