Quis custodiet ipsos custOWWW DON'T TAZE ME BRO
September 27, 2011 7:07 AM   Subscribe

A shockingly frank appraisal from MSNBC of the unprovoked police attacks at the recent 'Occupy Wall Street' protest actions.

At least one of the participating officers is the subject of an ongoing investigation regarding prior police brutality actions during the 2004 RNC protests, which also involved the unwarranted mass arrests by way of kettling.
posted by FatherDagon (258 comments total) 53 users marked this as a favorite

 
Without clicking through, I'm guessing this is Lawrence O'Donnell's diatribe from last night. I thought he went further than even Keith Olbermann would have.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:13 AM on September 27, 2011


I have not clicked through either, but I"ve heard about the footage and heard that someone identified the guy responsible.

Whether or not you agree with the groups occupying Wall Street is irrelevent - I think we can all agree that police committing unprovoked attacks on people exercising their Peaceful Right Of Assembly is some kind of bullshit.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:16 AM on September 27, 2011 [45 favorites]


From the previous thread, an attempted explanation of the specifics of the police attacks.
posted by griphus at 7:17 AM on September 27, 2011 [7 favorites]


Typical police.
posted by fraac at 7:20 AM on September 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm glad for this kind of journalism. It's far, far too rare.
posted by odinsdream at 7:24 AM on September 27, 2011 [7 favorites]


I hope this doesn't get deleted. I'm shocked that they spent this much time on it.
posted by empath at 7:27 AM on September 27, 2011


No, fraac, it's not "typical police". Like with any line of work, there are good examples and bad. I've encountered plenty of good to know that this isn't "typical". It's typical of the BAD police, but not typical of "police".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:27 AM on September 27, 2011 [17 favorites]


It is so weird that this story has traction. I'm glad, of course, but I've been in a ridiculous number of situations where peaceful protesters were beaten and pepper-sprayed and so on with absolutely no repercussions to the police and sometimes with substantial attempts at legal penalties for the protesters. I don't even consider pepper spray that bad, because it's so bog-standard. Of course, people should consider it "that bad", but it takes this story to make me realize that my perceptions are skewed.
posted by Frowner at 7:29 AM on September 27, 2011 [9 favorites]


I've encountered plenty of good to know that this isn't "typical"

It's pretty easy to say that when you aren't one of the groups that police target.
posted by empath at 7:30 AM on September 27, 2011 [40 favorites]


(I mean, I've been pepper-sprayed several times...I've also seen a cop walk straight up to a legal observer who was standing on the sidewalk and wearing one of those naff legal observer hats and then pepper spray him straight in the eyes. Although frankly this is low on my list of "police malfeasance that I have personally witnessed from start to finish".
posted by Frowner at 7:30 AM on September 27, 2011 [9 favorites]


Yeah, sure, EmpressCallipygos, a few bad apples and all that.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:30 AM on September 27, 2011 [10 favorites]


It's pretty easy to say that when you aren't one of the groups that police target.

Seems like that list is getting smaller by the day...
posted by rollbiz at 7:31 AM on September 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm not shocked at the footage, I'm shocked that any of the major news networks is running it at all. Even more shocked the commentary is anti-cop, since that generally isn't something you ever hear a news organization agree with in protests. I'm still positive very little will come of it, or that we'll even see it gather much more traction than it has already.
posted by inthe80s at 7:32 AM on September 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


I still can't get over that the guy's name is Anthony Bologna. Who names their kid Tony Bologna?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:33 AM on September 27, 2011 [64 favorites]


"The police department can do this because the police department knows that this story is going to go away. This kind of story always goes away."

That's the part that really got my attention - not just the fact that the attacks were spoken of at all, but the open acknowledgement that stories about attacks like this are often deliberately quashed and ignored. That kind of self-critique is rather rare inside the major media players.
posted by FatherDagon at 7:33 AM on September 27, 2011 [20 favorites]


And police are "that bad" - it's absolutely standard on metafilter to remind each other that HR, for example, is never on your side unless you're senior management, it's there to protect the company. If you're important and powerful, you'll see the smiley side of HR; if you're white and middle class and above all not making any kind of trouble, you'll see the smiley side of the police, who are there to protect the state.
posted by Frowner at 7:33 AM on September 27, 2011 [19 favorites]


I soured on police when the projectionist at the movie theater I worked at in high school got brutally beaten by a bunch of cops on a simple weed bust. I'm talking about a guy that was like 5'8' and maybe 150 pounds. He looked like he got dropped down three flights of stairs.
posted by empath at 7:33 AM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wait, the police officer's name is Anthony Bologna? Tony Baloney, of the NYPD?

I am 92% _sure_ that officer only exists on paper on the NYPD payroll, and purely for the purpose of being the subject of investigations like this.
posted by gauche at 7:35 AM on September 27, 2011 [38 favorites]


The Guardian link is worth a read simply to generate proper NYC-style tabloid headlines for it:

"Hot Balogna! Torture Cop Goes After Hippies - Again!"
"Pasta Poser Maced By Boss Cop Tony Baloney in Anti-Abortion Beetle Brouaha!"
"Post A Posr - Threat Or Menace?"
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:38 AM on September 27, 2011


(And after this I will knock it off - the problem with the police is structural, not individual. Even a "good cop" is under tremendous pressure to act like the "bad cops", and the problems with police immunity are a tremendous incentive to bad behavior. Just here in Minneapolis, it's been a godawful struggle to get and keep even the weakest, feeblest civilian review board - the city and the police union are all against it, and that's a large part of the reason why we have police beating down the homeless.
posted by Frowner at 7:39 AM on September 27, 2011 [34 favorites]


I am 92% _sure_ that officer only exists on paper on the NYPD payroll, and purely for the purpose of being the subject of investigations like this.

Because "Boney Maroney" was too obvious?
posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:39 AM on September 27, 2011


Or Billy Baloney?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:40 AM on September 27, 2011


Because "Boney Maroney" was too obvious?

There's a bad cop in the ring, sha la la la la
posted by asockpuppet at 7:43 AM on September 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


a few bad apples and all that.

I said this before in a thread unrelated to police misconduct, but I think the statement applies here:
A clear demonstration of the "few rotten apples" principle if I ever saw one. It's an easy phrase to use to excuse the behavior of a small number, but it often neglects the larger point of the second part of the phrase, which is that it then becomes impossible for an outside viewer to determine which is rotten and which isn't, and simply dispose of the whole lot.
My thing is this: I like cops, and I generally get along well with them, but the problem isn't that most are good, and some are bad, it's that the good ones provide cover and excuses for the bad ones and that can taint the entire endeavor by association.

In this case, I believe that the official response was that the pepper spray was "used appropriately" which, were it not for the video of the event would never be questioned beyond that response. Video and photography and our increasing freedom to use them against the police are going to be the thing that finally effects some kind of change, be it new regulations, or an outright fight between the police and the civilians.
posted by quin at 7:46 AM on September 27, 2011 [36 favorites]


Yeah, sure, EmpressCallipygos, a few bad apples and all that.
posted by MrMoonPie


I live in the First Precinct. The police down here are the best I've seen, and I've benefited a few times from good police work. Maybe it's 10 or 20% bad apples, but it's at least 10 or 20% especially helpful, competent public servants. Compared to Providence, Rhode Island, these guys are saints.

A few months back, I was at the station house getting a police report for insurance regarding a theft. An officer walking by says, "you almost got hit by a guy on a bike." "I'm just here to pick up a police report." She says, "No, four days ago you were carrying three boxes of electrical cords over on Franklin and Church, and a guy going the wrong way on a bike almost clipped you."

Damn, she was right.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:47 AM on September 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


Damn, she was right.

And I'm sure she'll be one of the first officers to come out and openly denounce the violent actions of her compatriots, and condemn the corrupt system that works to defend their indefensible actions. She definitely won't just hang behind the wall of blue with the rest of her department.

Right?
posted by FatherDagon at 7:49 AM on September 27, 2011 [31 favorites]


I know three cops--two of whom are family--and they're all pretty good guys when they're not mocking liberals, protesters, poor people, and racial minorities. I've come to associate police officers with xenophobia, statism, and racism, but I'm really uncomfortable with this outlook. It's probably its own kind of bigotry.


I live in the First Precinct. The police down here are the best I've seen, and I've benefited a few times from good police work.


Just curious: are you white, clean-cut, male, and middle to upper-middle class?
posted by jwhite1979 at 7:50 AM on September 27, 2011 [13 favorites]


Typical police.

Dang it, folks. Hate the police if you want, but let's not be so lazy and technically incorrect about it. It's not typical. It happens to often, and it's wrong, but it's not typical.
posted by benito.strauss at 7:53 AM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


And after this I will knock it off - the problem with the police is structural, not individual. Even a "good cop" is under tremendous pressure to act like the "bad cops", and the problems with police immunity are a tremendous incentive to bad behavior. Just here in Minneapolis, it's been a godawful struggle to get and keep even the weakest, feeblest civilian review board - the city and the police union are all against it, and that's a large part of the reason why we have police beating down the homeless.

I agree with this, and I think it makes an important point -- there are plenty of good people who are police officers and try their best to protect people and keep the peace, and there are plenty of sadistic assholes who like to brutalize and control others who are police officers, but these people don't just act out their basic personalities in the course of their work: they're constrained by and their behavior is modulated by institutional factors. Even a police force consisting entirely of otherwise-wonderful people could be oppressive if the organizational culture directed their conduct in that direction.
posted by clockzero at 7:53 AM on September 27, 2011 [7 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos the problem with your statement, true or not, is that it's the standard issue police apologist line. For every thread about an officer (or group of officers) beating the shit out of someone there is inevitably someone who comes along to say that it's just a few bad cops. "Overall, cops are really nice! Why just the other day a cop helped my mother carry her groceries home."

How many cases of police violence on innocent citizens will it take for you to take notice that this problem is systemic? This happens damn near every day in every city and town across this country.
posted by Sandor Clegane at 7:54 AM on September 27, 2011 [19 favorites]


Maybe it's 10 or 20% bad apples, but it's at least 10 or 20% especially helpful, competent public servants.

Impossible. It is scientifically a fact beyond question or reproach that one bad apple - even just one - spoils the whole damned bunch. A bad apple doesn't spoil some of the apples next to it as in real life, the metaphorical bad apple is all destructive of everything associated with it.

That's why calling a few bad cops "bad apples" lets people dismiss an entire organization.
posted by three blind mice at 7:55 AM on September 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


It can't happen here.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 7:55 AM on September 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


"Like with any line of work, there are good examples and bad. I've encountered plenty of good to know that this isn't "typical". It's typical of the BAD police, but not typical of "police"."

As quin mentioned, the problem isn't that all police are like this, it's that all police cover this shit up. Trainee cops need to be sat down and given Picard's speech to Wesley in The First Duty.
posted by fraac at 7:56 AM on September 27, 2011 [8 favorites]


A few bad apples.

