There Will Be a Protest to Protest the Treatment of Occupy Wall Street Protesters


Occupy Wall Street is now in its 12th day. This morning brought another march on Wall Street. In other cities, similar efforts are springing up. And, there are now efforts to protest the treatment the protesters have gotten from the NYPD -- most dramatically and media-attention-getting, the pepper-spraying of several women who were being corralled by netting. We spoke to Alex Vitale, a CUNY professor who, with Penny Lewis, has organized a demonstration "against police attacks targeting Occupy Wall Street." The event is scheduled for Friday at 5:30 p.m., at One Police Plaza.

In a press release Vitale issued today, he says that more than 1,000 people, including "dozens of trade union leaders, academics, writers, students, and other New Yorkers" are expected on Friday, to communicate their disagreement with how protests are handled in New York City and, ultimately, to attempt to get "the mayor put together a commission to look at the right way to handle protests." (Currently, there are 275 who have said they will attend on the event's Facebook page.)

Vitate writes,

On September 24th, members of Occupy Wall Street marched to Union Square, and were subsequently met with extreme police violence, including violent arrests of non-violent protesters and pepper-spraying people in police custody.

We are outraged by these police attacks. At the worst protestors were guilty of a minor traffic disruption, which in no way warranted the excessive use of force witnessed on numerous videos. This use of force serves to criminalize dissent and intimidate potential participants.

We call on the NYPD to stop treating dissent as a criminal activity and to acknowledge the legitimacy of non-violent protest--even when it is disruptive. We call on them to end their unreasonably restrictive practices that undermine the very nature of free assembly, such as the use of protest pens, deployment of excessive numbers of officers directly surrounding demonstrations, subdividing of crowds, bag searches, and denials of permits.

As for the rather meta-nature of protesting the treatment of protesters, Vitale told us, "There are people who are maybe supportive in very general terms of the encampment but didn't feel so directly connected or inspired by that style of protest. So they weren't likely to wander down to Zuccotti Park and hang out with people, but they do feel a connection with and support for what's going down out there. When they saw the gross reaction of the police, I think people experienced two things: 1) The feeling that this protest that we support is under assault and needs to be defended, and 2) There's such a history of police overreaction to protests, either over-the-top micromanagement and crushing the spirit of protesters -- or the gross acts of misconduct, like with the 2003 Anti Iraq War protest, in which people were trampled by horses and injured with pepper spray, and the illegal arrests of more than a thousand people during the Republican National Convention in 2004."

Lewis and Vitale both serve on the Executive Council PSC-CUNY, and decided to organize their protest after hearing from people that they wanted to "do something." Along with the event's Facebook page, they have a blog, Solidarity With OWS.

With regard to the pepper-spraying on Saturday, Vitale told us, "If people are on the sidewalk surrounded by orange mesh, they're in police custody. There is no way [the NYPD] was following NYPD pepper-spray guidelines, which are that they can use it to protect themselves or a third person from bodily injury. It's an intermediate use of force, for protection, to effect a lawful arrest (if someone has to be subdued and is holding a weapon, to bring someone under control)."

NYPD Spokesman Paul Browne's comment on the incident was that the officer had used the spray "appropriately":

"Pepper spray was used once," he added, "after individuals confronted officers and tried to prevent them from deploying a mesh barrier -- something that was edited out or otherwise not captured in the video."

Vitale says of Occupy Wall Street itself, "I've been down a couple times to check it out. I think it's a new generation of young activists who are trying to figure out how to exert some influence over this screwed up political/economic situation we're in."

Meanwhile, East Village activist John Penley has a protest event planned for Monday. He's booked the steps of City Hall for a press conference, starting at 3:30 p.m., "on police misconduct against Occupy Wall Street Protests." He told us, "Like everyone else I just got so outraged by stuff I'd seen both personally and in some of the videos."

For a very different view of the protests, read this un-bylined Daily News opinion piece, "Occupy Wall Street protesters are behaving like a bunch of spoiled brats."

[JDoll / @thisisjendoll]

Go to Runnin' Scared for all our latest news coverage.


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32 comments
Victor Villarreal
Victor Villarreal

oh yeah... why do we trust the police? their track record isnt great.. and the pepper spray comment by the police spokesperson is just more of the same "we'll investigate ourselves, dont ask us questions.. we are never wrong about anything we do"

Victor Villarreal
Victor Villarreal

again... just tell the police that if they do that kinda stuff again.. people will take cell phone videos of them, their faces.. their badge numbers and here online we'll "make them famous" by posting all of their personal info.. and if its bad enough (meaning.. beating women with night sticks who a already on the ground) we start posting their home addresses (only the cops doing the beating, since i do believe their are mostly good officers who are just doing their job). if the police dont play by the rules, then why should we? but of course let them do it first.. if they dont.. then its all good and we all respect each others right to be there (cops and protesters) the police forget that their outnumbered a 1000 to 1.. and main street is starting to figure that out too.. we shouldn't be intimidated by the police. wait till the police try beating up iraq and afghan vets...  out of work vets (average age 25) are already getting ready to stand toe to toe with the police.

