Unprovoked pepper-spraying of UC Davis students

This excellent article about police spraying peaceful, seated UC Davis students with pepper spray brings up several important points missing from other OWS reporting:

  1. Standing arm-in-arm and sitting are the essence of non-violent protest tactics, widely used by Dr. Martin Luther King and others, against which violent police tactics are never justified. Authority figures are trying to call these tactics violent in order to justify police brutality.
  2. The vague and hypothetical threats to public health and safety posed by Occupations pale in comparison to the actual injuries inflicted by the police attempting to stop them. The “public health” threat has been evoked over and over by mayors and chancellors to justify breaking up the camps. Did anyone do the cost-benefit calculation? Police actions are far more hazardous and dangerous these days than protests.
  3. Police brutality in the face of Occupy protests is directly related to the militarization of police forces in the name of the “War on Terror”. Police departments bought all these fancy toys with Homeland Security money, and now they feel they have to use them. Glenn Greenwald makes this point in more detail.

Taxpayers, are you getting that? The police took billions of your tax dollars to outfit themselves with military-style gadgetry and now, as a reward, they are using them not on terrorists, or violent criminals, or even petty drug users, but on you, to prevent you from freely assembling and speaking.

Recent events give the impression that the world has lost its moral compass. You have Chancellors of UC Berkeley and Davis, who are probably very nice, intelligent, left-leaning people, authorizing violence against their own students and afterward asserting the necessity of the tactics. Why are authorities so scared to death of the Occupy protests? Why do the police keep fucking up and getting away with it? Are the violent suppressions going to work? I hope not.

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