This is only a Preview!

You must Publish this diary to make this visible to the public,
or click 'Edit Diary' to make further changes first.

Posting a Diary Entry

Daily Kos welcomes blog articles from readers, known as diaries. The Intro section to a diary should be about three paragraphs long, and is required. The body section is optional, as is the poll, which can have 1 to 15 choices. Descriptive tags are also required to help others find your diary by subject; please don't use "cute" tags.

When you're ready, scroll down below the tags and click Save & Preview. You can edit your diary after it's published by clicking Edit Diary. Polls cannot be edited once they are published.

If this is your first time creating a Diary since the Ajax upgrade, before you enter any text below, please press Ctrl-F5 and then hold down the Shift Key and press your browser's Reload button to refresh its cache with the new script files.


  1. One diary daily maximum.
  2. Substantive diaries only. If you don't have at least three solid, original paragraphs, you should probably post a comment in an Open Thread.
  3. No repetitive diaries. Take a moment to ensure your topic hasn't been blogged (you can search for Stories and Diaries that already cover this topic), though fresh original analysis is always welcome.
  4. Use the "Body" textbox if your diary entry is longer than three paragraphs.
  5. Any images in your posts must be hosted by an approved image hosting service (one of: imageshack.us, photobucket.com, flickr.com, smugmug.com, allyoucanupload.com, picturetrail.com, mac.com, webshots.com, editgrid.com).
  6. Copying and pasting entire copyrighted works is prohibited. If you do quote something, keep it brief, always provide a link to the original source, and use the <blockquote> tags to clearly identify the quoted material. Violating this rule is grounds for immediate banning.
  7. Be civil. Do not "call out" other users by name in diary titles. Do not use profanity in diary titles. Don't write diaries whose main purpose is to deliberately inflame.
For the complete list of DailyKos diary guidelines, please click here.

Please begin with an informative title:

Retired Captain Ray Lewis – who served for 24 years in Philadelphia's police force – has become an iconic figure within the Occupy movement. In both New York and Philadelphia, Lewis has legally donned his uniform on a regular basis during Occupy protests.

He's worn it while belting out mic checks at Zuccotti Park and marching on Wall Street. He's worn it while holding sharp-tongued signs and chanting with Occupiers before financial institutions in Manhattan and Philadelphia.

Retired Captain Ray Lewis, in uniform, being confronted by police at an Occupy protest.
Why? It's been a small, personal effort on his part to visually legitimize Occupy's concerns and critiques in the eyes of the general public by marching in uniform, by showing that many in mainstream America – including those in law enforcement – support Occupy's goals and ideals.

However, as William Bender of the Daily News reports, the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police is looking to expel Lewis from its union for his support of Occupy and for, specifically, wearing his uniform during protests.

As Bender reports, this is a union from which it is nearly impossible to be expelled:

IT’S USUALLY TOUGH to get kicked out of Philadelphia’s Fraternal Order of Police.

You really have to screw up.

Worse than, say, the cop who allegedly beat his girlfriend with a closed fist and left her a voice mail threatening to “stomp your f---ing heart out.” Or the officer convicted of child endangerment for pointing a loaded Glock at a kid who changed the radio station in his truck at the Police Academy.

Or the cop who allegedly forced a suspect to perform oral sex on him in his police cruiser.

The local FOP, which represents about 14,600 current and retired officers, went to bat for all three of those guys in arbitration hearings. In recent years, the union also has stood by cops accused or convicted of other transgressions, including drunken driving, assault, sleeping on the job and lying during a police investigation.

This is no small matter. Lewis, if expelled, would likely be stripped of all his union benefits, including life insurance policies and free legal assistance the union offers members.  

And for what? For legally wearing his uniform in public at Occupy protests, an act that apparently is far more obscene than forcing suspects to perform oral sex or pressing loaded guns to the temple of a child.

         Retired Captain Ray Lewis, in uniform, outside Zuccotti Park in 2011.
The union has been working hard to figure out a way to expel Lewis, who has broken no laws, but has clearly caught the ire of union members in a profound and unusual way:
We had to dig into the books to see what we could do and couldn’t do,” said FOP pension director Henry Vannelli, who made the motion to refer Lewis’ case to the union’s grievance committee. “We don’t want that guy around.”
We don't want that guy around.

This has become about retribution, about punishing and disgracing an officer with a pristine record for daring to demonstrate that there are many in uniform – both past and present – who support Occupy Wall Street.

This is about the powerful trying to bully someone who represents that very power:

“He’s not respecting the uniform,” union president John McNesby said. “People died for that uniform. It’s not Halloween.”

Not only should Lewis be punished by the union, McNesby said, he “absolutely” should be locked up every time he sets foot in Philly with his uniform on.

The irony here is that the mere suggestion of arresting Lewis for wearing his police uniform is the true act that disrespects the uniform Lewis consistently wears.  

It is the actions of the FOP – its current investigation into Lewis and its hypocrisy in supporting true criminals – that are disrespecting the uniform.

And this is something that Lewis himself is implicitly intoning:

On Thursday, with two documentarians in tow, he was protesting outside the Police Administration Building and FOP headquarters, asking...McNesby to explain why he wants to infringe on his First Amendment rights. [When] a retired police captain stopped by to offer his support, he said.

“Would you want me arrested if I was protesting cops losing their health care?” Lewis asked. “If I wore this uniform to a cop’s funeral or my mother’s funeral, would they want to arrest me for impersonating an officer? No, it’s because I want to hold corporations accountable.”

Holding people accountable is apparently something the FOP is not accustomed to doing. Which is all the more reason why Lewis, and those like him, must be supported.

For his rights are our own.

Follow me on Twitter @David_EHG


You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to Writing by David Harris Gershon on Sat May 05, 2012 at 09:39 AM PDT.

Also republished by Occupy Wall Street, ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, and Progressive Hippie.

Your Email has been sent.