This photo was taken at approximately 1:30 AM on Tuesday, October 11th, in the Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston. The Occupy Boston protesters had formed a second camp in this location because they overflowed their first camp.
The Boston city government responded by sending the police, so the protesters couldn’t “tie up the city.” Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino puts it this way:
Civil disobedience will not be tolerated.
They were given a few minutes warning to get their camp packed up. Then the police, rather than carefully pulling the protesters out one by one to take away, instead rushed the group, beating and choking people, even arresting the legal observers from the National Lawyers Guild.
The photograph shows a young woman being choked by a BPD officer. She was with a church group, led by a priest. When the police started attacking the person next to her she spoke up to try to get them to not be so violent. So an officer grabbed her by the throat and threw her backwards.
Regardless of how you feel about any of the “Occupy” protests, this photo depicts a disgusting abuse of police power. When our law enforcement “protects” us by choking peaceful citizens gathered in a park then “law enforcement” has gone horribly wrong.
Boston police spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll said officers “have a right to protect themselves,” and acted with restraint.
“We believe all our officers were respectful and proportional,” she said.
Yes, that officer was obviously protecting himself from a very dangerous young woman. I hate to think what could have happened to him if he hadn’t been choking her.
Occupy Boston’s story sounds a little bit more plausible. And even after such an attack their press release maintains composure and goodwill, even towards the officers involved, whom they avoid implicating in any wrongdoing as “simply following orders.”
Well, “simply following orders” does not actually get anybody off the hook. Officers need to be investigated and, if necessary, punished over this.
Previously, I had no particular enthusiasm for the Occupy movement. I found it to be an interesting exercise in democracy. But now I am angry on the protesters behalf. Our government must never be allowed to treat peaceful citizens this way. Never. No matter what side of the political divide one is on, I hope we can agree with that.
For more information visit Occupy Boston (and below is a video clip from the Associated Press, via Occupy Boston).
And please share this story with others, we need to know how our police are behaving. They work for us, after all.