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Gibson writes: "... it's a mistake to paint all cops as unthinking brutes. Police are also victims of the greed perpetuated by the 1%."

Retired Philadelphia Police Captain Ray Lewis, who was arrested in uniform during an Occupy Wall Street protest in New York last year. (photo: Johnny Milano)
Retired Philadelphia Police Captain Ray Lewis, who was arrested in uniform during an Occupy Wall Street protest in New York last year. (photo: Johnny Milano)

Why Police Should Strike on May 1st

By Carl Gibson, Reader Supported News

14 April 12

Reader Supported News | Perspective


Occupy Wall Street: Take the Bull by the Horns


t was the summer of 2008, right before Barack Obama's coronation as the Democratic presidential nominee. Outside the DNC in Denver, a battle raged between a crowd of protesters and police. In the heat of an argument, a CodePink activist was shoved to the ground by a policeman's baton. She was later whisked into a crowd of riot police, while in the midst of an interview describing the incident to media.

Obama would eventually be inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States, signing into law a bill allowing the arrest of protesters for expressing their First Amendment rights around anyone with secret service protection, anywhere in the country.

After the DNC, the Denver Police Department made and sold commemorative t-shirts that show a club-wielding cop wearing a sinister grin with the caption, "We get up early to BEAT the crowds." On the front is the number 68 with a slash through it, in defiance of protesters who promised to bring the spirit of the 1968 Democratic National Convention to Denver 40 years later.

There's one giant elephant in the room in the midst of the Trayvon Martin saga. While we celebrate George Zimmerman's arrest, the murderers of Rekia Boyd and Ramarley Graham are free because they're police officers, not neighborhood watchmen.

Ramarley Graham was an 18-year-old, unarmed black man who was seen adjusting his waistband by NYPD. Police followed him home and shot him while he was attempting to flush a bag of marijuana down the toilet, because police thought he may have had a gun. An off-duty Chicago police officer shot and killed 22-year-old Rekia Boyd in March, alleging that someone she was with advanced on him with a gun. The man accused of accosting the officer was only charged with a misdemeanor, as police didn't find a weapon on the scene. Witnesses at the scene allege the officer fired at least 10 shots.

However, it's a mistake to paint all cops as unthinking brutes. Police are also victims of the greed perpetuated by the 1%. Billionaires and major corporations that get away with skirting around federal tax laws deprive the government of revenue, which translates into budget cuts at the local and state levels. And when those budgets get cut police lose their jobs and pensions, just like other public employees.

One of the most courageous acts that defined the Occupy Wall Street movement at its peak in 2011 was when Ray Lewis, a retired Philadelphia Police Department captain, joined the movement in full police uniform, was arrested, and called on his former colleagues to reject the greed and abuse of the 1% and join him in the protests. Lewis was labeled a hero by many in the Occupy movement, and should serve as an example to other officers who may be thinking twice about unconstitutional orders to arrest nonviolent protesters in public spaces.

What if just 100 police officers choose to take after Captain Lewis' example to strike with Occupy Wall Street on May 1st? It would send an undeniable message: Police and protesters alike reject the greed of the 1%, which has bankrupted the economy and ruined the livelihoods of millions. It could be the spark that inspires hundreds of thousands of officers to reject the orders of their chiefs and mayors, put down their badges and join the cause, which is their cause too. It always has been.

Carl Gibson, 24, of Lexington, Kentucky, is a spokesman and organizer for US Uncut, a nonviolent, creative direct-action movement to stop budget cuts by getting corporations to pay their fair share of taxes. He graduated from Morehead State University in 2009 with a B.A. in Journalism before starting the first US Uncut group in Jackson, Mississippi, in February of 2011. Since then, over 20,000 US Uncut activists have carried out more than 300 actions in over 100 cities nationwide. You may contact Carl at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News. your social media marketing partner


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+36 # Raging Granny 2012-04-14 14:22
Thank you for this article. One of our daughters retired from the local police department partly because of the shabby treatment the police received from the City Council. This treatment resulted in the police being shouted at with obscenities when doing nothing but patroling on bicycles.

