"Which is worse? The wolf who cries before eating the lamb or the wolf who does not."— Leo Tolstoy

Showing posts with label NICK HENTOFF. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NICK HENTOFF. Show all posts

Monday, February 11, 2013

Chuck Hagel's False Flag: Why Are Pro-Choice Senators AWOL in the War on Military Women

Female soldiers train at the Cultural Support Assessment and Selection program at Fort Bragg.

US Army photo by Cpl. Clifton D. Sams
On the same day that the Department of Defense announced the end of the ban on women in combat, a study revealed an increase in the number of unintended pregnancies among military women. February's Obstetrics & Gynecology noted that 10.5 percent of military women reported an unplanned pregnancy in the past year, a rate higher than the general population. The report mirrored a similar finding published in the September 2011 issue of Contraception Journal.

The findings of the surveys are particularly disturbing since unwanted pregnancies are a special problem for members of the armed forces serving overseas. Since 1996, Federal law has banned abortion-related services on US military bases and facilities.  According to the National Abortion Federation, the Federal law banning military abortion services "is a blatant disregard for the reproductive rights of female soldiers and also constitutes a direct threat to their health and welfare."  One of the chief defenders of the law has been President Obama's nominee to be the next Secretary of Defense, Senator Chuck Hegel.  As  Secretary of Defense, Hagel will be responsible for providing health care to over 200,000 female soldiers, military wives and their daughters. 

The normally vocal reproductive rights lobby has, for the most part, either remained silent, or endorsed Hegel's nomination outright.  Every Democratic Senator has endorsed Hagel's nomination, including staunch reproductive rights advocates like Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and his nomination appears certain. Senator Shaheen went so far as to praise ChuckHagel for serving "as a voice of pragmatism and principle" in the Senate.

It is difficult to reconcile the Chuck Hagel described by Senator Shaheen with the Chuck Hagel who argued, during his first senate campaign in 1995, that he did not believe  that rape or incest were necessary exceptions to laws prohibiting abortion.  An article on Hagel's abortion record by Adam Serwer in last December's Mother Jones cited Hagel's matter-of-fact statement that "if I want to prevent abortions, I don't think those two exceptions are relevant." It is also difficult to reconcile Senator Shaheen's pragmatization of Hagel with a twelve year Senate voting record that was an anti-choice crusade against access to safe reproductive health care for American women.   Senator Hagel's more notorious anti-choice votes include:
  • his 2000 vote to block the repeal of the Federal ban on abortions on military bases and DOD facilities. 
  • his 2005 vote against spending $100 million to reduce teen pregnancy by education and contraception.
  • his 2006 vote to require health care facilities to notify the parents of minors who receive out of state abortions.  
  • his 2007 vote in favor of barring organizations that perform abortions from receiving HHS grants. 
  • his 2008vote to make it a Federal crime to transport minors across state lines for an abortion. 
According to the 2005, 2006 and 2008 "Congressional Record on Choice," NARAL's member of Congress scorecard on reproductive rights, Senator Hagel consistently received a score of "0" because of his extreme anti-choice voting record. It is not surprising that he also received a 94% score from the National Right to Life Committee Less than 5 years after receiving his last "0" score from NARAL, Secretary of Defense nominee Hagel promised his former Senate colleagues that if he is confirmed he "will ensure female service members are given the same reproductive rights as civilian women." 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Did Christopher Dorner Get a Raw Deal From the LAPD? Does it Matter? Read the Court's Opinion in his Disciplinary Appeal and Judge for Yourself.

Former LAPD Officer Christopher Dorner Poses With Former LAPD
Chief William  J. Bratton Before Dorner's 2006 Deployment to Iraq
The Manifesto of former LAPD officer and accused cop-killer Christopher Dorner contains detailed allegations of racism, brutality and corruption within the LAPD. "The department has not changed since the Rampart and Rodney King days. It has gotten worse," Dorner wrote. Support is growing for Dorner's efforts to expose LAPD misconduct, if not for the extreme violence of his actions. 

Dorner claims that he was fired from the LAPD because he reported his field training officer, Sergeant Teresa Evans, for committing police brutality by kicking a mentally-ill suspect in the face during an arrest. Police treatment of the seriously mentally ill received press attention in 2012 after three Fullerton, California, police officers were arrested, charged and ordered to stand trial in the beating death of Kelly Thomas, a mentally ill homeless man. In Dorner's case, he was the one who was brought up on charges, for filing a false police report, and brought before an LAPD disciplinary review board.

At the disciplinary hearing, Dorner's version of events was supported by the testimony of the alleged victim of Sergeant Evan's brutality and corroborated by the man's father. LAPD police Captain Donald Deming, who was Dorner's Seargent at the time he reported his brutality allegations against Evans, testified that Dorner's performance was satisfactory while he was under his supervision. The disciplinary hearing officers chose to believe Sergeant Evans, found that Dorner had filed a false police report and terminated his employment with the LAPD.

There is a lot of public sentiment that Dorner’s motivations for launching his blood feud with the LAPD are moot because he is a serial killer. The police routinely deal with dangerous people and the fact that someone who complains about police misconduct is alleged to have committed horrific crimes does not, in and of itself, moot their allegations 

Did Christopher Dorner get a raw deal from the LAPD? Read the court opinion in Dorner's appeal of his firing and judge for yourself.

UPDATE: Sunday, February 10: Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck announced that he has ordered the investigation in the 2009 firing of Christopher Dorner reopened.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

LAPD Mows Down Civilians, in Crazed Manhunt For Alleged Cop-Killer Christopher Dorner - Manifesto Alleges LAPD Harassment, Racism & Corruption

Former LAPD Officer Christopher Dorner
UPDATED on February 8: At first glance it seemed excessive, even for the LAPD. Heavily armed protective details - on the look-out for a fugitive cop killer bent on revenge - unleashed a barrage of bullets on not just one, not two, but three innocent civilians in two separate incidents. The fact the civilians were female, and could not possibly have been mistaken for the big, black, burly male suspect, has to raise concern among Los Angelenos, particularly if they drive a blue pickup truck. Apparently, the civilians in both incidents were driving a truck similar to the one that authorities believe is being driven by former LAPD officer Christopher Dorner. Driving a blue pickup in LA is now an assumption of the risk; the functional equivalent of attending a Pashtun wedding in the Swat Valley of Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province, and then complaining about being hit by a hellfire missile fired from a predator drone. [Update] Dorner's burning pickup truck was found on a remote forrest road near Big Bear, California. 
When you read the Facebook manifesto - which is rambling but surprisingly lucid as far as mass shooter manifestos go - you will see why the LAPD is freaked-out and shooting at anything that moves. In addition to being a former police officer, the author of the manifesto is a highly trained former Navy reserve lieutenant and Iraq war veteran who the LA Times reports was a member of a mobile inshore undersea warfare unitDorner's manifesto claims he has access to heavy duty military weapons including a shoulder-launched surface to air missiles capable of taking out police helicopters and a Barrett .50 sniper rifle that can be fired accurately out to a half a mile (3,000 feet - 910 m), and beyond. The Barrett is capable of piercing brick and concrete block walls and the exterior of armored personnel carriers.  It is used by civilian law enforcement agencies to stop moving vehicles by penetrating and disabling the engine block.