Notsofast
Notsofast

At :21 you clearly see a man with short hair and black shirt push a police officer, he steps back into the safety of the crowd, immediately afterwards the police officer whips his head around to try to identify the person. Shortly after pepper spray ensues. This video tape, may incriminate the police officer, or it may justify his actions. Why am I the first person to notice this? are we so quick to judge?

Whats It
Whats It

What a bunch of useful idiot MORONS.  That's no pepper spray they're using.... it's just Raid for Liberals.

kazikian
kazikian

The Modern American Revolution is coming... not yet, but in 5 years, 10 years. I don't know whether to be frightened or excited. We still have a chance to change within the framework of the system, rather than go into all-out anarchy, violence and war to effect change in this country. Sounds inconceivable? No one in 1987 would have guessed the Soviet Union would fall. Sh*t happens fast.

Mat_t
Mat_t

wait, did someone miss this? "With regard to the pepper-spraying on Saturday, Vitale told us, "If people are on the sidewalk surrounded by orange mesh, they're in police custody. "How does that work? Is this something NYC just came up with out of the blue?

F_Randy_Hullabaloo
F_Randy_Hullabaloo

Glenn Greenwald at Salon has an excellent piece explaining the mocking and scorn the occupation protest is getting. Read it.

Dr. Eeevil
Dr. Eeevil

In the 2 weeks these people have been protesting Wall Street (or whatever it is, since there is a mishmash of signs for just about every pet cause), my evil salary has grossed enough money for the government to pay one person's unemployment for a month.

On the other hand, this protest has accomplished absolutely nothing but a large bill for the city's taxpayers for extra security, excess trash, half-naked "womyn" who really should keep their moo-moo's on, and added 5 minutes to my commute since I have to walk around the park.

Way to go.  All those drum circles and screaming at productive people about how they are the problem is really going far.

F_Randy_Hullabaloo
F_Randy_Hullabaloo

Yeah, these damn Free Speechers and Freedom of Assembly types are so in the wrong and the Wall Street high-frequency traders and con artists are the real champions of Democracy! 

DrumCircle
DrumCircle

So you're not one of those "I may not agree with what you have to say, but I'll fight to the death for your right to say it," kind of guys, huh?

That's okay, you can feel that way, you can even express it. That's your First Amendment right.

If you're so rich and happy, why bother commenting though?

Dr. Evil
Dr. Evil

I didn't say anything saying that they couldn't do it.  Personally, I don't care.  It is their right, and that's that.

My point is, as they are yelling at me that I am the problem, realize that I'm actually paying into the system.  I'm not particular to working on Wall Street, it's where I ended up.  I did not stomp on anyone to get here, I got here on my own talent and hard work.  I pay what is asked of me into a system that currently is built around making me the enemy without even knowing who I am.  I volunteer my time at home as a firefighter to help my community.  I do more in a week to help those around me than these banner waving  leeches will do in a lifetime.

You want to help things?  the door is open.  you can rise as far as you want to in this country, and from there you can use your wealth to really help causes.  Carrying around a placard and having drum circles may be all sorts of fun way of thinking you are sticking it to "the man," but you accomplish nothing.

But, like you said, it's a free country- I have no compunction to stop anyone from saying or doing what they please, so long as you are not harming me.  If the cops acted in an inappropriate manner, then they should be punished accordingly.  But this is reaching juvenile proportions now where you protest and bitch so much with no cohesive message, that no one pays attention anymore.  You are a side-show of aging hipsters who are trying to capture a bit of their youth, and college kids who have no clue that the world will not be handed to you on a silver platter- you want it, you have to go out and get it.  Just because you are successful does not mean you got there on the backs of others.

Victor Villarreal
Victor Villarreal

umm doctor eeevil... your whole "you can rise as far as you want in this country" isnt fact... we're number 15 in the world in upward mobility.. just saying.. you live in a  bubble.. go our of it some time to see how the majority of people live, not just you in NY. and  history shows this will take some time to play out.. but people like you are the minority.. you think its just hipster kids now... just wait till main street comes marching youre way, democrat, republican, independent.. heck.. wait till the military gets there (ave age of vets coming home and jobless 25) its about fairness.. why has worker productivity risen yet wages are down.. cept for the top 1%?? do you want to live in a country where 10% of the population owns 3/4 of the wealth?? do you want youre gogovernment to be bought off ?( both parties) if you do.. then you deserve whats coming..

Consumer Unit 5012
Consumer Unit 5012

I would've thought any ideas that the USA is a "meritocracy" were destroyed forever the day George W. Bush became President.  :-P

Eric
Eric

I'm definitely a successful and upwardly-mobile person.  However, I just bought some groceries and I was able to do that because someone is working as a farmer, and someone is working checkout, and someone is working the aisles (sp?) at the store.  And I'm wearing clothes cause someone is working in a factory.  I refuse to think of these people as less than me.  In a perfect world is everyone a doctor or a banker?  If so, who will make their clothes and their food?It's great that you want to help people out, but I wonder: if someone makes ten times the salary of a grocery clerk, are they giving a service ten times as necessary as eating?

