New York Police Honor The Tradition of Eugene “Bull” Conner
As a Citizen who happens to be Black and who is old enough to remember the Civil Rights Movement, what is happening to protesters in cities across the country is starting to raise my level of disgust. In particular, the NYPD, is doing more to honor the criminal actions of those who resisted Citizens who were tired of what amounted to Apartheid in the United States. Of course we didn’t call it that back then. It had other names, “separate but equal”, “Jim Crow”, or as the KKK would say, “Nxxxxx be glad we didn’t hang you, so get back to the back”. The actions of some police, in this case, New York City as an organization, reminds me of the days when police arbitrarily used force to quell rowdy “negroes” and their non-”negro” supporters. In some cases we know that went beyond fire hoses, German Shepherds and batons. In some cases we know some police participated or conspired with those who committed heinous acts against peaceful protesters. It sucks to remember what it took to express one’s rights as guaranteed under the Constitution.
Looking at as much video and reading any news that appears to be balanced, I am reminded of yesterday. It amazes and shocks me that some police departments appear not to remember they are no “enforces” of any laws, but public servants upholding laws. I am amazed that the Federal Government has not at the very minimum, advised localities to the consequences of NOT following the law to the letter on both local, state and Federal levels. What I am seeing is causing me to shift from skeptic of #OWS to disgusted Citizen.
If the police in New York and other localities, continue to ramp up the violence in response to peaceful protests, they will convert more citizens like me who have been openly skeptical about the Occupy Wall Street Movement into active supporters. That is something that the movement itself hasn’t been able to do since it appeared they were letting their message shift from a reasonable push-back against the crimes of Wall Street to a sketchy, Free Speech = Trespass In Parks.
Recent history suggest that when peaceful protests are met with police violence, more people show up, not fewer. I suggest the NYPD does not have to look as deep as Bull Conner’s reaction back in Birmingham in 1963, but to Syria where overwhelming force is being met with overwhelming civil disobedience. Occupy Wall Street won’t have it that hard. Instead the #OWS movement will grow and at some point the Justice Department and maybe the Obama administration will have to remind NYPD and the other police departments that are focused on enforcing laws as they see fit, not upholding laws as designed.
A few days ago I was just an interested observer, watching Democracy in action. Now I get to relive when police brutality was the typical response to Democracy in action. It will be easy for me to decide which to support since it is apparent that as a Citizen, my duty is to support the Constitution, not those who oppose it violently.