Featuring the works and commentary of Andrew Bruss

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The City of Boston v. The Bill of Rights

This was designed by EddieAtari and posted on the Occupy Boston Facebook

I’ve been hesitant to weigh in on the Occupy Wall Street protests because to be honest, I am still not sure what to make of them. I support the movement’s general aim of improving the financial sector, but without stated goals or any sort of leadership, I’m still not sure what the end game is.

The movement has spread to dozens of cities around the country, including Boston, and my reluctance to weigh in on this movement vanished when the Boston Police Department arrested 141 people for protesting peacefully, only to be followed by Mayor Thomas Menino telling the world, “Civil disobedience does not work for Boston; it doesn’t work for anyone.”

Come again Mayor Mumbles? Ever hear of Martin Luther King Jr.? Mohandas K. Gandhi? The Boston Tea Party!?!?!?

The city was fine with Occupy Boston protesters (an offshoot of Occupy Wall Street) filling in Dewey Square, but when their protest spread to the Rose Kennedy Greenway, Menino’s tolerance for the Bill of Rights ran out.

Mark Leccese, a Boston Globe blogger and one of my favorite Emerson College professors, pointed out that between the Mayor and BPD Commissioner Edward Davis, they don’t even have a straight story regarding their decision to bust up the protest.  BPD spokeswomen Elaine Driscoll first told The Boston Globe they would not let protesters spread because of expensive renovations recently performed. However, Commissioner Davis did not seem as worried about the upkeep of city property as much as the threat of Anarchists. The Boston Herald quoted Davis as saying: “The group that was here for the first ten days was working very closely with us, but they warned us yesterday morning that a new group, the anarchists, wanted to take control.”

In the process of arresting 141 peaceful protesters, the Boston Police made a point of roughing up a handful of Veterans For Peace. The BPD even arrested Legal Observers who were properly identified. 

Given Boston’s reputation as the birthplace American liberty (the suburb of Lexington to be exact), this whole episode is an utter disgrace. I have always been known to give the Boston Police Department credit where credit is due, but in this case, they should hang their heads in shame.

Editors Note: If you would like a better understanding of how other police departments have responded to these protest, an NYPD officer using mace against a handful of defenseless girls at an Occupy Wall Street event says it all. 

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