Los Angeles Mayor Anthony Villaraigosa didn't waste any time exploiting the tragedy for political purposes, arguing at a  press conference that "the case illustrates the need for tougher rules on firearms."  Villaraigosa failed to cite evidence that LA streets are awash in Barrett .50 sniper rifles and SA7 Manpads, or otherwise explain explain how tougher laws would have prevented Dorner from shooting his victims

LAPD has alleged that the first person Dorner killed was the daughter of the retired LA Police Captain who represented him at his disciplinary hearing.  LAPD's press conference was held in a windowless underground room at LAPD headquarters. Dorner's grievances are very detailed, are directed at specific members of the LAPD, and he is very, very angry:
I never had the opportunity to have a family of my own, [so] I am terminating yours. . . .  I will conduct DA operations to destroy, exploit and seize designated targets. If unsuccessful or unable to meet objectives in these initial small scale offensive actions, I will reassess my BDA and re-attack until objectives are met. I have nothing to lose. My personal casualty means nothing. Just alike AAF’s, ACM’s, and AIF’s, you can not prevail against an enemy combatant who has no fear of death. An enemy who embraces death is a lose, lose situation for their enemy combatants. 
Hopefully you analyst have done your homework. You are aware that I have always been the top shot, highest score, an expert in rifle qualifications in every unit I’ve been in. I will utilize every bit of small arms training, demolition, ordnance, and survival training I’ve been given.
Do you know why we are unsuccessful in asymmetrical and guerrilla warfare in CENTCOM theatre of operations? I’ll tell you. It’s not the inefficiency of our combatant commanders, planning, readiness or training of troops. Much like the Vietnam war, ACM, AAF, foreign fighters, Jihadist, and JAM have nothing to lose. They embrace death as it is a way of life. I simply don’t fear it. I am the walking exigent circumstance you created.
The Violence of action will be HIGH. I am the reason TAC alert was established. I will bring unconventional and asymmetrical warfare to those in LAPD uniform whether on or off duty. ISR is my strength and your weakness. You will now live the life of the prey. Your RD’s and homes away from work will be my AO and battle space. I will utilize every tool within INT collections that I learned from NMITC in Dam Neck. You have misjudged a sleeping giant. There is no conventional threat assessment for me. JAM, New Ba’ath party, 1920 rev BGE, ACM, AAF, AQAP, AQIM and AQIZ have nothing on me. Do not deploy airships or gunships. SA-7 Manpads will be waiting. As you know I also own Barrett .50′s so your APC are defunct and futile. 
Composite photos from what LA Times identifies as Dorner's Facebook page.
While anonymous members of the LAPD have described Dorner as "wound way too tight" and "one of our problem children" who was "not a team player," his friends who spoke to the Los Angeles Times described a young man who was intelligent, thoughtful and engaging before he joined the LAPD:
Usera, who grew up in Alaska, said he and Dorner bonded over the feelings of culture shock that came with being outsiders on the predominantly white, Mormon campus. 
Usera said he introduced Dorner to hunting and other outdoor sports. "He was a typical guy," he said. "I liked him an awful lot. Nothing about him struck me as violent or irrational in any way. He was opinionated, but always seemed level-headed."
Dorner often brought up race issues and the two had heated, but respectful arguments about the extent of racism in the country, Usera said. "Of all the people I hung out with in college, he is the last guy I would have expected to be in this kind of situation." Neil Gardner, an assistant athletic director, knew Dorner through football and echoed Usera, saying Dorner was "never a disgruntled guy." 
The interesting thing about the manifesto - aside from his affinity for Piers Morgan, Anderson Cooper and support of President Obama's gun control agenda - is that his detailed grievances have the ring of truth. Many of the comments on Reddit, Boy With A Grenade (which republished an uncensored copy of Dorner's manifesto) and other blogs are oddly supportive of his allegations of LAPD racism, harassment and corruption. I have represented police officers in employment disputes and the conduct being described in the manifesto is par for the course. What is described is exactly how an officer is drummed out of a major metropolitan police department after offending his superiors' expectations of loyalty and, above all else, conformity. While nothing justifies Dorner's actions, either morally or legally, his manifesto raises the question of whether this is a case of the LAPD's corrupt chickens coming home to roost.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Meets Nazizona - Happy Halloween From Joe Arpaio's Favorite Fascist - Threatens on Video to Kill Illegals - Then Detains Immigrants at Gunpoint While Dressed in Military Combat Uniform - No Intervention From the Obama Justice Department? Not Fast But I'm Furious!

Updated on November 1st, 2011  

"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."
 - Hunter S. Thompson 
Leave it to Arizona's Occupy Phoenix to morph into some creepy psychotic freak show just in time for Halloween.

The camouflaged border blimp in this video is J.T. Ready, who is well known as a neo-fascist ally of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. In 2007, Ready was honored by the Phoenix New Times' Best of Phoenix issue with the dubious distinction of being the Best Big Fat White Supremacist.  He has since "left" the national socialist movement and has remade himself as an anti-immigration activist who was once a duly elected Republican precinct committeeman in the Arizona Republican Party. You will notice that the person recording the video initially mistakes Ready for a border patrol officer.

One prominent anti-OWS website cited Ready's appearance as evidence of the protest movement venality, while another website documents the bewildering response of the more progressive Occupy Phoenix protestors to the presence of avowed racists, dressed like soldiers, with loaded military rifles.  In reality, Ready is not at the Occupy Phoenix rally to protect or support the protestors.  He is there for two reasons.  First, he is there because there are television cameras there and, like Arpaio, he is a shameless media whore.  Second, he is there to intimidate Hispanics from participating in the Occupy Phoenix protest.

I would love to show you a video documenting the association between Ready and Arpaio but it was removed from YouTube by a bogus copyright complaint from Harry L. Hughes III, one of Ready's national socialist playmates.

