Nationwide Occupy Wall Street crackdown continues with more police brutality
By Madison Ruppert
Editor of End the Lie
As I covered on October 28th, the crackdown on Occupations across America have begun in full force. Some of these incidents, like the attack on protesters in Oakland, California, have been violent but some have thankfully been relatively peaceful.
It is worth noting that the crackdown in Oakland directly violates a 2004 agreement made by the Oakland Police Department to refrain from using the exact types of tactics they utilized which resulted in the hospitalization of Iraq veteran and former Marine Scott Olsen.
The latest sweep has occurred across the nation and events in this article are organized by city. If you have any updates or information to share don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected] we would love to hear from you.
Police officers outfitted in riot gear arrested some 15 people according to Denver Police spokesperson Matt Murray and some small-scale clashes broke out with officers.
The Denver Post is reporting that 20 people in total were arrested in the clashes.
Two activists were charged with assaulting an officer after police assaulted demonstrators with pepper spray, rubber bullets, and “pepper balls” which are essentially paintballs filled with pepper spray chemicals.
Most of the arrests reportedly were made because of a no structure rule in public parks which includes tents.
An Occupy Denver media liaison, Jeannie Hartley, said that contrary to some reports, the activists weren’t even able to climb the steps of the State Capitol before they were blocked by police.
A spokesman for the police, Matt Murray, said that most of the arrests were made when officers stopped activists from erecting their tents across from the Capitol at the Civic Center Park.
Murray claims that protesters knocked an officer off his motorcycle and other officers were kicked, resulting in the arrest of two protesters for felony assault on a police officer.
Murray said that the officers called for reinforcements and then moved into the park where most of the arrests were made.
As you can see in this still from video footage, police used rubber bullets and mace against the activists (full video below):
In moving in, the police fired upon demonstrators with rubber bullets, wounding some activists as you can see in the following two images:
An Image has also emerged of a protester on the ground being choked by a police officer. The image clearly shows that the protester’s hands are cuffed behind his back, yet the officer felt it necessary to viciously choke him:
Despite this and other actions, the Denver police claim that their officers acted responsibly, saying, “All we did was take down the structures”.
Activists strongly disagree with one individual, Chantrell Smiley saying, “It was just chaos. This wasn’t necessary. My friend got hit with rubber bullets in the face. He was screaming and bleeding, then they Maced him. We’re being peaceful. We don’t want to be harmed. They came through and took everything down — our food, our blankets, everything’s gone.”
Police attacked peaceful protesters with batons, as you can see in the following video.
Activists yelled profanities at the police as officers pointed loaded weapons at the protesters and pushed them back with their batons.
In the following video you can witness the police indiscriminately spraying the crowd with large amounts of pepper spray followed with a barrage of rubber bullets:
In the following video you can see the police outfitted in riot gear trying to break up the Occupy Denver camp as protesters confront them and shout more profanities:
You can see one protester (in a yellow jacket) get shoved to the ground repeatedly, to which he understandably reacts angrily.
He seems to be attempting to fight back against the police but one more level-headed protester holds him back.
Later an officer hits/shoves him again and activists pull him away from the officers, the individual then says, “I will fight back!”
Quickly another protester with bright orange arm bands and a black bandanna initially covering his face steps in and says, “No! Fuck you, we are non-violent!”
He pulls down his bandanna and continues, “Do not instigate that!”
The yellow-jacketed individual being held back by two protesters screams, “But they hit me!”
To which the more calculated activist replies, “So what?”
The individual being held back screams, “Fuck you!” and the other individual repeats, “So what?”
The yellow jacketed individual retorts, “They hit me!” and the man, now with his face uncovered, says, “Yeah, and they’re going to keep hitting you unless you back the fuck away!”
The individual, still being held back by activists, continues to scream and the less reactionary protester says, “You fucking instigator! Agent provocateur!”
I must commend the level headedness and quick thinking these activists employed to keep the situation from escalating from bad to worse.
Whether this individual was an agent provocateur or not is debatable although the relatively light response he received from the police is somewhat suspicious.
This is especially true when one looks at how the police attacked others who were not physically confronting the police in any way.
I find it reassuring that there are peace-loving non-violent activists who are taking action and preventing an escalation between protesters and police.
All activists have to remember that the police out there are part of the 99% as well, even if they choose to forget or ignore that fact.
Antagonizing police will only lead to more police brutality and hopefully more people like the man in orange arm bands will be around to keep people from justifying more brutal assaults on protesters.
Like in Oakland, there have been reports of activists being deliberately targeted by police when trying to assist other injured protesters.
In this CBS News article, you can see a picture of the man in the yellow jacket seemingly confronting police as the hands of other activists attempt to pull him back.
For the second night in a row, Tennessee state troopers arrested Occupy Nashville protesters for refusing to obey a new curfew imposed by the state’s Republican governor.
The new curfew is clearly meant to break up the Occupy Nashville encampment near the Nashville state Capitol but thankfully a Magistrate has refused to authorize the arrest warrants twice now.
The brave Magistrate, Tom Nelson, told the state troopers that he could “find no authority anywhere for anyone to authorize a curfew anywhere on Legislative Plaza” meaning that the troopers had no authority to arrest the activists.
Officials said that 72 state troopers were involved with the crackdown and 26 people were arrested including a reporter for the Nashville Scene, all of which were charged with trespassing.
