You don’t have to watch much of this, the part you need to see is pretty much over in the first 50 seconds. These are college students and yes I suppose from the policeman’s point of view they were being a pain in the ass. But here’s my take. They weren’t any threat to the policeman at all. They were peacefully assembled to protest something. Well within any interpretation of the 1st Amendment.
They weren’t armed, they weren’t committing any violence. The police are armed, dressed for a riot. Carrying the economy sized pepper spray dispensers. Carrying guns and batons and paintball guns loaded with pepper balls. Who did the provoking here?
I think the whole OWS movement is a bunch of misdirected crap, but what’s the lesson these kids learned from this event? That they are powerless in the face of the weapons of the State? That peaceful protest will be met with force? I don’t have to agree with your views or your beliefs to think that you have a right to assemble and protest, to seek redress for your grievances. I want the same rights for myself.
Here’s a two minute history lesson. The firehoses come out at 1:50.
I think we owe them and we owe ourselves a better country than that.
–John Fitzgerald Kennedy,
Radio and Television Report to the American People on Civil Rights, June 11, 1963