When you quit looking at the Occupy events through the bizarre prism of the post 911 “We can violate your rights whenever we want” mindset, there are lots of questions that are begging to be asked. Remember when Oakland police promised never to use non-lethal weapons on citizens any more in 2004 ? http://www.businessinsider.com/oakland-police-agreed-not-to-use-non-lethal-weapons-against-protesters-back-in-2004-2011-10
When cops in their Darth Vader wannabe outfits, their combination of SWAT and black 25th Century Neo-Nazi combat attire say ‘THIS ASSEMBLY HAS BEEN DECLARED TO BE ILLEGAL”, given the bizarre passive voice of “Has Been” as if the Hal 9000 did it or no one KNOWS who did it, it begs the question for someone to ask “Who “declared it to be an illegal assembly ?” What is their justification for such a declaration…How it is illegal, what laws, statutes or ordinances are violated, and isn’t the Bill of Rights always superior to local ordinances. And again I ask, WHO, meaning, give us a name of someone in authority who is responsible for “declaring this illegal” And, another question, at what POINT did it become illegal and why. Did it become illegal because of the time of day, shape of clouds, did the Magic 8 ball say it was illegal at some point ? We need real reasons, not just a black clad RoboCop saying we must move along.
It IS important to stick a person’s name on the declaration of illegality because when investigations happen, when lawsuits get filed, there needs to be a target.
And, if the answer is that it is unknown who declared it illegal or the reasons, then such a declaration is invalid.
As I see it, there is a CLEAR , convincing, LEGAL reason that the rights of citizens to peaceably assemble for redress of grievances or to protest, because, if such an act is no longer legal, we are not in a constitutional republic , we are not in a democratic republic, rather, we are in a dictatorship.
Now, at this point, we MUST make a differentiation between mere marching and protests, and the Camping which has become so identified with the Occupy movement. In the old days, we would have called it a “sit in” however, it is not just a sit in, more like a “live in”.
And, it certainly seems large cities are targeting the Occupiers by passing ad hoc “ordinances” such as in Baltimore, to make overnight camping illegal, and so, if illegal, one can “send in the clowns” (read here, thug cops in Swat costumes).
Now, perhaps the Camping could be illegal, but a peaceful assembly of folks who are protesting with a list of grievances ? That’s about as American as you get.
Cleveland judge says Occupiers can stay at public square 24 hours a day.
http://www.cleveland.com/business/index.ssf/2011/10/occupy_cleveland_can_demonstra.html In Tennessee, a judge says protesters are within legal rights http://www.coloradopols.com/showDiary.do;jsessionid=D2FFE37916E6B5B663E47C8C1847030D?diaryId=16658
OCCUPY DALLAS files injunction against the City. http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Occupy-Dallas-Files-Federal-Injunction-Against-City-131634198.html
Injunctions NEED to literally be filed in every city where the city is acting to illegally abridge and / or violate the rights of citizens to peacefully protect, in whatever peaceful manner they choose.
Remember the verbiage granting our rights to assemble AND forbidding abridgement thereof
“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.”
And, the Fourteenth Amendment extended this to protect us from state interference :
“No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
So, unless there is a city ordinance saying one must get a permit to protest, our First Amendment rights to “peaceful assembly” secured in the First Amendment, should trump any local laws, ordinances, etc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_assembly.
So, we (meaning OCCUPY supporters) who are told that an assembly “has been declared to be illegal” , have a legitimate right to know WHO declared it, with all the names responsible, their citations of legal authority, and what remedies, if any, are stipulated in whatever ordinance or law they allegedly cite, for failure to quit such an assembly. By this, I mean to say is there a written document specifically stipulating that an arrest of every person not quitting such an assembly be made if there is non-compliance with an order to move away , or, are the cops just arresting as a means to an end without specific authority by ordinance.
Now, another question that arises is this. We have become aware that in more than one city, police are being embedded in, infiltrated within, the ranks of the Occupiers, dressed in plain clothes for what seems to be a purpose of being an agent provocateur. When an agent provocateur acts in such a way as to try to incite rioting by other protesters, and he or she is identified, then, should they not be subject to the same laws as anyone who attempts to incite others to riot, and, if they throw feces, water, paint on officers to give officers a rationale to react violently, shouldn’t they be responsible as the proximate cause of any injuries done to other protesters as a result of the actions of the police which they acted to provoke ? English common law would support this I believe.
Next, insofar as cities, states, countries, parishes, or other governmental entities act in such a way as to deprive citizens of their civil riots, such as peaceful assembly, shouldn’t there be legal remedies ? For example, the KKK people who murdered black people in Mississippi were convicted finally under the civil rights violations, so, as a criminal charge, this is very serious.
I am thus asking, isn’t it proper as in the case in Tennessee, to ask for a federal court to grant an injunction to abate any further harm and violation. We know that permanent harm to Scott Olsen was done. We know that destruction of property and conversion of property has been a routine action by police departments in various cities.
It is a generally held concept that NO ONE is “above the law” and thus, when police in whatever city are violating citizens rights, destroying their property without a court order for such destruction, arresting them without just cause (see the Nashville arrests) then, citizens should be able to place the police into arrest on the spot using the citizen’s arrest right and duty.
Cops, mayors, governors, are all citizens. They are, regardless of their positions, able to be sued, able to have criminal complaints filed against them, and if they are violating rights of citizens, there needs to be an investigation by the DOJ and FBI, and insofar as they are, by any illegal actions, inducing fear and terror into American citizens, perhaps they should be prosecuted under the Patriot Act by the Department of Homeland Security.
Although favorable press is good, I believe it is through injunctions, legal suits, investigations, removal of mayors and police chiefs by voters, and ultimately, having our OWN political party and passing our own proper laws to abate these illegal ones, that will be the solution.