By Leonard Pitts Jr.

Give Thanks To Citizens With Cameras

November 28, 2011 2:38 am Category: Memo Pad 11 Comments A+ / A-

A menacing crowd of protesters had encircled police and they had no choice but to defend themselves with pepper spray. Or at least, that is the story campus cops at UC Davis initially told.

Video of the Nov. 18 incident tells a different story. It shows a group of Occupy Davis student protesters sitting peacefully with arms interlocked while a police officer walks back and forth, dousing them at close range with liberal amounts of pepper spray. There is an awful contemptuousness in his bearing. He could be spraying weeds in his garden or roaches in his kitchen.

Pages →  1 2 3 4 5

Give Thanks To Citizens With Cameras Reviewed by on . A menacing crowd of protesters had encircled police and they had no choice but to defend themselves with pepper spray. Or at least, that is the story campus cop A menacing crowd of protesters had encircled police and they had no choice but to defend themselves with pepper spray. Or at least, that is the story campus cop Rating:

More by Leonard Pitts Jr.

Michael Brown No Angel? Why Should It Matter?

You’ve probably never heard of Claudette Colvin. And yet, had history twisted in a slightly different direction, she might loom as large in American memory as Rosa Parks does now while Parks herself would be a little-remembered seamstress. Colvin, you see, did what Parks did, nine months before Parks did it. In March of 1955,

Read more...

‘Perry v. Lehmberg’ And The Veto That Illuminated An Unsettling Trend

A truism: Almost nobody looks good in his booking photo. That said, the 47th governor of Texas, one James Richard Perry, certainly gave it his best shot when he faced the camera at the Travis County Courthouse last week. The resultant image is … not terrible. Perry is caught somewhere between a tight smile and

Read more...

What’s Next In Ferguson? Let’s Try A Little Education

What next? That’s what should concern us now. When the nightly dance of angry protesters, opportunistic criminals, and inept police clashing over the shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown finally ends, what steps should civic-minded people take to address the ongoing abuse of African-Americans by the criminal injustice system? Not just in Ferguson, Missouri,

Read more...

Tags

Comments

  • dudoight

    Does that include the guy with the camera who exposed ACORN?

  • freethinker

    If you were an officer of the law and had asked the demonstrators to move and they refused, what action you would take? Would you allow them to defy you? Would you attempt to use physical force to move them? Would you pepper spray them? Mr. Pitts needs to walk in an officer’s shoes before he condemns. He also knows, full well, that cameras only catch a small, edited, part of the story. But then, a balanced, researched report wouldn’t fit his narrative.

  • dudoight

    I wonder how brave these demonstrators would be if they were in Syria?

  • Sgt Z

    ACORN;yes a camera was good there the editing was so so. Non violence needs to be addressed with non violence it’s that simple.NYC has been dealing with Occupy since September and there was only one pepper spray incident believe the officer is still on leave

  • bsd4083

    Except the claims are not proved to be false. My Personal experience/ observation with several state police organizations has proved to me how corrupt the New England states ET AL. legal systems are. I have noted they destroy evidence, falsify evidence, extort vast sums from families of arrestes, erase patrol car video and lie under oath.
    Police routinely write FALSE discovery reports that are used to justify their actions, part of their training” it is how they get promoted “it validates their actions & arrests even if they factually inaccurate, even as witnesses and evidence support different events. Cameras provide undeniable proof that is why they hate citizen video-cameras ( remember rodny king or the Los Angles murder by Metro officer of a handcuffed citizen. Police routinely video tape citizens from patrol vehicle cameras observing citizen behavior both on the streets and inside the patrol vehicles. With the exception they have and use an “edit on the fly” button in their car cams which deletes any compromising behavior by the LEO. All Police must be subjected to the same scrutiny that they would apply to citizens. Remember dead men tell no tails and state prosecutors are very reluctant to apply criminal charges to police for their illegal acts and behaviors. This is because there is a simbotic relationship between police and state. Prosecutors careers,advancement,(dollars) are made on convictions from police arrests. Civilians must be able to video tape in public where there is no expectation of privacy to disprove false discovery’s and police criminal actions. This provides hard video evidence of police misdeeds, and often the only credible evidence a citizen can provide against police allegations. Remember contrary evidence against proof of a crime will never be mentioned in police discovery reports nor will be witnesses police refused to interview or document their contradictory evidencery statements to a police arrest report/discovery. P.S. and when Police are found at fault the public pays the lawsuit and the officers frequently return to work without any pays the financial consequences of law suits. This is how the country is being lost and the our constitution ignored.
    OK FLAME ME! THE TRUTH HURTS.. SEARCH YOUTUBE VIDEOS POLICE VIOLENCE PICK A STATE

  • DB

    So the writer thinks that the police are all wrong. The peaceful students refused a legal order to move, presumably. What do you advocate? That they be forcibly removed? Peaceful sitting in the way of others in a public place is not speech, it is simply, at best, extremely impolite action, and in many cases a violation of law and order. The use of force to remove them is the same as the use of force to collect taxes to give to the Occupiers as they advocate. The tax collector can come with police and guns and if the taxpayer refuses to pay, can arrest, and indeed pepper spray! Would the press and the Occupiers condemn the arrest of folks for failure to pay taxes? Would the handcuffs be considered a violation of the first amendment? Of course not, but they – the Occupiers – and their media supporters think that violation of other laws is just fine, and the police are evil if they arrest Occupiers – but the police would be wonderful if they were confiscating the money of Wall Street or the banks. What hypocrisy!

  • charliewatkins

    A Police Officer performing their legitimate duty, should not have any fear of being photographed while in action. If their actions are legitimate they have superiors that can verify and explain their actions, if necessary, their superiors also have superiors. There is a chain of command that can be utilized when any questions arise.

  • dricr

    While the police should not be afraid of be photographed, the whole story, not just a snipped scene needs to be shown. When people are told to move by the police because they are creating a safety or public problem, then they should do so. For the plice to use non leathal pepper spray instead of using billy clubs and rough arrests, is very good on the police part.

  • Mother Outlaw

    So, drier, you say pepper spray is preferable to billy clubs and rough arrests. So what happened after the policeman sprayed these non violent people like he was painting? Did they get up and go away or did they have to arrest them anyway because they wouldn’t or couldn’t move? Freedom of cameras protects the police and the arrestee because the police have to think twice before they do something brutal and uncalled for.

  • motorpap1

    The action or reaction must be in comparison to the Act.
    “You are ordered to move”
    The order is not obeyed
    —Pull the 45 and shoot
    –Beat them on the heads with clubs
    –Peper spray or use tear gas.
    –Get another dedicated officer to assist you to Physically carry them from away from the spot.

  • dricr

    You start with minimum force and work up from there. I whole heartly favor what the police did to those that would not listen. It is just like someone going 85 through town, put on the lights and try to get them to pull over. Then if available, spike strips, and finally pit them to stop the illegal action.

scroll to top