Police Brutality Increasing Against Occupy

From Oakland to St. Louis, police are breaking bones.

Police across the country are increasingly using extreme violence against occupiers. The weekly SF Bay Guardian recently revealed that Oakland police have received numerous complaints of excessive force. In a complaint from Oct. 25, an occupier says that “officers found a person alone, beat him, and broke his knee.” A complaint from a Jan. 7 march says that a police officer kneed an occupier in the back “causing his spine to break.” In New York City, media reports that an occupier’s rib was broken on the six-month anniversary of OWS. When the wounded occupier began having a seizure, she was denied medical attention while a crowd watched in horror. When occupiers from across the middle of America gathered in St. Louis, Missouri for the Occupy the Midwest regional summit, they too were also brutally beat back. Tazers were used, a dozen arrests were made, and several occupiers were led away with their faces covered in blood.

In the following eyewitness account, an occupier describes how it feels to be in confronted by extreme police brutality:

“For those that have never witnessed police violence, I want to make something clear. Nothing about this situation followed the prescription of an arrest – this media image of a “You are under arrest. You have the right…” is not what happens in real life. A friend said it best, what happened Thursday night was some gangsta shit. It was angry, vicious people jumping unarmed protesters and bystanders. It was an attack. It was intentional brutality. They did not follow any procedure of kettling, “less lethal” tactics, etc. Their actions were directly targeting individuals and beating the shit out of them. It was so fucked up.

I am traumatized. I am having flashbacks, and the more I try to make the motions of my mundane life the more vivid they become. Work, school, friendly conversations all seem completely devoid of meaning. All I can do is tell the story of my experience and force the people I surround myself with to question the society we participate in. I am so fucking angry.”

Read the whole story at and join the discussion below on how Occupy can overcome increasing police brutality.

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71 comments on the article “Police Brutality Increasing Against Occupy”

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For Christ's sake. If I want too hear people spout off reams and reams of their own personal epistemology, I'll go to the friggin' corner Church's service.


I'm a fan of Chris Hedges. This is a quote from a lovely speech he gave at Lafayette Park before getting arrested in front of the White House. Nobody asked you to come to this message board with your negativity. My attitude toward people who are critical of things that inspire me is this -- You can take your criticism and you can shove it.


Aaaaand what do YOU want to talk about, laughing boy? What are your pearls of wisdom in this situation? Got anything for us from Winston Churchill?


Hope is always non-violent? If hope is non-violent then why am I hoping that Barry will get rectal cancer?

Throughout human history each side in a war always has relentless hope that their side will win. Sometimes the bad guy wins, sometimes the good guy. Usually the good guy wins because the people on the side of the good guy fight with more passion because they know that their quality of life is on the line. But make no mistake, war has much HOPE driving it.


Don't forget Vietnam protests.
Don't forget Kent State.
Don't forget the fire hoses and dogs against MLK protests.
It is a repeating pattern of oppression.
there is enough critical mass in NUMBERS
political will to change.


King’s 1963 march was called
“March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.”
It was organized around a list of demands;
covering everything from desegregating schools
to a higher minimum wage.

… the things Ghandi and King fought for and won
were things that honest, reasonable people
overwhelming agree are right.

The civil rights marches were disciplined and informed by a commitment that is lacking in current marches. The civil rights movement was populist and organizers worked with people from all walks of life. They spent time with a lot of people who were different from themselves, in a lot of settings for years, before the marches started.

There are, after all, a bunch of other tools for change: boycotting, voter registration, sit-ins, strikes, pamphleteer-ing, arguing legal cases, creating legal cases, and the successful examples listed above (Gandhi and King both being examples of this), used protests ALONG with a variety of other mechanisms during a long and often frustrating process of change.

MLK and Ghandi had it easy. Both had large, semi-violent networks capable of playing ‘bad cop’ to their ‘good cop’. Without that, neither would have achieved anything.

Obama told the CEOs that he was the only thing standing between them an the pitchforks (so it was time to make some concessions). With the very real threat of violence by an angry mob (and the fact that the majority of the populace would probably not care much if the CEOs were beaten up) it would have been a very different meeting.

How did Hitler create an enormous movement? Through simple slogans charged with the emotion of the day...ANGER.


It seems to me there is a disconnection here. At the height of the anti segregation movement in the 1950's there was not yet a more militant, or especially violent African American response. Even Malcolm X, admittedly a militant did not promote violence to achieve political goals, but only for self defense, and the Black Panthers had not yet appeared on the scene. So I don't see a "bad cop" here. By the time the Panthers did appear, the civil rights movement had waned, having achieved their major goal of ending "legalized" segregation in the South, something even Dr. King thought would tale decades, yet was actually accomplished much sooner.

I don't think the state fears street violence of the sort we are seeing, demonstrations in the sixties were much larger and sometimes more violent, yet this gave Nixon his law and order plank which he used to consolidate power and clamp down on descent. The riots in Chicago in 68 helped him win the election. So street violence only plays into their hands. King realized this and the civil rights movement was very disciplined, had clear leaders who were on the front lines (not in their basements blogging) and their was no "diversity of tactics".

Occupy's major problem, in my opinion, is it's attitude, lack of discipline, it's ritual decapitation of leaders and it's refusal to practice non violence in the way that King and Gandhi did. Even when being beaten by police, demonstrators expressed love and respect for the police as human beings, and did not complain about how they were treated. It was precisely this police violence which made segregation possible, and they sought to expose it by confronting it and by their non participation in it. Occupy, on the other hand, has dehumanized the police, complained about their treatment instead of taking the blows with dignity in a manor employing what King described as the redemptive power of suffering. For them, police violence was to be expected, endured and exposed by the courage and dignity of the marchers.

In contrast, Occupy seems unruly, undisciplined and at times incoherent. Occupy Wall street spent a fortune on bail while the civil rights marchers often refused bail, which by the way was standard procedure in the anti nuclear weapons testing movement in which I was a participant. Where is the willingness to sacrifice? Does Occupy expect this to be a walk in the park and then complain when it is not? I would add softness to the list of traits that Occupy has shown along with my other criticisms. And I'm not commenting from the sidelines here. I was arrested 6 times in the last three years on coal mining sites in West Virginia and spent 4 months in jail in South Dakota protesting acid rain. Until Occupy can adopt this attitude that was so well expressed in the anti nuke movement, they will continue to be marginalized. The problem with Occupancy's insistence in reinventing the wheel is that unless it is exactly like a wheel, it won't work. In my experience, non violence works, but it's not a walk in the park. It, and requires the same discipline and dedication that is required from a soldier and is a struggle no less perilous than warfare. This is what Gandhi taught us.


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