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Starting to See a Pattern? Occupy Tulsa Protesters Pepper Sprayed, Arrested

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By HVnews on November 2, 2011


It likely won’t get much publicity, but late Tuesday night/early Wednesday morning, the Tulsa police department arrested nine members of the Occupy Tulsa movement. The reason?

Police say the group of 20 protesters were violating a curfew law. Protesters were told they could remain on the sidewalk but would have to dismantle their tents and clean up the area. All city parks, by ordinance, are off-limits from 11:00 p.m. to 5 a.m.

The protesters refused to comply. Nine of them intended to be arrested, KTUL reports, by remaining on the grass and scrawling the number of an attorney on their arms.

Just over 3 hours after the police tried to compromise, they returned with massive force, once again urging the protestors to leave.

“All occupants of the park must leave now!” they ordered.

With no compliance, the police moved in, surrounding the group on the grass and beginning the first arrest with a dose of pepper spray.

“To me right there that was police brutality,” said Gena Madsen, watching the event unfold.

Not all of the protestors were sprayed, but the fact that it was used at all outraged many of the spectators.

“They were getting pepper spray this close to these people’s faces and just totally, and there was no call for that there was not the people were fighting at all,” she said.

“Pepper spray is used in cases where there is resistance, on this case it was used only on persons who were actively resisting arrest,” said the deputy chief.

One of the arrested was a military veteran upset over having his Pell Grant cut by the government. Other protesters only became emboldened by the arrests.

Said one: “I’m gonna be here until there’s effective change, and I think there’s going to be more and more and more people. I mean, what happened when they turned the hoses and dogs on people in Birmingham, Alabama?”

That comes pretty close to invoking Godwin’s Law, but we’ll let the comparison to the Civil Right’s movement slide for the moment. As you can see by the few videos uploaded to YouTube before the arrests were made, Occupy Tulsa isn’t exactly Occupy Wall Street.

Before we get any further, it should be noted that the Tulsa Police Department is one of the more corrupt departments in the country: “Seven lawsuits have piled up against the city so far from people who allege they were wrongfully locked up by police and nearly 40 people — some with criminal backgrounds — have had their convictions overturned or prison sentences commuted as a result of the sweeping corruption probe, which began two years ago,” according to Newson6.

Like the arrests made in Portland over the weekend, the question must be asked: Who are the police serving and protecting by infringing upon the right to peaceful assembly?

They are certainly not serving or protecting the citizens. And they aren’t conducting themselves in a manner which would suggest peace. Just look at Oakland and New York, and now, smaller cities where protesters are being arrested for no good reason.

The First Amendment to America’s Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The important part of that law, which the Founding Fathers of this country felt was so important as to make it the very first freakin’ amendment, is the notion that no law shall be made infringing on the right of the people to peaceably assemble.

Clearly, authorities are using city ordinances, like no park visitors after 11 p.m., to disrupt those assemblies. The growing pattern of arrests when it comes to the OWS protesters is an alarming encroachment on the First Amendment.

Dustin Slaughter, an #OWS protester who has been to four different Occupied cities, said it best in his HyperVocal piece called “What I Learned from the Occupation: Lose the Fear.”

The passionate banjo player clearly understands what much of mainstream media has failed to grasp. Enough talk about demands and one clear message. This movement is so much bigger than one or two lines the media may or may not choose to digest. At its heart, the Occupy movement is about summoning the courage to use public space to begin a revolution to not just reform a hopelessly broken system, but to create a new one. The movement is the message. And revolutions don’t start when people stay within the confines of legal and physical boundaries set up by authorities. Revolutions start when the people recognize that these paltry confines are implemented by forces who either don’t understand the democracy inherent in the First Amendment or are simply determined to maintain the status quo, and quash the spirit of a people and idea whose time has come.

We’ll even leave aside the questionable police tactics to remove the protesters from public spaces. This isn’t about supposed police brutality, this is about an American’s right to peacefully assemble. To protest perceived injustices without the fear or worry that they will be pepper-sprayed or have rubber bullets and tear gas fired upon them just because they refuse to leave a public space.

This is something that should have both progressive and conservatives — participants in OWS and the Tea Party — up in arms. This cuts to the very nature of what makes America, well, America.

S’MORE #OWS STORIES TO KEEP YOU OCCUPIED:

• On Rights: Former USAF Airwoman Gives Portland Police Important Civics Lesson
Lowlifes, Homeless and Colbert Co-Opting Occupy Wall Street?
What I Learned from the Occupation: Lose the Fear
Iraq Vet Wounded by Oakland Police Projectile Upgraded to “Fair” Condition
War Pigs: Police in Riot Gear Bust Up Occupy Oakland Protests
OWS: An Idea to Keep Big Banks Occupied
Marine to NYPD: “Why Y’all Gearing Up Like This is War?”
Banksy Shows Support for Occupy London Protests with Custom Monopoly Sculpture
Fallon and BriWi Slow Jam the #OWS News
Where Occupy Wall Street Headlines Come From
Operation Fox Hunt: Anonymous Threatens to Take Down Fox News
Buncha Bologna: Pepper-Spraying NYPD Officer Loses Just 10 Days Vacation
Jon Stewart on Hypocrisy of Republican Revolution Rhetoric
MTV Goes OWS: Watch Previews for “True Life: I’m Occupying Wall Street”
11 Occupy Wall St. Spin-offs You May Have Missed
[VIDEO] Rest Easy, World: Half of the Baldwin Brothers Make a Visit to OWS
Close Your Citibank Account, Go Directly to Jail
NYPD and OWS Protesters Clash After Cleanup Postponed
Here’s Why “Occupy” Protesters Picked Specific Fight with Wall St. Bankers
Gee, Wonder Why Fox News Declined to Air This Interview with Occupy Wall St. Protester
Wicked Cold: Riot Police Clash with Occupy Boston Camp
Puppet Interview Crews and More Kanye West News From Occupy Wall Street
Nightstickin’: NYPD Officer to Start “Occupy Hospitals”
What Would George Carlin Think of Occupy Wall Street?
CAPTION IT: Kanye West Occupies Wall Street…for Minutes
Police Tackle Peaceful Cafe Worker at “Occupy Wall Street”
NYPD Officer in Hot Bologna After Second Pepper Spray Video Surfaces
Jon Stewart Finally Breaks Down Occupy Wall Street
Geraldo Meets Occupy Wall Street Protesters Amid Chants of “Fox News Lies!”
Inconceivable! Princess Bride Bossman Checks in with Occupy Wall Street Protests
Radiohead Hoaxster Comes Clean, Wanted to Raise Awareness for Occupy Wall Street

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