In addition to the macing captured on video yesterday, new reports are coming in that the Department of Homeland Security’s Chemical And Biological Response Unit has made an appearance at Occupy Wall Street.
The Intel Hub reports that Chemical and Biological Response Units from the Department Of Homeland Security have been confirmed to be “surrounding and converging” on Occupy Wall Street Protesters. From the videos posted, it’s unclear what DHS is doing there. They claim to be just checking it out on a detour from the 9/11 memorial site.
Asked what they are doing there, one of the DHS personnel said that they were just tourists who came to see the crowd, “It could have been Mickie Mouse, don’t read into it…”
Dressed as they are in khakis and polos, they don’t appear to be doing much more than sight-seeing, but after yesterday’s reports of unnecessary macing, it might be best to withhold judgement until further information becomes available. It’s unnerving to see the DHS show up at a protest, and even if they really are just gawking, they should have known better than to show up with the DHS logo on their shirts. Sometimes you have to wonder at the utter cluelessness of government officials. Way to tamp down the paranoia, guys.
Also, where was this show of force when the Tea Party showed up with armed AK-47s to “hear” the President speak? It’s time to give the Obama Secret Service a round of applause for dealing with protesters the way they have. The contrast between the Tea Party’s protests of Democrats during the Health Care reform debate and this protest is striking.
In the Occupy Wall Street protest, we have a lot of arrests – some of which do not appear warranted. We also have the use of Mace on already restrained individuals who didn’t appear threatening.
Deeper analysis of the mace incident from USLAW:
“The New York Daily News reported that over 50 arrests were made by the New York Police Department on September 24, 2011 in connection with the “Occupy Wall Street” protest movement. The same story mentioned “there were unconfirmed reports that mace may have been used” and the online story contained an embedded video that clearly shows a noxious gas being deployed by a police officer. USLaw.com’s slow motion analysis of the same video shows a senior New York Police Department officer deploying a spray cannister in an unorthodox manner on a small group that were being ‘kettle netted’ by a half dozen officers, some of whom were also affected by spray.”
USLAW.com put up a slo-mo of the mace incident from yesterday:
Here is the full video that we shared with you last night:
As you can see, the women were watching a rather forceful arrest taking place in the street. The women were contained within the orange restraining net and don’t appear to be threatening or dangerous in any way. Furthermore, the senior officer in white who walked over to them from the street incident appears agitated.
“Analysis from a different angle shows the two senior officers, who approach the area from across the street with pointed fingers and outstretched hands, may have been agitated by the nearby arrest of a photographer as no officers appear to be under immediate threat and the women in greatest contact with the sprayed agent appear to have had no instant involvement in that arrest.”
The New York Times spoke with Chelsea Elliot, one of the five people who were reportedly maced by the police. Elliot, 25, says she shouted:
“Why are you doing that?” as an officer arrested a protester at East 12th Street. “I was on the ground sobbing and couldn’t breathe,” she said.
The escalation of unwarranted force by the senior officer only serves to escalate an already tense situation. The police are there to keep the peace, not to silence Americans who are peaceably assembling. Last night I included a reminder of the 5 steps of escalation of force:
The New York Police Department has these five stages set through which the use of force can progress. 1) verbal persuasion, 2) unarmed physical force, 3) force using non-lethal weapons, 4) force using impact weapons, 5) deadly force (AIUSAPolice Brutality 1999:2).
They also have many tools at their disposal when the need for using force arises. These include the police baton, mace, tasers, handcuffs, police dogs, and firearms.
No doubt the police are edgy and on guard, but this is also what they train for. A good police officer understands that a cool head can save the day. Just look at the officers surrounding the penned in area to see how most officers handle these situations. Kudos to them for staying calm; it appears a few of them might have gotten a bit of off spray from the senior officer’s mace-fest.
This appears to be a photoshop prank (comes from another video posted at Intel Hub), but either way, someone has a sense of humor:
The situation easily could have spiraled out of control yesterday after what appears to be an unwarranted attack. Now, the DHS show up.
Whose idea was that?