"Where are the cops who walked off the job rather than attack their neighbors drowning in debt and despair?"

A Children's Treasury of American Cops Brutally Attacking Citizens

How did America's heavily militarized security guards for the 1% spend the work week? Oh, just pepper-spraying sitting students in the face, macing old ladies, stomping peaceful protesters, yanking women around by their ponytails, destroying libraries and bloodying the faces of America's citizens. You know, what they've dreamed of doing for decades.

Remember the fat, smug face under that helmet and behind that ridiculous mustache in the picture above. This happened yesterday at UC Davis, a California college in a delightful, sustainable little town between San Francisco and Sacramento -- the kind of place earnest liberals move to, when they have kids, so they can all ride around on the town's famous network of bike paths. It's a well-off town, mostly, and it takes quite a lot of tax money to keep a bunch of vicious thugs overfed and dressed like junior Darth Vaders with their portable hard-ons, on the off-chance some college kids might one day peacefully sit outside to protest this nation's revolting descent.

One scene, one town. How many of these scenes have slipped by during these very busy weeks of protests and cop attacks? Up the I-5 in Portland, the stereotypical Brooklyn of the Pacific Northwest is apparently home to an absolutely insane paramilitary gang of thugs who cannot contain their glee at finally being able to go batshit on the people of Portland, with truncheons.

And more, from everywhere, because the kleptocrats told their rent-a-cops to smash heads, put all this to rest, or else. Or else what? In Egypt earlier this year, the cops refused to attack the people. East Germany and then the whole Iron Curtain collapsed when the local cops wouldn't smash heads when Erich Honecker ordered it. What about America? Where are the cops who walked off the job rather than attack their neighbors drowning in debt and despair?

Scene missing! A video in this post has disappeared. If you know of an accessible version of this video (search), please mail me so that I can update this post.
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25 Responses:

  1. John says:

    F the fleabaggers.

  2. Elusis says:

    I'm grateful for the comment here, which is where I first saw that (horrifying) video, because I never would have watched to the end otherwise:

    Though of course the unnecessary, casual, cruel brutality of the police is something important in this video, and should not be ignored, what I find as important and interesting is that if you watch to the end of the video, the protesters win. They fucking win.

    They link arms and chant and advance slowly towards the cops, constantly videoing the confrontation on a thousand phones. The cops fall back nervously into a tight knot, glancing at one another and raising their weapons uncertainly. And then … then … then comes one of the most wonderful moments come out of the Occupy movement (and there have been more than a few). The protesters stop advancing. They chant, “This is a moment. This is a moment of peace. We are giving you a moment. You can choose to leave, and we won’t follow you.”

    And the cops looked at one another uncertainly, and looked at the crowd, and looked at one another … and fucking left.

    The brutality of the police was met with kindness. The protesters were the adults here, and met the petulant toddler’s bite-and-kick flailings of the police with a mature response.

    The cops knew that in order to continue to carry out their “just following orders” job, they’d have to do further violence than even these men were willign to engage in. And they backed down. This is how nonviolent resistance is supposed to work.

    • pavel_lishin says:

      > they’d have to do further violence than even these men were willign to engage in.

      I don't think so. I think they just knew that if they continued to inflict violence, they would not have left that crowd alive.

      • Leonardo Herrera says:

        This is a way simpler explanation.

      • I don't think you understand nonviolence.

        In instances of police brutality like this, it's quite clear that the police get quite tired after that first adrenaline rush and a minute or two of beating. I think they were exhausted.

  3. "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."

    • the hatter says:

      Maybe when police officers start getting hurt is when a few more will see the wisdom in not propagating violence where there was previously none, in walking off rather than blowing on the lit fuse that's quietly burning closer to detonation.

      the hatter

      • Are you saying none of the confrontations were sparked off by OWS protestors? Not a single one? Because if they were started by the protestors, then they're the ones propagating violence.

        • the hatter says:

          I'd expect to see more coverage if this was a major case. There's a scary amount of footage showing massively disproportionate responses from the police. If someone had four officers trying to drag them away as they still struggled and lashed out, sure, then bring out the pepper spray; if they're waving weapons around near you, take a baton to their limbs; if they're running into property and tearing it apart, push them back with shields and batons. There's a huge gap between the actions and responses seen. The proportionate response to someone spraying you while you're sat still on the ground in a group is to take the can off them, pull them to the ground, rip off their helmet and punch them in the face - they'll hurt for less time than the sprayed person. There's a huge gap between the actions and responses seen.

          Ultimately it is also the police's job to sometimes take an amount of abuse and take a small risk of getting injured, while they use good judgment to keep public order. This is the polar opposite of both the deployment orders and front line we're currently seeing.

        • Yes, none of the confrontations were sparked by OWS patriots. If the police had not been there, then they would not have assaulted and robbed the patriots in order to silence their first amendment rights.

  4. mhoye says:

    "And so that brings me to a useful piece of advice for any readers who are aspiring dictators, one that the Communists knew, Suharto knew, but that some modern day tyrants seem to have forgotten. There is always a level of civil unrest that outstrips the capability of even the most loyal and largest regular armed forces to deal with. In all likelihood, as a medium sized emerging market, you will have a capital city with a population of about five or six million, meaning potentially as many as three million adults on the streets in the worst case. Your total active-duty armed forces are unlikely to be a tenth of that. When it becomes a numbers game, there is only one thing that can save you."

    "And that is, a reactionary citizens’ militia, to combat the revolutionary citizens’ militia. Former socialist republics always used to be fond of buses full of coal miners from way out the back of beyond, but the Iranian basijis are the same sort of thing. Basically, what you need is a large population who are a few rungs up from the bottom of society, who aren’t interested in freedom and who hate young people. In other words, arseholes. Arseholes, considered as a strategic entity, have the one useful characteristic that is the only useful characteristic in the context of an Egyptian-style popular uprising – there are f—ing millions of them."

