Police Mace Two Non-Threatening Female Protesters at Occupy Wall Street

| September 25, 2011 | 1 Comment

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Among the crowds gathered in Union Square and elsewhere today in New York as a part of the occupation of Wall Street movement, 60-80 of the protesters are said to have been arrested, one person for taking a photo. Two young women were sprayed with what is said to be Mace/pepper spray by police, for no apparent reason.

I guess you need to show up to rallies armed with an AK-47 and angry Don’t Tread on Me t-shirts in order to get any respect in this country.

Video of the demonstrations: In this clip you can enjoy watching a police officer shove a woman onto the sidewalk with more force than necessary among other treats (uploaded by greekcabanaboy):

Here we have a group of women, penned in, who are expressing horror at watching a friend get wrestled to the ground by five or six police officers. For this, they are sprayed with Mace.

I kid you not.

bYarlboro who uploaded this video wrote, “NYPD penned in and maced a group of young female protesters, you can see clearly through the video that they were posing no threat, and were even on the sidewalk…” Keep your eye out at the .45 second mark:

Just to be perfectly clear about what you just watched, I imported the video into iMovie and watched it frame by frame. Two young women at the front of the orange restraint are watching another citizen get taken to the ground forcefully and they’re upset. They use typical gestures to express this, hands up to their face, moaning, crying. They make no threatening move, nor are they causing a problem for anyone. They are already behind the orange restraint.

An officer in a white uniform steps up to the orange restraining net with the mace or pepper spray in his extended hand, already up and open, inserts his arm in between the other officers at the orange fence line, and just a foot or two away from the two girls, sprays right into the first girl’s face, she goes down and he moves over to the next girl. It all happens very quickly and it’s obvious that the officer approached with the intention of using the spray, although there are at least four other officers already standing there who do not seem alarmed.

Here’s a close up from the frame by frame:

and

These young women were not posing a threat or harm to anyone. They were already contained and making no move to escape. They expressing their right to peaceful assembly. They aren’t armed nor are they making threatening gestures.

According to Drury.edu,

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. An officer of the law can be properly trained to administer the law in an unbiased way that will not violate a citizen’s rights, however, this is not happening across the United States.

Pepper spray is used in riot control and crowd control. It causes temporary blindness to allow officers to more easily restrain subjects. It can be deadly in rare cases.

I get that the officers are irritated and even scared of the potential of the crowd to turn dangerous, but escalation of force is a a basic no-no when it’s not necessary. Had these women or the people around them interpreted this as an attack on their safety, who knows what could have happened? And for what — to stop these women from crying?

I’m still at a loss as to any possible reason for the deliberate, planned use of pepper spray on already contained and non-threatening individuals.

What’s the reason for the use of pepper spray on these women, NYPD?

Note: This article has been re-posted in full from the original on PoliticusUSA due to the attack on our server today.

Sources:

Source for crowd number at union square and first video: Gothamist
Source for Mace: ABC News
h/t FreakOutNation

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