Bad Boys, Bad Boys

If nothing else, the OWS movement is helping ordinary Americans see the abuse of power that is so endemic in many police departments.  I am tired of the quasi-cult of police ass-kicking on average citizens, as fed by reality cop shows and folks like Joe Arpaio.  As Radley Balko points out, the casual way that the officer hoses down citizens who are just sitting on a curb with pepper spray is just outrageous.  From past experience, my guess is that these guys were ready to go limp and be dragged off - the pepper spray was just pure torture for the entertainment of the cops.

We would not do this to a terrorist in Gitmo, so why are we doing this to American citizens? I think I get particularly angry and intolerant of this kind of crap because I used to be the kind of law and order conservative that would excuse this kind of behavior, and that embarrasses me. The saying goes that a converted Catholic is often more fervent than a born one, so to I guess for this civil libertarian.


  1. me:

    Woah. That is harsh. Here's another shocking example:

    Matt Taibbi wrote an article that resonated with me, about how he originally thought that OWS really was pretty inarticulate and unspecific, but felt that the disparity between resources invested in persecuting the largely peaceful-if-annoying OWS movement vs the lack of prosecution of the disastrous financial frauds of the last decade was telling.

  2. Matt:

    As someone who self-identifies as a conservative leaning libertarian, I agree with your general point that police are far too quick to resort to force and frequently go beyond the level of force genuinely necessary (if your only tool is a hammer every problem looks like a nail). That said, the vidio clip in your post is too short to know for sure that this is such a case.

    They didn't look ready go go limp and be dragged off to me. The protester's had their arms linked together. This was possibly to prevent simply being dragged off.

    Without more information, we can't know what the police in this case did or did not try before resorting to pepper spray.

    For a libertarian, the things the OWS camp want would be every bit as bad as giving the police complete free reign without any oversight at all. I wouldn't completely trust any vidio comming from either the police or the OWS protesters.

  3. SBVOR:

    "my guess is that these guys were ready to go limp and be dragged off"

    And you base this upon, what? Intuition? Psychic powers?

    Doesn't the latter part of the video belie this as wishful thinking? Just because the lawless ones are alleging there is no resistance does not mean there is none.

    Pepper spray was probably the least harmful option available.

    Abide by the law or simply follow instructions after you've already broken the law and you won't be pepper sprayed -- simple. They chose to be pepper sprayed -- let them deal with the consequences.

  4. Mark:

    They were resisting. They were told several times to go. And instead of the cops pulling them away and beating them, right away. They tried the non-violent, mostly non damaging pepper spray first, which got rid of some of the crowd.

    How long did you want these people to illegal camp out, violating other people's civil liberties anyway? In a Libertarian world, shouldn't those affected be able to sue these folks for reducing the ability to their lives?

    Let them camp out for free for several months in some of those campgrounds you run, if you think this is so tragic. Then it won't happen.

  5. SBVOR:

    P.S.) We don't know who created the video. The version embedded in this post was uploaded by the owner of YouTube channel 12160info:

    What is obvious is that the video was heavily edited to achieve maximum propaganda value. It could have been edited before or after RT inserted their logo. Those who are predisposed to be receptive to this sort of propaganda will be the most likely to view it uncritically.

    A more critical viewer might ask:

    1) What took place before the pepper spray was used?

    2) How many times were the lawless warned that -- should they fail to comply -- they would be pepper sprayed?

    3) What options other than pepper spray were reasonably available? We do not know.

    4) What level of resistance took place before the two officers subdued the man whom the chanter alleges is "not resisting".

    Don't fall for every heavily edited propaganda clip you find on YouTube. These protests are designed to create precisely this sort of conflict -- it is exactly what the organizers want (the same way the Communist sympathizing SDS wanted to see students shot at Kent State). It's all about the propaganda value (and, the leaders of this crap are masters of propaganda with many decades of experience under their belts).

  6. TJIC:

    > my guess is that these guys were ready to go limp and be dragged off – the pepper spray was just pure torture for the entertainment of the cops.


