Phawker

You Report, We Decide

News, Media, Politics, Music, Culture, Gossip, In The 215 And The Great Beyond

AMERIKA: This Is What A Police State Looks Like

Shepard Fairey Police Brutality_1.jpg

GLENN GREENWALD: The now-viral video of police officers in their Robocop costumes sadistically pepper-spraying peaceful, sitting protesters at UC-Davis (details here) shows a police state in its pure form. It’s easy to be outraged by this incident as though it’s some sort of shocking aberration, but that is exactly what it is not. The Atlantic‘s Garance Franke-Ruta adeptly demonstrates with an assemblage of video how common such excessive police force has been in response to the Occupy protests. Along those lines, there are several points to note about this incident and what it reflects…MORE

BOING BOING: Lt. Jon Pike sprayed them at close range with military-grade pepper spray, in a punitive manner. Pike knew the students by name from Thursday night when they “occupied” a campus plaza. The students offered Pike food and coffee and chatted with him and other officers while setting up tents. On Friday, UC Davis chancellor Linda Katehi told students they had to remove their #OWS tents for unspecified “health and safety” reasons. Move or we’re going to shoot you,” Pike is reported to have yelled at one student right before delivering pepper spray. Then, turning to his fellow officers and brandishing the can in the air, “Don’t worry, I’m going to spray these kids down.” MORE

THE ATLANTIC: Junior faculty member Nathan Brown, an assistant professor of English at Davis, says what actually happened was even worse than what’s shown on the videos, and has called on U.C. Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi to resign — a call that has since last night become a petition. His description: Without any provocation whatsoever, other than the bodies of these students sitting where they were on the ground, with their arms linked, police pepper-sprayed students. Students remained on the ground, now writhing in pain, with their arms linked. What happened next? Police used batons to try to push the students apart. Those they could separate, they arrested, kneeling on their bodies and pushing their heads into the ground. Those they could not separate, they pepper-sprayed directly in the face, holding these students as they did so. When students covered their eyes with their clothing, police forced open their mouths and pepper-sprayed down their throats. Several of these students were hospitalized. Others are seriously injured. One of them, forty-five minutes after being pepper-sprayed down his throat, was still coughing up blood. MORE

PEPPER SPRAYED PROTESTER: I’d pulled my beanie hat over my eyes, to protect my eyes. I received a lot of pepper spray in my throat. I vomited twice, right away, then spent the next hour or two dry heaving. Someone said they saw him spray down my throat intentionally, but I was so freaked out, and I was blinded by my hat, so I can’t verify. I did get a large quantity of pepper spray in my lungs. Another girl near me who has asthma had an attack triggered by the pepper spray, and she was taken to the hospital.He used military grade pepper spray on us. It’s supposed to be used at a minimum of 15 feet. But he sprayed us at point blank range. Another student, 20 years old, who was sprayed and then arrested—instead of receiving medical care for the pepper spray exposure, he was made to wait in the back of a police car. His hands were sprayed, and he had intense burning in his hands throughout the evening while he was being held. He asked a police officer what they could do to stop it, and they refused to give any advice. MORE

RELATED: The US Congress and the Department of Agriculture have collectively agreed that pepper spray, an inflammatory agent commonly used in riot control and personal self-defense, is now publicly recognized as a member of the vegetable food group. With this declaration, pepper spray now joins the ranks of carrots, arugula, chickpeas, and broccoli as an official FDA-approved vegetable. Pepper spray’s popularity saw an unprecedented spike since the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations began in New York City’s Zuccotti Park in September. These mostly peaceful protests sparked a wider ‘Occupy’ movement that has had demonstrators globally consuming more pepper spray than ever before in part due to the help of riot control officers. For example, a video of passive students at UC Davis went viral yesterday, in which protestors are depicted absorbing mass quantities of pepper spray as a campus police officer casually showers them with the chemical compound as though he were Lysoling his bathroom after a trip to Krispy Kreme. MORE

MUST SEE: Casually Pepper Spray Everything Memes

UPDATE: The University of California, Davis, said Sunday that two police officers had been placed on administrative leave after using pepper spray on seated protesters at the campus on Friday during a demonstration aligned with Occupy Wall Street. MORE