Whats It
Whats It

Amen Dr. Eeevil.  I couldn't have said it better myself.  These libtards are so detached from reality it boggles the mind.  I blame some of it on the weed.  Don't let them get you down or yank your chain too much. Know they are part of a quickly shrinking minority. America is waking up as the 2010 elections showed us.  Anyway, there comes a time when you realize arguing with them is like arguing with a wall.  They're barely conscious, hate filled, self absorbed, overly emotional, dimwits.  I'm sure you will be successful in your endeavors and someday be in that 1%.  :)  Making something of yourself is hard work. You get this while they want to blame everyone else for their problems.  Sitting on your lazy ass in the middle of a side walk screaming, just shows how lame and useless you  are.... by choice.

F_Randy_Hullabaloo
F_Randy_Hullabaloo

Oh, the old, stale metanarrative out the country being a meritocracy -- HA!

Dr. Evil
Dr. Evil

I've never met a qualified candidate for a job here that was turned down to make room for someone simply because they are part of the top 1%.  I've never read a resume that reads "born of the xxxx family, number 5 on the Forbes list."  I don't have a tattoo that gains me secret access to some dark dungeon where the fate of the country is decided over veal.

Sad reality is you are where you are based on your own actions, and look to strike out at some boogey-man, in the hopes that simply by eliminating that person or group of people, everything in your life would be perfect.

Your life must be exceedingly miserable if you think that you can't rise as far as you want on your own accord- it must suck to be completely reliant on others to get by, and convinced you will only go so far because some imaginary demarcation line that exists between the top 1% and the remaining country- To sit and wait for some sort of rescue from a Government and nation who you feel owes you something simply for being born here.  I'm not in the top 1%, but i damn sure hope to be there one day-

The only difference between you and I is you see nothing but road-blocks and excuses for why you cannot, and will not succeed, so why bother trying.  I would rather try and fail then never have tried in the first place.

RonR
RonR

Dr. Eevil, enough with the rich-guy persecution claptrap about the "system that currently is built around making me the enemy."  

And no, "the door" isn't open, and  you no longer can "rise as far as you want to in this country."  The myths you peddle been shattered by reality.  The very nature of capitalism dictates the top 1 percent is extremely rich, precisely because so many people aren't.   The United States is fast descending into full-blown banana republic status.   Your reactionary attempts to justify growing inequality are tired and passe.  

guest
guest

^^Nice.  Obviously a free speech advocate.  

I've seen the multiplicity of signs-from the simple, idealistic but impossible to attain, "end greed", to the Worker's World Party "end capitalism' signs-plenty of those, and even on MSNBC-"end aid to Israel".  There is everything except "Tickle me Elmo".  Although there are half naked women...

Does anyone happen to note that with all the protesting about the police that the only reason that the protesters have remained there able to protest, against the wish of the owner of the park(private property-remember that?) is because of the police? The police, for some reason, have overridden the desire of the property owner.  

DrumCircle
DrumCircle

Has this shadowy owner asked the police to clear the park? Do you have a link to any quotes from this owner?

And I don't think anyone was protesting the police until the infamous pepper spray incident and series of arrests without explanation. But those actions are certainly detestable and protest-able. If I were in town on Friday I would go to to this demonstration for sure.

I should clarify that I'm out of town, and haven't attended any of the protests, so don't let my comments influence anyone's opinion on the people who are actually there.

Brandt Hardin
Brandt Hardin

The movement is gaining momentum after a week and a half andOccupy movements are popping up all over the country!  Stand up together and use your voice to giveto those without.  Tax the rich and feedthe poor- you are the 99%!  See my OccupyWall Street painting and Anonymous homage on my artist’s blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot...where you can also see videos of the protests and police brutality as well asget other sources for real coverage of the movement.  

guest324
guest324

who wrote that headline? i'm gonna have a protest to protest your protesting of my protesting cause i'm a protestor.

Ahkyrian
Ahkyrian

In Michigan they are taking peoples children without due process. first they make up allegations then they put those on your permanant record-without you ever facing your accusers nor having an attorney present. The consitutional Law is clear! "no one shall have life, liberty, or property taken without due process." how many people feel that their children are their lives, and their home and clothes property, and when your not even allowed to stand up against tyranny by voice your issues or put on a defence your are robbed of your liberty...this constitutes genocide, and I will not stand idley by while they continue to destroy all that our armed forces have bought and paid for with their lives...shame on all those who turn their backs so that American can be turned into slaves for profit...every coorporation that earns a profit downsizing and by eliminating jobs, or even downgrading people pay(due to budget restraints) shares half those profits with the TAXMAN! check the tax code they profit from the murder of the middle class, sounds like a good reason to keep them out of public office, the coup to take power from the people is complete- they don't need us anymore they have robotics and drones to replace the work force-check the records they are currently implementing worker free workplaces.

Consumer Unit 5012
Consumer Unit 5012

.this constitutes genocide

No, no it does not. 

It might well be an abuse of power, but your overstating it that badly doesn't do you any favors.

Ashley
Ashley

Make that 300 attending, and counting...

Elie
Elie

"We're not gonna protest...we're not gonna protest...Gutter is a tool..."

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