When she started with the department 15 years ago, the police were treated as friends, not slime. But the Chamber of Commerce, et al, took over the politics of the City and it was down hill from there.
+13 # RLF 2012-04-15 05:11
There is a reason police are treated as slime. Police aren't hated willy-nilly! Police are the tools of the 1% and I mean it both ways...they are tools! Take it from someone who was false arrested because a influential local businessman wanted me (and my wife) arrested. The police bent over backwards to protect this guy and we should have sued the bastards. (We did sue the guy and won)
+12 # lcarrier 2012-04-15 07:25
If George Zimmerman's father hadn't been a judge, do you think it would have taken so long to arrest the killer? Stories like this one and yours abound. Those with the power and wealth have an inside track to justice.
+2 # Rita Walpole Ague 2012-04-15 05:47
Two new logos for we the sheeple here in the U.S. of (greed and power A.(ddiction)


+25 # Alexis Fecteau 2012-04-14 14:52
Only problem is that the majority of the police are 100% willing tools of the 1% while the 99% try to to protect their pensions. To the occasional non-willing thug for the 1% on the force...Good luck.
+26 # Glen 2012-04-14 15:09
It IS a mistake to paint all cops as the enemy, but A lot of us have seen those who are truly brutal and careless. There are enough of them to terrify U.S. citizens. Folks in many cities see cops as worse than the criminals and flee when cops are in the neighborhood or on the block.

Those cops who are in tune with the law and citizens are few and far between. I could, as others can, relate nasty crimes carried out by cops, most especially those who are veterans of many wars, and those veterans of today just might be worse than in the past, as performing as cops.

It is very important to keep our communities cohesive and in tune with local cops.
+2 # Sweet Pea 2012-04-15 16:35
I have had neighbors who were on the police department. Most of them were decent people like everyone else. However, just as in all society, there were some that were just plain mean in the neighborhood as well as on the beat.
The type of work they do and the necessity for agressiveness in bad situations seems to encourage a little more agressive people than most occupations.
0 # Glen 2012-04-17 18:32
A lot of cops live two lives. On the street they live their ego and ofttimes neuroses. At home they are who they expected themselves to be when growing up.

Some I have seen were probably always violent.
+10 # seeuingoa 2012-04-14 15:23
The problem with cops is
they take too many orders.
+16 # lcarrier 2012-04-14 15:56
There are many cops who enter police work because they are sadists and want to express their power. However, I believe most cops are honest and just want to do their duty. The problem arises when the higher-ups get the order to crack down on protests, giving phony reasons about "terrorist activities." I say, don't blame the cops in the steet; blame the rotten scumbags who are giving the orders. They are political swine, pure and simple, and they need to go to jai--and worse if I had my way.
+5 # John Locke 2012-04-15 09:51
Another problem is that "most cops" will lie! whether its a traffic ticket or shooting and laying down an unregistered weapon to make it look as if the victim had a weapon, they call these weapons "trough downs" or "trough aways"
+8 # Bodiotoo 2012-04-14 15:59
Really too bad Obama blinked on the NDAA and now we have this "law" which should be deemed unconstitutional.

Obama should have vetoed it and paid for the troops out of any and all programs the Republicans support and let those programs go unfunded...

