OLBERMANN: As you’ve seen throughout the month, it has been the unplanned and the unannounced which has been the fulcrum of every milestone in the Occupy movement. Saturday night — as the piece of tape we played earlier showed — when police clashed with protesters in Times Square, an American veteran of the war in Iraq stood up for the people behind the barricades.
(Excerpt from video clip) THOMAS: Why are you all walking like there’s a war going on? Nobody has guns! I’m in New York City — I am from New York City — and these cops are hurting people that I fought to protect. There is no reason for this. There is no honor in hurting unarmed civilians, and I won’t let it happen.
OLBERMANN: Sergeant Shamar Thomas is a Marine veteran, served two tours in Iraq, took part in Fallujah in the second battle. Comes from a military family, both his parents are veterans, his father served in Afghanistan, his mother in Iraq. It’s an honor to have you here, sir.
THOMAS: Thank you, I appreciate it.
OLBERMANN: Why did you go to Times Square Saturday night, particularly, wearing your medals and your uniform?
THOMAS: I initially went to the protest on October 5th and saw the police brutality. And it made me want to get involved even more to, you know, the understanding that, you know — we have young men and women out here who are trying to inspire, you know, change — and so, why wouldn’t I not want to be a part of that? That’s my goal is in life is to inspire a generation, you know.
OLBERMANN: Well, obviously because, as I suggested — it was not Sergeant Thomas night on the schedule and yet it sort of became that. You were shouting in a way that — you could see in the policemen’s eyes that they were listening, and didn’t know what to do. And there were people — Passersby didn’t know what to do. And protesters didn’t know what to do because, obviously, you were hitting a chord with these people? What were you trying to say? Obviously, we have the quotes, we have the tape. We played it. But what was in your mind as you were, you know, expressing yourself in that vocal a manner?
THOMAS: Well, I’ve been to Iraq twice. I have been in — I was in a riot in Ar Rutba, Iraq in 2004, where we had rocks thrown at us, and after the rocks were thrown — we didn’t go beating up people and arresting people, you know what I mean. We kind of treated it with a level of humility. You know what I mean? And to have the cops beating — I saw, you know, a cop punching a woman in the face, you know, to see that in my own country, you know — my family fought for this country, for people to have a right and these people are peaceful. I haven’t seen a video yet where I have seen them try to hurt the cops. Why are they using batons and sticks? Why are they in riot gear when nobody is trying to riot, you know?
OLBERMANN: Did you have a sense at the time that they were listening to you?
THOMAS: I know for sure they were listening to me. I have no — no doubt in my mind that they were listening to me. I had the fire in my gut, you know, so to speak. Like they knew what I meant, you know. I have been to — you know, on over 50 combat missions. So, the intensity is there. They know that I am telling the truth. You know, they know in their hearts, you know, what I am saying is right.
OLBERMANN: With good reason in the last 10 years, particularly the New York Police Department has gotten a little militaristic in their point of view because they now are trained that everything could be fatal, and that’s probably a good attitude to have given what happened in 2001. There’s an understanding of that, at least where it comes from. However, not every situation is fatal.
OLBERMANN: And it seemed like you were a cold bucket of water against their sort of fevered, “what’s going to happen now” thing.
OLBERMANN: Because you’ve actually been in the real thing where it was life and death. And this was not it. And that’s what you were trying to get to them?
THOMAS: It’s a time and place for things, you know. It wasn’t — when the situation arises where the, you know, the crowd starts getting frantic, that’s when it’s time to say, “You know what? The crowd is getting frantic.” When people are just shouting, you know, “We are the 99 percent, come join us,” these are not, you know, chants that incite violence, you know what I mean.
So, why — you know, the riot police were, you know, in form, just walking, marching up and down the street like, you know — like it was a battle going on. And I’ve been in battles. It was no battle going on.
OLBERMANN: Right. And the other side not only didn’t have weapons of any kind, they didn’t have the rocks yet.
THOMAS: No rocks.
OLBERMANN: There’s no stage at that point. Give me your assessment of the messages that are coming from Occupy Wall Street and are you in favor of them, opposing the corporate greed and holding the banks accountable and supporting the middle class, principally those three.
