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Caught on Camera: 10 Shockingly Violent Police Assaults on Occupy Protesters

Probably 97 percent of police act professionally toward protesters. But the other 3 percent are armed and dangerous, and know that they're unlikely to be held accountable.

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The most troubling part of the video, perhaps, is the way the officer identified as Lt. Pike flourishes the weapon, like a sommelier displaying a fine wine, before deploying it at the students.

Yet the video actually has an uplifting ending. The students displayed the immense power of nonviolence by remaining calm and then telling the heavily armed police that they will allow them to leave peacefully if they so desire. And the officers do just that, slinking away chastened, it seems, by the young protesters' resolve.

Via Twitter, Boing Boing’s Xeni Jardin reports that there were 10 arrests, and one female student was hospitalized for chemical burns.

3. Senseless Violence

I recently wrote about the case of Kayvan Sabehgi:

...after a rousing, peaceful day of demonstrations culminated in the Port of Oakland being “occupied,” things once again became violent on the streets of Oakland. During that action, Kayvan Sabehgi, also a veteran of the Iraq war, ended up in intensive care with a ruptured spleen. Sabehgi told the Guardian that he was walking alone, away from the action when he ran into trouble.

What stands out in the video is that Sabehgi is merely walking backward as he talks to a group of riot police. He doesn't pose a threat, and no discernible law enforcement goal is served by attacking him – the police appear to be acting out of anger. But let's say, for the sake of argument, that they had a legitimate interest in getting him to move out of the street. After the first two baton strikes, that goal is achieved: he runs to the sidewalk. After that point, the subsequent blows appear to be unnecesary and excessive, and they sent him to the hospital with a severe injury.

4. Act of Anger 

Here are two videos depicting the same scene from New York City on September 24. There are a couple of things that happen here that are worth noting. 

In the first video, police appear to be dragging protesters who don't look like they pose a threat into the street and arresting them. At 4:35, a citizen demands that an officer furnish his badge number and gets no response. According to NYPD's own rules, “The New York City Police Department Patrol Guide, procedure 203-09 (Public Contact—General), states that officers must 'give name and shield number to anyone requesting them.' New York City’s Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings ('OATH') has issued a number of recent opinions that examine what this patrol guide procedure requires of officers. In essence, these cases have held that the patrol guide procedure imposes an 'affirmative obligation' to 'give name and shield number to anyone requesting them'; In other words, a demand for a name or badge number demands an 'affirmative response.'”

The short video below shows the same arrest of the man holding a flag depicted toward the end of the previous one. It's clear that the officers target him out of anger; shirtless, he obviously doesn't possess a weapon or represent a threat. It appears that a “white shirt” is simply infuriated by him holding up the flag and shouting, “Is this what you're about?” After being taken down roughly, an officer holds down his neck with a knee, and then gets up and punches another protester.

Police are trained not to respond to verbal insults – citizens have a constitutional right to say even very rude things to police officers. 

5. Just Spraying Everyone 

The media, by and large, accept the premise that police are justified attacking a large crowd of peaceful protesters with pepper spray or teargas if one or two become violent. It's an odd belief – imagine if the same tactics were applied to drunken fans at college football games.