But if you're one of the "good apple" police officers and you're standing next to one of those "bad apples" who is beating someone simply because they're in a crowd of protesters and you say and do nothing to stop them you've become one of them.
posted by tommasz at 7:58 AM on September 27, 2011 [28 favorites]


I'll never understand why police departments aren't just willing, but downright proud to throw assholes like that out on the street. If the other 98% are perfectly professional cops (which I expect at least that many are — I really doubt such firings would actually cut numbers by much, and I bet they'd do wonders for the tone of the force), I can't think of a better way to signal that their loyalty is to their task, and not to the good old boys club. If nothing else, you'd think some politician could apply pressure, even if it won't emerge naturally from within the department?
posted by Schismatic at 7:58 AM on September 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


[few comments removed - if we don't want police abuse threads to not turn into insta-delete "MeFi can't do this topic" threads, please make an effort to discuss the topic and not turn it into the same old fights between the same old people. This thread will stay open if it goes okay, help make it go okay.]
posted by jessamyn at 7:59 AM on September 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


One of my favorite adoption blogs (and one of the most well-written blog on any subject I've ever read), What Now?, is having a terrible time with the justice system this week.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:59 AM on September 27, 2011 [16 favorites]


Impossible. It is scientifically a fact beyond question or reproach that one bad apple - even just one - spoils the whole damned bunch. A bad apple doesn't spoil some of the apples next to it as in real life, the metaphorical bad apple is all destructive of everything associated with it.

That's why calling a few bad cops "bad apples" lets people dismiss an entire organization.


Can you put what you're trying to say more plainly? I think we've put more weight on this metaphor than it can handle.
posted by invitapriore at 8:00 AM on September 27, 2011


I agree that there are systemic problems, and individual problems. Maybe on balance, the bad guys prevail. I'm just saying that the First Precinct, relatively, has the best police that I've encountered. Probably because they don't want the ones with personality problems working near City Hall, and because there is most likely more chance of advancement down here, so more incentive.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:02 AM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


There are assholes and bad apples in all professions (stick with me...)

The problem is that the consequences of being an asshole when you're a cop are MUCH higher than being an asshole web developer. If a web developer is an asshole drunk with power, he might fuck up code or swear at the client. (And then he'll be unemployed.) If a police officer is an asshole drunk with power, he might beat or mace or shoot someone (and it's a lot less likely he'll lose his job).

Mace is never in a developer's job description, no matter how much the client deserves it. The cop has all these tools at his disposal, and if he's an asshole, he's going to use them for evil.
posted by desjardins at 8:03 AM on September 27, 2011 [8 favorites]


It's typical of the BAD police, but not typical of "police".
It's typical of what cops do when there are leftist protestors in the street. I once had a very "good" cop be quite helpful when my truck was stolen. About six months later, that exact same cop tried to break my kneecaps at a demonstration.

the problem with the police is structural, not individual
Or, to put it another way, the police are the front line forces on the domestic class war.
posted by williampratt at 8:07 AM on September 27, 2011 [30 favorites]


As far as I know, no police admissions procedure tests for morality. Is this the dark ages?
posted by fraac at 8:08 AM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


For what it's worth, while I don't think StickyCarpet's story really proves anything beyond the fact that there is at least one police officer in the First Precinct who is highly attentive to the goings on in her precinct, implying that that particular policewoman is only attentive to nicely-dressed white people or is defending the actions of her poorly behaved peers is both unfair and not especially effective from a rhetorical standpoint if you're trying to talk about systematic problems.
posted by invitapriore at 8:08 AM on September 27, 2011


I'm afraid that another Kent State episode will occur before the right to peaceful civil protest is accepted again.
posted by francesca too at 8:08 AM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Systemic problems, rather.
posted by invitapriore at 8:08 AM on September 27, 2011


I'm absolutely astonished to see this story covered so clearly on a major network.

And the fact that I have to be astonished by that just adds to my sadness and anger.
posted by davidjmcgee at 8:09 AM on September 27, 2011 [7 favorites]


The structure, cluture, and organization cops, like the army, and also riots, allows and promotes ordinarily good people to do despicable things. Good cop/bad cop is a false dichotomy. The cops, as an institution, provide a unique space and impetus for bad things to happen.

Also, Tony Bologna is actually a real person. And he's kind of a dick.
posted by Jon_Evil at 8:10 AM on September 27, 2011


Those cops must have a great union. They seem to be a lot harder to fire than McDonald's employees.
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:16 AM on September 27, 2011


I'm absolutely astonished to see this story covered so clearly on a major network.

After seeing the story, me too. Not to downplay their bad behaviour, but having gone to a few protests here in Canada and seen coverage of others on TV my reaction was "that's it?"

I'm used to seeing worse, and having the press turn a blind eye or take the police's side.
posted by Hoopo at 8:18 AM on September 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Those entrusted by society to wield lethal power in defense of social order should be held to the highest standards not only by society but by each other.

Police function because society entrusts them to uphold the values of society. Those police that allow and enable such misbehavior are jeopardizing their own ability to maintain social order and effectively police the populace.

A few bad apples are inevitable. Enabling them, covering up for them, and refusing to adequately punish them is wholly unacceptable as it undermines the very purpose, ability, and moral authority police require to effectively uphold the rule of law.
posted by Freen at 8:19 AM on September 27, 2011 [12 favorites]


In a move that looks near identical to the recent 'shut down metro cell boosters to prevent protest coordination', Yahoo was blocking emails relating to the recent protests as well.
posted by FatherDagon at 8:23 AM on September 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm glad for this kind of journalism. It's far, far too rare.

...

It is so weird that this story has traction.

...

I'm absolutely astonished to see this story covered so clearly on a major network.

It is very weird to me too. Anyone paying attention knows that this stuff happens all the time, and anyone's who isn't paying attention is not paying attention.

I wonder if MSNBC has polling research we don't--i.e. people's opinions about police. I always though that most Americans of all classes were very pro-police, pro-"law and order."

Since when has anyone cared about police assault? I.e. "those people probably deserved it" seems to be the sentiment when it comes up.

This is great documentation, though. The whole thing echoes Peter Singer's recent essay about the modern panopticon.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:29 AM on September 27, 2011


one of the groups that police target

AKA "Citizens"
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:32 AM on September 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


My thing is this: I like cops, and I generally get along well with them, but the problem isn't that most are good, and some are bad, it's that the good ones provide cover and excuses for the bad ones and that can taint the entire endeavor by association.

Have you, outside of the movie Serpico, ever seen a "good cop" protect a bad cop? My personal experience--extensive--is that when the incident involves multiple individuals, they stick together. My personal experience is that "good cops"will say exactly what happened, because they are trained to observe and report.

Second, where the problem lies is management. They make the decisions on the punishment and even the findings at a trial board. They play favorites all the time. They are the ones that cause the issue of improper punishment. The image of good cops refusing to testify in these cases is inaccurate. How do I know? I've done dozens of them.

Let's get one thing straight too--these mass arrests are ordered from the very top. They are policy level decisions. It isn't your low-level officer ordering ketteling. That's a incident-commander level call, one that is first authorized by a call to the police commissioner.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:32 AM on September 27, 2011 [8 favorites]


The police are not living in a vacuum -- the media, public and whole culture has applauded such examples of "law and order" in the past (especially against anti-war protesters or black youth). Welcome to the game, late comers?
posted by Surfurrus at 8:33 AM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Those cops must have a great union. They seem to be a lot harder to fire than McDonald's employees.

All public employees have a constitutional right to a hearing and can only be fired for cause. Its so the new mayor doesn't fire every cop and bring his buddies in.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:34 AM on September 27, 2011


80% of people are assholes. Institutionalized assholes with mace, guns, and badges are always going to be problematic. Not sure what the solution is, other than more cameras, less tolerance for bullshit, and more consequences. Actually, that does sound like a solution. MORE CAMERAS! LESS TOLERANCE FOR BULLSHIT! MORE CONSEQUENCES!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:36 AM on September 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


From the Guardian piece:
YouTube footage appears to show a white-shirted NYPD officer firing the spray into the eyes of the protesters, who are penned in by other officers with orange netting. As the officer walks away, two of the women crumple to the ground, screaming in pain. ... In a vivid account of the incident in the Boston Review, Mansfield said: ... "In the street I shout for water to rinse my eyes or give to the girls on the ground. But no one responds. One of the blue-shirts, tall and bald, stares in disbelief and says, 'I can't believe he just fuckin' maced her.'" [Emphasis added.]
I certainly hope this won't be the full extent of how the cops on the scene respond to this behavior.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:36 AM on September 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


MSNBC? Preaching to the choir.
posted by tyllwin at 8:37 AM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


What I would like to see is more people showing up to the protests because of this, but I don't think that's going to happen.
posted by empath at 8:38 AM on September 27, 2011


Preaching to the choir.

Good. It might inspire the choir to sing louder.
posted by davidjmcgee at 8:38 AM on September 27, 2011 [16 favorites]


Has Bloomberg commented on this? Or does it have his tacit support?
posted by Obscure Reference at 8:39 AM on September 27, 2011


ThePinkSuperhero that story is the most horrifying I've read lately. We do indeed live in a police state - some of us are just waking up to that.
posted by Surfurrus at 8:41 AM on September 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Have you, outside of the movie Serpico, ever seen a "good cop" protect a bad cop?

Yes? A friend of mine is now a cop, but before that I used to buy weed from him. He has tried to justify to me police giving beatings to drivers after high speed chases. He says it's a reaction to the stress and danger they were just in. It makes sense and I understand where he's coming from, but damned if he's going to "observe and report".

Cops are just people. A lot of them are assholes and will try to get away with whatever they think they can, and rationalize why it's OK when they do it.
posted by Hoopo at 8:42 AM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is my surprised face.
posted by adamvasco at 8:43 AM on September 27, 2011


ThePinkSuperhero that story is the most horrifying I've read lately.

Truly. If you read back in the archives, T has been working very hard lately to improve his life. I can only imagine how discouraged he feels.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:44 AM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


The thing is that if every barrel of apples has a certain percentage of bad apples in it and if there is an entrenched, documented bureaucracy in place that actively obstructs any bad apples from being removed from the barrel and thrown away then your apple system is screwed no matter how big the "good apple" majority might be.

Furthermore, in every one of those video segments the "good apples" were standing around observing the brutalization of unarmed, outnumbered, non-violent citizens and doing absolutely nothing about it.

The individuals in the pepper spray video have been surrounded and penned by a group of burly police officers each of whom is in possession of multiple restraints and weapons and who probably outweigh the protester group by a factor of 2 or 3. Willfully and unnecessarily inflicting pain on a helpless individual to induce desired behavior is called torture. Calling this typical police behavior is simply accurate. This is how the police as a body react in any situation of substantial protest.
posted by nanojath at 8:45 AM on September 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


One of the blue-shirts, tall and bald, stares in disbelief and says, 'I can't believe he just fuckin' maced her.'

I certainly hope this won't be the full extent of how the cops on the scene respond to this behavior.


The officer doing the macing was a deputy inspector, a "white-shirt" who outranks a patrol officer by several orders.

Honest question: What would you expect that officer to do that will ultimately fix the problem even at the risk of his career?