Here's a video of someone - perhaps the same person that posted the original video - confronting Hughes for having his video pulled from YouTube because it contained a copy of a photo Hughes took of Ready with Joe Arpaio.  In this video Hughes embraces the accusation that he is a racist:

In 2002, Joe Arpaio arrested actor Nick Tarr on Halloween for impersonating a law enforcement officer.  Tarr was dressed in an outdated Arizona Department of Public Safety shirt and a pair of Arpaio's pink boxer shorts. Yet Arpaio has no problem allowing these anti-immigration activists to run around in camouflaged desert fatigues with a State flag patch on their shoulders while carrying loaded AR-15s.  

These are some realistic and very scary "Halloween" costumes.  Particularly for the undocumented immigrants J.T. Ready's group is detaining, although I'm sure they appreciated having water poured into their mouths for them.

These photos were taken by Harry L. Hughes III in July of last year and are still posted on his blogfrom which they are linked under the "fair use" protection of U.S. copyright law. The photos are not hosted on my blog but are visible because they are linked to from their original location on Mr. Hughes' blog.  If the photos were deleted by Mr. Hughes, or the link changed, they would cease to be visible on this blog.

Mr. Hughes is on notice that if he makes the same kind of bogus copyright infringement claim that he used to censor the video on YouTube, he can expect me to file a DMCA Counter notification of "fair use." Theoretically, Mr. Hughes will then have two weeks to file a copyright infringement lawsuit or watch as the images are restored and I file a lawsuit against him.

J.T. Ready and his buddies rely on these uniforms to confuse and intimidate the Hispanics they
round up on their immigration patrols who Ready has said on video they are prepared to kill:

Here's J.T. Ready in another scary "Halloween" costume:

In this 2009 video J.T. Ready is doing his best Eric Cartman imitation as he rails against Jews while protesting a Hispanic day labor center in California:

I find it amazing that for the last three years  self-identified Nazi's  have been running around the Arizona desert impersonating the U.S. Military and detaining undocumented immigrants without any Federal intervention whatsoever.  In fact, the photographs on Hughes' website reflect that the U.S. Border Patrol cooperates with Ready's group by taking  it's prisoners into custody without arresting Ready or his followers.

This is exactly the kind of activity that the U.S. Code's criminal civil rights laws were designed to punish and yet Janet Napolitano, Eric Holder and President Obama have failed to even open an investigation into Ready's group for Federal civil rights violations.  This is in spite of the fact that video of Ready's threat to kill illegal aliens has been on YouYube for well over a year, and has been cited in a number of mainstream news outlets including a Gawker article last summer and a Tucson Citizen article in November.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government's erstwhile investigation of Joe Arpaio for racial profiling has languished for over 1,000 days, and there is no sign that there will be any result in the near future, if ever.  The failure to investigate Ready, and the failure to finalize the investigation of Arpaio, can only be explained as reflecting a cynical desire to avoid disturbing the illegal immigration hornet's nest during an election year.

Back to the Arizona OWS video. It is legal in Arizona to carry firearms openly. This includes both handguns and military-style rifles. However, it is not legal to threaten people with firearms. Under Arizona's justification statute, a reasonable person who feels that he/she or another person is in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury is allowed to use deadly force in self defense. Arguably, the statute is a nullity since it has yet to be established that there are any reasonable people left in Arizona.  

Typically, a shooter who is not about to fire a sling carried rifle would have the rifle on his shoulder hanging upside down from the sling. You will notice in the video that J.T. Ready is carrying his AR-15 in the low-ready position. It appears that he is using a tactical sling  which is used by police SWAT teams and combat troops.  This is a shortened sling that clips to a tactical vest and keeps the weapon at a low ready position when the gun is not in immediate use.  Typically, a shooter that is using a tactical sling anticipates the imminent use of his weapon in close quarters combat.  I would view Ready's use of a tactical sling to carry his AR-15 in the low-ready position  as a threat that he is about to use his weapon and am amazed that the Phoenix PD allowed him to carry the rifle in this manner. If his muzzle were tipped up just a few inches a reasonable person might be justified in shooting him with impunity under Arziona law.

If J.T. Ready really wants to assert his First and Second Amendment Rights he should come to New York City and show up at Zuccotti Park dressed like this while carrying his AR-15 and see how NYPD responds.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Meme as News - The "Mystery" of the 'Hipster Cop' - NYTimes Portrays 1st Precinct Censor as the Hipster Andy Griffith of Zuccotti Park.

Community Affairs Detective Eric Lee is a real charmer, but I'm not sure I'd call the lanky Bill Gates look-a-like  a "hipster," as The New York Times did last week in a puffy profile that focused on the Detective's wardrobe and his engaging ability to relate with the protestors encamped in Zuccotti park. As the Times described Detective Lee's musings about his impending retirement, "he looked out over Zuccotti Park from a familiar spot on the perimeter and said, 'Maybe I’ll grow my hair long again and join these guys.'

The Times profile was a follow-up on the Internet buzz created by the Gothamist and other blogs fascinated by the fact that Detective Lee doesn't wear black see-through socks and  cheap suits. The Hipster Cop meme flew through the new media sausage grinder appearing in The Atlantic's  Wire, the Huffington Post, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast  NPR and just about every other website that is read by more than two people. "It's my job [] to be the liaison between the precinct and the community we serve," Lee told a writer from GQ.  "I am who I am.  This is how I always dress. . . . Though maybe I'll wear a top hat to work tomorrow." 

Community Affairs Detective Lee is a real smoothie smooth when it comes to fostering community-police relations.  On September 29th I attended the 1st Precinct's Community Council meeting where I had a chance to see the "hipster cop" in action as he rudely informed a member of the public that no photographs could be taken during the meeting,   As  I remember, he was wearing a pink button-down shirt under a dark cardigan sweater that was two sizes too small, making the otherwise lean Detective look a bit chubby. Perhaps that was the reason for the ban on photography.   Detective Lee's behavior at the Community Council meeting was consistent with the video montage put together by Sparrow Media, documenting his overbearing demeanor when dealing with protestors.

I first noticed Detective Lee when he shouted at a citizen who was about to take a picture with his phone.  "Hey, buddy! Yeah, you! No photos," the "hipster cop" commanded in a  deep voice, punctuated by a Brooklyn  accent, that resonated with the confidence of someone who had been asserting his authority over other people for the past two decades. His entire demeanor was that  of an aggressive, but poorly disguised undercover narc . 