    I recall to my shame that in my 20s I discounted all accounts of police hassling and abusing blacks with a flippant "that's a high crime demographic - OF COURSE they complain when the police just enforce the laws".

    With the advent of the Internet I became aware of just how corrupt the vast majority of cops are, and I internally apologize every day for discounting the accounts of others who suffered at the hands of the Gang in Blue.

  7. Jacob:

    Civil disobedience requires a response from authority. I feel just as bad for the cops as I do the young people. It's an endless cycle.

  8. SBVOR:

    "With the advent of the Internet I became aware of just how corrupt the vast majority of cops are"

    The vast majority? Really?

    And, you learned this through "the Internet"?

    Look - the internet is a very powerful and very useful tool which, when viewed through the lens of critical thinking can be extremely informative.

    Unfortunately, the internet is also a propagandist's wet dream come true. Don't be so naive and don't be so gullible. See my previous comment.

  9. sushibigroll:

    Police do not need pepper spray to accomplish this. This is how the police do it in Australia. No pepperspray. No beatings. No dogs. In spite of the hyperbole from the crowd and the reporter, injuries to the protesters were absolutely minimal as they were to the police.

  10. SBVOR:

    /sarc on/
    More evidence of police brutality against poor, innocent, law abiding, non-violent protesters:
    /sarc off/

    "A police press release said Arnold and Chris Schisler, 34, assaulted Alan Porter, 45, as he was banging a drum to wake people at the camp. Schisler, who was located at the Portland Public Library after the 7 a.m. assault, is being held on $10,000 bail at Cumberland County Jail, charged with hitting Porter in the head with a hammer...

    Chris Schisler, 34, is charged with aggravated assault and his bail was set at $10,000, though he cannot be released because he also is being held for allegedly violating probation."

    /sarc on/
    How dare these gestapo thugs arrest & detain this noble man for merely asserting his 1st amendment rights?
    /sarc off/

  11. SBVOR:

    /sarc on/
    Considering how peaceful and law abiding this movement has been to date, what on earth might have given these cops the idea that these protesters might given them some problems?

    /sarc off/

  12. Steve:

    For those who are supporting the police use of pepper spray, may I introduce you to the concept of water.

    Get a hose, spray the OWS people with water. They get uncomfortable and cold and go home. Wasn't that easy?

    I am the first one to say that the freedom of speech doesn't mean you can camp out in my public park or public space for days prohibiting my use of it and blocking my thoroughfare, but it really just seems that every part of our society is broken by excess whether it is excess of police aggressiveness, excess of corporate influence, excess of BS regulation at the expense of regulation that might actually work, the general excess of government, etc. If the OWS people are right about one thing, it is the same thing that the tea partiers are right about. Something is broken and our world in that it isn't as good or fair as it was 10 or 20 years ago.

  13. SBVOR:

    @Steve (November 19, 2011, 3:46 pm),

    Can each officer carry a can of compressed water with sufficient capacity to "get 'er done"?

    Was it logistically feasible to bring in a water cannon truck? Was one even available?

    Come on! These lawless punks chose to get pepper sprayed! They wanted to get pepper sprayed. They did so for the propaganda value it offered. Don't be a dupe!

  14. Philip Ngai:

    That was pretty shocking at first, but if the protesters are linking arms and making it impossible to separate them, how else can the police move them?

  15. Steve:


    There is no fire hose? Fire trucks have tanks of water on them and there are also fire hydrants within the university I am certain. Was there any immediacy in the situation? Were people's lives in danger if they didn't act immediately? Didn't look that way did it? They had to act so they couldn't wait 5 minutes for a fire truck? Fire truck have historically been used in this way in the 1960s.

  16. SBVOR:

    @Steve (November 19, 2011, 5:02 pm),

    Let's assume it was logistically feasible to get a fire truck in. Personally, I'm happy they did not needlessly tie up a fire truck which could have otherwise been put to much better use (like, putting a fire out).

    I submit that a fire hose would have been much more likely to result in injuries (even life threatening injuries) -- knock a punk to the ground and sustain a closed head injury.

    These lawless punks chose to get pepper sprayed! They wanted to get pepper sprayed. They did so for the propaganda value it offered. Don’t be a dupe!

