The police warned that if protestors didn’t move, force would be used to remove them. Protestors didn’t move. Force was used to remove them.
What’s the big deal?
Liberals were aghast at last Friday’s video showing Police Lt. John Pike shooting pepper spray at a row of seated protestors blocking a walkway at the University of California at Davis. The protestors were barricading the path against officers trying to arrest students who had violated the college’s order prohibiting pitching tents on the quad.
Curiously, the seated protestors had their heads down and eyes covered during the entire 10-second assault. This may have had something to do with the fact that the sadistic monster Pike had raised his bright-red pepper spray can in the air and shaken it for about five minutes before spraying, in order to warn the protestors about what was coming. In the video, onlookers can be heard calling out, “Keep your eyes closed!” “Cover your eyes!” and “Protect yourself!” Upon being sprayed, none of the seated protestors appeared to cry out in pain, though it was difficult to hear over the onlookers wailing, “You guys are supposed to protect us!”
One hysterical woman in the video can be heard yowling, “Why are you doing this? These are children!”—which I guess is supposed to be aurally reminiscent of “It’s for the children!”
For those who don’t belong to the Young Democratic Socialists, pepper spray is a commonly used, non-lethal crowd control agent that is a chemical cousin of mace and other tear gases. It induces watery eyes, runny nose, and coughing—which can’t be any worse than the symptoms of Zuccotti Lung.
Contrary to occupiers’ claims, the seated protestors were not willing to move out of the way if asked. Officers can be seen trying to drag protestors away after the pepper spray cans had been pulled out, but the arm-linked protestors refused to move.
The police appear to have carried out their pepper spray raid, not to cruelly inflict distress on the protestors, but to soften them up to make it easier to remove them from the walkway. As former Baltimore Police Chief Charles Kelly noted, “When you start picking up human bodies, you risk hurting them. Bodies don’t have handles on them.” Even after being sprayed, the protestors remained limp, forcing multiple officers to drag them away.
The UC Davis protestors, despite the widespread impression of them as beleaguered innocents set upon by hordes of machine gun-toting Gestapo, far outnumbered the police patrolling them. UC Davis reports that there were 35 police officers on the scene Friday, compared to 250 protestors and onlookers.
Overwhelming numbers of unhinged protestors in any setting have the potential to wreak havoc, as evidenced by violent Occupy-driven confrontations over the past two months in other U.S. cities. Even small groups of committed protestors can inflict costly wreckage, as demonstrated by the handful of Occupy protestors in Rome several weeks ago who injured hundreds of people and caused millions of dollars in damage.
The Occupy protestors have no concern for the well-being or safety of police officers, i.e. individuals in a dangerous profession who otherwise protect protestors in their daily lives. As one commenter at the website Boing Boing ordered, “[D]on’t pepper spray non-violent protester [sic] you intent [sic] to arrest. Just arrest them and move on. If you get hurt, so be it. You are a police officer. Your job is inherntly [sic] dangerous.” Yes, their job is inherently dangerous, due to chaos-instigating criminals like Occupy protestors and the people who sympathize with them.
There are numerous ways of hindering police work besides pushing back against cops or throwing bottles, urine, and feces at them (though the Occupy protestors have tried all of those methods!). Even passive forms of resistance such as building human chains or walls to prevent police from getting by, or sprawling out on the ground and refusing to move, can justify retaliatory force.
Perhaps the cops could have “stepped over” or “brushed past” the protestors, as some Occupy apologists have glibly suggested. The protestors sob that they were seated and non-violent when they were sprayed. Boo-hoo. They aligned themselves with an anarchic, violent mob, and they telegraphed their intention not to comply with police. Maybe they would have let themselves be peacefully pushed aside had it come to that. But the police don’t have time to administer a psychological evaluation to each rally participant to determine his or her propensity for causing mayhem under stress.
When cops say move, you move—even if you’re curled in a fetal position on the ground with flowers in your hair listening to Cat Stevens and nursing orphaned kittens.
The UC Davis police could have acted a lot more brutally, including prodding or beating protestors with batons. The occupiers should consider themselves warned: Trust fund brat refuses to move, trust fund brat gets spray tanned.
Protestors in the UC Davis videos can be heard chanting “Shame on you!” at police after the incident. Actually, shame on patsy mayors like Michael Bloomberg and Jean Quan for not empowering police to clear out these animals ages ago.
- UC Davis Students’ Eerie, Powerful Protest Against Pepper-Spray Chancellor [Video] (gawker.com)
- So Unbelievably Horrible And Wrong: Police Officer Pepper-Sprays Non-Violent Occupy UC Davis Protestors. (perezhilton.com)
- UC Davis Police Pepper Spray Student Occupy Protestors, University Investigating Incident (mediaite.com)
- UC Davis Pepper Spraying: Protesters Call for Chancellor’s Resignation (abcnews.go.com)
- UC Davis Protestors Arrested on Campus (pdalbury.wordpress.com)