When the offending citizen asked him who he was, he identified himself as Community Affairs Detective Lee.  Detective Lee was asked what police regulation prohibited the taking of photographs during a public Community Council meeting, which is described as a "public forum" on the  Council's website. Detective Lee responded, in true hipster style, "it''s my regulation, that's all you need to know." Somehow, that is exactly the kind of response I would have expected from an NYPD Community Affairs Officer. 

What I didn't expect to see was a gushing GQ fashion spread and  an "aw shucks," warm and cuddly New York Times profile on this guy, making him out to be the hipster Andy Griffith of Zuccotti Park.

The online phenomenon of the "Hipster Cop" demonstrates the danger of new media treating memes as news, other than being newsworthy as a meme.  Memes can travel faster than a European virus through an indigenous population.  It often takes time for the reality to catch up to the memery, and by then the footprint of the original meme has already left an indelible impression on the cyber landscape.

The only "mystery" about the "hipster cop" is why the reporters from the NYC  dailies don't know who the Precinct Community Affairs Officers are and why they don't attend Precinct Community Council meetings.  The only solace I can find in this revolting new media love-fest is that Detective Lee's colleagues are probably making his life miserable with constant ribbing over all the attention being given to the "hipster cop."

Monday, October 17, 2011

Wikileaks Cable: BBC Correspondent Acted as an Informant for the U.S. on Islamist Activity in Central Asia During the 1990's


Monica Whitlock
Former BBC Central Asia Correspondent Monica Whitlock was a U.S. Government informant on Islamist activity according to a 1997 U.S. State Department Cable released by WikiLeaks on August 30th.

This revelation may prove particularly embarrassing for the BBC in light of the recent arrest, detention and October 14th conviction by a  Tajik court of Urunboy Usmonov, the BBC's Central Asia correspondent. The allegations against Usmonov, who was tortured while in custody, were based solely on his reporting for the BBC on the activities of the banned Islamist organization, Hizb ut-Tahrir.

Whitlock, who now works as an independent producer of radio and film programs, has written two well-regarded books on Central Asia and is considered an expert on the region. Whitlock's writings are characterized by a heartfelt reverence for Central Asia and its people.

Whitlock was expelled from Uzbekistan in 2005 after the BBC aired her first-hand reports [audio] of Islam Karimov's brutal crackdown on protestors in Andijan City  Without Whitlock's reports it is likely that the full scope of the massacre would not have become as widely known in the West. Last year Whitlock produced and appeared in a documetary on the Andijan masacre.  She also produced radio programs on the anniversary of the massacre and on a  group of Andijan survivors living in Sweden.

It therefore may come as a surprise to Central Asia watchers that when the brother of a fugitive Uzbek Islamist confided to Whtlock his brother's location she shared this information with the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent.  The May 1st 1997 cable reports that, according to Whitlock, "the Islamic militant Takhirijon has surfaced in Peshawar," and identifies his brother as the source of Whitlock's information. The WikiLeaks cable also indicates that Whitlock passed on information about the separate location of Takhirijon's chief deputy, Jumaboy Namangani.  The cable requests that Whitlock not be revealed as the source of the information through the use of "[please protect]" next to her name. There is no similar request to protect the identity of Whitlock's source, Takhirijon's brother.

Knowledge by the Uzbek government that Whitlock's source was in contact with his infamous brother would almost certainly have resulted in his imprisonment and probable torture.  The cable reports that two other brothers of Takhirijon had already been arrested and imprisoned by the Uzbek authorities even though they were not active islamists. 

Tohir Yuldashev
I was unable to find, through an English language Google search, any references to an Uzbek Islamic militant known as Takhirijon. According to the cable, Takhirijon is known for having lead the 1991 "Adolat" [Justice] uprising, which  sought to establish an Islamic republic in the Ferghana Valley. The leader of Adolat was Tohir Yuldashev aka Takhir Abdukhalilovich Yuldashev who fought with the Taliban insurgency and was killed in a predator drone strike in 2009.  Tohir Yuldashev can be seen in this Uzbek language Jihadist propaganda video on YouTube celebrating the 9/11 attack and applauding female suicide bombers.

Juma "Jumaboy" Namangani, a former Soviet paratrooper, was a leader with Yuldahev of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. Namangani died in 2001 during the siege of Konduz following the U.S. Invasion of Afghanistan. Several of Namangani's soldiers were captured by the Northern Alliance, turned over to U.S. forces and subsequently imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay.

There is no evidence that the U.S. Embassy passed Whitlock's information on to the Uzbek Government, but the cable was widely circulated with copies sent to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, every U.S. Embassy in Central Asia and the U.S. Mission in Vienna for dissemination to the OSCE.  It is well known that CIA officers are attached to virtually every embassy in Central Asia.  Consequently, any information provided to a U.S. Embassy on Islamist activity would almost certainly have been known by the CIA.  In addition, the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent provided training to, and  had close ties with, the Uzbek Government's various security and law enforcement agencies.

So far, I have been unable to find evidence that Whitlock acted as an informant for the U.S. Government or the British Government on any other occasion.  

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

How To Protest In New York City | Mike Cane's xBlog

How To Protest In New York City | Mike Cane's xBlog:
"First of all, recognize that you are going up against the NYPD.
The NYPD mainly doesn’t live in New York City. They come from Long Island. They hate New York City. And they basically act like any occupying army does. And they hate protests. Although a protest can generate overtime, it keeps them away from their families and upsets their schedules. You are not a “duty calls” emergency. You are an annoyance. So they have even more reason to hate your ass."
This hadn't really occurred to me before, but I think Mike Caine might be right.  

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Advocacy 101: When You're on a Roll Don't Try to Change The Message or The Image

This item is from the Occupy Wall Street Calendar of Events for Monday, October 3rd:
 Everyone come dressed as a corporate zombie! This means jacket and tie if possible, white face, fake blood, eating monopoly money, and doing a slow march, so when people come to work on Monday in this neighborhood they see us reflecting the metaphor of their actions. Tell your friends, Facebook it, Twitter it, and it can be MJ Thriller-style too! Create a different image than police brutality!
As far as images go, I think the image to go for is  more Susan B. Anthony or Martin Luther King than Wavy Gravy.  Do they not realize that the September 24h protest - including the videos of the police assaulting peaceful protestors - is the catalyst that is in the process of transforming their movement into a major media event.  The message should be about police brutality and free expression.  Don't run from it, embrace it, use it and change it.

Although I must admit it would be pretty cool - as I am sure Eric Cartman would agree -  to see zombies being arrested and beaten on Wall Street if you didn't realize there were creative young people underneath the makeup.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Former NYPD Internal Affairs Division Investigator and now Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna is an embarrassment to Commissioner Kelly and will likely be forced to retire.

