Occupying the Post’s front page: Sadly, it only takes one!


Does any of this sound familiar: Justin Elliott has an important new piece up at Salon (just click here). It concerns a photograph which appeared on the front page of Saturday’s Washington Post.

We were struck by that photograph Saturday morning as we looked at our hard-copy Post. Elliott offers some of the background—although he doesn’t ask why the Post chose to run with that picture.

The photograph shows a young man at Occupy Wall Street tackling a policeman. This is not in any way the norm, Elliott says—and we assume that he’s right. Elliott goes into some detail about the protestors’ good intentions. That said, does any of this sound familiar?
ELLIOTT (10/17/11): “When you have such a grassroots movement, those people are going to come,” said Ted Actie, one of the early participants in Occupy, when I asked him about the incident. “You can’t do anything about it. We can tell the media that’s not Occupy Wall Street. 99 percent of it is non-violent.”
This sort of thing was said, again and again, during various tea party protests.

We agree with what Actie says. As you may recall, several people in our tribe weren’t quite buying it then.


  1. It does not necessarily show him "tackling" the police officer. It could be a lot of things. Based on all the video evidence I've seen--the police were the aggressors in all instances. I saw people being unnaturally non-violent, in fact. People should have the right to defend themselves when the police attack and most people quietly took the police abuse.

    I wouldn't be surprised if that's what's happening in this picture--that this protester is being abused by the cop. What it looks like to me is the protesters were walking or marching and the cop tried to block them by doing a basketball style block on the guy--turning his back and hip blocking him. The protester appears to be much bigger and would probably be able to win a shoving match. He doesn't appear to be trying very hard in any event. He isn't grasping the cop. If he were "wrestling" he would grab his torso and lock his arms together. Or grab his head or neck. He's purposely NOT locking his arms which indicates a non violent action to me.

    Anyway, one needs more context to know for sure and if we're going to speculate it would be far more reasonable to assume police aggression. They have overwhelmingly been responsible for the violence I've seen heretofore. America is evidently now such a police state all all protests are met with violent force.

  2. And when I wrote that "all" the video evidence I've seen shows the police as the criminals, that still stands after viewing the clip embedded in the linked post at Salon. The clip purports to show protesters provoking the police but actually shows the opposite. It shows the police using their motorcycles as battering rams (which would be an assault with a deadly weapon if someone were doing that to the police), and then it shows a protester stiff arming a motorcycle in a defensive measure to protect himself and others. I think the protester had the right to use even more violent action to defend himself and imo he would have been justified in striking the police officer back. If anyone should be indicted for that incident it should be the police officer. I would love to sit on that protesters jury to send this bully of a cop a lesson. He's the real criminal. Shame on them indeed and shame on the WaPo and even this Slate article for not being more definitive in the basic facts--the police are attacking peaceful protesters.

    It seems there are way more CONFIRMED assaults by the police (seen via video evidence) than there are even alleged assaults committed by the protesters.

  3. Good point, Hieronymus Braintree.

    Incidentally, I assume you're unaware that it's offensive to call Tea Partiers "Teabaggers." That term is analagous to calling them "cocksuckers."

  4. Someone who was 18 in 1968 and was in Grant Park when Daley's goon squads did their thing would be 61 today.

    From Wikipedia:

    August 28, 1968 came to be known as the day a “police riot” took place. The title of “police riot” came out of the Walker Report, which amassed a great deal of information and eyewitness accounts to determine what happened in Chicago.[15] At approximately 3:30 p.m., a young boy lowered the American flag at a legal rally taking place at Grant Park. The demonstration was made up of 10,000 protestors.[18] The police broke through the crowd and began beating the boy, while the crowd pelted the police with food, rocks, and chunks of concrete.[19] The biggest clash in Chicago took place that day. Police fought with the protestors and vice versa. The chants of the protestors shifted from “Hell no, we won’t go” to “Pigs are whores.”[20] Tom Hayden, one of the leaders of Students for a Democratic Society, encouraged protestors to move out of the park to ensure that if they were to be tear gassed, the whole city would be tear gassed, and made sure that if blood were spilled in Chicago it would happen throughout the city.[21] The amount of tear gas used to suppress the protestors was so great that it eventually made its way to the Hilton Hotel, where it disturbed Hubert Humphrey while in his shower.[20] The police were taunted by the protestors with chants of “Kill, kill, kill.” They sprayed demonstrators and bystanders indiscriminately with Mace.[22] The police assault in front of the Hilton Hotel became the most famous image of the Chicago demonstrations of 1968. The entire event took place live under the T.V. lights for seventeen minutes with the crowd shouting, “The whole world is watching.”[20]

  5. A co-worker who lived in Chicago in 1968 told me that the police were more provoked than was reported. I have no idea if that's really the case. However, regardless of which side was more at fault, I think it's likely that those demonstrations cost Humphrey the election.

    He was far, far down in the polls right after that disastrous convention. However, as time passed, he kept rising. I thought at the time that if the election had been a week later, Humphrey would have won.