Personally, I don't think this is a problem that can be solved from the bottom up. I'll lay my blame on the offending officer, and everyone (right up to Bloomberg) who outranks that officer.
posted by rollbiz at 8:47 AM on September 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't think it's been emphasized enough in this thread, so I'll make sure it gets repeated: The clips in the O'Donnell report are videos of commanders, white shirted, lieutenant-rank and above, brutalizing protesters and spraying them with pepper spray for no reason. These are not rank and file street cops. This is, literally, the brass doing this with their own hands.

Seems worth noting.
posted by rusty at 8:47 AM on September 27, 2011 [52 favorites]


Let's get one thing straight too--these mass arrests are ordered from the very top. They are policy level decisions.

This is the real problem in this specific case. Police chiefs do this, even though they know it's illegal, because they also know that by the time it's found to be illegal it's too late. This happens in DC very often, and it really pisses me off.
posted by me & my monkey at 8:48 AM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Tony Baloney. Heh.

Is this kind of thing 'typical'? I think we need to ask whether it's typical at protests or other large gatherings. It seems like it is, I mean, I always hear about that kind of thing at protests and whatnot.

You also hear stories about things like this happening around the country all the time while not at protests. Arresting or assaulting people who film them and so on.
posted by delmoi at 8:48 AM on September 27, 2011


Police chiefs do this, even though they know it's illegal, because they also know that by the time it's found to be illegal it's too late.

Too late to not arrest the people, sure, but not too late for lawsuits. NYC spent several millions dollars on the fallout from the 2004 Republican Convention arrests, and there are probably still lawsuits pending on that case.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:52 AM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I notice that Officer Bologna's badge includes a medal for service at the World Trade Center for 9/11. Wonder what he did?

Does it excuse the behavior? No. Does it mean he shouldn't be properly investigated and possibly prosecuted? No.

Does it mean you shouldn't blanketly assume cops all are bad, or even that the majority of cops are bad, or even that many cops are bad? Hell no.

Just makes you think.

You guys are all thinking, right? You remember thinking. It's where you observe things from all the perspectives and make the hamster in your head run on his little wheel before you form an opinion.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:54 AM on September 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


Honest question: What would you expect that officer to do that will ultimately fix the problem even at the risk of his career?

Frankly? I expect him to either place the assaulting officer under arrest or walk off the force then and there. If every "good cop" did this in the face of every "bad apple" that'd go a long way toward fixing the problem... and even if not, it'd go a hell of a lot further than giving "good cops" endless excuses for complicity.
posted by vorfeed at 8:59 AM on September 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Does it mean you shouldn't blanketly assume cops all are bad, or even that the majority of cops are bad, or even that many cops are bad? Hell no.

No, it doesn't mean we shouldn't? So we should? Or which?

I mean, if we're just going by anecdotes of his behavior as a lens to view the scenario, it's clear that he has unnecessarily and illegally brutalized people at LEAST twice as many times as he happened to do... something during or around the 9/11 attacks. So, that's what many hamsters are considering, as well as being mildly piqued at the condescension that some posters seem to place on hamster moral systems.
posted by FatherDagon at 9:02 AM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm absolutely astonished to see this story covered so clearly on a major network.

I was astonished, over the weekend, that the only place I could find any news report - at least googling from my phone - was at CNN Money. I went looking for it because a number of people I follow on Twitter were talking about it (and how it had gotten almost no coverage). I retweeted it for the same reason others were - because it didn't seem to have any traction.

I feel like if so many people hadn't been doing that, it would still just be a two-paragraph-and-video story on CNN Money and The Financial Times, which was the other place I eventually saw it. The story essentially went viral; possibly the most astonishing thing was that it hit the networks this week instead of three weeks from now.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:03 AM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


These are the police in my hometown. One of the same officers here. No one said a thing until video came out. To become a Special Constable? 1 week of training. Since this incident they added another 20 hours.
posted by Hoopo at 9:05 AM on September 27, 2011


Let's also remember that the "bad apple" metaphor is meant to imply that one or two rotten elements corrupt everything else, not that the rotten ones are isolated cases that don't affect the others.
posted by clockzero at 9:07 AM on September 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Honest question: What would you expect that officer to do that will ultimately fix the problem even at the risk of his career?

That one blue-shirt is not going to fix the problem. But there are mechanisms within the police force for reporting behavior that crosses the line. Any time you go over the head of your superior to their superiors, yes, you do put your career on the line, no matter what it is you do. What I expect is that officers of the law do not incite and instigate violence, and that those cops who see other cops doing this report them.

I realize all that about the system being flawed, that changes needs to happen from the top down and all, but honestly? If I'm working with someone who is quite flagrantly crossing the line, to the detriment of the whole company, and I say nothing about it because I'm afraid of losing my job, then I share culpability.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:07 AM on September 27, 2011


Frankly? I expect him to either place the assaulting officer under arrest or walk off the force then and there.

I'm not even sure the first thing is legally possible, and I don't understand how the second would correct the specific situation we're discussing.
posted by rollbiz at 9:07 AM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


(Oops, first part of my last post should be italicized as it's a quote from vorfeed.)
posted by rollbiz at 9:08 AM on September 27, 2011


I'm not even sure the first thing is legally possible, and I don't understand how the second would correct the specific situation we're discussing.

Wait, it's illegal for a police officer to arrest another officer who has committed a crime? That's a fucked up system.
posted by ryoshu at 9:10 AM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Have you, outside of the movie Serpico, ever seen a "good cop" protect a bad cop?

Rather than pull an example from my own life, I'll just point to this very issue:

One of the blue-shirts, tall and bald, stares in disbelief and says, 'I can't believe he just fuckin' maced her.'

versus

The Police Department’s chief spokesman, Paul J. Browne, said the police had used the pepper spray “appropriately.”

Here you have an officer, a witness, who felt that the use was amazingly questionable, and yet the official statement is that the use was "appropriate". I'm giving the benefit of the doubt here that not everyone involved are bad cops, but someone here is protecting someone else.

To ignore that cops cover for other cops is to ignore a vast array of evidence to the contrary. Most of the time it's for incredibly trivial things that probably don't matter much, but it establishes a pattern on behavior that can be seen time and again when conspiracies to hide evidence among law enforcement agents are uncovered.

The good cop/ bad cop thing is obviously said with some level of hyperbole as well; things aren't typically this clear cut, with cops that are obviously evil villains and others who are white hat wearing do gooders who stand by virtue and the American way. Reality, as you well know, has people making mistakes or acting on bad impulse and doing something wrong. The problem is that rather than take responsibility for their actions, as they would expect a non-officer to do, they and the people around them use the power of their departments and their authority to either ignore bad behavior or say that it fell within procedural doctrines.

And this is exactly what has people forming us-versus-them lines with the police. Sure there are whistle-blowers who will cross the line and speak out, but compared to the number of incidents that are clearly questionable and minimally or not at all investigated, they are in the minority.
posted by quin at 9:11 AM on September 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm going to be saying "blanketly" to myself all day.


80% of people are assholes.

This is probably a moral truth. You could flip it a bit and say people are 80% asshole. You have to work to lower the number. In yourself and in society.

Transparency in our institutions should be a prime objective. Everybody has to custodiet.
posted by Trochanter at 9:12 AM on September 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


"Most of the officers on the scene carried out their duties calmly and nonviolently"

Except that bit about protecting the public. Yeah, I'll just keep holding up that orange divider while the unarmed pepper-sprayed protestors writhe. Doing my duty!
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:13 AM on September 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


That is to say: I'm tired of hearing how the bad cops are the ones using their truncheons/pepper spray/tazers unprovoked, while the "good cops" stand around and do nothing (except support their colleagues when the time comes before a board of inquiry).

What's that called, when you or I do it? Joint venture, I think.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:15 AM on September 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


What you see on Wall Street is fascism in a rather pure and traditional form--the ownership/control of government by private (corporate) entities, with the police acting in their capacity as the strong arm of the fascist state, protecting the corporate interests. And what is always ironic in these situations is that the cops are bread and butter union guys being totally screwed over by these same corporate interests, every day.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 9:25 AM on September 27, 2011 [15 favorites]


I'm assuming there is complicity with e good cops and that they might see the bad cops as a feature, not a bug. A real high percentage of the people that cops deal with are bad people. And these bad people have some sense of the constraints that good cops operate within. Its probably easier to deal reasonably with bad people when these bad people know that there is a Tony Baloney waiting in the wings if things don't work out reasonably. Maybe enough to make the Tony Baloney fuck-ups when they are dealing with decent people tolerable. (And even then -- its a lot easier to get one's "Please step back. Thank you." respected when there is a very real chance that a TB could come along with pepper spray if you disagree.)
posted by rtimmel at 9:25 AM on September 27, 2011


Have you, outside of the movie Serpico, ever seen a "good cop" protect a bad cop?

How about Adrian Schoolcraft who was afraid of being murdered by his fellow officers after recording his bosses telling him to up his arrest count by any means necessary.

There's an institutional problem with NY cops and it's been there a long time.

The sickening part of this is that it took recorded violence against innocents to even get any coverage for the protests. Honestly, I'm madder at the media than the cops right now.
posted by lumpenprole at 9:27 AM on September 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


Wait, it's illegal for a police officer to arrest another officer who has committed a crime?

I didn't say that.

In general, I'm certainly not trying to defend Deputy Inspector Balogna and I'm not even trying to defend the officers who saw what he did. I'm asking myself how this sort of thing can be punished or ideally prevented, and neither "officers should arrest their superiors" nor "All good officers should walk off the job until it gets better" are coming up as the most viable or plausible options.
posted by rollbiz at 9:28 AM on September 27, 2011


Yes? A friend of mine is now a cop, but before that I used to buy weed from him. He has tried to justify to me police giving beatings to drivers after high speed chases. He says it's a reaction to the stress and danger they were just in. It makes sense and I understand where he's coming from, but damned if he's going to "observe and report".

This is an example of someone justifying behavior, not a person testifying falsely, which is what I responded to.

Again, this is the commanders.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:31 AM on September 27, 2011


I'm not even sure the first thing is legally possible, and I don't understand how the second would correct the specific situation we're discussing.

If it's not legally possible to arrest a policeman for assault, then it damn well should be (and it's not actually "legally possible" to corral a bunch of protesters and then pepper-spray them, either -- if Mace Makes Right then I'm sure the good cops can figure something out.)

As for the second issue, look at the thread. It obviously seems reasonable to many to assume that the force is full of good cops. If the good cops were good enough to refuse to serve in the face of abuse, that excuse would very shortly go away. The thin blue line would break, and we'd have to act to solve the underlying problem. As it is, there's neither the impetus nor the desire to do anything about this whatsoever, nor is there likely to be any as long as the police themselves support this crap.
posted by vorfeed at 9:31 AM on September 27, 2011


David Graeber: Occupy Wall Street rediscovers the radical imagination
posted by homunculus at 9:32 AM on September 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Anon released "dox" on the guy yesterday, they are on pastebin. At first glance they look way way off since they contain dozens of previous addresses both in Brooklyn and Louisiana. His Last name is probably pronounced like the city, not the awesome meat product.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:32 AM on September 27, 2011


a few bad apples and all that.

