Monday, March 19, 2012

Recap of Thursday Night Police Brutality

For those that have not heard, last Thursday, during the first night of the Occupy the Midwest Regional Conference, police greatly escalated their method of dealing with the movement by brutally assaulting attendees that had the audacity to cross the street. After an unsuccessful attempt to set up a physical occupation at Reservoir Park, participants decided to march down Grand at which point they were set upon by the Saint Louis police force.

Regardless of what you feel about the Occupy movement, or even what you feel about brazenly breaking park curfew laws (traditionally one of the most heinous and violent crimes), there is no excuse for the actions of the Saint Louis police force. 14 or 15 people were arrested, some pepper sprayed, tazed, beaten bloody, and then falsely accused of assaulting the cops that clearly wanted to teach them a lesson. Any use of the word "clash" by media outlets to describe what happened is unacceptably misleading, as it was a completely one-sided affair in terms of the violence done.

About the police car's windshield: that was a windshield. The other things damaged that night were faces, skulls, jaws, and fingers. If you are confused about my description of the one-sidedness of violence now, then that's almost certainly because we have different notions of what violence is.

If there is any good to come of this event, it's that people can wake up and see that the police force is just another example of an institution that is dangerously broken in terms of its function of protecting the public. And if you view police as one tool designed to protect and uphold a dangerous and unjust economic and political system, then you understand it's clearly trying its best. This isn't anything new to people that have experienced this sort of injustice before, whether on occasion or systematically, and it is good to remember that while moving forward.

Among the people I've talked to, the events of Thursday night have escalated things to a degree such that we now all feel changed. I've seen my fair share of police lines in front of Peabody Energy and Bank of America downtown, but I was seeing them with different eyes during this past Friday's actions. Just as we need to create our own projects to deal with Peabody's unjustified control over our lives, we need to be relying on one another and the things we can create to circumvent our reliance on a police force that can evidently decide to beat the hell out of you as they please.

If you were a witness to the events of Thursday please contact:

John Chasnoff
Program Director
ACLU of Eastern Missouri
314-652-3114 x 26

Thanks a lot. Here are some links to video and accounts of Thursday night.

Police Pepper-Spray, Beat Occupy the Midwest Protesters Bloody

St. Louis: What Happened Thursday Night

A personal account of the eviction of Occupy the Midwest

p.s. A Black Bloc has not been used in Saint Louis since the inception of Occupy Wall Street. Anyone who tells you otherwise has no understanding of the term.

No comments:

Post a Comment