My experience, after nearly twenty years of advocacy involving law-enforcement issues, is that police departments can weather a lot of criticism without having to reform bad police practices.  Their resolve starts to crumble when they are subject to widespread ridicule, humiliation and embarrassment.  It was therefore a good sign for the Occupy Wall Street protestors when The Daily Show's John Stewart devoted a lengthy 6-minute segment to commentary and a parody of Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna's unprovoked macings of peaceful protestors on September 24th:

Once your actions start to embarrass the Police Commissioner it's time to begin planning for your retirement. I am doubling down on my earlier prediction that Deputy Inspector Bologna will likely elect to  retire before the end of the year.

According to a profile of Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna published in Community Media's Downtown Express when he assumed command of the 1st Precinct in  1005, he was once an investigator in the Internal Affairs Division:
“It was my first taste of internal investigation and it opened my eyes to the darker side of police work,” Bologna said. “You read in the papers about cops doing things that you can’t believe because you think everybody’s like you. But a department this large can’t really be completely free of it. If you don’t find anything wrong, you’re in real trouble because you’re not looking.
I'm sure the IAD Detectives who will be investigating Anthony Bologna will be taking that advice to heart.  Bologna was also quoted in the profile as saying that he didn't think he could work in the early 1970s pre-Knapp Commission NYPD.  Apparently, macing peaceful female protestors, and then leaving them to writhe in agony without medical attention, must have been considered sissy stuff in the pre-Knapp NYPD.

The profile in the Downtown Express does not paint a picture of an out of control cop but someone with a stellar record who deserves to be admired.  If his statements about police wrongdoing and not being able to work in a corrupt Department are sincere you have to ask what happened between 2005 and the now infamous video of Bologna's multiple macing of peaceful  protestors.

Something must have happened because in July 2010 the Downtown Express reported that Bologna was removed as the  commanding officer of the First Precinct and replaced with Deputy Inspector Edward J. Winski.  Deputy Inspector Bologna was assigned to "Special Projects" in the Manhattan South Borough Command.

“Change is always interesting,” Bologna told the local news website DNAinfo when the transfer was announced. “You do what they give you and you do your best. I’m looking forward to new challenges.”

Although DNAinfo made the unsourced claim that NYPD precinct commanders rarely stay as long as as Bologna did, I still get the feeling from his comnents that it wasn't a voluntary transfer, particularly since he didn't receive a promotion in rank.  "Interesting" is the kind of adjective you use when you are trying to be polite about the turd you were just served while dining at your father-in-law's restaurant.  

DNAinfo made the unsourced claim that Bologna was "well-liked" within the precinct, but "Special Projects" sounds like a duty title reserved for fup's who are coasting to retirement.  I could very well be wrong about this but Bologna, who became a police officer at the relatively old age of 27, only had one or two more years until he would qualify for a thirty year pension.  It seems odd they wouldn't let him finish out his career as commander of the 1st Precinct.

We will know that Deputy Inspector Bologna is about to be thrown to the wolves if negative information about him starts to leak to mainstream press like the Times, the News and the Post.  The likelier scenario is that he will be allowed to retire quietly. 

I met Deputy Inspector Winski last night at the 1st Precinct's monthly Community Council meeting where I expressed my dissatisfaction with NYPD's performance during the September 24th protests.  There were a lot of people in attendance, including a number of Occupy Wall Street folks who were extremely conciliatory almost to the point of being apologetic for having been arrested, beaten and maced on September 24th.  It seems non-confrontational pacifism is the name of the game for the Occupy Wall Street protestors. They are the polar opposite of a Seattle-violence style anarchist protest movement.

As I expected, I was greeted with a polite but mostly frosty reception by the Community Council, which is essentially a local chamber of commerce police department booster organization. Yet the community Council's and Neighborhood Community Board's are very politically influential and City Council staff usually attends the meetings.

More on the community counsel meeting and the machinations of the precinct's Community Affairs Detectives meeting in a few hours.
Volume 18 • Issue 5 | JUNE 24- 2, 20New captain busted pushers, gangsters and cops
Downtown Express photo by Elisabeth Robert
First Precinct Captain Anthony Bologna went to college to become a teacher, but budget cuts led him to the police force.  
By Albert Amateau
In his 23 years with the N.Y.P.D., Captain Anthony Bologna, the new commanding officer of Lower Manhattan’s First Precinct, has been all over Manhattan and much of Brooklyn.
He’s been a SNEU (Street Narcotics Enforcement Unit) cop busting drug pushers, served in Manhattan South in an anti-drunk-driving squad, worked in the Brooklyn South Task Force in the early 1990s during the Crown Heights riot, investigated police officers involved with drug dealers in the Internal Affairs Unit, served in the Organized Crime Control Bureau, led a detective squad in Washington Heights that closed a dozen murder cases one year, and served as commanding officer of the Manhattan South Task Force just before assuming command of the First Precinct at the end of last month.
“One thing about police work in this city, it’s all about change,” he told a visitor last week. “With me there’s really been a lot of change and I love it—most of my changes have come because of promotions,” he said.  
A native and resident of Staten Island with his family (wife, two grown daughters and a son, 13), Bologna also serves in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve with a rank of chief petty officer as a “sea marshal” inspecting ships that come into New York Harbor. He earned a B.S. from John Jay College in 1990 and in June of 1998 completed the program for law enforcement professionals at the FBI National Academy.