THOMAS: I support everybody’s view. I tell people all the time that I am not a part of any political party. I am not a part of any group or anything like that. I am an American citizen.
OLBERMANN: Okay, so then what does this mean to you?
THOMAS: What this means to me is that — this is our time, in our generation, to change the greed that is in America. Like, both of my parents did twenty-plus years in the military and they have to find jobs now. And it’s like, I recruited for the Marines for four months and I taught kids to come join the Marines. So, it’s like, come join the Marines and what are you going to do after you get out of the Marines? You know what I mean? So, it’s like, we don’t — there’s no, you know, there’s no place for us to go now. You know what I am saying?
OLBERMANN: Is there a place, do you think, – in Occupy, in the entire movement, in the protest movement that’s beginning in this country — for veterans’ rights, and particularly recent veterans’ rights, to be addressed? Should there be some more attention paid to this fact?
THOMAS: Well, that’s the whole thing with the uniform. That’s what I tell people like, you know, I want to inspire the veterans to come out. Because a lot of veterans have this thing where they don’t want to speak against the government. They are so, you know, trained like, “Oh, no, if I speak out, you know, speaking against the government is wrong.” You know what I mean? Because we have a chain of command, you know. But I don’t think it’s about a chain of command. It’s about a way of life. Do you understand what I am saying?
OLBERMANN: Chain of command goes both ways. Sergeant Shamar Thomas, U.S. Marine Corps, whose mother, father, grandfather and great-grandfather also served this country, through Iraq and Afghanistan and Vietnam and World War II. Great thanks to you for your service, to them for their service and spectacular work on Saturday night.
THOMAS: Thank you.
OLBERMANN: And thanks for coming in here this evening.
THOMAS: Thank you.
@KeithOlbermann Keith Olbermannh/t Diogenes2008
#ShowPlug Early: The Marine Sgt who spoke to NYPD's conscience Saturday night joins us live tonight on Countdown
Proof once again that Keith Olbermann is a national treasure!
UPDATE5X From Sgt. Thomas' Youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/...
Sgt. Shamar Thomas USMC Veteran. I took an Oath that I live by.I am NOT anti-NYPD. I am anti- Police Brutality. I am no longer under contract with the USMC so I do NOT have to follow military uniform regulations. I DON'T affiliate myself with ANY GROUPS or POLITICAL ORG. I affiliate myself with the AMERICAN PEOPLE that's it. I REFUSE to affiliate with anything that SEPERATES. There is an obvious problem in the country and PEACEFUL PEOPLE should be allowed to PROTEST without Brutality. I was involved in a RIOT in Rutbah, Iraq 2004 and we did NOT treat the Iraqi citizens like they are treating the unarmed civilians in our OWN Country. No one was brutalized because our mission was to "WIN the hearts and minds", why should I expect anything less in my OWN Country.
Please take a moment to send Sgt. Thomas a message of support.
[UPDATEX4] I have corresponded with Sgt. Shamar Thomas briefly. I pointed him to the diary and let him know of the outpouring of support you all have shown. The great and moving comments in the diary reinforce why this event needs to be seen by as many people as possible. IMO I think the top video is the best representation of the event and would rec spreading that one (1 marine vs. 30 cops)
To those that are spreading the videos, please keep up the great work! Try and think of a few more places to post...local/community message boards, niche message boards/groups/email lists etc. If you haven't passed this on yet, please take a few moments to do so. It's EASY and even 1 share can turn into a hundred, or even thousands of shares, just like a computer virus.
GO GO GO!
h/t to thatvisionthing for transcripts. 1 transcript still need for top video:[Occupytimessquare] 1 Marine vs. 30 Cops (Marine Wins)
[UPDATEX3]This is the best version of this historic event I've seen so far.
Sgt. Thomas's passion is soul piercing.
1 Marine vs. 30 Cops (Marine Wins) -- it's a crowd on a street at night with parked police vehicle and at least three kinds of cops, hatted black uniforms, hatted white shirts with megaphones, and helmeted black uniforms, all milling and coming and going, some gathering around, some engaging Sgt. Thomas, eventually walking away from him, defusing the situation.
