The Police Must Be Protected


Recently, I put up a picture of police in formation in riot gear, with the caption, “You can always tell who came to start a riot by how they dress.” I got comments like, “I protesters refuse to stop breaking a law, then they need to be arrested, and more power to the police if they chose to wear protective equipment.”

One of the things I appreciate about the Occupy movement is that it is actually televised (yay, internet!). That means you can see what the police need to protect themselves from. Like this:

Good thing they’ve got that riot gear.

Comments

  1. Aliasalpha says

    Well that man walking sideways with a camera was clearly a life threatening danger to the police, what if he’d started walking FASTER? He could have KILLED someone!!

  2. F says

    They just want to make it look like there is a reason they are being paid.

    They aren’t very clever in how they go about this, but there are plenty of authoritarian types to support police regardless of what they do, and the police probably count on this if they think about it at all.

  3. ckitching says

    It doesn’t matter what kind of video you show. Those with an authoritarian streak will always side with authority. Anything short beating down a kindergarten class would have people still defending the police.

    Most police officers are fairly good people, but it only takes a few with access to weapons to give them all a black eye. It’s just a pity that the usual reaction isn’t to eject the troublemakers, but rather to close ranks and defend their wrongdoing until the bitter end.

  4. says

    This isn’t increasing my trust in the police at all. Then again, like I’m going to trust “authorities” that failed to PROTECT me, even when I asked for help.

  5. Francisco Bacopa says

    I’m pretty sure this was a “bumblebee” fin-guided rubber round. These rounds have been found on the ground around Oakland. Aimed shot with a bean bag round is difficult at this range. Fin guided bumblebee rounds are as accurate as rifles at medium range given an experienced shooter.

    WTF is up with Oakland? Are they looking for a fight? I advocate non-violence, but sometimes lines are crossed. Even so, I cannot endorse violence against OPD. No one should ever resort to violence unless you have enough capacity to do violence such that you deter rather than provoke a more violent response from your opponents. Occupy Oakland is far from capable of doing this. Stay peaceful.

    Gotta give my props to HPD. The Occupy Houston Divestment March went off without a hitch Friday. The Houston Police seem to understand that rights to free speech and assembly are not in conflict with maintaining public safety. Small groups of protesters were allowed to enter banks to close their accounts. Folks in NY were arrested for this. People in Houston got cheered when they walked out with cashiers checks for their account balances.

    HPD and the the Houston City Council are chill. Occupy Houston is a party more than a protest. Tranquility Park is ours, Council recognizes that our rights trump their park laws.

    It’s an election year here in Houston. We have a complicated non partisan election system that isn’t over until the mid December posse runoffs. That’s how we got to be the largest city in the world with a gay mayor. But I fear Parker will turn on us after she gets re-elected as she almost certainly will. Hell, I’ve already voted for her in early voting and will probably be in the December posse. We gotta tip the Green candidate, Amy Price, into an at large seat with a December posse and make Parker fear us.

    Yup, Green women in red state Texas. The complicated multi-step non partisan election system in Houston makes this possible. Parker herself broke into to politics by running at large rather than the safe gay district that includes most of Montrose.

    Vote for Price At Large. Get her into the posse runoff. Hell, vote for Parker too. I already have, though I think Parker has a 50/50 chance of going Oakland on us. There will also be some state constitutional initiatives on the ballot. No matter how good they sound, vote against them. You know what kind of supermajority fuckups we have in Austin. Houston is blue. Harris County is purple. Ft Bend is purple. Galveston is purple. We booted De Lay. Let’s get off our asses like we did in 1959 when we did the Strange Demise of Jim Crow. Let us not become the shitheads who let W beat Ann Richards in 1994. She was awesome and popular, W was an known ex-drunk loser who got everything he had handed to him like the spoiled brat he was. Oh Daddy, I know both my oil companies you gave me went under, but now I want a baseball team for Christmas. He got it. Rangers. What a piece of crap team, though I understand they have well this year. That’s OK because W’s been uninvolved for a decade now.

    Did I mention I hate W? He killed any chance I had to be a proud Texan. I hate, hate, hate him. If I had it to do all over again I would show Texas that you were a drugged out AWOL ANG quasi-pilot that got your daddy and granddaddy to exempt you from the physicals that show what a drunk and cokehead you were. You should have either hit the stockade or really learned to fly by piloting the F-105 Thuds over North Vietnam.