Though I had a couple apples go bad in my crisper last week, yet some of the others I have eaten from the same batch were juicy and delicious. Sucks when metaphors don't actually work, huh?
posted by aught at 9:32 AM on September 27, 2011


Its probably easier to deal reasonably with bad people when these bad people know that there is a Tony Baloney waiting in the wings if things don't work out reasonably. Maybe enough to make the Tony Baloney fuck-ups when they are dealing with decent people tolerable. (And even then -- its a lot easier to get one's "Please step back. Thank you." respected when there is a very real chance that a TB could come along with pepper spray if you disagree.)

If your system requires that the system be broken in order to function properly... you're doing it wrong.
posted by FatherDagon at 9:32 AM on September 27, 2011 [7 favorites]


What an incompetent fuckwit Tony Boloney is. Everyone knows you;re supposed to tape over your badge before committing acts of police brutality. They should bring over the Met for some training on this.
posted by Artw at 9:33 AM on September 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


And yes, the Schoolcraft case is a perfect example of what happens when rank-and-file officers try to speak out about against command or their procedures. They destroyed his career, had him in fear for his life, and even had him forcibly committed to a psych ward. If it weren't for his tapes, he wouldn't have had a leg to stand on.

I'm not saying this as a reason why officers shouldn't come forward, but it's a pretty compelling example of why they might not, regardless of right or wrong. I'm honestly not sure I would. Would you?
posted by rollbiz at 9:34 AM on September 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


At least they haven't been using their LRAD to deafen the people like the police in Pittsburgh did: Use of Sound Weapon Provokes Lawsuit Two Years After Pittsburgh G20
posted by homunculus at 9:34 AM on September 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Anything "non-lethal" will eventually find a use as a torture device.
posted by Artw at 9:35 AM on September 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


60 Minutes Hearts NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly
posted by homunculus at 9:38 AM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thumb-screws are non-lethal.
posted by Dark Messiah at 9:38 AM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


The cops are on the wrong side of the demonstration. They are, like it or not, public servants; in the current climate, their generally modest incomes are certain to come under scrutiny, with outrageous fringe cases of cops making six figures in overtime alone trotted out as proof of systemic fraud and financial abuse. The net result will be lower pay and lower standards for police forces, and even greater danger to citizens and residents like those who were unjustifiably attacked in New York in the story referenced here, and to those who are abused in communities across the country every day.

We as a country are systematically cutting public funding for any non-military expenditures. Police and fire departments, with their generous pensions, overtime pay, etc, will be on the chopping block—in fact they already are in many municipalities. NYPD, lay down your batons and join with these protesters, who are fighting this battle for you.
posted by Mister_A at 9:41 AM on September 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


Well naturally the police need to act this way, since the protest is so stupid, worthless, and ineffective.
posted by Legomancer at 9:44 AM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Which is not to say that the police who perpetrated the crimes depicted here shouldn't be prosecuted - of course they should. And I hope that, should convictions be obtained, that the judges in these cases have the latitude to hand out particularly severe punishments to these ersatz civil servants who have betrayed the very public they are sworn by oath to protect.
posted by Mister_A at 9:44 AM on September 27, 2011


Tony Bologna is actually a real person.

To be more specific, he's Abe Vigoda.

James Fallows and Ta-Nehisi Coates have been talking about this incident on The Atlantic's website. Shamefully, the New York Times seems to think this tepid thumbsucker is adequate.
posted by steambadger at 9:46 AM on September 27, 2011


I'm not saying this as a reason why officers shouldn't come forward, but it's a pretty compelling example of why they might not, regardless of right or wrong. I'm honestly not sure I would. Would you?

I honestly don't know, either -- I know from experience that it's not easy to go against the grain. It doesn't take much for self-protection to kick in.

That said, would I quit rather than continue to cover this stuff up? Sure. As far as I'm concerned, that's self-protection too.
posted by vorfeed at 9:47 AM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


NYPD, lay down your batons and join with these protesters, who are fighting this battle for you.

There are over 34,000 officers in the NYPD. 10,000+ are off-duty at any given time. I sure would love to see a few thousand off-duties join the protesters on Wall Street.
posted by rollbiz at 9:47 AM on September 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


They really should join the protesters, rollbiz. Their support of the dominant economic order is a microcosm of the self-defeating culture of conservatism that has overtaken what used to be blue-collar America. These guys are acting against their own economic interests when they corral and harass and silence the protesters. Police and firemen's pensions, they will soon learn, bitterly, may not be as guaranteed as they thought.
posted by Mister_A at 9:52 AM on September 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


No, fraac, it's not "typical police"

It's absolutely typical of police behavior during protests for at least the last decade. (Probably before that too, but I wasn't paying attention.) This is not a "bad apples" problem: this kind of thing happens in every city, in every protest.
posted by Mars Saxman at 9:55 AM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow, the unwavering defense of the cops in that New York Times article is pretty disgusting, if entirely predictable.

Needing a permit to protest the system is the same as needing the permission of your employer to strike.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 9:58 AM on September 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have as much issue as the cops standing by as the "bad apples" act. If I walked up and pepper sprayed someone for no reason, there's little chance the "good apples" would stand by. Standing by as bad cops commit crimes is even worse, since the victims have even less recourse then they would against me. I think any officer who fails to act or report the crime should be disciplined, and the ones committing the crimes should face both civil and criminal penalties.
posted by Crash at 10:00 AM on September 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Seattle 1999
Genoa 2001
New York 2003
Chicago 2003
New York 2004
St. Paul 2008
Pittsburgh 2009
London 2009
Toronto 2010
London 2010


Are people still surprised by this? At least MSNBC has finally grown a pair.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:05 AM on September 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Dunno, I'm sure the good cops are ambivalent at best. This is New York's local economy we are talking about, there are hundreds of thousands, or millions, of people employed by "wall street" everyone from million dollar hedge fund guys to HR people to facilities to IT. We can't all support ourselves selling beads to tourists or squeegeeing windshields.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:06 AM on September 27, 2011


I think we can be 100% certain that Tony was bullied as a child.
posted by Artw at 10:07 AM on September 27, 2011


I think any officer who fails to act or report the crime should be disciplined, and the ones committing the crimes should face both civil and criminal penalties.

Every set of general orders I've ever seen requires reporting.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:10 AM on September 27, 2011


Every set of general orders I've ever seen requires reporting.

And a police officer would never break THAT most holy of rules.
posted by FatherDagon at 10:12 AM on September 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


This is very fucked up. NATO and G8 are coming to Chicago next year. I cringe to think what's going to happen to me.
posted by IvoShandor at 10:13 AM on September 27, 2011


I am always baffled by our local police's straight-faced condemnation of the "snitches get stiches" mindset when they do exactly the same thing within their own gang.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:13 AM on September 27, 2011 [14 favorites]


Every set of general orders I've ever seen requires reporting.

And if anybody tried to enforce them, that might matter.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:16 AM on September 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


I am always baffled by our local police's straight-faced condemnation of the "snitches get stiches" mindset when they do exactly the same thing within their own gang.

But they're different.
posted by Talez at 10:17 AM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Every set of general orders I've ever seen requires reporting.

And a police officer would never break THAT most holy of rules.


Your actual experience? I saw an officer proposed for termination for not reporting his wife.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:20 AM on September 27, 2011


Oh, I forgot Quebec City 2001 and Montebello 2007 (that one was actually kind of funny).

IvoShandor,

Eye protection, shoes that won't easily come off when you run, keep your head on a swivel. CPD has a bit of a history with this sort of thing.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:21 AM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Back to one of the videos in particular: It's amazing to me the level of callousness on display during the pepper spray/mace incident. You can see the white-shirt officer, Tony we can assume, walk calmly up to the barricade, spray, then walk calmly away from the scene.

It's chilling.
posted by odinsdream at 10:22 AM on September 27, 2011


There will be no public outrage; these protesters are not 'sympathetic' victims. The media and government has done a thorough job of demonizing "hippie/dangerous protesters". The view is: "they deserve what they get". Reserve your anger for that reasoning - for the perpetuation of propaganda against protests in general ... don't waste it on the police actions -- they are just mirroring public opinion (of course their 'mistakes' will be excused/ignored/applauded!)
posted by Surfurrus at 10:22 AM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


So apparently NPR pretty much said "eh, protests against wall street? not important, not big enough, there's nobody famous supporting it, so we shouldn't give a fuck..." NPR is now just using the typical news media excuse of "giving the people what they want"...

It's really sad that the one source of even a smidgen of anti-corporate mainstream media ("liberal" media) comes from the company that is partially owned by a shareholder in the military industrial complex (GE).

Also, Teabaggers? This is how it's done. If you aren't a threat to the system you get to protest all you want, especially when you're supported by the very "government" folks you claim to oppose. When you speak out against the system in a way that actually talks about it being a REAL issue instead of whatever boogeyman you think is the villain (in other words when you threaten the REAL power structure as it is not as you imagine it to be) you will be sprayed in the face w/mace, you will be beaten down.

So don't tell me you're against "the system" and think it's rotten. The system LOVES you and that's why they pay for your little rallies and give you a channel, and even NPR will report about your comings and goings ("liberal" NPR).

Are these protests minor? Yeah. Will it last? I doubt it. I don't have enough faith in the political system these days.

It's... Baloney.
posted by symbioid at 10:28 AM on September 27, 2011 [20 favorites]


Your actual experience? I saw an officer proposed for termination for not reporting his wife.

Is this a 'my anecdote is bigger than yours' contest? Does your single personal observation demonstrate a greater likelihood for rules observance in PD procedure, or does the vast preponderance of documented rules-breaking in PD procedure outweigh it?
posted by FatherDagon at 10:30 AM on September 27, 2011 [8 favorites]


Ad hominem, can't tell if that's a blatant troll or if you've been asleep since 2008. Manhattan would survive if hedge funds were regulated, if the SEC was competent, if Citzens United had gone the other way. Manhattan will thrive if income distribution becomes more equitable in the US. The ignorant and far left excluded, we're against the present conditions on Wall Street that allow windfall profits, minimal taxation, and lax and ineffectual regulatory oversight despite huge systemic threats to the larger, productive sectors of the economy. We're against handouts to Wall Street that come with no strings attached.

I'm heading to an "Occupy" event after my very white collar job since I think we need to prevent a slide towards kleptocracy. Many of us support and know the value of investment and are supporter of capitalism. I'll be a few of us even know the importance of providing liquidity, pricing, and risk hedging that that investment banks provide. I can't speak for the movement, but my participation is about power balance in this country that allow the Financial Sector to have their way every time.
posted by nowoutside at 10:30 AM on September 27, 2011 [9 favorites]


[Folks, seriously, this needs to be a discussion not the place where you rail against the same old topics. Keep it civil or go to MetaTalk.]
posted by jessamyn at 10:32 AM on September 27, 2011


It may be a diatribe, but it sure seems to be true.

What hit home to me was this. I have a relative who is studying film in NYC. Earlier, at the start of the protests, she had gone down and done some documentary filming of the protesters, asking what they were protesting, how things were going, etc.

