Things are intensifying in the continuing occupation of Wall Street, where protests are entering their tenth day tomorrow. This footage was captured on the scene this weekend, depicting penned-in protesters who were pepper-sprayed without provocation in what appears to be a purely retributive assault on people making use of their First Amendment right to free speech. The video might disturb some of you, as the female protester's agonized screaming touched a horrified chord for me:
This is heinous. Not only were these women doing nothing more dangerous than shouting slogans, they were clearly penned in and controlled in a manner that rendered them essentially harmless. They were clearly no danger to any of the police officers present.
The culprit, one Deputy Inspector Bologna, has been identified, thanks to a photographer on the scene. However, the NYPD is defending Bologna's actions, as reported by The Atlantic:
According to the NYT, the chief police spokesman, Paul Browne, said that the policeman used pepper spray "appropriately." Great. On the video we can't hear what either side is saying. But at face value, the casualness of the officer who saunters over, sprays right in the women's eyes, and then slinks away without a backward glance, as if he'd just put down an animal, does not match my sense of "appropriate" behavior by officers of the law in a free society.This is insane. These women are victims of violent crime at the hands of the New York City Police Department, it's quite clear. However, the Department's spokesperson has now accused activists of editing the video in order to paint the act as criminal behavior. Camera people on-site have submitted multiple videos to make it quite clear that no editing has taken place, but still no action has been taken against Deputy Investigator Bologna.
In other Wall Street protest news, Noam Chomsky, a renowned philosopher and scholar in political fields, issued a statement of support for the protests, as found on the Occupy Wall Street website:
Anyone with eyes open knows that the gangsterism of Wall Street -- financial institutions generally -- has caused severe damage to the people of the United States (and the world). And should also know that it has been doing so increasingly for over 30 years, as their power in the economy has radically increased, and with it their political power. That has set in motion a vicious cycle that has concentrated immense wealth, and with it political power, in a tiny sector of the population, a fraction of 1%, while the rest increasingly become what is sometimes called "a precariat" -- seeking to survive in a precarious existence. They also carry out these ugly activities with almost complete impunity -- not only too big to fail, but also "too big to jail."
The courageous and honorable protests underway in Wall Street should serve to bring this calamity to public attention, and to lead to dedicated efforts to overcome it and set the society on a more healthy course.If you, like me, support the Wall Street protesters, I'm going to ask you to click here and donate to the cause. You can choose which fund to give to from a variety of options, to include their media fund and their food fund. You can even order pizzas for them online, as local pizzeria Liberatos has created an "occu-pie" for the occasion (please order vegan or vegetarian pizzas only).
Remember, they may be in New York City, but they're standing up for all of our rights across America.
I was going to ask for original footage if any of my readers are in New York, and it would honestly be great if I could run some original stuff on OAQ, but if you live in NYC and do decide to attend the protests, please be very very careful to not run awry of the local authorities. Things are getting dangerous.
I really. Really. Wish I was in New York.