Bologna, 51, became a policeman relatively late in life.  
“I was 27, married and owned a deli in Staten Island,” he recalled. He started at C.C.N.Y. as a 20-year-old hoping to become a teacher, but in the mid 1970s, the city was in the midst of a fiscal crisis and was laying off teachers. Bologna had worked part time in a Port Richmond, S.I., deli and decided to stay with it, eventually buying out the owner.  
“But I always wanted to be a police officer,” he said. Cops who came into the deli would encourage him to take the test, which he did in 1982, a year that the city was recovering economically. The Police Academy took 3,000 cadets that year.  
Bologna’s first assignment was in the Seventh Precinct on Pitt St. on the Lower East Side. Manhattan South Borough Command at the time was in the same building, and Bologna and a partner were assigned by the command to make D.W.I. arrests of drunk drivers. The offenses were frequent and often blatant. “Drivers would stop and ask us directions with cans of beer in their hands,” he recalled.  
Bologna next went to SNEU units in the Seventh and then the Ninth Precincts, both on Downtown’s East Side. “We’d climb up fire escapes to the roofs with binoculars for observation. It put me in the middle of the narcotics enforcement street scene,” he said. In January, 1988, he transferred to the Organized Crime Control Bureau, working again on narcotics enforcement, “at a more interesting level,” he said. 
He moved to the 76th Precinct in Brooklyn in 1989 as a sergeant and then went to Brooklyn’s 72nd Precinct. His career then took him to the Brooklyn South Task Force where he was on duty during the boycott of Korean grocery stores by black activists in 1990 and the Crown Heights riots in 1992.  
“It was a rough period. Buildings burned, rocks were being thrown. I got the feeling that nothing would ever be the same again. But it took a while to see that it wasn’t nearly as bad as it looked,” he said.  
In Feb. 1993 he began working as an internal investigator in the Chief of Patrol’s office. “It was my first taste of internal investigation and it opened my eyes to the darker side of police work,” Bologna said. “You read in the papers about cops doing things that you can’t believe because you think everybody’s like you. But a department this large can’t really be completely free of it. If you don’t find anything wrong, you’re in real trouble because you’re not looking.”  
“I don’t think I could work in the pre-Knapp [before the Knapp Commission investigations] days in the early ‘70s,” he said. In the past, service in Internal Affairs was held in low esteem. “But it is now a career path,” Bologna observed. When officers go before promotion review boards, representatives of all divisions are present, but Internal Affairs has the first option on candidates.  
Promoted to lieutenant in 1996, he went back to the Lower East Side’s Seventh Precinct. He became a detective the next year and was appointed head of the squad in the 30th Precinct in Washington Heights, two years after the “Dirty 30” corruption scandal shook up the precinct. There were 18 homicides in 1997, all but four or five of which were solved, and 12 homicides in 1998, which were all solved, Bologna recalled.    
But his career path changed again when he passed the exam for captain and won the promotion in October, 1998 that sent him back to Manhattan South Borough Command. He became acting commanding officer in February 2000 of the command’s Task Force, the unit that responds to special situations like demonstrations and received the full appointment in May the following year.
On May 30, 2005, Bologna was name C.O. of the First Precinct. “Getting the command of a precinct is the real test of a career officer,” said Bologna, “It’s a big responsibility and doesn’t leave me much time to do things like scuba diving, but I love it.” 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Daily Kos: Occupy Wall Street: Manhattan DA to investigate use of pepper spray on demonstrators

Daily Kos: Occupy Wall Street: NYPD and Manhattan DA to investigate use of pepper spray on demonstrators:

"At the same time, the office of the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., has opened an investigation into the episode, which was captured on video and disseminated on the Internet, according to a person briefed on the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the inquiry is continuing."

First Hand Account of Woman Pepper Sprayed: Occupy Wall Street September 24th Anthony Bologna Macing Incident

This is an excellent first hand report from the Boston Review by Jeanne Mansfield, one of the women maced by Deputy Inspector Bologna.  

It seems she was a tourist visiting from out of town with her boyfriend and they received a very special greeting from the NYPD's welcome wagon. It gives  some context to the events that I didn't have before from any of the "bona fide" press reports.  The account of the beat downs of the African American man described in her article - and of the videographer who had the audacity to film the assault and ask for his name - is consistent with the "marching orders" I witnessed.  No one was being allowed to question the police.   The supervisors were all acting like Eric Cartman in South Park's "Die Hippie Die" episode.  
From Mansfield's article:
  . . . There was an anger in those white-shirt’s eyes that said, “You don’t matter.” And whether they were just scared or irrational or looking for a target for their rage, there was no excuse for their abuse of authority. 
  . . . it becomes clear that the white-shirts are a different species. We need to get out of there.
. . . A woman with two little girls in tow walks up to a cop at the end of the block and explains that they just need to get to ballet, but he won’t let them through. The woman seems to accept this, turns to the girls, thinks for a second, then marches straight to the edge of the fence at the corner of the building. A different officer sees them coming and, understanding their situation, lets them through. So Frank and I bolt for the same opening and escape.
. . . I had always thought that people who complained about police brutality must have done something to provoke it, that surely cops wouldn’t hurt people without a really good reason. But they do. We were on the curb, we were contained, we were unarmed. Pepper spray hurts like hell, and the experience only makes me wish I’d done something more to deserve it.  

New Video Shows Second Pepper Spray Assault by Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna

NYPD Launches Probe Into Pepper Spray Incident as New Video Surfaces - DNAinfo.com:

I am going to go out on a limb and predict that Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna will retire by the end of the year, especfially when people learn of his past history of abuse against peaceful protestors.  The question is whether Manhattan D.A. Cy Vance Jr., will have the guts to prosecute him.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

PBS Journalist Arrested During September 24th Protest: Observations of a Jailed Journalist |

Nets are Nuts:  What's Wrong With What Happened on September 24th.

WNET or Channel Thirteen is the main PBS affiliate in New York City.

This is an article by WNET's MetroFocus Web Editor John Farley who was scooped up into one of those orange soylent green type crowd control nets and arrested while he was covering the protest on September 24th.  I've reproduced an extended excerpt of the article below at the end of the post.  Farley's article makes the point that the use of nets to make mass arrests in an urban residential neighborhood  is absurd:
"In a sudden burst of urban chaos, how can the police distinguish between passersby and protesters who may be committing civil disobedience or any other type of punishable offense? Or between citizen journalists and professional journalists?"
Farley is the one kneeling in the photo below.  The direction of view is from the south side of 12th street looking west toward 5th Avenue.  There is a person in orange at the top right hand corner of the photo.  I was standing behind and to the right of this person just outside the borders of the photo but had been moved off by the police by the time this photo was taken.  Right next to the kneeling man in the dark shirt and just below the man wearing orange you will see what looks like a big cotton ball.  It is the head of a senior citizen with snow white hair.  By the way, Kneeling on concrete is very painful if you are forced to do it for any extended period of time.

From a public policy and civil rights perspective there are three main problems with what occurred on September 24th:

1) Hard take-downs of non-violent protestors constitutes unreasonable force, is dangerous and should be immediately discontinued. 

Has someone ever picked up a concrete block and hit you with it?  Didn't think so.  But that is what it is like to be body slammed onto a New York city concrete sidewalk.  Every year people die in falls that result from their head hitting a concrete sidewalk.  This is a dangerous practice that needs to stop immediately. It goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway, that pepper spraying non-violent protestors and prodding restrained detainees with batons are criminal assaults that should be prosecuted.

2) The Police Should Not Arrest People for Speech.