The police arrested the reporter even after he identified himself as a member of the media as you can see in the following video:
The reporter, Jonathan Meador, was later cited for public intoxication even after he said “I’m getting off [the Plaza]” and “I’m a member of the media.”
We hear a voice we can assume is a state trooper saying, “You’re resisting arrest” while another says “You had your time.”
Two activists were charged with public intoxication and one with criminal impersonation according to Jennifer Donnals, the spokeswoman for the Department of Safety.
Once again the judicial commissioner refused to issue warrants for any of the charges leveled against the activists.
The publisher of SouthComm which owns the Nashville Scene, Chris Ferrell, wrote a letter to Governor Bill Haslam requesting an apology for arresting a member of the media.
The state said they charged Meador with public intoxication but Ferrell said that we was not intoxicated, he had just had a drink at dinner.
Police did not issue a breathalyzer or blood test, according to Ferrell, and from the video Meador does not sound intoxicated.
A media relations consultant, journalist and former Republican spokesman, Bill Hobbs, told The Tennessean that Meador “was not drinking, and he did not appear to be drunk”.
A spokesman for the Safety Department said that the Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons will review the arrest and respond accordingly.
CNN is reporting that 38 people were arrested after setting up a table with food and other items outside of city hall.
Two days previously, the city issued a rule stating that food tables must be put away between 10 pm and 6 am.
When activists attempted to prevent the police from confiscating the food table by forming a ring around it, the police started pulling people out and arresting them according to an Occupy Austin member.
CNN affiliate YNN reports that members of Occupy Austin are questioning the legitimacy of the new rule, saying that it was not passed by a City Council vote.
The Austin Chief of Police, Art Acevedo (who is called “Aft Acevedo” by CNN) said that the police were just doing their jobs and that the plaza has to be steam cleaned three times a week “for health and safety reasons”.
“Tonight, it looks like a few people decided to exercise civil disobedience and have been arrested”, he said.
Assistant City Manager Michael McDonald said, “We want to facilitate their activities, but we can’t allow this to be a permanent campsite.”
In Portland roughly 30 activists were dragged away to police vans after refusing to leave a park in what CBS News describes as “an affluent district.”
Some activists said that they viewed the residents of the Pearl District as part of the wealthy demographic they are protesting with residents observing the police crackdown from balconies of high-rise condos.
There was no violence during the arrests which took some 90 minutes in total, according to an Associated Press photographer.
Occupy Portland decided to defy the 12 am curfew in the park after Portland’s Mayor, Sam Adams, said that protesters would not be allowed to erect camps in any public park other than Lownsdale and Chapman.
Officials said that activists can demonstrate in the park but they cannot spend the night there. Randy Leonard, a Portland Commissioner, said that it would be “inappropriate” for the activists to expand the protests into a neighborhood park.
Inappropriate or not, if it is a public park it is a thorough violation of our right to free speech and assembly to restrict activities regardless of the neighborhood.
Leonard wrote a somewhat threatening warning the Occupiers:
“We — the entire city council — are your friends… at present,” Leonard wrote. “However, our friendship and support are now being unreasonably tested by the decision to occupy Jamison Square.”
New York City, New York:
After police confiscated heaters, generators and fuel in a clear attempt to freeze-out the Occupy Wall Street activists, protesters braved a snowstorm without any of their main heat sources.
In a letter addressed to the Fire Department of New York’s Commissioner Salvatore Cassano, the group said, “Contrary to the Mayor’s public justifications, the seizures were not motivated by health or safety concerns […] Without articulating any identifiable hazard posed by the generators, the city removed a source of heat for hundreds of people one day before the correctly predicted onset of freezing temperatures and snow”.
Because of the less-than-comfortable conditions, some estimates say that at least 20% of the activists broke off from the Occupation. Harsh weather and questionable police tactics are likely going to make this number rise in the coming weeks and months.
According to The New York Post, one man allegedly forced his way into a woman’s tent and sexually assaulted her.
The protesters reportedly didn’t call the NYPD and instead said they were dealing with it “internally”.
Reports also say that three people have already been hospitalized for cold-related ailments.
So Occupy Wall Street has raised a reported $454,000 in donations, $50,000 of which has been spent on food, clothing and medical supplies.
Activists are requesting waterproof boots, hats and gloves to help protesters stave off the cold after the NYPD has removed their heating equipment.
Pat Buchanan claims that the cold weather is going to make the activists violent, without providing much (if any) justification for the speculation.
On an appearance on “The McLaughlin Group” Buchanan said that the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations are “going to end very, very badly with these folks in the winter”.
Buchanan claims, “They’re not going to be getting publicity and they’re going to be acting up and acting badly like the worst of the demonstrators in the ’60s… They’re going to start fighting with the cops.”
The comparison with hippie-era protests continue despite the total lack of similarity in goals, approach, or demographics.
Despite the nationwide pressure on the Occupiers, the activists seem to be staying strong and refusing to give up.
Police and those in power are clearly getting fed up and are attempting to either freeze out the activists like in New York or shut them down through curfews and arbitrary city rules.
The demonstrators, on the other hand, are apparently undeterred and in some cases even emboldened by the acts of police brutality in Oakland and the nationwide crackdown on the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Hopefully this will continue in the face of adversity as giving up now would just mean that those in power won and nothing truly important has been accomplished yet other than raising the awareness of America and the world.
While this is obviously important, I believe that showing those in power that the movement truly has resolve and staying power is just as, if not more, crucial to the power of the Occupation.