Many of you have heard about the beatings that took place at UC Berkeley’s Occupy Berkeley protests on Wednesday night. The police brutality wasn’t particularly brutal, so much as it was entirely uncalled for.
The Berkeley legal blog Nuts & Boalts sums up what should be the feeling of any person concerned about the laws of this country: “Regardless of how you feel about the Occupation, this behavior by police against unarmed, non-violent protestors is not only illegal, but is shameful.”
If you haven’t seen the video, it’s below. Just as disturbing as the actual footage is the facile message Berkeley Law students received before the event that was a warning that the police were going to be totally unreasonable about the situation….
Do the police understand that every time there’s footage like this it makes it hard for them to do their job the next time? Do they also understand that poking unarmed students with sticks is wrong?
Before this took place, Boalt students were warned from a member of the Berkeley Law administration:
UCPD officers have told us that they are under orders to stop anyone carrying large signs, banners, bullhorns or other amplification devices on campus property. Officers have been monitoring the area in front of the Law School that adjoins Kroeber plaza. If you are carrying signs, banners, bullhorns, or other amplification devices you will likely be stopped by UCPD and asked to produce identification. There have been some confrontational incidents in the last couple of hours that demonstrate that the officers expect immediate compliance with their request for ID. While we do not understand UCPD’s position on this issue, we cannot control or direct UCPD’s behavior and we are concerned for your safety and well being. It might, therefore, be wisest to avoid the west end of the building for now, if you can do so. Instead come into the law school through the EAST cafe door.
That’s amazing. The Berkeley Law administrators basically knew that the police were going to be unreasonable and potentially violate the rights of protestors, before the activity even got under way. They were concerned about their students’ safety from police attacks!
I hope the Berkeley Law kids were safe, but I also hope some of them joined as legal monitors of the situation. When the police can no longer be trusted, we really have to look to the lawyers to uphold the law.
Occupy U.C. Berkeley Protesters Face Violent Confrontation With Campus Police [Huffington Post]
Police Brutality During Occupation Protest in Sproul Today [Nuts & Boalts]