  17. LoneSnark:

    They were not harming anyone, they were not even blocking traffic. As such, when possible, do your best to haul them away. Otherwise just isolate them, they'll need to use the bathroom or get hungry eventually. When someone unhooks their arms, haul them away.

    I suspect the biggest cause for the increase of violence from the police force is that people get bored easily nowadays. Back in the day, they'd knock on your door, wait for you to answer, and then if you were either not home or presented a gun they would surround the house and wait you out. Boring work, but it avoids escalation. Nowadays whenever the police come to serve a warrant the level of violence starts at deadly and only escalates from there.

  18. John Moore:

    Ya know, not all of us law and order conservatives support police use of excess force. In fact, I think you'd find most LAOC's are not at all fond of these abuses, just like so many of us are concerned about the militarization of police and the gross over-use of SWAT teams and "home invasions" by heavily armed police.

    As for waterboarding, if it was good enough for us in SERE school, the worst of the terrorists deserve no less if they don't give up their secrets otherwise!

  19. SBVOR:

    @LoneSnark (November 19, 2011, 5:48 pm), et al:

    With rapes, murders, assaults, drug overdose deaths, tuberculosis, Zuccotti Lung Disease and more running rampant at those sites where overnight camping has been tolerated, the police -- increasingly -- have a public safety responsibility to disallow these ILLEGAL campsites.

    In the UC Davis case, university officials ASKED the police to clear the site of an ILLEGAL encampment likely to produce exactly what I described in the first paragraph. The protesters directly defied orders to dismantle their ILLEGAL encampment and directly challenged the officers.

    These lawless punks chose to get pepper sprayed! They wanted to get pepper sprayed. They did so for the propaganda value it offered.

    This entire movement is deliberately designed to produce exactly this sort of conflict. It is the very same tactic used by the Communist sympathizing SDS at Kent State. The SDS wanted Kent State students to get shot the same way the organizers of the OWS mobs wanted these morons to get pepper sprayed.

    Don't be a dupe!

  20. Matt:

    I wholeheartedly disagree with what the protesters seem to want to achieve (I think they still haven't articulated any actionable goals). But what they were doing there was the epitome of non-violent protest. That wasn't a riot, it was people sitting down, deliberately being a nuisance.

    Maybe it was time for them to be moved--it's hard to say and I'm not familiar with the area. But that absolutely did not call for the use of wanton use of a chemical weapon.

    My grandfather was a cop, and I've known several people involved in law enforcement. I sympathize with many of the problems cops have to deal with and they generally do not get enough credit for putting up with the problems that most of us never even have to know about. But that doesn't mean that every time you come upon a conflict, you resort to using a chemical weapon on an entire group of people. Those cops could have tried dragging people away from the ends of the group--they might have even needed to use pepper spray on one or two people--but just indiscriminately attacking a passive group of people like this is not something that should be happening in America.

    I understand the motivation for arming police with less-lethal tools like stun guns, Tazers, and pepper spray, but the ideal use case (i.e. as a level of force only used when things are dangerously close to require the use of a lethal weapon) has now expanded to being used to punish suspects and to save police from the tedious work of wrestling someone into handcuffs.

  21. SBVOR:


    A "chemical weapon"? Are you freaking KIDDING ME? Pepper spray is made from peppers you season your food with!

    You've seen only what the propagandists wanted you to see. Here's some more action from the same place and the same day. Watch the punks intimidate the cops out of the park (the park in which the punks had ILLEGALLY setup an encampment, the encampment which the university officials ASKED the cops to dismantle, the encampment which the punks REFUSED to dismantle, the park where the punks DELIBERATELY setup a confrontation with the cops):

  22. SBVOR:

    Thanks to all the fools who fell for the heavily edited propaganda video, the ILLEGAL encampment remains and the rule of law has been tossed in the shitter (precisely the outcome which the violent and destructive anarchist/communist organizers wanted):

    Congratulations, idiots. Let's see how this evolves from here.