MARINE SGT. SHAMAR THOMAS wearing camos, walking up the street towards clump of people, cops, calling back over his shoulder: Have a good night, guys. (laughs) See it, baby. They don't lie. (stopping, holding his chest ribbons out for the cops to see) They don't lie. They don't lie. They don't lie, tough guy. This is not a war zone. This is not a war zone. These are unarmed people. It doesn't make you tough to hurt these people. It doesn't make you tough to hurt these people. It doesn't.
(camera pans around to black-uniformed cops, at least five standing facing him, one has his hand on his nightstick, one has his hand on his holstered gun, one reaches over to put his hand on his holstered gun) (somebody yells something to Sgt. Thomas) I don't care! I don't care about these people. I put in my work. It doesn't lie. (again holding his shirt, schooling the cops) It does not make you tough to hurt these people. There's nothing tough about it. Nothing. If you want to go fight, go to Iraq and Afghanistan. (camera pans again, it's eight cops in this clump) But you want to be here, huh? U.S. citizens. Where is that in the contract? Where is that in the contract? Leave these people alone. They're U.S. citizens. U.S. citizens! U. – S. – citizens! U.S.! It does not make any sense to do this to them! It doesn't. Stop hurting these people, man! Why are y'all doing this to our people? I been to Iraq 14 months for MY PEOPLE! You don't get to hurt them! They don't have guns! They – don't – have – guns! They don't! Why are you hurting these people? It doesn't make any sense! It doesn't make any sense! How do you sleep at night? There is no honor in this! There is no honor in this! There is no honor in this, man! There is no honor in this shit! There is no honor in this shit! There is no honor! In what you're doing! Chase people! No honor!
How do you do this to people? How do you do this to people? How do you sleep at night doing this to people? Why do you do this to people? Huh? You're here to protect them! You're here to protect them! Protect us! Why are you hurting U.S. citizens? This is the United States of America! Why are you hurting people? If you want to go kill Iraqis, go to Iraq. Why are you hurting U.S. citizens? Why? What's that do, make you? Do you get honor out of this? You get honor out of hitting these people with batons? Is that what you get? (cop upstreet to his side gestures in our direction, says “Let's go,” walks toward us, past Sgt. Thomas and camera) Why are you doing this to people? (Now white-shirted officer facing him talks in megaphone, gestures with hand like traffic cop directing people to move away. Cops are in a loose ring around Sgt. Thomas, crowd of people with cameras gather beyond them)
This is unbelievable, that y'all are doing this to people. That y'all are doing this to people. (Camera faces cops, you see their faces, taking it in. “Come on. Let's go people.”) Why are y'all doing this to people? (One young cop walks up to Sgt. Thomas and says something quietly. Sgt. Thomas is speaking now, not yelling.) No, I know that everybody's not bad, but why are y'all doing this to people? Y'all walk around and why … this is a war?! (screaming again) These people don't have guns! (lots of cops and officers are gathered, milling, watching... “crazy”) Okay, maybe I'm crazy … you people … y'all protect … ! (cops say something to him, “back up”) No … me, protecting this country! I under– but I'm not out here trying to hurt these people, I'm not walking around trying to hurt – (Cops are gathered tighter around him -- “just keep moving” “but your history doesn't” “I was in Iraq with you”) So why, so why do you allow this? (“What?”) Why are you walking around trying to hurt people? (camera is tight on cops, conversation officer taking pushy steps toward Sgt. Thomas, “keep walking”, megaphone officer to crowd “Please … just walk down the block please”) And I can't speak, y'all want to shut me up. Y'all want to shut me up. (Camera pans around again, milling cops and crowd, one cop is filming Sgt. Thomas)
(Now we're at point where first video starts)
Why are you all walking like there's a war going on? Nobody has guns! (camera pans and you can see bunch of helmeted cops coming up, stop) Why are y'all treating people like this? This is America! Why are y'all treating people like this? Why are y'all gearing up like this is war? (“... sir, move back”) This is not war! (“Let's go folks … ”) This is not war! Why are y'all acting like this? No one has guns. It takes a tough guy to act like this. (“Let's go folks … ”) … put away your guns. Nobody's trying to hurt you guys. There are no bullets flying out here. (“Folks … “) There are no bullets flying! How tough are you? How tough are you? (three white-shirt megaphone officers meet beyond Sgt. Thomas, turn away, gesture others)
SGT. THOMAS addressing people gathered around, no cops now: There is no honor in hurting unarmed civilians.
