Forget Free Speech Zones: “Take Him to That Pen Over There”
September 24th, 2012
Make no mistake. We are living in an authoritarian police state.
Consider how local law enforcement agencies around the country respond when a group of individuals assembles to petition the government for a redress of grievances. Whether they’re protesting the abdication of individual rights at a Tea Party gathering or the corruption of Wall Street elites at Occupy Protests, the right of the people to assemble is no longer viewed as a Constitutional protection, but rather, a nuisance akin to a swine stampede.
Whether you agree with those who protest one abuse or another, the fact is that if they have the authority to do it to those with ideologies opposed to yours, they can (and will) also do it to you.
In New York this week disillusioned Americans from all walks of like gathered for another year of protests against the corruption on Wall Street.
They were met with fierce resistance from the New York Police Department and were indiscriminately herded into detention cells eloquently described by one of New York’s finest as “pens,” such as those reserved for livestock:
Two of the seven protesters in the arrest van had blood covering on their faces.
When they got to me, a thuggish bully named Czark looked at the non-NYPD-issued media pass hanging from a lanyard around my neck. He was a White Shirt, or high ranking officer, with between 15 and 20 years on the force, signified by the three arrows on his sleeve.
“I’m a journalist.”
“You’re wearing this around your neck, like a press pass though, right?”
I informed him that I was a journalist and that I wasn’t going to say anything else until I spoke with my attorney. He took the press pass off from around my neck.
“This is some bullshit, right? I mean, what, you make this yourself?”
I said nothing, although the pass had been issued by [radio station] WBAI.
He took the pass, which has my photo on it, told me to get back in the van, and said he was going to check with their press department to see if I was a “real” journalist. He returned shortly after to inform me that, “No, you’re not in the database.” He looked at the gentle young cop who would be referred to as my arresting officer and said, “Take him to that pen over there.”