ROBERT HASS, UC BERKELY PROFESSER, FORMER POET LAUREATE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: My wife was speaking to the young deputies about the importance of nonviolence and explaining why they should be at home reading to their children, when one of the deputies reached out, shoved my wife in the chest and knocked her down. […] My wife bounced nimbly to her feet. I tripped and almost fell over her trying to help her up, and at that moment the deputies in the cordon surged forward and, using their clubs as battering rams, began to hammer at the bodies of the line of students. It was stunning to see. They swung hard into their chests and bellies. Particularly shocking to me — it must be a generational reaction — was that they assaulted both the young men and the young women with the same indiscriminate force. If the students turned away, they pounded their ribs. If they turned further away to escape, they hit them on their spines. None of the police officers invited us to disperse or gave any warning. We couldn’t have dispersed if we’d wanted to because the crowd behind us was pushing forward to see what was going on. The descriptor for what I tried to do is “remonstrate.” I screamed at the deputy who had knocked down my wife, “You just knocked down my wife, for Christ’s sake!” A couple of students had pushed forward in the excitement and the deputies grabbed them, pulled them to the ground and cudgeled them, raising the clubs above their heads and swinging. The line surged. I got whacked hard in the ribs twice and once across the forearm. Some of the deputies used their truncheons as bars and seemed pike_pepper_spraying_line.jpgto be trying to use minimum force to get people to move. And then, suddenly, they stopped, on some signal, and reformed their line. Apparently a group of deputies had beaten their way to the Occupy tents and taken them down. They stood, again immobile, clubs held across their chests, eyes carefully meeting no one’s eyes, faces impassive. MORE

THE COUNCIL OF UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA FACULTY ASSOCIATIONS: This week, we have seen excessive force used against non-violent protesters at UC Berkeley, UCLA, CSU Long Beach, and UC Davis. Student, faculty and staff protesters have been pepper-sprayed directly in the eyes and mouth, beaten and shoved by batons, dragged by the arms while handcuffed, and submitted to other forms of excessive force. Protesters have been hospitalized because of injuries inflicted during these incidents. The violence was unprovoked, disproportional and excessive. We are outraged by the excessive and unnecessary force used against peaceful protests. We are outraged that the administrations of UC campuses are using police brutality to suppress dissent, free speech and peaceful assembly. MORE

RELATED: Saturday night, the students held a very poignant silent protest as Katehi walked out to her car: According to the person recording the video, Lee Fang, Katehi had scheduled a 4pm press conference that was set to last an hour. During the press conference, protesters gathered outside the building and demanded to be heard, at which point Katehi refused to leave for several hours. Students eventually created a large pathway through which Katehi could leave and chanted “We are peaceful” until the Chancellor agreed to walk out to her car. As you can see, the protesters’ silence is absolutely deafening. MORE

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA AT DAVIS FACULTY ASSOCIATION: The DFA Board calls for the immediate resignation of Chancellor Katehi. The Chancellor’s authorization of the use of police force to suppress the protests by students and community members speaking out on behalf of our university and public higher education generally represents a gross failure of leadership. Given the recent use of excessive force by police against “occupy” protestors at UC Berkeley and elsewhere, the Chancellor must have anticipated that, by authorizing police action, she was effectively authorizing their use of excessive force against peaceful UCD student protestors. The Chancellor’s role is to enable open and free inquiry, not to suppress it. We also call for a policy that will end the practice of forcibly removing non-violent student, faculty, staff, and community protestors by police on the UC Davis campus. The University of California should be taking a leadership role in encouraging the exercise of free speech, not in suppressing it. MORE

RELATED: Last week, UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau issued a statement justifying the brutal use of police batons on student protesters like this: “It is unfortunate that some protesters chose to obstruct the police by linking arms and forming a human chain to prevent the police from gaining access to the tents. This is not non-violent civil disobedience… the police were forced to use their batons.” MORE

http://i552.photobucket.com/albums/jj321/jpmassar/mlk-link-arms.jpg

 HUFFINGTON POST: Three years ago there was a very similar occupation of the quad at Columbia University in New York City by students protesting the way the expansion of the university was displacing residents in the neighborhood. There was a core group of twenty or thirty students there around the clock. At the high points there were 200-300. The administration met with the students and held serious discussions about their concerns. And after a couple of weeks the protest had run its course and the students took the tents down. The most severe action that was even contemplated on the part of the university was to expel students who were hunger striking, under a rule that allows the school to expel students who are considered a threat to themselves. But no one was actually expelled. Remember when universities used to expel students instead of spray them with chemical agents? We should also note that at Columbia, a private university, the campus police carry no arms and no pepper spray. This is what Columbia University police look like when arresting students:

2011-11-19-Columbia.jpg

This is what the police at Davis, a public university, looked like yesterday:
2011-11-19-Davis.jpg

