Each of the police roll calls for the hundreds of officers who would clear the Occupy Philadelphia protest from Dilworth Plaza on Wednesday morning started the same way. Capt. Bill Fisher, whose ubiquitous presence at City Hall during the previous 56 days had made him the department’s main link to the encampment there, stood at the lectern and recited the First Amendment – the foremost right the protesters were exercising.
“We’ve had a pretty successful operation so far, but a lot depends on what happens tonight,” Fisher, the commander of the Civil Affairs Unit, told the officers. “Act professionally at all times.” Supervisors also ensured that none of the officers were carrying pepper spray or Tasers – weapons banned for the night – and made clear that force would be authorized only by their superiors. The protesters, they said, would be given every opportunity to leave the area before being arrested. LINK
It’s simply amazing how the definition of success has been warped in society today. I have so many problems with this story I don’t know where to begin. First of all there is NO mention, not a single word about the fire department’s contribution to this operation. We had about six fire companies and a half a dozen medic units participate. Those units were taken out of their neighborhoods where they serve the taxpayers in order to stand by in case criminals get injured resisting arrest (or God forbid police officers get injured clashing with these losers). Imagine if you needed an ambulance but the closest one was standing by at this “protest”?
I was on duty when this operation unfolded. No one told us anything about it. Not a word. If things did get out of control and more companies were needed we would have had to make it up as we went along. So much for planning. Our first clue something was up was the radio traffic. We figured it out on our own what was going on. We had the police band on and I’m telling you we listened to chaos for two hours. At 3am the first “Assist Officer” call came in. It was pretty tense listening to reports of police officers down and injured. The media coverage of this chaos is completely skewed. They are NOT peaceful protestors. They are anarchists who want to disrupt society and commit acts of violence and lawlessness. They have exceeded all boundaries of peaceful, legitimate protest.
The police are also doing themselves no favors in their hands off / kid glove treatment of these lawbreakers. No other group has ever received such treatment. Why are they getting this special treatment? Officers were partially DISARMED by the administration before the eviction began. WHERE IS THE POLICE UNION ON THAT? Taking the police officers pepper spray and tasers removes their two most effective non-lethal arrest tools. What message does that send? That the cops can’t be trusted to use these tools appropriately? Or that their training is insufficient? I am totally outraged by that. Officers were injured during this melee. The protestors were allowed to disturb the peace, obstruct traffic and in short, riot in the streets in full view of the authorities. The administration so feared their image that lawlessness was tolerated, condoned and almost encouraged. What about the rights of the rest of us? Our rights to be protected from these assh*les.
This is an example of how NOT to deal with criminals. By allowing them to behave any way they want in some misguided attempt to be tolerant only encourages more lawlessness. If you’re a police officer it’s a good way to get hurt – or worse.