    "This is my advice to any aspiring dictator; early on in your career, identify and inventory all the self-pitying, bullying shitheads your country has to offer. Anyone with a grievance, a beer belly and enough strength to swing a pickaxe handle will do. You don’t need to bother with military training or discipline because they’re hopefully never going to be used as a proper military force – just concentrate on nurturing their sense that they, despite appearances, are the backbone of the country, and allowing them to understand that although rules are rules, there are some people who just need a slap. The bigger and burlier the better, but when the time comes they’ll be fighting in groups against people weaker than themselves, often under cover of darkness, so numbers are more important than anything else. The extractive industries are indeed often a good source, as are demobbed veterans (Zimbabwe) or the laity of an established religion."

    "I think this is my new rule for assessing the stability of any dictatorship around the world, and I am on the lookout for any Francis Fukuyama-style book contracts. The key factor in determining the survival of repressive regimes isn’t economics, religion or military success. It’s arseholes."

    -- Daniel Davies Fascism HOWTO

  5. AutoJack says:

    In Egypt earlier this year, the cops refused to attack the people.

    Just wanted to point out this unfortunate development.

  6. "Where are the cops who walked off the job rather than attack their neighbors drowning in debt and despair?"

    They don't exist, for the simple reason that they're not allowed to join up.

    This ties into Daniel Davies' Arsehole Thesis, quoted above: in the US, there's no need to round up and arm an ad hoc reactionary militia. Instead, we have a standing reactionary militia, and it's called your "local" police department. (Local in scare-quotes, since the odds of any given officer living anywhere close to the city he is paid to police are rather long.)

    • Article from twelve years ago, regarding a single state, regarding a judge ruling that the cops aren't allowed to not hire people because of IQ, with your implication being that the ones who won't walk off the job are clearly of low IQ.

      You're being more than a little intellectually dishonest.

      • Easy there, cowboy. I'm not citing that article as proof, but as an (admittedly and intentionally inflammatory) example. If you want rigorous academic defenses of the proposition that police forces are overmilitarized, underpaid (hence hiring out of the bottom of the pool on just about every possible measure), and fatally disconnected (geographically and culturally) from the communities they allegedly "protect", you're going to have to look somewhere other than a blog comment. But you won't need much effort, I promise.

  7. NotTheBuddha says:

    As an evil fat person, I welcome the opportunity to oppress skinny and fit people on the slightest excuse or none at all.

  8. Up the I-5 in Portland, the stereotypical Brooklyn of the Pacific Northwest is apparently home to an absolutely insane paramilitary gang of thugs who cannot contain their glee at finally being able to go batshit on the people of Portland, with truncheons.

    Let's see: no specific incidents cited, no links to any evidence to backup the claim, all too willing to generalize about cops in job lots, and I get the feeling the writer is just barely restraining themselves from Godwin.

    The photo at the end is a nice touch, showing the big, meanie cops not threatening a kid. But the implication, if you're all het up by this point, is that they would. Apparently, the fact that the kid shouldn't be there in the first place slipped right by them.

    I also question the invocation of Obama to "stop" to police brutality. Here's the thing: he might not be able to. Reddit asked the same point a while ago, and someone pointed out that the President, any President, probably doesn't have command of local police forces. Heck, Obama's uncle got arrested recently, and immediately pulled out the "Do you know who my nephew is?" card. If Obama did intervene in that case, I'm pretty sure a lot of the same people demanding he intervene would be calling him out for abuse of power. There's no functional difference between ignoring the proper channels because you agree with a movement and ignoring the proper channels because a guy is related to you, not to mention the fact that individuals abusing their power to serve their personal interests is one of the things OWS is supposedly protesting in the first place.

    I think OWS is well meaning, but often hampered by sensationalism, self-martyrdom, and a frequent lack of clear direction and objectives. I think the cops are often well meaning, but often go too far. Are you sure that link is supposed to be a magazine? Because it comes of as barely meeting the high journalistic standards set by your average Tumblr post.

    • gryazi says:

      Everyone's well-meaning, but only one side is allowed gas masks.

    • nooj says:

      > I think OWS is often hampered by a frequent lack of clear direction and objectives.

      OWS shouldn't have to have clear objectives. It's not their job to write laws and understand economic nuance.

      > and by sensationalism

      I agree, considering that newspapers keep wasting our time with blow-by-blows of judges and police and encampments. Where are the articles demanding Congress enter new bills into committee? Maybe they're on Fox News. The encampments are a symptom, not a disease.

  9. Mike Hoye says:

    Given that "going too far" involves clubbing or macing peaceful protesters, perhaps you could explain what "well meaning" means in that context.

  10. Patrick says:

    Spin yourself into mirror land, where cops are brave, and students are evil:


  11. gryazi says:

    Meanwhile, http://wonkette.com/456920/fox-news-cop-slobberers-say-pepper-spray-is-food-product is making me wonder what a rational response to that idiocy could possibly be.

    Drop off a bunch of pizzas with it as a topping, clearly labeled (PEPPER SPRAY PIZZA in giant Sharpie)? Surely that's informed consent, but at least one intern might be brave/dumb enough to try a slice.

    Or a thanksgiving table with a can on every plate, but someone would have to go through the trouble of making replicas that are sufficiently identifiable for the message but sufficiently fake to not have art mistaken for assault (or actual assault when some FOX staffer decides to pick one up and play Ofc. Baloney). If anyone does that, I want to see Pilgrim hats. The baggers can't seem to resist people in historical garb.