Tag Archives: police brutality

Occupying the Occupy Narrative

The title describes what I’ve done all day.  I don’t recommend it.

“Why hasn’t the ‘Occupy Movement’ died out yet?” I asked myself yesterday.  You see, I’m a rube.  Once news about the crime, violence, and general mayhem started trickling (then pouring) in at a steady pace, I figured the Occupiers would pack up and go home.

In the early days, the mainstream media tidily airbrushed the movement, but surely they couldn’t keep that up.  Not when words like “rape” and “murder” began popping up.  The media would be forced to ignore Occupy.  Without media attention, the whole affair would wither and die.

So I thought.

Analyzing news coverage is harder than it used to be, thanks to Google’s elimination of the “timeline” search feature.  Still, I found more than enough to fill a longer-than-usual post.  Settle in with some popcorn, readers.  Today, I googled “occupy.”

My search for current news produced predictable results.  The top four hits are for larger news entities, whose articles still sound like a whole lotta airbrushing:

  1. Occupy Wall Street Plans Return to Spotlight – But in What Form?
  2. Occupy’s Six Month Anniversary Promises a Revival
  3. Legal or Not, ‘Occupy’ Movement Comes to Fort Greene Park on Sunday
  4. Occupy Movement Seeks Renewed Physical Presence

One has to click onto local news, or a blog networking site Gothamist, or the town hall site Gather, or even (gasp) Faux News to get the latest sordid details.  You know, details like the Great Poopy Dumping, the Clever NYPD “Piggy” Taunting, and the Artistic Renderings on Stupid Boring Monuments.

Of course, Andrew Breitbart’s site tells it like it is:  Media Ignores Occupy’s Violent Hijacking of Trayvon Martin.  This hijacking occurred on Wednesday, March 21, when Hoodie Marchers fused with Occupiers.  Large crowds became “increasingly raucous.”  One guy walked over (thereby damaging) a slowly moving car.  (How frightening for the driver and any passengers.)  Others removed barricades.  A couple of glass bottles got thrown at NYPD when they cleared Union Square’s plaza.

Folks not informed enough to follow The Bigs, however, are not likely to hear these details.  They are more likely to read this bland article on Yahoo, where the fecal matter is discreetly buried at the bottom of the page.  They may see this photo on Yahoo, depicting the conflict between NYPD and Occupy as a mild verbal debate.  Possibly, the public at large will stumble onto AP’s announcement of Occupy’s upcoming “spring training:”

“Activists inspired by Occupy Wall Street are gearing up for spring training. They say they will teach thousands of people to lead nonviolent protests aimed at reinvigorating the spirit of the movement against economic inequality.”

Uh-huh.

Now let’s look at the other side of the coin.  The Occupiers themselves are not using mild terms.  No sirree:

” . . . we are fearless in the face of state violence. . . . the police department broke up a peaceful Spring celebration in Liberty Square by kicking, punching and beating . . . .  Since then, NYPD has conducted nightly raids . . . to enforce arbitrary rules as an excuse to harass, intimidate, brutalize, and arrest those gathered peacefully . . . .”

This violence allegedly occurred on Saturday, March 17th, when Occupiers attempted to reoccupy Zuccotti Park in honor of their six-month anniversary.  (Cute.  Like teenagers in love, they can’t wait a whole year to celebrate.)

I say “alleged” because the video used to back up this claim is curiously devoid of kicking, punching, and beating.  (Also, it ate up seven minutes of my life that I can never get back.)  The police attempt to restrain a man.  He resists, and in the ensuing shuffle he careens into a door hard enough to crack the glass.  It’s impossible to tell who instigated what from this video, however.

The overall impression is that of a crowd trying to antagonize and provoke the police.

The Occupiers also claim Cecily McMillan as a victim of police brutality that same night.  A video at the link began with some real fightin’ words from protester Jen Waller:

“It is when we speak out against the 1%, and defy them, by fighting for public space that we are brutalized.”

Ms. Waller spoke of “bloodthirsty cops” who “stomped on their faces” at Zuccotti Park.  Yikes!  The Democracy Now! lady then interviewed a bruise-brandishing Ms. McMillan (who has either a broken or bruised rib, depending on who is speaking) ostensibly to expose all this violent, face-stomping bloodthirstiness with a little dose of actual, you know, evidence:

“I have an open case so I can’t talk about it, and I’m sure you can tell that it would be difficult to remember some things . . . .”

Or, not.

Well, scene footage is featured in the background of the interview, so maybe that has some evidence in it . . . hey, what?  The footage stopped playing.  At 6:40, the interviewer says to Ms. McMillan:

“We’ve also turned off the monitors because you said you couldn’t see the footage.  Why?”

“My friends have told me that I might want to refrain from watching because some of them have cried or even gotten sick when watching, and my therapist has said that if I were to watch . . . it might trigger further psychological damage.”

Whoo boy.  The footage must be awful.  As a public service, I have found, viewed, and embedded it below.  All six minutes and forty-three seconds.  Ms. McMillan is absolutely right:  this video features frightening and sickening behavior.

Just not the behavior of the police.

Let me guide you through it.

The police were arresting and loading onto a bus all protesters that refused to leave their new Zuccotti encampment.  Ms. McMillan apparently has a seizure.  She hits the pavement at 1:15.  You can’t see her, but you can see the police reaction.  Within the next ten seconds, she comes into view.  She is twitching and jerking on the ground.  The crowd gets angry at the way policemen are standing about.

By 2:33 (a whopping 93 seconds later), the crowd is screaming things like “you f***ing scumbag!”  At 3:10 they are screaming “call 911!” A policeman answers, “we’re on the phone ma’am; it’s already happening.”  At 3:14 they carry her off the street and to the sidewalk.  At 3:23 you can see that her hands are no longer cuffed.

4:02 is the point at which the crowd, quite simply, goes berserk.  For the next minute or two, they unleash a vile display of hatred and rage:  “f***ing animals!”  “these c**ks**ker f***ing police!”  “f***ing scumbag mother f***ers!”  “you incompetent mother f***ers!”

And the piece day la resistance?  The threat at 5:14:

“. . . check it out on the website!  Your faces!  And your family’s faces!  On the internet!  At the pizza shop!  At the bar!  Twenty four hours a day!”

 

What do the police officers do in the face of this barrage?  Nothing.  The stony, stoic looks on their faces made me feel both sadness and pride.  They have to just stand there and take it.  At least they are taking it like men.

The only other useful footage I found was another Democracy Now! report, which at 1:07 briefly shows Ms. McMillan rousing from her unconscious state on the sidewalk.  She looks more like a lady with a bad case of vapors than a victim of police brutality.  (If you click over to see it, be sure and stop viewing by 1:43, or you’ll get an eyeful of Michael Moore.)

Well, there you have it in a nutshell:  a frightening and volatile group that will continue provoking law enforcement as long as they are allowed, and a mainstream media that will continue to overlook and airbrush this group’s antics no matter what.

Not a good combination.  After reading and watching the Occupiers’ own words and actions for the better part of a day, I am well and truly disturbed.  These folks seem comfortable with lawlessness.  They seem comfortable demonizing a faceless, unknown Other.  They unblinkingly demand to be more equal than everyone else:  “This is god**** our park!  This is our park!  The real people’s park!”

If the situation is allowed to fester indefinitely, Occupiers will find the breaking point they seek.  Let’s just hope that local news reports and the blogosphere provide enough daylight to disinfect the whole dirty, sorry mess first.

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