Most police officers get tainted by the job. Dealing with "criminals" all the time, seems to make (certainly those I know)them think "we are ALL up to no good!"...and while the above is examples of cop on African Americans, why do we the 99%, bring to the forfront this question:
"Why are police departments across the country being heavy armed with WAR MACHINES?"
...armored this really necessary when most communities already have some sort of military, armory or such relatively close? Arm the government, unarm the citizens...wher e have heard of that before? Hmmmm...seems that is the sort of thing that was preached to us in the 50' and 60's that was going on in all those bad places in the know UUSR, Red China,...
+17 # lcarrier 2012-04-14 17:09
Can't argue with that, Bodiotoo. I think that Obama should have vetoed the NDAA, too. But the Congress passed it overwhelmingly, and the veto would simply have been symbolic--not that there's anything wrong with that.
+9 # wantrealdemocracy 2012-04-14 22:37
Obama 'blinked' as he signed the NDAA on New Year's Eve when he knew the 'news' would be full of holiday glee and the trashing of our Constitution would not make the 'news'. Hardly anyone knows about that Homeland Battlefield Act. NDAA is not 'deemed to be unconstitutiona l--it is!! This law takes away our right to a trial if accused of a crime and it gives the President the power to have ANYONE killed at just his word. Any Supreme Court but the one we suffer with now would take less than a minute to rule this monstrosity unconstitutiona l. Face it Fellow Country men and women, we got change all right---CHANGE FOR THE WORST. (and after Bush II that is quite an accomplishment. Who could have imagined it would get worse and the end is not yet in sight but it is going to be really bad.)
+4 # RLF 2012-04-15 05:13
Maybe he should use this new power on the supremes!
+17 # cycleman60 2012-04-14 16:52
Believe me. Too many cops, once they are in full dress and carrying their protectve gear as tasers, guns radios, bracelets and other, the power mentality sets in. It's enough that the stigma of authority empowers many police officers, and as they work their shift duties, they get carried away. It's a power play that is designed to instil control and fear. This supposedly is supposed to do mob control but it backfires due to the fact there is no leadership controling the units. We have witnessed the barbaric actions of many cops only to hear they were acting according to policy.
+15 # lcarrier 2012-04-14 17:11
Yes, it's sad, but it's human nature to belong to a pack. William Golding captured it in "The Lord of the Flies." Consider all the "good Germans" who allowed the Nazi Gestapo free rein.
+1 # Cassandra2012 2012-04-15 13:51
Militarization of the police (e.g. face shields??!) just enhances more of a sense of their entitlement to power, even when it is over ordinary citizens attempting to exercise their rights of free speech and assembly. They are poorly educated about the constitution and especially the bill of rights.
+22 # jcadams 2012-04-14 16:53
There's a dirty little secret in all of this. The police --- or law enforcement" as they euphemistically like to now be called --- have very strong unions to deal with their “employers” at the city, state or federal levels. (And no politician wants get on the bad side of a police union.) So "law enforcement" get regular COLA increases to their pay, lavish benefits and the unfettered ability to scam their retirement system by artificially increasing their overtime hours during the last year or two of their working careers to inflate their pensions. So essentially the police are preserving the order for the 1% --- often to the detriment of the 99% who are the taxpayers stuck with paying their salaries. So for doing the bidding of their real masters (the 1%) the police are well taken care of. And have you ever noticed that in many police shootings our law enforcement “public servants” often seem to empty their clips into the "alleged perpetrator" to ensure a fatal outcome? That’s because dead men (or women) make for poor plaintiffs in excessive use of force litigation. And this excessive use of police force sends a clear message to 99% to back off when the police show up at protests. That is, law-abiding and peaceful protests are really at risk from brutal and unlawful police actions. And excessive force is most likely to be used whenever the cameras aren't there or the media is not vigilant.
+5 # lcarrier 2012-04-14 17:13
I'm old enough to have seen this before. The only way that a vindictive police force was reined in was by Black Panthers asserting their Second Amendment rights. What goes around comes around.
+2 # RLF 2012-04-15 05:15
Well said jcadams!
+1 # Charles3000 2012-04-14 17:16
Amen brother Gibson. That is exactly the right approach to take.
+11 # jwb110 2012-04-14 18:07
I cannot say that in my entire 62 years have I ever trusted the police. I have known many and liked them as individuals. The problem is that in crowd control they don't behave as individuals but as a single minded group bent on putting down an uprising. The other very clear notion is that police depts that have diversity still have a lot of racial prejudice. Whatever the "other" is they are against it.
+14 # photonracer 2012-04-14 18:19
I think we all agree, not all thoughtless thugs are cops and not all cops are thoughtless thugs. A significant number are city council members, city managers and Congress persons!
Never vote Republican.
+1 # FLAK88 2012-04-14 18:20
At this point in time,I think this article is a real 'stretch'. Although the logic flow is reasonable, the dots would not connect for most of the cops out there. Just wouldn't; they don't think like that yet. Maybe if more of them get impacted by the politics it might happen, but so far they're one of the insulated civil service groups.
+7 # Charles3000 2012-04-14 19:31
Working to bring in cops is right because of two things: First, they are indeed a part of the 99% and second is the high degree of credibility they would bring with them. The latter makes it both the right thing to do and makes it worth the extra effort it requires.
+7 # Dion Giles 2012-04-14 20:17
During a very large, mainly peaceful and well-discipline d, mass protest against the Rape of Vietnam many years ago, the cops one day went ape. En masse. Didn’t see what triggered them off. ID badges removed, they whacked the nearest heads, with special attention to news reporters, smashing the cameras, belting the reporters. It was described in the media as a “police riot”.

A few days later, the State Police Commissioner no less, gamely I gotta admit, addressed a huge crowd at the University of Sydney. Gave the usual spiel – “fine body of men(sic)”, “a few rotten apples at the bottom of every barrel”.

Someone in the crowd asked: “Mr Commissioner, if some of your ‘rotten apples’ started getting the worst of it, whose side would your nice-cop officers take? Would they EVER take their batons to the ‘rotten apples’? ”.

The Commissioner blathered about “dangerous situations” and “team spirit essential” but he’d lost the audience.

Yes, the Black Panthers were absolutely right to exercise their Second Amendment rights. Must be the only time history that America’s Second Amendment was used for the purpose for which it was supposedly intended.