Then in that clip I see the police "allegedly" targeting the guy with the camera, ( I say allegedly as we don't really have enough context in that shaky video to know that, but he certainly looked like he wasn't really doing anything).
posted by Windopaene at 10:36 AM on September 27, 2011


aught: "a few bad apples and all that.

Though I had a couple apples go bad in my crisper last week, yet some of the others I have eaten from the same batch were juicy and delicious. Sucks when metaphors don't actually work, huh?
"

Those apples been in place for, oh... since the beginning of civilization?
posted by symbioid at 10:37 AM on September 27, 2011




The story tells us this happens all the time and it is awful. What a shame. Where was the journalistic narrative? He does not tell us if this is New. There is no historical context except one prior example which makes it all the worse. Police brutality is depicted as an eternal truth. He leads his audience to believe it has always been like this. Has it? Must it? What about a popular return of civilian reviews or a repeal of laws that ban the videotaping of police officers? Was there ever such a time when we could videotape them? The doors of history are shut.

There is no opportunity here. Only a straight ride off a cliff. It is a truth that he claims black America already knew, and now white America knows it too. He depicts the scene as a mystic entry into an occult metaphysics. What is New? We are told just how terrible things are, but we are reminded that this is also how things are and have been. Laminated newsprint mistaken for Truth captured in amber.

Certainly those who already know of this problem, those who are already working on this problem, those people are already optimistic that things can be better. They are reminded, but no new allies come from this. Those of us who see no out, we round our shoulders and cross our arms. We walk on.

A story is told of eternal truths. A world is described where civilians have no role but to be so much detritus blown about by evil gods. A world that is unfair, but it is in this unfair world, their emphasis, that we live. This is a world without history. A world without change. And all this, we are told, is nothing new. So, the police are safe. Their brutality is engraved on a new shield of Achilles. They are protected by these stories.

This is objective realism. He avoids history, he avoids narrative, he avoids idealism. No risk is taken to say that any of the things can change, because outside history things do not change. No risk is taken which may threaten the present order, because without cause and effect there are no causes to affect. No risk is taken to say things could be different, because objective realism makes only reality objective. What we called News becomes religious lessons in Truth. The Now becomes Eternal.

What is needed is a new framework for what is New. It is time for history.
posted by TwelveTwo at 10:37 AM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


The ignorant and far left excluded, we're against the present conditions on Wall Street that allow windfall profits, minimal taxation, and lax and ineffectual regulatory oversight despite huge systemic threats to the larger, productive sectors of the economy. We're against handouts to Wall Street that come with no strings attached

That is all I need to know. I am pro regulation. Nobody has done an effective job communicating exactly what they want. I hear everything from "destroy all banks" to "peace and justice"

I am sure I am not alone.

Ad hominem, can't tell if that's a blatant troll or if you've been asleep since 2008.

You could be a bit gentler towards people who may actually be on your side, but I guess I have been asleep because I have no idea what the fuck the protesters really want.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:47 AM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


This was a shout into the wind, and sadly, no one will pay attention. They need to. But they won't, and a majority part of that is the media's fault.
posted by polywomp at 10:49 AM on September 27, 2011


If you accept that the media shows people what they want, it's the people's fault for not wanting to be see it.
posted by VTX at 10:54 AM on September 27, 2011


But they won't, and a majority part of that is the media's fault.

It seems to me, though, that the thing the media most likes reporting is what the rest of the media is reporting on and 'what it means', or whatever.

There may not be many stories forthcoming right away about the protests, but I'll wager there will be stories about MSNBC's coverage of the protests. Which is noisy and annoying, but may actually get more people to realize there are protests going on.

It's not what I'd hope we could hope for, but, well, sometimes it's all you can hope for.
posted by davidjmcgee at 10:54 AM on September 27, 2011



I saw an officer proposed for termination for not reporting his wife.

I wonder, how many cops who end up 'under investigation' have pissed off higher-ups before the investigation to justify their termination begins?

"The squeaky wheel gets replaced."
posted by mikelieman at 10:59 AM on September 27, 2011


He says it's a reaction to the stress and danger they were just in. It makes sense and I understand

I don't understand.

A police officer should be trained to react to stress and danger in a much more calm and level-headed way than your average joe. It's a large part of what differentiates the two. Or should be.

If an officer has shown he cannot master his emotions in the line of duty, he is not fit to be a police officer.
posted by Windigo at 11:16 AM on September 27, 2011 [12 favorites]


Full Face - freemumia (this just came on my last.fm)...

Dark psytrance w/Mumia samples. Figured it's relevant.
posted by symbioid at 11:22 AM on September 27, 2011


Have you, outside of the movie Serpico, ever seen a "good cop" protect a bad cop? My personal experience--extensive--is that when the incident involves multiple individuals, they stick together. My personal experience is that "good cops"will say exactly what happened, because they are trained to observe and report.

This guy from the FBI recalls how Chicago police who didn't want to be involved in illegal activity were forced into it by peers, even though a majority had no desire to be involved. Once you're in, you're in.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 11:32 AM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Does the Freedom of Information act apply here? Could I file a request for the number of internal affairs reports filed by fellow officers for this? I'm guessing it would be blocked due to being part of an active investigation, but it would be very telling to determine how often cops attempted to correct the behavior of a "few bad apples".
posted by Crash at 11:41 AM on September 27, 2011


I don't understand....If an officer has shown he cannot master his emotions in the line of duty, he is not fit to be a police officer.

Why do people do this with the selective quoting? The whole point of that was to show that police are regular people like you and me that sometimes make bad decisions and freak out in stressful situations. It wasn't me making a justification for his actions, it was his justification for his coworkers actions. It's not hard to understand where he's coming from. Because he's someone that has to get in high speed chases and risk his life from time to time, he understands how someone in thta situation might freak out and beat on someone while hopped up on adrenaline and won't hold it against him. The point is that it's very easy for a cop to rationalize why it's OK when they see bad behavior from their peers, and why they might not report that behavior to their superiors. It's not a mystery or hard to understand. It's human faults and human frailty, and it doesn't make the actions better or worse.
posted by Hoopo at 11:44 AM on September 27, 2011


I don't think this is about "a few bad apples."

An unequal society provokes social unrest, so violence, police brutality, surveillance and incarceration are tools of intimidation to keep order in the population. A police state for the underclass is the necessary condition of the unregulated "economic freedom" of the elites.
posted by AlsoMike at 11:45 AM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Regarding comments upthread suggesting cops should join protests:

Hundreds of off-duty police officers join protests at Wisconsin Capitol
posted by desjardins at 11:45 AM on September 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's human faults and human frailty, and it doesn't make the actions better or worse.

This is why we have laws -- laws that many police officers are effectively above, in this case due to peers declining to report. So while the actions may not be better or worse, just "human", the response to them is certainly much worse.
posted by LordSludge at 12:02 PM on September 27, 2011


Mr. Adams (a fairly staunch police defender) and I invariably end up in an argument whenever we watch an episode of COPS. It makes me livid to see a suspect prone on the ground with three officers on top of him (one with his knee on the back of the guy's neck) and all three screaming "Stop resisting! Stop resisting! You WILL get tased! Stop resisting!" The guy can't freakin' move, how is he resisting?? And this is the police behavior that gets signed off on to appear on TV. Imagine what goes on that the public doesn't see (or only sees when something gets posted on YouTube or MSNBC).
posted by Oriole Adams at 12:12 PM on September 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Video and photography and our increasing freedom to use them against the police are going to be the thing that finally effects some kind of change

Yeah but how long until CGI and video editing tools become so realistic, cheap, and easy to use that photography and video are considered no more reliable than eyewitness testimony? How long until faked videos like this one of Obama kicking a door open are so common that most people dismiss as "probably fake" anything they see on video that challenges their existing opinions and beliefs?

Ten years? Five?
posted by straight at 12:13 PM on September 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Have you, outside of the movie Serpico, ever seen a "good cop" protect a bad cop? My personal experience--extensive--is that when the incident involves multiple individuals, they stick together. My personal experience is that "good cops"will say exactly what happened, because they are trained to observe and report.

This guy from the FBI recalls how Chicago police who didn't want to be involved in illegal activity were forced into it by peers, even though a majority had no desire to be involved. Once you're in, you're in.


Again, I've seen very, very few police involved in strictly illegal activity. Very few. And I should know because when it has happened, I'm the one on the spot. But there are situations which need to be addressed..

I haven't seen this video, but I don't see why it should not be sent to Internal Affairs:

315 Hudson St # 3
New York, NY 10013-1009
(212) 741-8401.

as for people "understanding" losing your cool. There's no place for a violation of law or regulation by a law enforcement officer.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:14 PM on September 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm glad Bologna got doxed; I hope his house is flooded with lunchmeat.

Oh, and for future protestors:

Always take goggles, bandana and a canteen of water (to wet the bandana in case of gas). If you have a skateboard helmet, it can be handy when the batons come out.

If one feels that it is likely that illegal force will be used against oneself, a short length of rebar can be sown into a sleeve, which can be used both to deflect blows and deliver them. (It is heavy though.)
posted by klangklangston at 12:20 PM on September 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


Mr. Adams (a fairly staunch police defender) and I invariably end up in an argument whenever we watch an episode of COPS. It makes me livid to see a suspect prone on the ground with three officers on top of him (one with his knee on the back of the guy's neck) and all three screaming "Stop resisting! Stop resisting! You WILL get tased! Stop resisting!" The guy can't freakin' move, how is he resisting??

Its because you are only watching video. They want to bring the suspect up, cuff him and get him in the car. But when they continue to move in those circumstances (the officers can feel him struggle, you can't), they can't bring him up. The guy keeps squirming and moving. They need him to cease movement so that he can be controlled. This is basic procedure.

as for tasers, would you rather they shoot? a revolution in non-lethal force and people are wanting the cops to go back to guns.

listen, our stupid laws guarantee that nearly every citizen may be armed with a firearm. This is what you get. Its why bobbies only carry batons.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:22 PM on September 27, 2011


If one feels that it is likely that illegal force will be used against oneself, a short length of rebar can be sown into a sleeve, which can be used both to deflect blows and deliver them. (It is heavy though.

That's an assault on a police officer. It will result in prison.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:23 PM on September 27, 2011


If one feels that it is likely that illegal force will be used against oneself, a short length of rebar can be sown into a sleeve, which can be used both to deflect blows and deliver them. (It is heavy though.)

Congratulations. You've just upped a misdemeanour that would have been thrown out to a class B felony.

You've also probably pissed away a large sum of settlement money too.

Do you feel better now?
posted by Talez at 12:26 PM on September 27, 2011


They need him to cease movement so that he can be controlled.

Is that why they use pressure points that are physiologically guaranteed to cause movement?
posted by rhizome at 12:35 PM on September 27, 2011 [11 favorites]


So let me get this straight: if you wear some kind of protective gear in the (reasonable) belief that you may be assaulted by someone in the course of the protest, that's a bad thing and your entire situation is screwed? There's laws against, say, wearing shin and forearm guards from a sporting goods store because you have an entirely rational fear of being beaten?

