I guess the Tulsa, Oklahoma police haven’t gotten the memo yet on what is and is not appropriate behavior when confronting un-armed, peaceful protesters.
At 2 am this morning, Tulsa police moved in and informed the 30 Occupy Tulsa demonstrators that they were in violation of curfew (apparently their copy of the first amendment says something about time restrictions on freedom of speech and peaceful assembly).
When a handful of occupiers respectfully declined their request that they vacate the park and camp on the sidewalk, the police moved in.
As you can see in the video posted here, they surrounded the group of protesters who had remained on the lawn, sitting there, not resisting. These were people who were already on the ground.
And proceeded to pepper spray them. Without provocation. No rocks flying through the air, not angry shouts or taunts. They methodically surrounded them, waited a minute, and then hit them in the face with pepper spray.
These people couldn’t even be helped by their friends, since the rest of the occupiers were cut off by another line of police. They convulsed on the ground with tears streaming from their injured eyes, while the police stood by.
This wasn’t even about expelling the occupation. They police had said that the sidewalks were fair game, but that the occupiers had to keep off the grass after curfew.
For failure to keep off the grass, a group of occupiers were pepper-sprayed and arrested.
“Pepper spray is used in cases where there is resistance, on this case it was used only on persons who were actively resisting arrest,” the deputy chief told KTUL Tulsa. I think someone needs to educate this gentleman in the difference between “active” and “passive”.
According to the US Department of Justice, “Policy requires that officers use the least amount of force necessary to accomplish their goals.” So how is this appropriate?
Protester Stephanie Lewis told KRMG Tulsa that police had met with Occupy Tulsa earlier in the day to go over ground rules for how both sides could avoid use of force.
“They pepper sprayed point-blank in people’s faces,” she said. “They said they would not do that if we abided by the rules… [they] came to our meeting and said if you guys sit like this, we will not pepper spray you.”
Website: Occupy Tulsa
If you live in Tulsa: The mayor told the occupation that “they have had no local calls in support of Occupy Tulsa”. His office number is: 918-596-2100.
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