  23. Matt:

    (I forget to mention that I'm a different Matt from the one at the top of the comments)


    I'm a biochemist so you don't need to talk down to me. Pepper spray is a chemical weapon. The pure capsaicin dissolved in a solvent bears no resemblance to the pepper used in cooking--unless cooking for you involves pepper spray to the eyes. It's a weapon that is defined as such and banned during warfare by almost all countries of the world by the Chemical Weapons Convention.

    There is no rejoinder to your argument, "You only see what the propagandists want you to see." You presume to know the contents of my mind, something you hopefully will agree is impossible.

    I'm aware that not all of these protesters have been peaceful. And, as I mentioned above, I do not support their stated goal but what they were doing in the video was the model of non-violent protest and should have been dealt with as such.

    I think this is going to be my last reply.

  24. SBVOR:

    To all the fools who fell for the heavily edited propaganda video:

    Now, you will see how things evolved to the point where the CAMPUS POLICE finally resorted to pepper spray (just before being intimidated by the angry mob into retreating off campus):

    1) I begin at the point where the CAMPUS POLICE inform the punks they are violating the law and -- if they do not leave peacefully -- they will be arrested. They begin to arrest individuals and the mob gets outta control. The mob chants "stop beating students" (when, clearly, nobody is being beaten). The officers then DEESCALATE the situation, STOP arresting punks and engage in an extended standoff.

    2) Part II:

    At 8:55, the badly outnumbered officers have circled the proverbial wagon in self-defense. In the innermost circle are those few they managed to peacefully arrest before the mob got out of control. The angry mob then threatens the officers by chanting:

    "If you let them go, we will let you leave."
    "If you let them go, we will continue to protest peacefully."

    [Meaning, they will otherwise resort to violence.]

    3) Part III:

    A) At 4:08, the cops again try to remove an individual and find they cannot. THAT is when they FINALLY resort to pepper spray.

    B) At 8:07, the angry mob begins the process of intimidating the badly outnumbered Campus Police officers out of the park.

    4) And, as I noted in my previous comment, the current outcome of this foolish rush to judgement on the part of all who fell for the heavily edited propaganda video is that:

    The ILLEGAL encampment remains and the rule of law has been tossed in the shitter (precisely the outcome which the violent and destructive anarchist/communist organizers wanted):

  25. SBVOR:


    FYI, a comment with three video clip links awaits your moderation.

    Those videos (shot by a protester) casts these events in an ENTIRELY different light when compared to the heavily edited propaganda video so shamelessly promoted by the Lame Stream Media.

  26. SBVOR:

    As an alternative to the link rich comment awaiting moderation, see the following post for the facts and context which the carefully edited propaganda video left out:

  27. Mike C.:

    Anybody who states "most cops are corrupt" obviously doesn't know any cops.

    You know what the fondest dream of most cops is? To go home alive and uninjured at the end of their shift, something most of us (excepting the military) take for granted. Are there sadistic assholes, corrupt individuals and crooks in their ranks? Sure, just like amongst any other large group, including small businessmen/entrepeneurs.

    As to the video, I'd need a hell of a lot more info than a 48 second video contains before becoming judgemental. In general on the OWS subject, the overall situation seems to have arisen due to (Ta Da!) politicians who wanted to bank political capital by not allowing enforcement of existing laws (like not allowing campsites in urban public parks) in the first place. I would think that would be of greater concern than the fate of a bunch of people who most likely volunteered to be pepper-sprayed for political gain. If the existing laws had been enforced up front, none of this would have happened, and that is clearly the decision of politicians, Bloomberg being the initial case. "As ye sow, so shall ye reap."

  28. Slocum:

    They were resisting. They were told several times to go. And instead of the cops pulling them away and beating them, right away. They tried the non-violent, mostly non damaging pepper spray first, which got rid of some of the crowd.

    Hang on, WHAT!? Why wouldn't the alternative be, say, 'pulling them away one-by-one, putting them in handcuffs, and arresting them'? Why would you think beating for passive resistance (by sitting with arms linked and refusing to move) was appropriate!?

  29. steve:

    I don't much care for the OWS crowd. Having said that, I don't have much of a problem with their methods.