Dozens of people were arrested by the police in retaliation for yelling, shouting or even talking to them.  One girl was videotaped being arrested after she told an officer not to touch her as  he tried to get people to move.  A man from the neighborhood walking with his twelve year old daughter - who was not involved in the protests - tried to ask an officer questions and was told to go home or he would be arrested.  There was no public emergency or security danger that justified threatening people with arrest for watching police conduct and asking them questions. 

3) Nets are Nuts:  You cannot use large nets to conduct mass arrests of people in an urban residential neighborhood. Period.  How would you feel if you're fourteen year old daughter was walking home from school and got swept up into a net without any opportunity to explain who she is and why she was there until hours after the arrest. The use of nets as a "crowd control" measure in a residential neighborhood clearly constitutes an unreasonable seizure and the practice should be discontinued immediately. 

"Throughout that day we noticed many protesters using their mobile devices to document their own experience, sometimes for themselves or their own blogs, sometimes to share with bona fide media organizations. So, midday this past Saturday, Sept. 24, we headed to Union Square, where the Occupy Wall Streetprotesters had marched that morning from Lower Manhattan.

When we first arrived on the scene, protesters were marching along the sidewalk in unison, chanting. There was no sense of chaos. Many held video and audio recording devices, including camera phones.

However, the stream of protesters did disrupt traffic. Pedestrians wove in and out of the mass of protesters, some on their way to do Saturday errands, others who joined in for a block or two, chanting with the masses.

Sam and I were on the sidewalk observing the action. She was taking photographs, while I was juggling my reporter’s notebook and the audio recorder we’d brought along to interview protesters about how they were using media throughout the day.

As more people spilled into the street, police started to demand that protesters stay on the sidewalk. But as people seemed to be retreating from harm’s way, police began pushing the protesters. I saw police use large nets to corral people en masse. I watched as police pepper sprayed several young women in the face. (An NYPD spokesperson confirmed the use of pepper spray to Metro Focus.) I saw senior citizens and teenagers get arrested.  I saw about 20 or 30 police officers tackle people and prod them roughly with police batons."

Monday, September 26, 2011

Anonymous Goes After the Pepper Spray Cop's Personal Info - National - The Atlantic Wire

Anonymous Goes After the Pepper Spray Cop's Personal Info - National - The Atlantic Wire: "series of photos"

'via Blog this'

Anonymous Outs NYPD Officer Who Pepper-Sprayed Occupy Wall Street Protesters -- Daily Intel

Anonymous Outs NYPD Officer Who Pepper-Sprayed Occupy Wall Street Protesters -- Daily Intel:

'via Blog this'

Occopy Wall Street Releases New Videos of September 24th Macing of Peaceful Protestors.

The NYPD has accused Occupy Wall Street of editing the You Tube video of the macing of the peaceful protestors on September 24th.  They have now released three more videos that show the incident from different perspectives. 
The videos reveal important facts about the incident including:  (1) it was a very small group of protestors that were isolated by the netting in front of the garage next to the Japonica restaurant on 12th Street, (2)  There was no one else on the sidewalk on either side of the isolated protestors causing any kind of disturbance, (3)  the protestors were maced after yelling "shame, shame" at police officers making illegal arrests., and (4) the protestors are confused by what the police want them to do:  "do you want us to go into the garage," one of them asks.

Other videos and photographs released on the Occupy Wall Street website that are reproduced below reveal that many of the arrests were the result of supervisors losing their temper for no reason at all or after being verbally confronted by protestors:
This is a photo of a white-collar police officer reaching over a barricade and ripping a young woman's hair out: 
This is a video that shows a white-collar police officer tackle a young man for no reason (thirty-six seconds in).
Later, it shows a different white-collar police officer shoving two young women and a young man for no reason (one minute and two seconds in):

This is a photo of two white-collar police officers arresting a young woman for filming them:
This is a September 19th article by New York Times reporter Colin Moynihan that reveals a white-collar police officer reached over a barricade and took hold of a protester without provocation, and then lied about the details.
Here is a picture from the article, note the other two white-collar officers holding him up:
This is a video from September 20th of two white-collar police officers throwing a protester face first towards the ground: 

The NYPD Needs to be Reformed

The conduct of the NYPD - in particular the supervisors - was a complete disgrace.  New Yorkers should not tolerate this type of conduct from their police department.  There has been a lot of web commentary from blue collar New Yorkers applauding the rough treatment of the protestors who are characterized as spoiled rich kids. 

What these critics forget is that this type of police misconduct - and worse - were originally employed against working men and women in the labor movement protesting for better working conditions.  Lets see if they feel the same when the unions demonstrate and are subjected to the same treatment by NYPD.  The New York City Council should hold hearings on police conduct during the protest and officers who violated NYPD regulations, New York State laws, and the U.S. Constitution  should be held responsible for their actions.

I wasn't closely following the Occupy Wall Street movement before the September 24th protest and didn't even know there was going to be a protest that day.  I am glad I stumbled upon the mass arrests because it has opened my eyes to what the NYPD has become under Commissioner Kelly and I don't like what I'm seeing.

Occupy Wall Street Website Names Officer Responsible for Macing Peaceful Protestors

 The "Occupy Wall Street" website has named the officer allegedly responsible for the macing of the peaceful female protestors during Saturday's protest on 12th Street between 5th and University Place. He is alleged to be none other than the former commander of NYPD's 1st Precinct and a Deputy Inspector with the Manhattan South Borough. IF this information is correct he needs to not only be demoted but referred to the Manhattan DA's office for possible assault charges.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

NYPD Uses Nets and Violence in Mass Arrest of Peaceful 'Occupy Wall Street' Protestors Near Union Square on September 24th 2011

Dozens of marchers from the Occupy Wall Street demonstration were arrested.
    Photo by  Jefferson Siegel for The Daily News

I was walking my dog in my neighborhood this afternoon when I witnessed a chilling mass arrest of :occupy wall street" social justice protestors on the corner of 5th Avenue and 12th street in New York City's Greenwich Village. The protestors, who were peaceful,  were told by the police that they were in a restricted area.  I grew up on 12th Street and 5th Ave. and hadn't received the memo that it had become an area restricted to peaceful protest. 

 NYPD left them on the sidewalk without providing any medical attention.  Photo by Jefferson Siegel for News

The police were indiscriminately scooping up people using large orange netting. This is a form of crowd control similar to kettling, which is a technique usually reserved for much larger crowds. If you were within the orange net you were arrested. The police placed everyone arrested in plastic zip-tie handcuffs and seated them on the sidewalk against a wall two or three deep. I saw a number of elderly women with snow white hair among the group of people placed under arrest. 