Or is it just the 'deliver them' part that sets some of you off?

(I read Klang's comment and thought the 'deliver them' part was a bit over the top, but the idea of some reinforcement and protection if they try to whack you in the head seems reasonable to me.)
posted by mephron at 12:36 PM on September 27, 2011


There's laws against, say, wearing shin and forearm guards from a sporting goods store because you have an entirely rational fear of being beaten?

NYPD will see your gear and think, "Oh, a troublemaker, eh?" *thwack*... "Stop resisting!" *thwack* "Stop resisting!" *thwack*... *SPRITZ*... "Stop resisting!"....
posted by mikelieman at 12:45 PM on September 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


It wasn't me making a justification for his actions, it was his justification for his coworkers actions.

Yes, I totally understood it was his justifications and that you were just sharing them and that you understand where he is coming from (if not agree).

I was saying it's a crappy justification on his part. Police are supposed to be trained so they WON'T react like regular people like you and me under stress. Yes, they will sometimes make bad decisions...but not like this. Not to this level. Not in a manner which is a flagrant disregard for the law and citizen's rights under those laws.
posted by Windigo at 12:45 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


So let me get this straight: if you wear some kind of protective gear in the (reasonable) belief that you may be assaulted by someone in the course of the protest, that's a bad thing and your entire situation is screwed? There's laws against, say, wearing shin and forearm guards from a sporting goods store because you have an entirely rational fear of being beaten?

There's a difference between wearing protective gear and delivering a blow to a police officer using a rebar reinforced arm.
posted by Talez at 12:47 PM on September 27, 2011


The point is that it's very easy for a cop to rationalize why it's OK when they see bad behavior from their peers, and why they might not report that behavior to their superiors.

More simply, it's called "corruption." Corruption explains why a white-shirt thinks he can casually mace non-threatening protestors and it explains the reticence of other officers to do anything other than the most minimal action possible: commenting to a cohort under one's breath.

You may think they freak out on a high-speed chase or whatever, but these are people who are trained specifically for this job, including its psychological aspects. I didn't think much of the movie "Training Day," but it certainly speaks to the mechanisms at work here.
posted by rhizome at 12:48 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Pretty sure that goggles would be seen as cause for a beatdown too.
posted by Artw at 12:50 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Goggles? Those would probably draw a headshot from the sniper with the tear-gas pellet gun...
posted by mikelieman at 12:54 PM on September 27, 2011


From the Guardian piece:

One of the blue-shirts, tall and bald, stares in disbelief and says, 'I can't believe he just fuckin' maced her.'


That's an excerpt from this longer piece in the Boston Review: Why I Was Maced at the Wall Street Protests
posted by homunculus at 1:04 PM on September 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


as for tasers, would you rather they shoot? a revolution in non-lethal force and people are wanting the cops to go back to guns.

Oh god, I thought for sure we'd escaped it this thread.
posted by odinsdream at 1:08 PM on September 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


as for tasers, would you rather they shoot? a revolution in non-lethal force and people are wanting the cops to go back to guns.

Cops use tasers as torture devices to force compliance. This is not how guns are used.
posted by empath at 1:09 PM on September 27, 2011 [9 favorites]


From the link ThePinkSuperhero provided way upthread:

The judge said something to T I will never forget. He said, "If it turns out you did not do this - and I hope you did not - then you can consider your time in juvenile hall this week karmic payback for whatever you've done in your life that you didn't get caught for."

That is some bullshit right there. Dr. King was right: This country is sick.
posted by lord_wolf at 1:19 PM on September 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


I believe this neatly encapsulates the situation.
posted by Artw at 1:23 PM on September 27, 2011 [8 favorites]


That's an excerpt from this longer piece in the Boston Review: Why I Was Maced at the Wall Street Protests

"the experience only makes me wish I’d done something more to deserve it"

See also: Guantanamo Bay
posted by mrgrimm at 1:25 PM on September 27, 2011


The thing is, you do anything that even vaguely looks like you might "deserve" it and the police win. Hell, if the guy next to you or a block away do something that looks like they might deserve it the police win. They get to beat the shit out of you with impunity AND charge you AND have the media report you as the aggressor.

Anyone who goes in shinpads and a bandana face mask looking for a fight is not your freind. They are of no help to any cause. hell, they are most likely a cop anyway.
posted by Artw at 1:41 PM on September 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Romney’s Raised Millions From Wall Street Bankers, More Than Twice As Much As President Obama
posted by homunculus at 1:48 PM on September 27, 2011 [2 favorites]



"the experience only makes me wish I’d done something more to deserve it"


Bingo. If the police treat citizens as enemies, they will create enemies. This is such basic psychology that it works the same way on four-year-olds. Using violent tactics against non-violent people has nothing to do with "compliance", save encouraging its opposite -- people are primates and primates tend to struggle when attacked.
posted by vorfeed at 1:56 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


NYPD is saying that the pepper-sprayed girls were interfering with deployment of the net, and that this was edited out of every single video somehow.
posted by rhizome at 1:57 PM on September 27, 2011


Bologna clearly violated their civil rights.

And that's a Federal offense isn't it? Under statutes designed to deal with unprosecuted crimes ignored by corrupt local law enforcement officials and passed as a result of abuses in the South during the civil rights movement?

I look forward to hearing that the case has been taken up by the responsible US Attorney any day now.

Yes... any day now...
posted by jamjam at 2:02 PM on September 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh of course, of course. It was always going to be something like that. Does NY have the kind of freeform "obstruction" laws used in the Peter Watts case? That will be the legal screen.
posted by Artw at 2:03 PM on September 27, 2011


NYPD is saying that the pepper-sprayed girls were interfering with deployment of the net, and that this was edited out of every single video somehow.

Yeah. 'Cause we lefties are so ruthlessly efficient and meticulously organized, right? Identically editing a dozen cell-phone videos is just another day's work for us.
posted by steambadger at 2:13 PM on September 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh, I'm sure that careful analysis will vindicate Officer Tony by showing they lightly brushed against it, thus necessitating his marching over there and squirting each of them in the eye with caustic chemicals.
posted by Artw at 2:17 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's an assault on a police officer.

You don't lose the right to defend yourself against illegal force just because the perpetrator is a police officer.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 2:20 PM on September 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


"That's an assault on a police officer. It will result in prison."

Well, y'know, it will also protect you from having your skull caved in. And since there's very little chance of that officer being charged, let alone convicted, of assault, I'd feel fine telling a jury that.
posted by klangklangston at 2:22 PM on September 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Bologna is a city in Italy. It is not pronounced like the lunchmeat. I don't care if he's the dick of the day, we're not in grade school. Basta.
posted by thinkpiece at 2:23 PM on September 27, 2011


You don't lose the right to defend yourself against illegal force just because the perpetrator is a police officer.

This is one of those theory and practice things.
posted by Artw at 2:23 PM on September 27, 2011 [7 favorites]


This is one of those theory and practice things.

Right. My favored course of action would probably be to let them break the law and then divert a significant portion of the police budget into my bank account.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 2:25 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anyone who goes in shinpads and a bandana face mask looking for a fight is not your freind. They are of no help to any cause. hell, they are most likely a cop anyway.

At every march/rally I have ever attended we had infiltrators -- people who wanted to ratchet it up a notch, who yelled louder and wanted to incite violence. Good organizers can spot them immediately, then isolate and remove them. If you watch the videos of the Egypt marches in Tahrir, you will see the peacemakers monitoring the crowd.

I don't see that kind of organization in NYC and, actually, don't expect to see much of it in America anymore. Many of the comments here demonstrate how far we have come from non-violent organizing. It is not possible to be effective with non-violence when all watching have no empathy nor conscience.
posted by Surfurrus at 2:27 PM on September 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


You don't lose the right to defend yourself against illegal force just because the perpetrator is a police officer.

And that is exactly what the problem here is; generally speaking, if the police are doing it, it's not illegal force. Or, at least, that's what been successfully argued again and again in these kinds of cases. There is always some infinitesimally small violation that they can append which will make nearly any use of force acceptable.

Here it appears that it was something to do with the net deployment, and 99 times out of a hundred, that'll be enough to absolve the officers.
posted by quin at 2:27 PM on September 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


You don't lose the right to defend yourself against illegal force just because the perpetrator is a police officer.

Striking someone back after they've attempted to strike you and fail isn't self-defence. It's retribution.
posted by Talez at 2:29 PM on September 27, 2011


...generally speaking, if the police are doing it, it's not illegal force.

Sigh.

Anybody else remember how much shit Nixon took for saying "if the president does it, it's not illegal"? These days, he'd probably use it as his campaign slogan.

quin, I know you weren't endorsing this. The phrase just struck me.
posted by steambadger at 2:31 PM on September 27, 2011


Anybody else remember how much shit Nixon took for saying "if the president does it, it's not illegal"?

Yeah, and he was breaking the law just as much as the police are when they use unnecessary force.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 2:33 PM on September 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


A list of food delivery places that will serve the Wall Street protestors. Send some snacks!
posted by rhizome at 2:38 PM on September 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Do they have an Ian's Pizza?
posted by symbioid at 2:38 PM on September 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Problem is - the pigs were on our side in WI.
posted by symbioid at 2:39 PM on September 27, 2011


To give a little background on civil suits v. police, see here.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:42 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Really, at the end of the day, your best bet is to go Ghandi but hope that if anything bad happens someone films it. Anything else and the cops win.
posted by Artw at 2:57 PM on September 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is why I never go to protests because if I saw some shit like that it would be fucking on.
posted by ob1quixote at 3:20 PM on September 27, 2011


your best bet is to go Ghandi but hope that if anything bad happens someone films it.

NYPD Reportedly Targeting Photographers At Occupation Of Wall Street
posted by homunculus at 3:29 PM on September 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


No doubt. The last thing they want are any independent records of what's going on.
posted by Artw at 3:34 PM on September 27, 2011


Striking someone back after they've attempted to strike you and fail isn't self-defence. It's retribution.

Not if they still remain intent on striking you. It's called a "counter-strike" and very often the best way of defending yourself.

Not that any of that would matter in court, of course.
posted by LordSludge at 3:37 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not to make light of a serious issue or anything, but if you're doing a pub quiz this week your team name is: Tony Balogna's a Fucking Jabroni.

You're welcome.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 3:50 PM on September 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


"You don't lose the right to defend yourself against illegal force just because the perpetrator is a police officer."

We gave up that right long time ago. Assaulting a law enforcement officer is assaulting a law enforcement officer, not recommended.
posted by Blasdelb at 3:56 PM on September 27, 2011


as for people "understanding" losing your cool. There's no place for a violation of law or regulation by a law enforcement officer.

Yes, I totally understood it was his justifications and that you were just sharing them and that you understand where he is coming from (if not agree).

You may think they freak out on a high-speed chase or whatever, but these are people who are trained specifically for this job, including its psychological aspects.


Good lord

I am NOT defending my old friend the now-cop and I am NOT defending the cops at this Occupy Wall Street thing. I'm saying it's easy to justify for someone in these situations and it's why they're not going to necessarily go and tell their superiors or why they might stay silent or cover for their friends.