    1. Overstay your welcome in a public place.
    2. Get pepper sprayed. (Better yet beaten.)
    3. Get on the news.

    Pretty straight forward. Not sure how effective it is at making converts, but it keeps them in the news.

    I wish the Tea Party would adopt the disobedience part of civil disobedience. They talk about reducing the size and obtrusiveness of government, but never forget to get their permits. They are a governments ideal opposition, completely obedient.

  30. Jamessir Bensonmum:

    "We would not do this to a terrorist in Gitmo..."

    Wrong. We do the above and worse to Americans in county jails as well as state and federal prisons throughout America. Same goes for the concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

    Pepper spray is an inherently evil weapon. No one should have it. It is constantly abused. People every day in this country are tortured with it. Same goes for tasers and other electric weapons.

    I have little sympathy for the Occupy squatters. But leave pepper spray out of it.

  31. SBVOR:

    Matt (November 19, 2011, 9:44 pm),

    1) Article I.5 of the Chemical Weapons Convention reads:
    "Each State Party undertakes not to use riot control agents as a method of warfare."

    Pepper spray is not specifically listed -- merely included under the blanket of ALL "riot control agents". I think all you've proven here is just how insane the average bureaucrat is.

    2) More to the point, watch the three videos I have provided and see the facts and context which the carefully edited propaganda video quite deliberately left out:

    In the infamous words of the UC Davis punks:
    Shame on all who fell for this propaganda video!

  32. Ted Rado:

    If you are to believe the "Jail" programs on TV, pepper spray, restraining chairs, take-downs by groups of police, etc. are routinely used on non-cooperative prisoners. The police must do SOMETHING to deal with those who refuse to follow police orders. I don't know if pepper spray was the most appropriate in this case, but I don't see how one can condemn it outright without suggesting a better way. Merely giving in the the protesters is NOT a better way.

  33. theo:

    It will all end in tears - in the courts.

  34. Not Sure:

    I wasn't there and don't know any of the participants. That said, if the video had come from Iran or Egypt or Syria instead of the USA, how many of the intertube commenters who are taking the government's side would still be doing so?

  35. SBVOR:

    "if the video had come from Iran or Egypt"

    Funny you should ask...
    This morning, I saw on TV what I thought for sure were a bunch of violent, destructive OWS punks in NYC. Turns out, it was violent, destructive Egyptian punks in Cairo.

    How would I have known?

    Watch the three videos I have provided and see the facts and context which the carefully edited UC Davis propaganda video quite deliberately left out:

  36. David:

    As a left-leaning libertarian, I have to disagree.

    According to this - - protesters were allowed to contravene the law and stay in tents overnight, but were told in the morning that they'd have until 3p.m. to leave. They refused (Some weren't even students; the article quotes a man who graduated in June - 6 months ago.) Police arrived at 3:30 p.m to find the protesters still there. They issued three warnings to disperse. Then they started arresting people and taking down tents. And a few students proceeded to surround them and link arms, preventing the officers from leaving with their arrestees. Which is when the peppers started a'sparying. Again, I'm not one who tends to side with the cops in a dispute like this but these kids aren't exactly sympathetic victims.

    And also, trust me, it doesn't matter your ideology, having a whole bunch of people camping out on campus will start to get annoying real fucking quick.

  37. Roy Lofquist:

    If pepper spray is so evil and dangerous how come I can buy it at my corner store - and not even have to sign a register like I do to buy a decongestant?

  38. Dan:

    Ya lost me on this one. Big time. If the cops had come right out of the blue and sprayed them without any warning, to move them along, I would agree whole heartedly with your post. But they are not doing that. In this video, they had told the crowd that they are blocking a thoroughfare, illegally, and if they do not move, they will be pepper sprayed. Pepper spray is a temporary discomfort. I have had it done to me several times while in the military. It's unpleasant, but by no means torturous or harmful. But it's the most effective and safest way to move someone from their current position to another position, while at the same time, allowing you to arrest them in the process.

