Imagine you and your friends are hanging out in the park, enjoying a nice early day picnic. A cop tells you to leave. You refuse - it's a public space, and you are allowed to be there. Okay, sure, the park doesn't open until 8am and you are there at 7am. You and your friends wanted to watch the sunrise while enjoying a nice meal of bagels and donuts, and this was the best location in which to enjoy your breakfast and sunrise party.
So anyway, the cop demands that you leave. You and your friends are adamant that you are going to stay there. So what if it's before it opens? Who are you harming, anyway, with your innocent presence in a public park?
So then the cop threatens you. If you refuse, he will have to use force against you. Huh?
So you and your friends become more adamant about staying. It's not as if you've caused actual physical harm to anyone, or stolen anything - you've simply indulged in a bit of a picnic before-hours in a public space.
A policeman pepper-sprays peacefully resisting students at a University of California, Davis occupation
The cop starts yanking you and your friends up by the hair. Your bodies go limp in peaceful resistance. He then throws you on the ground and pepper sprays you in your faces. He yanks up your picnic blanket and flings it and all the food into the trash. He then yanks you up again and shoves you toward the police van with his baton, all the while you and your friends shrieking that your eyes burn, and pleading that you have done nothing to deserve this violent treatment. The cop grabs your arms so hard your bones almost break, and he snaps the handcuffs tightly around your wrists. He does the same with your friends, as he and his cop buddies cacke in unison. The policemen then kick you into the van and drive you off to the precinct so they can book you with unlawful trespassing in a park before hours. Your eyes have still not been treated for the pepper spray burns, and your limbs are bruised and aching from brutal treatment.
Of course, such a scenario is impossible to imagine given the innocence of the picnickers, right? And it's true that it most likely would NOT happen. Most probably a cop would just demand the picnickers leave the premises, and if they refused, he might threaten them with arrest. If they still refused to leave, he might even handcuff them and book them, but he almost certainly wouldn't use disproportionate force.
A young man was brutally tackled to the ground at Occupy Wall Street, NYC, for merely kicking a barrier. He fell to the pavement and cracked his head, and the police refused to allow immediate medical treatment.
So why are the cops using such violent force with the OWSers who are excercising their right to peaceful assembly? Just because they are "transgressing" park rules and staying after hours, or "blocking" sidewalks or refusing to move when the cops are trying to break up encampments? Again, they are peaceful protesters. They are committed to the principle of non-violence. So why the brutal force?
Two words:Anti-authoritarian activism.
Police pepper-spray an 85-year-old activist at Occupy Seattle
If you're just enjoying a pizza in the park after 11pm, the cops are not going to pepper spray you. But if you are vociferously protesting our corporate police state after 11pm in a public park, you'd better be damn sure they will treat you callously. Never mind that their behavior is illegal - they've been told to violently crack down on activists. After all, cops are the pawns of the 1%, even if they themselves are the 99%. They are basically eschewing their duties to protect the people and instead protecting the elite against the masses of which they are a part. And doing so while being paid pennies.
Iraq veteran Scott Olsen was put into a coma after he was hit with a flash-bang grenade at Occupy Oakland
This is the crux of the violent crackdowns on the Occupy Movement. When Tea Partiers protested in DC while OPENLY PACKING HEAT, no cop pepper sprayed them. Why? Because even though Tea Partiers protest the government, they are in fact allied with the government. The Tea Partiers THINK that our massive debt evolved from social spending, when in fact it germinated in Wall Street bailouts and egregious military spending. But as long as the TP are duped into that line of thinking, then the government will allow them their platform so that it can slash more social spending in favor of corporate bailouts and the like. The TP are allied with the government which is ruled by corporate interests. So it will not crack down violently on the TP "protesters" even if the TP protesters have overtures of violence (like packing heat).
Young women are "kettled" and pepper-sprayed at Occupy Wall Street, NYC
But the state WILL crack down on peaceful protesters who are anti-corporation, because the government, as we have determined, is owned by corporations.
Of course, the protesters do have a constitutional right to peacefully assemble in defiance of the government. But even if they do "transgress" minor laws in a peaceful manner, their actions do not merit pepper spray and baton beatings. In fact, the codes for police departments like Oakland explicitly say that such force is not warranted against even protesters who become violent - and yet Oakland used flash grenades and rubber bullets that put one activist in a coma and caused another to have a ruptured spleen, and induced countless other injuries, as have many police actions all over the country - in Seattle, in a few California universities, in NYC, and so on.
The point is, this force is not only disproportionate, it's ILLEGAL. And is the complete antithesis of the OWS movement, which adheres to non-violent principles.
So you get the picture: the police are not going to pepper spray you if you are indulging in some Krispy Kreme delicacies in a park before it opens, but they will use disproportionate force if you nonviolently defy the corporate state - even if you are occupying a park during park hours.
So yeah. Welcome to the Police States of America!