Home / Fall 2011 / Enforcement or exploitation?

Enforcement or exploitation?

If you aren’t angry, then you aren’t paying attention. That’s what I have been saying for the last two weeks in light of the law enforcement abuses across the country.

Let me bring you up to speed.

At the University of California – Davis campus, students were peaceably protesting as part of an Occupy movement. When the protesters sat down, linking arms in a symbolic gesture of non-violence participation, and refused to evacuate, the police moved in.

What happened next has spread across the internet, as the video shows the absolute disregard that a single officer had toward the students and protesters. As if he were spraying for ants, he nonchalantly opened up a can of pepper spray on the students.

Reports later revealed that one student miscarried as a result of being kicked in the stomach. Look at the video or the photos of the aftermath of the students sitting on the sidewalk as he opens fire without regard to the lives that he is “supposed” to protect.

Zuccotti Park in New York was the site of a late-night raid by policemen dressed in full riot gear aimed at a crackdown on protesters at the Occupy Wall Street movement. In the middle of the night, police burst into the park after having blocked off the streets into the park so that no journalists could report on what the police were doing. They began tearing down the tents, the library (a portable resource library for the occupy participants containing hundreds of books), anything in their way, slashing tents, pushing and shoving the sleeping protesters from the area. Students and journalists alike were arrested or unceremoniously forced from their encampment. There have been buzzing questions as to how this concerted effort could have taken place and with such swift violence.

Students protesting a proposed tuition increase at the City University of New York (CUNY) were met with police violence as students were attempting to attend and protest at the university’s trustees meeting on Nov. 22. Students were beaten and arrested for refusing to leave the meeting. When the trustees attempted to close the meeting to the public, police were called in to remove the protesters. According to reports, some of the students were not released for almost 24 hours and were not allowed food or bathroom usage during this time.

VSU police removed a lone protester from the sidewalk during a recent fundraiser where Mike Huckabee was speaking on the “Golden Rule.” If only he knew what was being done to others outside the building, I don’t think he would want the same done to him.

What does all this tell us? For one thing, it shows that the abuses of power and the increasing stranglehold on our freedoms are becoming commonplace.

What has happened to our right to assemble? How about our rights to attend open meetings? The more I watch these videos and news reports, and read about the police treating our citizens in such a fashion, I am appalled.

I know that as a journalist I am supposed to be objective, but I also know that I am bound to tell the truth and to report the abuses of power. It seems to me that the one percent have bought themselves some security and that security is called our law enforcement.

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