Occupy Everywhere and the police: Boston vs. LA

It fascinates me, the difference between the LAPD and the BPD. The two cities with their growing Occupations span the country on the diagonal, and all that space between seems to have set up a frequency fence between their attitudes towards the protestors. I read somewhere yesterday that the police in Los Angeles seemed to be much more enlightened than those in Boston, but can no longer find that article. Here’s what I did find this morning, though, a notice that some LAPD had just dropped off some donated supplies!

Networking, networking . . . Just as, yesterday morning at 5:30 am, I discovered the police sweep in Boston from the Occupy Bloomington fb page, so too Boston is the subject of this piece on the Occupy Los Angeles website:

Meanwhile, the police raid on protesters in Boston also made protesters in Los Angeles hard to get much sleep at the “Occupy LA” encampment outside Los Angeles City Hall.

Steve Lopez wrote in his column on Los Angeles Times that well past midnight, 100 or more campers were still holding a spirited conversation about a skirmish in Boston, where dozens of their compatriots were arrested late Monday night by police in riot gear.

Various speakers expressed concern for their own safety and pleaded for local demonstrators to remain non-violent, Lopez wrote.

“‘As I dozed off in my tent, pitched under L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s office, I heard a drumbeat echo off downtown buildings as occupiers circled the block chanting ‘Solidarity with Boston, End Police Brutality,'” wrote Lopez.

“But I got the very clear impression from organizers of Occupy Los Angeles that the rebellion has only just begun,” Lopez wrote.

A.K.: Here’s occupyboston.com’s fuller and much more graphic treatment than I provided yesterday about police brutality during those early morning hours of October 11, 2011.

BTW: I noticed that around 200 more cities had signed up for Meet-Ups on the occupytogether site from yesterday morning until evening. Are we surprised? Yes. Screw us and we multiply.

More on Occupy Boston arrests

occupyboston.com

October 11, 2011

Boston police arrested 141 people during Occupy Boston demonstrations on Tuesday. The early morning arrests (1:30 am) were for trespassing and unlawful assembly. After almost 15 hours in custody, all of the peaceful demonstrators detained by the Boston Police Department had finally been released as of 6 pm on October 11. Occupy Boston has many eye-witness accounts and videos of police misconduct during the arrests (see above).

Perhaps the most disturbing, and characteristic, clip is of a member of Veterans for Peace being thrown to the ground multiple times without provocation. Street medics and clearly marked legal observers who were also detained despite explanation that they were neutral observers, and in sharp contrast to how non-violent arrests ordinarily take place.

As the Boston Globe said:

Urszula Masny-Latos (executive director of the National Lawyers Guild’s Northeast regional office) said no protesters fought with police. She said police could have employed a technique routinely used at other protests—police approach a protester, tell them they are violating the law, and the protester then submits to being taken into custody—and still achieved their goal of clearing the area.

“They really attacked,” Masny-Latos said of police. “They used force that was completely unnecessary. … It was just brutal. I have no idea why they arrested us with such force’’ (Boston.com).

While police contend that their actions were, at least in part, due to an anarchist contingent that had taken control of the group, this was not the case. While police stood across the street from Occupy Boston’s General Assembly, the General Assmebly voted almost unanimously (80%) to peacefully protest Occupy Boston’s removal from the area that BPD insisted the protestors vacate by 12:00 am Tuesday.

Occupiers have been in constant contact with the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy, a non-profit that manages the publicly park owned by MassDOT, and, prior to their arrests, they had received verbal consent to stay in the park. Further, Occupy Boston has plans to launch a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for restoring damaged areas of the park. Last week, members also unanimously agreed to return to Dewey Square—and any other areas that they occupy—to repair any damaged grass.

As the Huffington Post wrote:

The Greenway website confirms that it did have an agreement with the protestors. “Occupy Boston organizers have been cooperative with the Conservancy and the Boston Police Department to date, and have agreed to avoid the planting beds and adhere to common sense rules.” Calls to the Greenway seeking comment were not returned (The Huffington Post).

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