Saturday, August 30, 2008

What does a police state look like?

What does a police state look like? That is a good question. Maybe it looks something like this. Here is a photo of a small group of people trying to hold a demonstration in Denver at the Democratic Party convention. Notice the police overkill.

But at least there is still freedom of the press! Right? Apparently not. Here is how the donutmunchers dealt with ABC news producer Asa Eslocker. Mr. Eslocker was standing on a public sidewalk with a camera crew when Democratic Party officials were exiting a hotel. He was doing a story on major donors to the Democratic efforts and some of those major donors were coming out of the hotel. Police decided that he had no right to do that story and began by manhandling him and pushing him off the sidewalk into traffic. ABC News reports that the donutmuncher told Eslocker: "You're lucky I didn't knock the fuck out of you." Here is some video of the incident. Welcome to America, land of the free. And, if you believe that, I have some swamp land in Florida for sale.

In this next video things are a bit sketchy but USA Today and Rocky Mountain News reported on the incident leading up to it. Alicia Forrest, 24, was watching a protest when a police officer yelled, "Back it up, bitch." He then struck her with his baton causing her to fall to the ground in pain. After she got up she was being interviewed peacefully by reporters about the incident. Apparently those interviews were enough. The police are seen then rushing in and grabbing her and taking her away. That is one way to put an end to interview.

Original report here

Denver police: record this!

It's disturbing enough when police push regular people around for doing nothing more than exercising their First Amendment rights to speak, assemble and petition government officials. It's worse when law-enforcement authorities don't seem to care who's watching.

This week, at the Democratic convention in Denver, we've already seen a mass arrest of almost 100 people, which is expected to result in a lawsuit against the authorities.

We've also seen Code Pink demonstrator Alicia Forrest assaulted by a police officer before being arrested and dragged away even as cameras were very obviously recording the incident.

Are the police getting more comfortable throwing their weight around, no matter who's watching?
They must be, if they're willing to roust network news producers accompanied by camera crews that are guaranteed to get their footage on the evening news. ABC's Asa Eslocker, who was standing on a public sidewalk, was forced into the street by officers before being wrestled into handcuffs and hauled off. His crew captured the whole incident on video.

That demonstrates a remarkable lack of concern about being recorded while violating people's rights. No, I'm not saying that it's worse to harass professional journalists than it is to assault college kids and average people walking down the street. I'm saying that it should be assumed to be incredibly stupid to attack people who have access to satellite transmission facilities and teams of lawyers.

But the police in Denver seem perfectly comfortable doing their worst in front of camera lenses. Do they not get it? Or do they just not care? We'll have to watch events at the Republican convention to see if this is a trend.

Original report here

(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Zombie" on today's Little Green Footballs blog (Monday/Sept.1, 2008) has just the OPPOSITE take on this story.


Looks like there's something to be said about perspective!