I am also not certain what training they receive along the lines you're describing and would appreciate any insight into what you're talking about. The "special constable" in my hometown (linked upthread) who famously helped beat an innocent woman in handcuffs while in custody and stomped a homeless guy who was already behind bars apparently received 1 week of training. Since she got caught (only because the press made a stink) they've increased this training for "special constables" by 20 hours. I think it's possible the standards you're holding the police to, and which many of us would expect at minimum, are simply not being met.
posted by Hoopo at 4:01 PM on September 27, 2011


Assaulting a law enforcement officer is assaulting a law enforcement officer, not recommended.

But it's not assault if it's not assault, and it's not assault if it's necessary to protect yourself.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 4:04 PM on September 27, 2011


I notice that Officer Bologna's badge includes a medal for service at the World Trade Center for 9/11. Wonder what he did?

Does it excuse the behavior? No. Does it mean he shouldn't be properly investigated and possibly prosecuted?


It means Frank is a hero, don't you know.
posted by stargell at 4:11 PM on September 27, 2011


If an officer breaks his hand on your face, you'll be charged with assaulting a police officer.
posted by LordSludge at 4:19 PM on September 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


I wonder how the NYPD (or the OWS officers) would respond to questioning Insp. Bologna's 9-11 palmares. "Did people need beating that day?"

I think any officer who can become a white-shirt and do something like that either hates his parents or his junior-high classmates.
posted by rhizome at 4:25 PM on September 27, 2011


But it's not assault if it's not assault, and it's not assault if it's necessary to protect yourself.

Many years ago a boyfriend of mine failed the Attitude Test with the NYC transit cops. They charged him with jumping the turnstile (even though he was arrested by the token both and had never crossed the turnstile) and then the arresting officer complained that she had injured her wrist while cuffing him and voilà! A charge of Assault on a Police Officer was added to the bogus turnstile-jumping charge. Not that he resisted arrest or did anything to cause the injury.

The rebar-in-the-sleeve thing sounds like a profoundly bad idea.
posted by ambrosia at 4:47 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


[Comment removed, that is fucking IT - take further crap directly to MetaTalk or some other website entirely. Thank you.]
posted by jessamyn at 5:05 PM on September 27, 2011


Folks: Here's a thing:

The mainstream media effectively cannot cover this from the "these protests are a vital thing we need to listen to" angle. At all.

Doing so is guaranteed to hurt them in the income. They will lose advertisement revenue by so doing.

This is horrible, but it's also a logical consequence of wall-street advertisement money owning so much of our media (and so much of other major bits of our system, for that matter).
posted by Archelaus at 5:11 PM on September 27, 2011


Not that he resisted arrest or did anything to cause the injury.

HELLO Disability!
posted by mikelieman at 5:19 PM on September 27, 2011


That video was an actual relief to listen to, thank you so much for posting it.
posted by nickyskye at 5:48 PM on September 27, 2011


Living in New Orleans I am not surprised by the police's actions. After all, we just had a trial about cops shooting innocent people, trying to get help, during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
posted by govtdrone at 6:21 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


2 Prince George’s officers indicted in beating of University of Maryland student

Via Radley Balko, who points out that this indictment would not have happened without the video.

The incident was discussed previously.
posted by homunculus at 8:00 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anyone who doesn't believe this is typical has not been to many protests in the past decade. I've seen serious brutality numerous times (in DC and NYC), practiced with impunity against people doing nothing more (and this needs to be emphasized again) and nothing less (again!) than practicing their constitutional right to peaceable assembly and protest. I mean, it is specifically stated in the damn bill of rights, it's as basic to American freedom as property ownership and a damn sight more than owning a gun.

Most of the people I've known who became cops were practically sociopaths long before they ever got a badge, although it's a limited and anecdotal sample. Most of my own interactions with cops -- and I'm a white middle class male, relatively clean cut -- have been abusive and intimidating, even when I've done nothing wrong (although there is that one Texas state trooper who let me go when he had me dead to rights with weed, something I am reliably told Never Happens Even to White Guys in Texas, except maybe Willie Nelson). Cops make me nervous, they don't make me feel safer, although again of course none of us would want to live in a world without them.

But typical, yeah this is typical.
posted by spitbull at 8:22 PM on September 27, 2011


Heh, Anonymous goes after Tony Baloney. Vigilantism to be sure, two wrongs don't and all that, but the worker bees are going to have their own brute force tools if the bosses are gonna own the guys with guns and badges, and it has ever been so, so I did enjoy a guilty chuckle before I remember, Bad Hackers!

What we really need are some longshoremen on the lines.
posted by spitbull at 8:28 PM on September 27, 2011


Anyone who doesn't believe this is typical has not been to many protests in the past decade.

Absolutely right. Or even the last 2 years.
posted by Hoopo at 8:56 PM on September 27, 2011


If one feels that it is likely that illegal force will be used against oneself, a short length of rebar can be sown into a sleeve, which can be used both to deflect blows and deliver them. (It is heavy though.

That's an assault on a police officer. It will result in prison.


Overthrowing Muammar Gaddafi probably violated some local ordinances too. Depending on how far through his playbook the NYPD decides to go, I'm not going to feel particularly bad for them if someone beats one of them with a pipe. Or shoots them. Or causes the local precinct house to leap fifty feet straight up.

In general, I support the police, but that's because, in general they seem to be on the side of the rule of law. Once you decide that your desire to beat someone with a truncheon trumps The Bill of Rights, your head can not turn into a fine red mist fast enough to suit me.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 11:28 PM on September 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Airline pilots march on Wall Street. No reports of any macings yet.
posted by Harald74 at 2:03 AM on September 28, 2011


one more dead town's last parade: You don't lose the right to defend yourself against illegal force just because the perpetrator is a police officer.

Actually, and I hate say this but you do, and will be charged as Resisting Arrest and/or Resisting an Officer.

It's a no win situation. A Disorderly Conduct misdemeanor can get jacked up to a felony in the blink of an eye and at the whim of the arresting officer.

It's totally fucked. Especially if it's just your word against the cops. Which is why you should never ever ever confront a Cop without witnesses.
posted by Skygazer at 2:06 AM on September 28, 2011


Or a shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missile.

Did anyone catch on Brian Lehrer that the NYPD has access to these? Holy fuck. That's enough already. Can't trust the mofo's with a can of pepper spray, and they have military anti-aircraft weapons?

Anyway, what's coming are various non-lethal and more aesthetically acceptable options for brutal crowd control, especially sound wave weapons that stun people into submission without causing bleeding screaming victims, so much less messy for all concerned, no sympathetic victims, indiscriminate brutality against anyone who steps out of line or off the fucking sidewalk.

Meanwhile, *Law and Order* continues to be very popular presenting a completely absurd, whitewashed, 1930s movie western view of the NYPD and associated judicial thuggery.
posted by spitbull at 3:15 AM on September 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


PBS journalist detained by NYPD for trying to interview pepper-sprayed women.
posted by Obscure Reference at 6:06 AM on September 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


Overthrowing Muammar Gaddafi probably violated some local ordinances too. Depending on how far through his playbook the NYPD decides to go, I'm not going to feel particularly bad for them if someone beats one of them with a pipe. Or shoots them. Or causes the local precinct house to leap fifty feet straight up.

Jesus fuck, calm down.
posted by odinsdream at 6:33 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it's only the tv. Grab me a beer, would you?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:21 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Related: Bankers sip champagne, and watch protesters pass.
posted by codacorolla at 7:44 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it's only the tv. Grab me a beer, would you?

Look, I'm not calling for complacency. I'm suggesting shooting and firebombing isn't the greatest idea.
posted by odinsdream at 7:51 AM on September 28, 2011


I'm out of great ideas. But I see legions of calm people. I guess we can call that a win.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:57 AM on September 28, 2011


The Constitution (including The Bill of Rights) is supposed to be the pinnacle of law in the United States. When you join the US military, you don't swear to protect the homeland, or the President - you swear that you will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

Once you've decided that the law (including the Constitution with its associate right to free speech and peaceful assembly) is there for your protection while you go bash some skulls, you are pretty much pissing on the graves of all the guys who dies defending this stuff and choosing the path of every despot ever. At that point, if the harshness you dole out is revisited upon you ten fold, don't come crying to me.

You are welcome to disagree with me, but please explain why you think I shouldn't be allowed to beat you with a stick because you disagree with me.

Not that I am going to beat you with a stick, I'm just curious about how you justify the paradox. And why haven't the constitutional literalists taken to the streets. Currious.

posted by Kid Charlemagne at 8:37 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Actually, and I hate say this but you do, and will be charged as Resisting Arrest and/or Resisting an Officer.

Actually, you don't, and charges with no basis in fact or law ought to be thrown out, and the police department or the individual officers ought to be found civilly liable (which they actually are).

I'm not terribly optimistic that they will, and I'm afraid that some of these people, denied their rightful legal remedies, will seek extralegal remedies. (This is why it's important to have a properly functioning legal system.) Society loses when the rule of law breaks down.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 8:52 AM on September 28, 2011


Society loses when the rule of law breaks down.
the rule of law is already broken down. the wealthy and powerful either subvert or ignore the law, by buying off the watchdogs, or they write their own laws, by buying off the legislators. throw in voter disenfranchisement and 'citizens united' for good measure, and you've got a closed system.

so how do we remedy this, if not with extralegal remedies ?
posted by g.i.r. at 9:34 AM on September 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


Kid Charlemagne: In all seriousness, I can't follow your argument. I'm not even sure you're responding to me. If you are, I'd be glad to discuss, but I can't understand what you're talking about.
posted by odinsdream at 9:42 AM on September 28, 2011


This Saturday there's going to another kind of march at Union Square: SlutWalk NYC

With great passion comes deep ambivalence: Saturday’s SlutWalk and me
posted by homunculus at 9:42 AM on September 28, 2011


I think Kid Charlemagne is saying that the mandate under which the state exercises its monopoly on force is compromised completely when that authority is abused. One should not then be surprised when that monopoly is itself questioned (forcibly).
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:44 AM on September 28, 2011


What's behind the scorn for the Wall Street protests?
posted by homunculus at 10:25 AM on September 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


I just made a post on my LJ regarding the slutwalk... Here's what I wrote...
The main point of it is, well... I guess... I dunno maybe it' my privilege showing. And maybe this was setup BEFORE the protests were setup, so if so, then I can't argue with that.

But, apparently this Saturday there's a slutwalk. Now, I support SlutWalks, and I think they should happen. I'm pretty sure a few of the folks on my list have attended some. So, I do think it's an important thing, and I'm not going to be some white privileged dude telling women to not walk where they wish and when they wish.

I guess it's my immediate reaction to "here we Liberals go again - diluting the message".

In the past, it's not an "anti-war" protest, it's a free-mumia protest, it's a Pro-Palestine protest, it's a slutwalk, it's an anticapitalist protest, its...

And yeah, i get it... Intersectionality. I get it. These movements need to understand that they're united against cultural/financial/political imperialism, they show solidarity with each other. But at the end of the day, the message is "what was the message???"