FILMING GUY: What did you see today that bothered you?
SGT. THOMAS: I was here October 5th. I saw them beating people – people that had nothing to do with anything, just grabbed them from out of the crowd. There is no honor in that. My mom, my father, everybody has served in Iraq, Afghanistan, where I did 14 months in Iraq. My father was in Afghanistan. My mother did a year in Iraq. We fought for this country. I don't come home – I'm in New York City! I am from New York City and these cops are hurting people that I fought to protect. There is no reason for this. There's no rea-- There is no honor in hurting unarmed civilians and I won't let it happen. Have a good night.
LADY WITH CAMERA: What's your name? What's your name? What's your name? What's your name?
SGT. THOMAS: Sgt. Shamar Thomas. I was born in New York. Sgt. Shamar Thomas. I was born in New York.
MAN: … President!
SGT. THOMAS answering guy with camera, gestures down the street: Huh? I don't know what they're doing. They walked away. They're scared.
Sgt. Thomas walks up the street to cheers and handshakes, hugs a guy in a red hoodie.
SGT THOMAS: Did you see that?
This video gave me chills! A Marine vet defends protestors and SCOLDS the NYPD, who look bewildered and frankly intimidated(he is a large man). Please spread this video like a virus!
transcript: Street scene with helmeted cops with nightsticks, uniformed cops with megaphones coming down street toward crowd milling in the streets, trying to herd them, keep them moving, “Let's go folks--”. Sgt. Thomas yells at them angrily from the sidewalk as they come by him. You can see parked police vehicles and white-shirted police approaching from down the street.
MARINE SGT. SHAMAR THOMAS to NYPD: Why are you all walking like there's a war going on? No one has guns! Why are y'all treating people like this? This is AMERICA. Why are y'all treating people like this? Why are y'all gearing up like this is war? This is not war! This is not war! Why are y'all acting like this? No one has guns. … how to act like this. … Nobody's trying to hurt you guys. There are no bullets flying out here. There are no bullets flying! How tough are you? How tough are you? How do you sleep at night? There is no honor in this. There is no honor in this! None! None! [camera pans, you can see the police are walking away from him down the street] There is no honor in this! You go back where you … … on unarmed civilians. There is no honor in this! There is no honor in that! There is no honor in this. Walk away. Keep walking away. Keep walking back.
Sgt. Thomas turns and walks in the other direction, raises arm, woman yells thank you, crowd cheers and applauds
UPDATE2X This link identifies our hero as Marine Sergeant Shamar Thomas
UPDATE:here is another video of this historic moment. Check out 3:14 of part 2 for another chill inducing, inspirational moment that will make you want to raise your fists in the air along with this hero!
transcript: Picking up from there, taken from across the street. Drum beats. Crowd has gathered around Sgt. Thomas, who has stopped up the street.
Off camera, camera is approaching Sgt. Thomas, man's voice: … I come home, I'm in New York City. I am in New York City and these cops are [hurting? herding?] these people. I …
[3:14] MARINE SGT. SHAMAR THOMAS, now the center of a crowd with lights shining on him and everybody holding their cameras up: There's no reason for this. There is no honor in [hurting? herding?] unarmed civilians and I won't let it happen. [raises both fists as a sign-off] Have a good night.
MAN: Thank you!
Crowd cheers again.
WOMAN WITH CAMERA: What's your name?
SGT. THOMAS: Sgt. Shamar Thomas.
Somebody in background yells “Sgt. Thomas for President!”
SGT. THOMAS answering someone, gestures down the street: I don't know what they're doing. They walked away. They're scared.