More on How Mayors and Police Chiefs Coordinated Crackdowns
Today,the AP has a few more details on how the mayors of 18 cities "informally" coordinated and swapped advice for clearing out those pesky Occupy tents, including warning each other that the presence of homeless, the addicted and the ill would be a "tipping point."
They also made it clear over conference calls that the whole "leaderless" thing was a big pain in the butt for law enforcement.
But a particular point discussed was the necessity of raiding in secret and not setting eviction deadlines, to ensure that--as happened in New York--there wouldn't be time for supporters to mass in resistance. Sneaky.
Mayors of mid-sized and large cities held similar calls twice last week, one of which was organized by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.Portland Mayor Sam Adams said the primary issue among the mayors was how to get a message to a movement that didn't have any clear leadership. "A lot of time was spent on how do you effectively communicate with a group that doesn't have a leader?" Adams said.
Some departments didn't have to rely on the conference calls. Like most police agencies, they are constantly exchanging information.
Los Angeles police Cmdr. Andrew Smith said his department gets updates as much as several times a day from various sources, including other law enforcement agencies and media outlets that are monitoring the Occupy protests.
Some of the information shared among law enforcement officials included how many people are involved in the protests, if there have been any arrests and if demonstrators are planning any events. Smith said he was unaware of other agencies' plans to evict protesters.
In New York, where police cleared out a tent camp in a park near Wall Street that had become the center of the movement when it sprang up several months ago, authorities declined to discuss details of their talks with other agencies.
At Naked Capitalism, Yves Smith brings to light an important point that this sort of "national coordination" violates Americans ability to oversee their local government's actions:
Reader Richard Kline has pointed out that one of the de facto protections of American freedoms is that policing is local, accountable to elected officials at a level of government where voters matter.
National coordination vitiates the notion that policing is responsive to and accountable to the governed.
Meanwhile, the Financial Timesnotes that the trend of crackdowns is worldwide.
In London, a spokesman for the City of London Corporation, the local authority, said: “We paused legal action for two weeks for talks with those in the camp on how to shrink the extent of the tents and to set a departure date – but got nowhere.
“So, sadly, now they have rejected a reasonable offer to let them stay until the new year, it’s got to be the courts.”
The London camp by the steps of St Paul's Cathedral led to a showdown with the church that culminated in the resignation of a senior cleric who opposed proposals to remove them.
In Zurich, 31 protesters were briefly detained after peacefully resisting the clearance of the Swiss city’s Lindenhof square on Tuesday, which they have occupied for a month, police said.
According to Twitter, the London camp is being threatened with eviction now, and will probably suffer a police crackdown imminently.