Increased police brutality on non-violent protesters, Gandhi would not approve
December 6, 2011
Filed under Opinion
Peaceful protest, is an American citizen’s right by law, but in the chaos brewing from the many Occupy protests, it seems as though the police may have forgotten that.
It also appears they only know how to respond with brutal force, like using pepper spray, mace, tear gas, rubber bullets and other non-lethal devices.
Citizens have a constitutional right to voice their opinion and to protest America’s corrupt financial system.
Some protesters are breaking no laws but are still being attacked with pepper spray or finding themselves arrested as if they were criminals.
According to the United Nations Blue Book, “law enforcement officials shall at all times fulfill the duty imposed on them by law, by serving the community and protecting all persons against illegal acts.” It also states that they must “respect and protect human dignity and maintain and uphold the human rights of all persons.”
Normally, I respect the tasks performed by officers, especially when they catch the bad guys and make our streets a little bit safer, but when it comes to the protests, I have to disagree with the actions they are taking.
First off, the actions by the UC Davis campus police were completely shocking and out of line. One officer pepper-sprayed a group of students in the face for simply sitting on the pavement and interlocking arms, and another officer arrested 10 students. The amount of security that was placed on the protesters also seemed excessive.
The incident at UC Davis is a great example of how cops are failing to uphold human rights.
There was another instance in which Dorli Rainey, an 84-year-old woman, was hit with pepper spray by a Seattle police officer. But what did she do wrong? Well, she just wanted to show some support for the 99 percent and instead got sprayed in the face with the chemical irritant.
The officers did say it was an accident that never would have happened if they weren’t so anxious to break up the protests. It appears as though they will attack anyone that gets in their way, just like Rainey did.
The Seattle Police followed this up with an unsettling statement that pepper spray “is not age-specific. [It’s] no more dangerous to someone who is 10 than someone who is 80.” Even so, this doesn’t give them the right to use it on an 80-year-old or a 10-year-old for that matter, especially when they pose no threat and commit no crime.
The worst police attack however would definitely have to be at Occupy Oakland. Officers, in an attempt to break up the street parties, used tear gas a total of three times and began firing rubber bullets at anyone who refused their orders.
Many were brought to the hospital for treatment and about 60 people where arrested. This incident occurred when protesters were celebrating the success of their strike that temporarily shut down the port city.
Police had every right to end the party, especially since protesters were destroying property, but the situation could have been handled less violently.
If you’ve seen the footage, the police response turned the situation into something of a warzone, where civilians were carrying the injured away from this violent police encounter.
The incident brought back memories of a similar attack on anti-war protesters back in 2003 when cops fired wooden bullets and beanbags creating the same violent affect.
At a critical time like this, citizens can’t seek help from trusted officials as they have proven that their loyalties do not lie with the people.
It seems that every time the people voice their opinion, the cops feel as though they have to retaliate against them. It’s also ridiculous and a bit unnecessary that so many cops are being assigned to police these protesters.
A survey by the Associated Press estimated that a total of $13 million was spent on police overtime and municipal services for the Occupy protests. Taxpayers are basically paying to get maced for exercising the rights given to them by the first amendment.
But what the politicians do not understand is that these increases in law enforcement only make them look weak and afraid of what the people might accomplish by resisting. After all, the cops have resorted to attacking innocent, nonviolent protesters, so they must be afraid of something.
All I have to say is that there is definitely something wrong with America if unarmed, non-violent citizens are being brutalized for simply practicing their First Amendment right to a peaceful protest.
Home of the brave we are, but land of the free, we are not.