Unusual media criticism of police as NYPD Officers attack peaceful protest

Officer: NYPD Various
Charge: excessive force, wrongful detainment, assault
Date: Sep 26th, 2011
Location: New York, New York and everywhere in America

Not local, but worth sharing because it is so rare to see mainstream media criticism of police. Particularly when the criticism goes beyond the "bad apples" argument and criticizes the accepted pattern and practice of police brutality and misconduct.
Lawrence O'donnell's on msnbc:
O`DONNELL: Time for tonight`s Rewrite. This weekend, a few troublemakers turned a peaceful protest against Wall Street greed into a violent burst of chaos. The troublemakers carried pepper spray and guns and were wearing badges.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get in there and help.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re not doing anything.


O`DONNELL: "We`re not doing anything." You heard the woman say that as the police were grabbing people for absolutely no reason, crushing them on the pavement and arresting them. "We`re not doing anything."

We will post all of the video that we have on this protest on our blog. And you won`t find anyone doing anything that is legal grounds for arrest.




O`DONNELL: Let`s take another look at that unprovoked police brutality. The reason that man is being assaulted by the police is because of what he has in his hand. He`s holding a professional-grade video camera. Since the Rodney King beating was caught on an amateur video camera, American police officers have known video cameras are their worst enemies.

They will do anything they can to stop you from legally videotaping how they handle their responsibility to serve and protect you. So this police commander has decided that the correct response to that man shooting video is to grab him and smash his head into a parked Volvo.

The commanders are recognizable by their white shirts. The white shirts indicate a rank of lieutenant or above. Here`s another courageous commander showing his men how to control the citizenry. His target for showing how tough he is was an unarmed woman who he had to reach across the police security line to grab.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, no. Stop it. Stop it. No, no.




O`DONNELL: And there was at least one unprovoked use of pepper spray.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pepper spray. Pepper spray for what?



O`DONNELL: USLaw.com has posted a slow motion version of the pepper spray incident, which, of course, shows there is no conceivable justification for the use of the pepper spray.




O`DONNELL: As is usually the case in these situations, most of the police officers on the scene carried out their duties calmly and nonviolently, like this one.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Guys, back, please. Thank you. Back, please, ma`am. Thank you.


O`DONNELL: That`s how you do it. Stand back, thank you. You respect those people. As usual, police department is defending its troublemakers as having done absolutely nothing wrong. The department insists that the pepper spray was used appropriately. The department may be forced to conduct an investigation of the police conduct if police brutality complaints are filed.

But police investigations of this sort are always a sham, designed from the start, to the finish, to defend the police conduct. The police department is already defending the inexcusable use of the pepper spray, which you just saw. They`re defending it knowing there is videotape proving that it was unjustified.

The police department can do this because the police department knows that this story is going to go away. This kind of story always goes away. Someone would have to have been killed or very seriously injured in order for the press to stay interested in this story, and for the police to do even a half serious investigation into it.

This is just a story of a few cops being tougher than they had to be, and, yeah, technically breaking some laws. And cops know they can always get away with that. American police know that no mayor and no police chief is ever going to call them on just being what they think of as a little too tough.

Now, I haven`t bothered to mention where this took place or what police department was involved because this is an American police work that we`re watching. It`s an American police work story.

In fact, it involved one of the best police departments in America. Every day in America, police are too tough. Every day in America, police cross the line and abuse citizens.

Every day in America, police get away with that. White America was shocked at what they saw police doing to Rodney King. Black America would have loved to have been shocked by what they saw police do to Rodney King. But black America only could have been shocked if what the police did to Rodney King was something completely alien to their community experience, was something they couldn`t imagine the police doing in their community.

There`s a Rodney King every day in this country. And black America has always known that. Everything those cops did this weekend to those protesters they`ve done to someone else when there were no video cameras rolling. They`ve done it and they`ve gotten away with it. They know just how much assault and battery their department will let them commit.

They know just how many false arrests their department will let them do. They know just how much latitude their department gives them on abusing citizens. They do it because they know they can. They do it because they know -- they know they will get away with it.

None of the officers who crossed the line this weekend will be disciplined in any way. None of them will be charged with the assaults and batteries that they committed. None of them will be charged with the false arrests. None of them will lose a day`s pay.

The police department doesn`t need an investigation to figure out what happened this weekend. The department has already said the officers acted appropriately. Case closed. That`s it.

If the department does, by some miracle, by some chance, discipline anyone -- anyone for what happened this weekend, I will immediately Rewrite what would then be my mistaken presumption tonight that American police have once again gotten away with another crime against the American people they are sworn to serve and protect.

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