It is worth noting that in the Columbia photo, the one without helmets, guns, or chemical assault weapons, the student is being arrested for selling cocaine. In the Davis photo the students were defending public education. Could Chancellor Katehi please explain what “serious health and safety concerns” were posed at Davis that were absent at Columbia? The only thing that involved a “serious health and safety concern” at Davis yesterday was the pepper spray. I just spoke with a doctor who works for the California Department of Corrections, who participated in a recent review of the medical literature on pepper spray for the CDC. They concluded that the medical consequences of pepper spray are poorly understood but involve serious health risk. As with chili peppers, some people tolerate pepper spray well, while others have extreme reactions. It is not known why this is the case. As a result, if a doctor sees pepper spray used in a prison, he or she is required to file a written report. And regulations prohibit the use of pepper spray on inmates in all circumstances other than the immediate threat of violence. If a prisoner is seated, by definition the use of pepper spray is prohibited. Any prison guard who used pepper spray on a seated prisoner would face immediate disciplinary review for the use of excessive force. Even in the case of a prison riot in which inmates use extreme violence, once a prisoner sits down he or she is not considered to be an imminent threat. And if prison guards go into a situation where the use of pepper spray is considered likely, they are required to have medical personnel nearby to treat the victims of the chemical agent. Apparently, in the state of California felons incarcerated for violent crimes have rights that students at public universities do not. MORE

***

***

NORMAN STAMPER, FORMER SEATTLE CHIEF OF POLICE: Seattle might have served as a cautionary tale, but instead, US police forces have become increasingly militarized, and it’s showing in cities everywhere […] The paramilitary bureaucracy and the culture it engenders—a black-and-white world in which police unions serve above all to protect the brotherhood—is worse today than it was in the 1990s. Such agencies inevitably view protesters as the enemy. And young people, poor people and people of color will forever experience the institution as an abusive, militaristic force—not just during demonstrations but every day, in neighborhoods across the country. […] In the interest of “discipline,” too many police bosses treat their frontline officers as dependent children, which helps explain why many of them behave more like juvenile delinquents than mature, competent professionals. It also helps to explain why persistent, patterned misconduct, including racism, sexism, homophobia, brutality, perjury and corruption, do not go away, no matter how many blue-ribbon panels are commissioned or how much training is provided.External political factors are also to blame, such as the continuing madness of the drug war. Last year police arrested 1.6 million nonviolent drug offenders. In New York City alone almost 50,000 people (overwhelmingly black, Latino or poor) were busted for possession of small amounts of marijuana—some of it, we have recently learned, planted by narcotics officers. The counterproductive response to 9/11, in which the federal government began providing military equipment and training even to some of the smallest rural departments, has fueled the militarization of police forces. Everyday policing is characterized by a SWAT mentality, every other 911 call a military mission. What emerges is a picture of a vital public-safety institution perpetually at war with its own people. […] As police officers help to safeguard the power and profits of the 1 percent, police officers are part of the 99 percent. MORE

GLENN GRENWALD: Although excessive police force has long been a reflexive response to American political protests, two developments in the post-9/11 world have exacerbated this. The first is that the U.S. Government — in the name of Terrorism — has aggressively para-militarized the nation’s domestic police forces by lavishing them with countless military-style weapons and other war-like technologies, training them in war-zone military tactics, and generally imposing a war mentality on them. Arming domestic police forces with para-military weaponry will ensure their systematic use even in the absence of a Terrorist attack on U.S. soil; they will simply find other, increasingly permissive uses for those weapons. Responding to peaceful protests and other expressions of growing citizenry unrest with brute force is a direct by-product of what we’ve allowed to be done to America’s domestic police forces in the name of the War on Terror (and, before that, in the name of the War on Drugs). MORE

***

PREVIOUSLY: Governor Ronald Reagan had been publicly critical of university administrators for tolerating student demonstrations at the Berkeley Reagan_Guv.jpgcampus, and he had received enormous popular support for his 1966 gubernatorial campaign promise to crack down on what was perceived as the generally lax attitude at California’s public universities. Reagan called the Berkeley campus “a haven for communist sympathizers, protesters and sex deviants.” Reagan considered the creation of the park a direct leftist challenge to the property rights of the university, and he found in it an opportunity to fulfill his campaign promise. Governor Reagan overrode Chancellor Heyns’ May 6 promise that nothing would be done without warning, and on Thursday, 15 May 1969 at 4:30 a.m., he sent 300 California Highway Patrol and Berkeley police officers into People’s Park. The officers cleared an 8-block area around the park while a large section of what had been planted was destroyed and an 8-foot (2.4 m) tall perimeter chain-link wire fence was installed to keep people out and to prevent the planting of more trees, grass, flowers and shrubs. MORE