That’s the key to it. Team spirit. The moment any officer takes the side of bullying colleagues he or she is scum with a lot of public penance to do to re-enter the family of decent human beings.
0 # lcarrier 2012-04-14 20:46
I lived in Sydney during the Vietnam war (Macquarie University), even signed my name protesting Australian involvement. I left before the incident you mentioned, otherwise I might have been in the melee.
+5 # Art947 2012-04-14 20:35
One of the major problems with a police force is the intelligence level of the rank and file (and as the brass are elevated from these ranks, this holds true for them as well.) A few years ago, an individual sued a police force (I believe that it may have been the NYPD) claiming that he was denied a chance to be a patrolman because his IQ score was too high. The police department in question allowed the suit to go to trial and eventually landed in the lap of a higher court (it may have been SCOTUS) which supported the local police department, endorsing the position that highly intelligent people can be a detriment on a police force because they may THINK TOO MUCH!

With a decision such as this is it any wonder that many officers are only too happy to shoot first -- and often -- and ask questions later?
0 # MrVester 2012-04-15 19:43
I don't know anything about this claim, but it doesn't have the ring of truth to me. Maybe some case numbers or titles would help.
0 # MrVester 2012-04-15 19:47
Sorry if this is a reprint, but I didn't see an acceptance of my reply to this comment.
I don't know anything about this post, but it just doesn't have the ring of truth to it, to me. Maybe if it was backed up by case numbers or a title to the suit.
+7 # Texas Aggie 2012-04-14 20:38
"it's a mistake to paint all cops as unthinking brutes."

Absolutely. It's that 99% that give the 1% a bad name.

While objectively speaking, the statement is true, it would be foolish to bet that any particular cop is not an unthinking brute.
+1 # corals33 2012-04-15 00:53
it's not the police, the politicians, the educated fools, the military or anything else that we see but the inner fears. FEAR is the number one controller on the planet and deep inside every individual knows it.
+1 # Dave_s Not Here 2012-04-15 16:34
For every one like Captain Lewis, there's ten thousand other cops, ignorant, mercenary brutes who are happy to be told to go out and crack some skulls. That's what they signed up for in the first place, that and the easy money - both over and under the table.
+1 # lcarrier 2012-04-15 17:38
You may be right, Dave, but you provide no statistics about the "ten thousand other cops" who are mercenary brutes. That's what inflames the discussion about police brutality. It exists, but you're not helping to eliminate it by inflating the numbers.
0 # Dave_s Not Here 2012-04-16 15:51
What I wrote is that the cops are IGNORANT mercenary brutes. Please quote me accurately.

What they are ignorant of is the evil that resides in the nature and the qualities of their acts.

Okay, ten thousand may have been over-reach but I still maintain that almost ALL of them are HAPPY to be told to get out the clubs and chemical sprays. Especially on kids who won't fight back.
-1 # Dave_s Not Here 2012-04-15 16:48
This is what I taught my children growing up: The policeman is NOT your friend. The policeman is a creature that gets up in the morning, shits, showers and shaves, then straps on a gun and goes out into the public to bully and push people around all day with implied and actual threats that if you don't obey, lethal violence may be inflicted on you.

Don't ever trust a policeman What he lives for is to get as many people as he can into as much trouble as he can. Nice people don't do this for a living. Nasty thugs on a power trip do this for a living.
0 # MrVester 2012-04-15 17:58
First off, I'm a 99%er. But, as a person who grew up in a family of a long line of lawmen dating as far back as the days of Wyatt Earp, to my son today I feel an undeniable empathy for the plight of lawmen throughout history.
Certainly the profession attracts humans of very ilk, but having seen the affects that take place on my family from on the job stress, I can't help but think that the solution to the problem of police insensitivity has to start with education while on the job. Because I have seen the enthusiasm of raw recruits right out of police academies to be good cops grow into the "Everybody is a perp" mentality, that begets a willingness to do harm to whosoever makes a stand before them.
The education that takes place before on the job daily grind, is useful for a start to creating good cops, but I believe that at least monthly psychological seminars are in order to maintain positive momentum towards a healthy police environment.
To ensure that these psychological sessions are not corrupted by the powers that be to continue the mind set of the us against them mentality, I think that the leaders of the seminars should be of "Civilian" nature. Preferably, former cops, that share the experience of the streets and their probable dangers.
The history of education for the masses in this country is horrid at best. Certainly, the vast majority of policemen are commonly educated. Which fits right in to the plan of the powers that be.

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