    They are not only breaking the law by blocking a thoroughfare, but by disobeying a lawful command from a police officer, they have chosen to break two laws. Ergo... they CHOSE to be pepper sprayed. Plain and simple. And by writing what you wrote, you are falling prey to their PR plan of gaining sympathy. But unfortunately, your sympathy is misplaced. These are people that have no respect for the rule of law. And just because their semi-stated mission is to bring those in the financial industry to justice (among many of the lunatic ramblings), does not justify breaking the law to do so. Two wrongs don't make a right.

    Your assertion is not libertarian, it's just, well, uninformed... and that's just NOT like you.

  39. Jim Collins:

    The cops were in a no win situation. No matter what they did they would be protrayed as being wrong. If you used fire hoses you would be abusing the protesters. If you have ever been hit by the stream from a 2-1/2" line you will know what I mean. There would be video of some protester streaming blood from his head even if he had to hit himself to do it. The same goes for breaking up the group and hauling them off individually. You would then have video of protesters with their arms in slings and the same guy with blood streaming from his head.

    This was all staged. Right down to the use of campus police to break up the protest. From the President of the college wanting the protest "broken up" if you believe that, to the protesters themselves. It was all part of the act.

  40. caseyboy:

    I sometimes think Coyote takes this position to goad us. I am over 60 and have never had an altercation with a law enforcement officer. Do you want to know why? I do not break laws and if a police officer requests that I do something I don't take offense and start acting like a pampered prima-donna. I cooperate. No big deal.

    I'm not saying there aren't bad apples, but I haven't run into one yet.

  41. Jim Collins:

    I think that there are some people who would tell you that you need to get out more. That you shouldn't just go along meekly with anything that our elected overlords declare to be the law. That you should stand up and rebell against the chains that society has seen fit to place upon us.

    I'm not one of those people.

  42. delurking:

    All right, SVBOR et al., where do you draw the line? Would it have been OK if the officer had drawn his gun and shot each of them in the head? I'm guessing you would not say so. How about if he had drawn his truncheon and whacked each one in the head? Kicked each one in the face? Stomped on their toes?

    It seems that you are arguing is that pepper spray isn't so bad, so police should be able to use it when people ignore them. The argument is ridiculous on its face.

  43. SBVOR:

    delurking (November 21, 2011, 4:11 pm)

    Watch the three videos I have provided and see the facts and context which the carefully edited UC Davis propaganda video quite deliberately left out:

    Pepper spray is an effective and utterly harmless way to deal with lawless mobs such as this.

    What would you propose? Should the lawless simply be allowed to defy the law and trample the rights of others?

    The university officials who are now throwing the Campus Police under the bus are the VERY SAME utterly spineless slaves to political correctness who asked the Campus Police to enforce the ban on overnight camping.

    The Campus Police -- who have limited resources -- were given a job to do. Even DESPITE using pepper spray, the angry mob (who CLEARLY threatened violence) overpowered them, forced them out of the park and prevented them from enforcing the law.

    One could, therefore, (incorrectly) argue that the Campus Police did not use ENOUGH force. But, no, the Campus Police -- by retreating -- made the right choice. It was the university administration which then made the WRONG choice.

    The proper response from the university would have been to call in the city, county and -- if necessary -- state police to ensure enough resources were made available to enforce the law without doing unnecessary harm to the lawless mob.

    But, instead, the UC Davis administration proved themselves to be a pack of spineless slaves to the (objectively verifiable) Marxist doctrine of political correctness.

  44. SBVOR:

    P.S.) Regarding the objectively verifiable Marxist doctrine of political correctness:

    In this case, the "sainted victims" who can -- per the doctrine of political correctness -- never do any wrong are the angry mob of obnoxious spoiled brat moronic punks illegally occupying the campus and CLEARLY threatening the Campus Police with violence.

  45. SBVOR:

    P.P.S.) Since pepper spray did NOT work in removing the illegal encampment, maybe tear gas would:

    Deploy the tear gas.
    Confiscate the tents and sleeping bags.
    Repeat as needed.