So I can see *why* it is the way it is. But I think it dilutes the message.

When you have a march on Wall Street - the MSM is already asking "what's the message?" Umm, wtf do you think it is, you corporate fuckers? But the message is hard enough to get out and then to add a secondary message on top (which while not necessarily part of the original protest or even, AFAIK, "standing in solidarity") it seems to me that by having the slutwalk at the same place as the Occupy Wall Street protests it's kind of mixing messages.

I understand we could make a big philosophical cogent argument against the patriarchy and capitalist system, and all sorts of grand statements.

I just wonder if it's the right place.

And then I wonder - is this my privilege talking?

So i just say it here. Pondering. But not telling anyone what to do, that is their choice and their right to make that choice. I just question (as is my right) whether it's the best way to proceed.
posted by symbioid at 10:57 AM on September 28, 2011


Regarding comments upthread suggesting cops should join protests:

Hundreds of off-duty police officers join protests at Wisconsin Capitol


Over 100 NYPD Officers Refuse to Work in Support of Occupy Wall Street Movement (unverified)
posted by mrgrimm at 11:33 AM on September 28, 2011


MSTPT: Actually, you don't, and charges with no basis in fact or law ought to be thrown out, and the police department or the individual officers ought to be found civilly liable (which they actually are).

Yes, well on paper you're correct, but sadly there's a chasm between what's on paper and what practiced by the police, because they're not equipped, nor do they care about your rights. They're trained and indoctrinated to show a dominant and overwhelming show of force and if a couple of innocent people get their heads beat in and charged excessively, well than that's just "the price of retaining order" and "reducing criminality by treating everything as a crime" and "doing their job."

The whole "broken windows" theory of law enforcement made popular by Guiliani and ever since adopted as gospel by the NYPD and the subsequent mayor.

And a person is SOL because once you're in the system and have been charged no one except a judge really cares about your side of the story and the DA or the ADA and the prosecution representing "the people," couldn't care less about you, or your side of the story, or your rights. They want a conviction, and best they'll do is give you a reduced charge or work out some other machination that lets your case expire after months of back and forth BS and mental anguish, and get thrown out on a technicality.

It sounds like something out of Kafka but it's true, the minute you're charged and you're in that system designed for hardened real scary criminal, you too are criminalized, and the arcane mechanisms of it all begin to do a happy dance on your Central Nervous system that torturous.

More people should be arrested, simply so they can see how quickly their Constitutional rights have no real time efficacy, and an afterthought, predicated on the whims of the police and the DA's office.
posted by Skygazer at 11:54 AM on September 28, 2011 [7 favorites]


I think you meant one more dead town's last parade.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:52 PM on September 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


As far as I'm concerned, all this stuff about "we all have to be Gandhi or the cops win!" and "we all have to throw bombs or the cops win!" and "sure, but what's the message?!" is exactly the narrative the powers-that-be want (thanks, homunculus!) The only kind of protest that'll make an impact at this point is a mass protest a la the Arab Spring -- so of course the first thing the media wants is to encourage everyone to adopt a million different shades of "meh" or "no!"

Get a few thousand people to show up at the park, and sure, having everyone on-message and in-concert matters. Get a few tens or hundreds of thousands of people, and the medium becomes the message. I can't tell you how to make the latter happen, but I can tell you that it's so much more important than the former that things like "the message", "a code of violence/non-violence", etc shouldn't even be on the radar.
posted by vorfeed at 2:20 PM on September 28, 2011 [7 favorites]


I can't tell you how to make the latter happen, but I can tell you that it's so much more important than the former that things like "the message", "a code of violence/non-violence", etc shouldn't even be on the radar.

It's easy. First, things in the US need to get so bad that large numbers of people are willing to die or go to jail to make a change.

After you get that done, the getting people to show up to a protest becomes easy.
posted by empath at 2:54 PM on September 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


Over 100 NYPD Officers Refuse to Work in Support of Occupy Wall Street Movement (unverified)

That's encouraging, just to know there may be some NYPD sympathy, so thanks for sharing. But I'd rather see "good" officers stay on the job -- and immediately arrest, disarm, and handcuff "bad" officers who assault citizens... and, of course, any citizens who get violent as well.
posted by LordSludge at 3:00 PM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


THere's approximately 0 chance that that is actually true. I'd be shocked if any cops didn't show up for work.
posted by empath at 4:29 PM on September 28, 2011


We had at least half a million people (by some estimates 800K) march against the Iraq war in NYC during the RNC on Aug. 29, 2004, and it didn't even move the needle. It barely made the news.

I was there. The cops were plenty brutal at that one too. I saw kids jacked and thrown to the concrete with extreme force, people were locked up in holding pens in the heat for hours or even days with little food or water, cops screaming taunts at protesters (including at groups with children), and all the rest. It wasn't Syria, but it wasn't freedom of peaceful assembly and protest either.

So numbers don't get you there by themselves. I sometimes wonder if that half million-strong march had decided to occupy, say, Times Square and do a little damage whether it might have made a difference. As it was, Bush and Co. ignored us, as did the media, for the most part.
posted by spitbull at 6:19 PM on September 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Thanks, homunculus, for the Greenwald piece. That's all very well said.
posted by Trochanter at 9:59 PM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Larry O'Donnell & Michael Moore
posted by rhizome at 10:45 PM on September 28, 2011


That might be the best piece Greenwald has ever written. Wow.
posted by spitbull at 7:28 AM on September 29, 2011


This article gives some interesting background details. E.g.:
It also turns out that Bologna is a defendant in lawsuits against the New York cops arising out of protests at the 2004 Republican National Convention, which was held in New York. 1,800 people were arrested at that time, many of them held incommunicado and under appalling conditions. A suit was filed against Bologna and another officer in 2007, and is expected to come to trial next year.
posted by Obscure Reference at 12:27 PM on September 29, 2011


Yeah, I think the department knows he's a bad cop, so they're soft-pedaling him by shunting him to different departments until he can credibly retire or snag a disability pension. The police union sucks in this way.
posted by rhizome at 12:47 PM on September 29, 2011


Again, I've seen very, very few police involved in strictly illegal activity. Very few. And I should know because when it has happened, I'm the one on the spot.

No, the people they beat, rob, and falsely arrest are. A courtroom months later is far from the spot, and this is why you so fundamentally misunderstand these threads, every single time.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:26 PM on September 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


Again, I've seen very, very few police involved in strictly illegal activity.

Illegal meaning "So obviously and transparently illegal that you couldn't win even a transparently one-sided and biased court case."
posted by empath at 2:12 PM on September 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Online Cop Forum: Wall St. Protest Pepper-Spray Videos ‘Are Great’
posted by homunculus at 3:11 PM on September 29, 2011


[Can you please not bring shitty comments over from other sites to reply to them here? Thanks.]
posted by jessamyn at 3:22 PM on September 29, 2011


Again, I've seen very, very few police involved in strictly illegal activity. Very few. And I should know because when it has happened, I'm the one on the spot.

How the heck can you always be "on the spot" and determine thereby that no other crimes get committed by cops besides the ones where you respond? That statement makes no sense, and embodies confirmation bias at best.

Cops, of all people, know how to conceal overt criminality. I doubt you've figured out how to pass through the blue wall of silence in every instance.

If you are on the spot, however, I sure hope you have a video camera.
posted by spitbull at 4:04 PM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Walked through Zucotti Park around 8:00PM tonight and thought it was a determined and positive energy. The police have a huge presence equipment-wise even having employed a mobile tower with a booth 20 or 30 feet above the park, but it didn't appear manned, and the police were staying out of the way.

The biggest gathering in the park was a couple of hundred people doing a call and response on what sounded like a list of strategies for peaceful protest and how to interact/engage with police and how to look out for one another. There was real burgeoning bootcamp type quality to it all. This event may be small and look silly to some people now, but these folks are serious and are educating themselves for the long run. It was pretty impressive actually.

Not sure where this is going to go or how long this is going to last, and let the detractors and the Wingers denigrate, dehumanize and dismiss these folks, but they'd be foolish to do so, this feels like the beginning of something big.
posted by Skygazer at 8:47 PM on September 29, 2011


Transit Workers Union votes to support OWS. They say they'll be down there.
posted by rhizome at 9:28 PM on September 29, 2011


Daily Show: Democracy on the Lurch - Wall Street Pepper Spray Incident
posted by homunculus at 8:37 AM on September 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


More Than 700 Anti-Wall Street Protesters Arrested....[Sunday afternoon]
posted by Skygazer at 1:00 PM on October 2, 2011


*Check that. The arrests actually occurred Saturday.
posted by Skygazer at 1:02 PM on October 2, 2011


What is it that these people want? I don't know if I support them or not because I can't tell what it is they want me to support.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:32 AM on October 3, 2011


Here you go.

INVESTIGATE, ARREST AND TRY THE WALL STREET CRIMINALS

CONGRESS ENACT LEGISLATION TO PROTECT OUR DEMOCRACY BY REVERSING THE EFFECTS OF THE CITIZENS UNITED SUPREME COURT DECISION
ACTION ON GLASS-STEAGALL

CONGRESS PASS THE BUFFETT RULE ON FAIR TAXATION SO THE RICH AND CORPORATIONS PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE & CLOSE CORPORATE TAX LOOP HOLES INCLUDING PROHIBITION ON HIDING FUNDS OFF SHORE.

CONGRESS COMPLETELY REVAMP THE SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION AND STAFF IT AT HIGHEST AND LOWEST LEVELS WITH PROFESSIONALS WHO GET THE JOB DONE PROTECTING THE INTEGRITY OF THE MARKET THEREBY PROTECTING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND INVESTORS.

RE-ESTABLISH THE PUBLIC AIRWAVES IN THE U.S. SO THAT POLITICAL CANDIDATES ARE GIVEN EQUAL TIME FOR FREE AT REASONABLE INTERVALS IN DAILY PROGRAMMING DURING CAMPAIGN SEASON.

CONGRESS ENACT SPECIFIC LAWS THAT EFFECTIVELY BUILD A WALL BETWEEN THE DEFENSE INDUSTRY AND THE U.S. MILITARY.
posted by empath at 6:35 AM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Attention paid to the source of much of our political/financial problems is a sufficient goal to earn my support.
posted by Obscure Reference at 6:36 AM on October 3, 2011


I feel like the Occupy Wall Street people can make common cause with Tea Partiers, at least on stuff like the Bank Bailouts. If they're going to be successful, they're going to need to build more bridges so it's not all just a bunch of dirty hippies and college kids. Or at least not perceived that way.
posted by empath at 6:38 AM on October 3, 2011


Declaration of the Occupation of NYC from the NYC General Assembly.

Who was complaining about lack of organization earlier?
posted by odinsdream at 7:20 AM on October 3, 2011


The Occupied Wall Street Journal - What's Inside
posted by mrgrimm at 8:53 AM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, in Boston: Boston Police Throw American Flag To Ground, Arrest Veterans, Trash Property To Protect ‘Green Space’ From 99%
posted by homunculus at 10:37 AM on October 11, 2011


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