*

RELATED: May 1969 was the low point in the relationship between Reagan and UC Berkeley. Students and activists had begun an attempt to transform a vacant plot of university property into “People’s Park.” Attempting to head off the activists, the university engaged a fencing company, accompanied by 250 police, to erect a chain-link fence around the land at 4 a.m. on May 15, 1969. Five hours later, a rally was called on Sproul Plaza to protest the action. Resource, a current UC Berkeley reference guide for new students, relates the story of how Reagan intervened, sending in the National Guard: “The rally, which drew 3,000 people, soon turned into a riot, as the crowd moved down Telegraph (Ave.) towards the park. That day, known as Bloody Thursday, three students suffered punctured lungs, another a shattered leg, 13 people were hospitalized with shotgun wounds, and one police officer was stabbed. James Rector, who was watching the riot from a rooftop, was shot by police gunfire; he died four days later.berkeleyinthe60s_480_1.jpg“At the request of the Berkeley mayor, Governor Ronald Reagan declared a state of emergency and sent 2,200 National Guard troops into Berkeley. Some of these guardsmen were even Cal students. At least one young man had participated in the riots, been shot at by police, gotten patched up, and then returned to his dorm to find a notice to report for guard duty. In the following days approximately 1,000 people were arrested: 200 were booked for felonies, and 500 were taken to Santa Rita jail.” From the standpoint of campus administrators attempting to manage the situation, Reagan’s actions were counterproductive. Said Cheit, “The campus and other academics were appalled that the Guard came in, that tear gas had been sprayed on campus from a helicopter. Sending in the Guard was quite peremptory. There were local and campus police available. The Guard, in some ways, inflamed the situation. Within the administration, this was considered provocative. To the outside observer, it might have appeared justifiable. To those of us who were trying to control the situation, it seemed to exacerbate it.” MORE

PETITION: Calling for the resignation of Chancellor Katehi and Lt. John Pike

PREVIOUSLY: This Is What A Police State Looks Like 

PHAWKER: So is this…

THE NATION: New York doc fimmaker Sam Black just sent me link to video he just posted to YouTube — from inside NYC jail at 1 Police Plaza, while handcuffed and just before phone taken away, on Thursday, after his arrest, with fellow OWSers waiting to be booked  chanting, “All day all week occupy Wall St.”  Amazing.  He says he was not released for 14 hours.  Black has worked on several well-known docs, including “Client 9″ and “Casino Jack.”  Love this in his email to me:  “I am just happy it came out decent since I was  filming backwards with my hands behind my back.”  MORE

ANN COULTER: “Remember the lesson from my book: It just took a few shootings at Kent State to shut that down for good.” MORE

THE GUARDIAN: Protester and three-tour Iraq War veteran Kayvan Sabehgi was beaten by Oakland police during the Occupy protest’s general strike on 2 November. Sabehgi, who was ‘completely peaceful’, according to witnesses, was left with a lacerated spleen 

jeffdeeney1.jpgDEENEY: “Oh man, almost just got locked up by Camden’s finest, dude totally pinned me with his squad car & threatened to take me in.” That I was stopped and almost arrested for being in a high drug-and-crime area may seem somewhat like an anticlimax. How else are the cops and the dealers supposed to explain the presence of a white guy in his thirties casing the neighborhood? Yet it was surprising to me because in many years of being deeply involved professionally in these neighborhoods, I had never before been detained and interrogated by the police (tailed a couple times, but not stopped). I wasn’t doing anything illegal, but my very presence there was sufficient to place me under “reasonable suspicion.” MORE

[Slashdot] [Digg] [Reddit] [del.icio.us] [Facebook] [Technorati] [Google] [StumbleUpon]

One Response to “AMERIKA: This Is What A Police State Looks Like”

  1. Allan Smithee Says:

    The Pepper Spraying Cop Meme

Leave a Reply


Via BuzzFeed


Check out Ticket Liquidator's Live Toast blog, it's one of the coolest company blogs out there. Not just your usual candy-coated array of dead-end zzzzzzzzz inducing rubbish, Live Toast brings you all the funniest and wackiest original content that you won't see anywhere else on the web. Plus, Ticket Liquidator's team will bring you lots of other articles on concerts, sports and music, including news on ticket prices, plus articles about cool music from firsthand perspectives. All in all Ticket Liquidator is evolving, into a new kind of ticket company. And leaving the rest behind...