  46. delurking:

    SBVOR, I note that you did not answer any of the four questions I asked. Would it be OK if the officer shot them with his sidearm? Would it be OK if he clubbed them with his truncheon. Would it be OK if he kicked them in their faces. Would it be OK if he stomped on their toes?

    I have watched your three videos, and read your descriptions of them. They do not support your case. Furthermore, you claim pepper spray is an effective (and harmless...Ha!) way to deal with lawless mobs. How exactly did the pepper spray "deal with" this mob?

    You say that one could incorrectly argue that the police did not use enough force; and that they actually made the right choice by retreating. By what line of reasoning do you conclude that pepper-spraying about 10 of the seated protesters is the right amount of force?

    You are correct about one thing: if the university wanted the park cleared, they should have made enough police officers available for the job. But they did not. How does this justify the police who were there pepper-spraying the seated protesters?

  47. Dan Smith:

    I agree that the likelihood the video was edited to make the cops look bad is enormous. OK, this wasn't warfare, but the protestors had been ordered to disperse and refused, linking arms to make it tough for the cops to remove them. In addition, the cops were in the middle of the seated group, isolated.
    I watched one of the "victims" give an interview the next day. He had no sign of injury, not even red eyes. I conclude that pepper spray is a humane and effective way to enforce police orders.

  48. delurking:

    Hi Dan
    Why evidence do you have that police orders were obeyed after the seated protesters were pepper-sprayed? How do you support your conclusion?

    Are you sure it isn't the case that you think the protesters deserved punishment, so that since the police weren't able to arrest them the police were justified in punishing them on the spot?

  49. SBVOR:

    delurking (November 21, 2011, 10:11 pm),

    You don't deserve a response, but I'll offer one anyway.

    Again, start by watching the three videos I have provided and see the facts and context which the carefully edited UC Davis propaganda video quite deliberately left out. You either did not watch the videos or you are hideously dishonest in your assessment:

    1) Obviously, none of your theoretical levels of violence would have been justifiable in this case. It is absurd of you even to ask -- but, that's the game you play.

    2) Pepper spray was imminently justifiable in this case. By sitting and linking arms, the punks were resisting arrest. Pepper spray is designed to REDUCE the level of resistance and REDUCE the odds of more violence and ensuing injuries.

    3) In the end, pepper spray proved to be insufficient. The next level of escalation should have been tear gas. I'm pretty sure the Campus Police had none. Therefore, retreat was their best option.

    4) The university administration should be roundly condemned for then throwing the Campus Police under the bus (for doing only what the administration ORDERED them to do). Again, the proper response from these spineless cowards would have been to THEN call in more officers from more agencies and see to it that the rule of law was not tossed in the toilet.

    If those additional officers met resistance, my advice would have been:
    Deploy the tear gas.
    Confiscate the tents and sleeping bags.
    Repeat as needed.

  50. delurking:

    Hi SBVOR,
    I have watched the videos, and I come to conclusions different from yours. Why do you think I don't deserve a response?

    1) Why are none of my theoretical levels of violence justifiable? My judgment is that three of them are more painful than pepper spray, and one is less painful. Why is the intermediate one (the pepper spray), justifiable.

    2) Yes, they were resisting arrest by making it difficult for them to be carried away. That does not justify violence against them, since there was no threat of violence against anyone else. The police are not there to mete out punishment (that is the job of the court system), they are there to enforce the law. If they are unable to enforce the law by arresting people, that does not give them leave to hurt people. Furthermore, clubbing them in the head would also reduce the level of resistance and reduce the odds of more violence, but you say that is obviously not justifiable. Please explain why pepper spray is obviously OK but clubbing them is not.

    3), 4) These points build on the previous points. But anyway, yes, the only option the administration and police had with this type of protest was to make enough officers available that they could carry away those they were arresting. If they can't make enough officers available to do that, the law doesn't get enforced. A similar thing happens every day on our highways. There simply aren't enough officers to pull over everyone who is speeding, so they only get a few. That does not justify a violent response, either. People get away with breaking the law all the time, without being subjected to violence. The rule of law is not tossed into the toilet because of it. The police don't get to carry out punishments just because there aren't enough of them there to make arrests.