By all accounts the Occupy Wall Street protests have been quiet, and orderly. Messy and annoying for city officials? Yes. Have both parties been in communication? Yes. Do people have a right to peaceful assembly? Yes. Do people occupying a park eventually get tired and go home? Yes. Was it necessary to shoot beanbag guns and rubber bullets? No. Is it correct use of tear gas canisters and flash grenades to deliberately make contact with a person? No.
This morning, after seeing the video of the Oakland Police throwing a flash bang grenade into a group of Occupy Wall Street protesters who gathered around an injured vet, struck by a Police non-lethal weapon, and were themselves than struck, at close range, from the police ranks, while trying to give aid and assistance, angers me. There are ways to break up a crowd, with a simple wedge and batons. The police form a solid wedge, and move forward with batons in action. If a protester doesn’t want to get hit by a moving baton, he moves away from the wedge. His choice. There is no reason for a law enforcement individual to jump out of the wedge and shoot into the ranks of protestors unless protestors attack them. Tear gas is acceptable but not when aimed at a person. Flash grenades as well, if not aimed at a person. There is much experience in Alameda County to fall back on from the 1960’s and 70’s riot control. These are citizens on the street, not criminals. Have we learned nothing from the protests of the 1960’s and 1970’s? Getting people angrier than they already are at the injustices done to them, is not going to help.