    Fuck you W. If I could get away with waterboarding you I would.

    You made my state, which had an awesome progressive legacy, into a joke.

  6. D. C. Sessions says

    This isn’t exactly surprising to those of us who were around in the 60s and 70s. Regardless of what the TV footage shows, I’ve seen peaceful marches confronting a line of police in riot gear. The front line of the marchers were holding hands until the police charged with nightsticks swinging.

  7. says

    You have to remember that these are men given orders to do something. Which if they disobey gets them fired. Which won’t put food on their tables.

    I have worked at a riot before (The Oldham Race riots as an asian paramedic who protected neo nazis and trust me I was very unpopular for that) and trust me, many people do “very stupid things” that just get you arrested.

    There is a big difference between a peaceful protest and say… yelling, screaming abuse and looking threatening. Protesters tend to outnumber policemen (I have been on both sides of the picket line) and if they really wanted to throw down, there is pretty much nothing the police can do. Most of the police’s stance is intimidation and taking out trouble makers. So “randomly stopping the guy whose back pack is clinking with bottles” is a good idea. All it needs is one injured cop and bets are off.

    Remember, threatening and illegal behaviour at a protest is still going to make people wary. In my particular experience?

    A british mounted policeman rode down an asian lad. Lad’s parents were furious. I pulled him out, strapped his arm up. Cops wanted to arrest him for public disorder.

    His Crime? Pulling a toy gun that looked real (AKA black and gun shaped rather than brightly coloured and silly) and fooling around with it. My diagnosis? Kid has a terminal case of the stupids and this will perhaps teach him to think.

    Many protesters think protests are about revolution and to incite violence. Too much Che Guevera and not enough Gandhi really. Please don’t stand around them. They are tiger petters of the highest order.

    (Please note, I actually like the occupy movement even if I do feel a lot of people are going about it the wrong way. I actually do like capitalism on the basis of all my cool technology is capitalist derived and I intend to get my just desserts. It’s just that I do feel there should be and should have been a lot more oversight in banking and a lot more transparency in tax laws particularly the chasing up of tax havens and things like the entire trust fund malarky which I feel is incredible amounts of bullshit. I do feel this video is over the top as a response however there may have been an order to do this. And orders from the top tend to have to be obeyed.)

  8. says

    Avicenna, you’re claiming a number of things that aren’t in evidence at the Occupy protests. For example, the only times there have been anything that looked like riots, it’s been the police on the violent end. At no point have these crowds turned into riots or even come close. There were some windows broken in Oakland during the strike, but it was the protesters who put an end to it and stopped protesting in order to guard the shops that had been vandalized.

    And any order to do this in the U.S. is entirely unconstitutional.

  9. says

    It takes just one idiot to turn a peaceful protest into a riot. Just one. (Note… in the audio of the video you can hear someone goading the cops) At the Oldham riots it was the idiots of the BNP who did that, they goaded asians into attacking and just sat back and claimed all the “darkies were beating up natives”. It’s never something people like to admit but there are stupid liberals out there just as there are smart conservatives…

    And wasn’t there a Bush law about how you aren’t allowed to film the police? That would technically legalise this behaviour (remember just because something is legally right doesn’t make it morally right)

  10. says

    No, it doesn’t take “just one idiot” to make a riot. One idiot can spark a riot, or they can be squelched by the crowd, as is happening in the Occupy protests. And no, an unconstitutional law does not make something legal. If you want a good background on filming the police in the U.S., I suggest you check out Dispatches from the Culture Wars. Ed covers the topic quite frequently.

  11. says

    I’m almost glad the police are being idiots. They’re making martyrs and advancing news coverage. Occupy was barely in the news until the police started getting violent.

  12. D. C. Sessions says

    Ben, that’s the whole point. See Gandhi — it’s all about the PR value of triggering the Establishment’s spinal reflex against being called out.

    On camera.

  13. says

    Carlos has done great work on the subject. He’s even gone as far as entering a public place he’s been kicked out of for photography before just so he can photograph getting kicked out of again.