Something I have always suspected and knew has been confirmed by a new study from NYU and Fordham University.
The report, by the Global Justice Clinic at New York University's School of Law and the Walter Leitner International Human Rights Clinic at Fordham Law School, conducted over an eight month period,examined hours of video footage, documents, press reports, and conducted extensive interviews with protestors and witnesses from the Occupy protests and encampments. The findings paint a disturbing portrait: authorities across the US will now suppress protest at all cost, even if protests are lawful, peaceful, and of no threat to the general public.The report, which is available in PDF form can be read here
The study details the increasingly common practices of "excessive police use of force against protesters, bystanders, journalists, and legal observers; constant obstructions of media freedoms, including arrests of journalists; unjustified and sometimes violent closure of public space, dispersal of peaceful assemblies, and corralling and trapping protesters en masse," the report states.
The study has documented the following forms of physical violence the police have used against journalists and protestors:
• Pushing;The police have also used the following as weapons against protestors, journalists and bystanders:
• Shoving, tackling, or throwing forcefully backwards, to the ground, or against a wall;
• Dragging along the ground;
• Hair pulling;
• Hitting or punching, including to the head and face; and
• Kicking, including to the head and face
Police have also used batons, pepper spray, barricades, scooters, and horses againstI am going to give some examples of such weapon’s usage from the study, starting with batons:
protesters, journalists, and bystanders.
Police have often been observed holding their batons out while walking alongside orPolice used pepper spray against Occupy protesters and others nearby in
behind Occupy protests. Protesters, journalists, and others reported feeling afraid while
walking with a peaceful protest accompanied by officers swinging or holding up their batons.
One independent journalist and teacher described seeing it as “terrifying.”19
This fear is
compounded by the actual use of batons—there are consistent reports of police jabbing,
hitting, and swinging batons at protesters, bystanders, legal observers, and members of the
seven known incidents.
On September 24, Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna peppersprayed several female protesters kettled behind orange netting and posing no apparentThe police have also used barricades as weapons:
threat of any sort; the incident was widely reported and resulted in a disciplinary sanction
for officer Bologna, the only known punishment of an officer for Occupy-related allegations.28
On the same day, a protester also alleged that the police used pepper spray to prevent her
from videotaping an arrest.29
One citizen journalist described his response to the incidents:
“Physically attacking people with a chemical agent for no reason—when you have cops doing
that, you don’t feel safe when you see cops.”30
In addition to being used as passive crowd management, exclusion, orHere are a few examples of using barricades as weapons:
containment tools, in some cases officers used barricades as direct contact weapons. Metal
and wooden barricades, and pieces of barricades, were reportedly used to shove, push, or
• One lawyer present at a November 17 protest stated that she witnessed the policeDespite all of these injuries resulting from police abuse, the police have delayed or denied medical care to the Occupy crowd:
use barricades as a “weapon.” She said, “It was really scary…I saw officers pick up a
barricade and use it to push people.”38
• Similar reports were made about protests on December 31–January 1.
Individuals reported that police “aggressively” responded to protesters’ removal of
barricades surrounding Zuccotti Park by “picking up barricades and using them to
push people.”39 One observer said: “It wasn’t just ‘defending’ or keeping the
barricades in place—it was aggressive and using the barricades against people.”40
One video shows an individual apparently speaking to an officer over a barricade.
The officer then picks up the barricade and rams it into the individual’s face; the
individual is not apparently involved in any illegal or threatening behavior.41
• On March 17, one protester alleged that police pushed a barricade forcefully back,
into a group of protesters. This forced him to fall and become trapped under the
Here are a few examples:
• In one incident on September 20, for example, police arrested a protester whoMany of these police abuses have actually been documented on video
repeatedly called out that he had asthma and needed his inhaler. The police did not
provide it; a bystander holding an inhaler offered it to the police twice and each time,
an officer responded “not yet.” More than a full minute passed before the police
allowed the arrested individual access to the inhaler.
• On September 24, police appeared not to offer any medical assistance to women
who had been pepper-sprayed, despite repeated requests.
• A May 30 incident in which officers intentionally grabbed and pushed a protester’s
injured shoulder is described above.
• In addition, and as described above, in none of the known cases of pepper spray use
did the police offer any known decontamination assistance.
For a long video-documentation of such abuses click here