Legal representatives from the National Lawyer's Guild were shouting to the arrestees asking for their names. The NLG legal representatives were only able to get two or three names before the police brought out a second orange net and created a barrier between the onlookers and the arrestees. 

The police then started moving the onlookers, including myself, down the street telling us that we would all be arrested if we refused to move. A large bald headed policeman from an NYPD ant-terror unit told me that if I did not move I would be arrested. When I explained to him that I lived in the neighborhood and wanted to move in the opposite direction to get to my apartment he told me that I wasn't going to get a second warning. When a second officer started walking toward me the first officer waved him off saying that I was just a "victim of circumstance." At the end of the post I've included comments from the WNYC blog including one from a man who also lives in the neighborhood and was walking with his twelve year old daughter when he was threatened with arrest for asking a police officer questions. 

As we were being herded down the street there was a plain clothes officer walking behind the bald officer with a video camera. This was just one of at least two plain clothes officers who were doing nothing but filming the protestors, as well as anyone on the street just looking at the protest. 

Many of the NYPD officers on the scene were wearing NYPD TARU insignia. TARU stands for the Technical Assistance Response Unit. TARU is the NYPD intelligence surveillance unit. They are the ones who take videos of protestors and download the images into a database that can be used to track a protestor's activity. This is done with the help of highly sophisticated facial recognition software funded by Federal spy agencies including the NSA, the CIA and DARPA. TARU's past surveillance activities have been covered by the Village Voice,  

NYPD surveillance activities - such as covert religious and race based surveillance and the routine videotaping of protests - have been subject to a three decade old consent judgment in the case of Handschu v. Special Services Division.

The consent judgment in Handshu was modified in 2002, at the request of the NYPD, who wanted increased powers to investigate potential terrorist activity following  9/11.  Once the NYPD intelligence unit was unbound from the restraints of the consent decree it partnered with the CIA and engaged in an orgy of race-based civil rights violations not seen since the days of COINTELPRO.

In 2004, in advance of the Republican National Convention,  the NYPD issued an order allowing its officers to photograph and videotape all political activity in the city without restriction. According to the NYCLU website:
The photographic and video surveillance practices conducted by the NYPD during the Republican National Convention have raised new issues in this case.
On Nov. 28, 2005, the plaintiffs filed a motion to enjoin enforcement of NYPD Interim Order 47. Order 47 establishes procedures and guidelines for the Police Department’s use of photographic and video equipment. The plaintiffs argued that Order 47 is incompatible with NYPD guidelines. In addition, class counsel sought injunctive relief on the grounds that Order 47 violated the plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights and prior Handschu judgments.
However, on Feb. 15, 2007, the District Court ruled in favor of the defendants. The court rejected class counsel’s request for an order enjoining the enforcement of Interim Order 47 on the grounds that the investigations in the question are not politically motivated. The court also stated that, since Order 47 did not constitute a First Amendment violation, it would not grant the plaintiffs’ injunctive relief.
In June 2007, the court further modified its February decision on the enforceability of the consent decree, requiring that plaintiffs show a systemic pattern of violations before the court will enjoin any Police Department policy.
On Feb. 27, 2008, the court ordered the NYPD to provide plaintiffs records of its videotaping practices. Plaintiffs sought production of these documents to help determine if the NYPD had been routinely videotaping political demonstrations in the absence of any reason to believe that criminal activity had occurred was about to occur.
In 2007, the NYPD revised its written policy by removing the broader language permitting recording of “events, actions, conditions or statements made” when “such accurate documentation is deemed potentially beneficial or useful.” The policy now mandates a “bona fide need” to tape, such as capturing a crime in progress or assessing crowd conditions.

So why, in 2011, was I videotaped by the New York City Police Department walking down a public street in my own neighborhood?  Why was I stopped from proceeding north on 5th Ave. and threatened with arrest unless I turned around and walked in the opposite direction?  What does the NYPD plan to do with their videotape of me? Am I now included in some Orwellian facial recognition database?  What's coming next?   

More important than the questions raised by my own treatment are the questions that must be answered by the police and the Mayor's office about the barbaric treatment of the peaceful protestors that were maced, assaulted and arrested for participating in a peaceful protest.  Merely speaking with the police has now become a crime  punishable by arrest and extra-judicial violence.

As I watched the police scoop up protestors in their orange nets I was reminded that the United Nation's General Assembly was in session.  Is this the example we want to set for visiting world leaders of  how a democratic society deals with peaceful political protest.?
   Is this What New Yorker's Can Expect in the Future From the NYPD? 

Comments From the WNYC News Blog:

Steve from Greenwich Village
I live in the neighborhood and was walking with my 11 year old daughter when I saw the police closing University Place. I went over there in time to see the police run up 12th street, corral a group of around 30 people on the sidewalk in a pink fence like barrier and then start arresting them. I could not see any reason why these people, walking peacefully on the sidewalk were being arrested and dragged away. I told a cop that I lived a block away and wanted to know why they were arresting all these people. He told me to leave the area and go to my home or else he would arrest me. We were just standing on the sidewalk, across the street from where the police were making the mass arrest and were about to get arrested ourselves. For the crime of standing on the sidewalk in our neighborhood!! My daughter was frightened and although I was offended by the way the police were disregarding basic rights I decided that I had better leave the area. Very disturbing.
Sep. 24 2011 07:12 PM
Robert from NYC

I was there. The protestors were corralled and trapped by an orange makeshift barrier held up by the police. Soon after, I saw kids with bleeding faces in handcuffs, as well as many who had not been arrested pouring milk on eachothers faces after being pepper-sprayed. There were some cops acting in rage, using force while the protestors held up peace signs and focused themselves on collecting the names of those being arrested.
Sep. 24 2011 05:55 PM
hope from union square
I was on the corner of 12th and I think University. There was a standoff on the sidewalk, when one policeman pulled out pepper-spray and sprayed 3 people on the sidewalk who were not in any way obstructing the police. I think even his fellow police officers seemed annoyed that he did this, and he was quickly pulled away by his colleagues. Two of the the people sprayed were left lying on the street in pain while passerbys tried to get water to flush their eyes. Police provided no medics. Eventually medics from the protesters found us and used what they said was maalox and milk to relieve their pain. It took 30-40 mins before one of them could open her eyes again. I understand arresting those who engage in civil dissobedience, but the interaction I saw was an unprovoked assault by one policeman on three women who were chanting and holding peace signs on the sidewalk. It was an assault for which likely no one will be held accountable.
Sep. 24 2011 08:17 PM