The recent spike in police brutality during the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) events has sparked the interest of the general masses and the media alike. These allegations of violent protesting have not been seen since the Civil Rights era. In these stories, through tidbits and pundit commentaries, we are given a glimpse into the “Twilight Zone” of human ethics. The police are working men themselves, struggling to maintain the same functional existence that many of their alleged victims are fighting for. However, many legitimate sources maintain that no laws were broken that justify such brutality. The fact remains that these events occurred— and they occurred on American soil.
My own heart is conflicted. On the one hand, American individuals should be able to voice their opinions to their government, as this is a milestone of America and a republican democracy. On the other hand, America was also built upon a legal code that prevents radicals and violent supremacists from distorting the land we “love.” We see the following conundrum that ensues, and, if the allegations of violent protesters were true, then police response was appropriate. If they were not, protesters like Scott Olsen could die from unjust brutality.
Scott Olsen is a United States Marine who protested at Occupy Oakland on October 25. A candid video displays Scott being hit by a tear gas canister by riot police, from which he suffered a massive contusion and has not spoke since his admission to the hospital immediately following the incident. Beatings like this from riot police are sure to continue if protesters or police become more violent, especially now that police forces all over the country have received “generous anonymous donations” to fortify their squadrons in major cities (like New York City).
The basis of our democracy relies on the ability of the people to congregate and establish a consensus of political and social ideals. The police, as basic defenders of the American people and their assets, are overstepping their bounds by fundamentally employing tyranny under the mask of justice. Were it not for this overstepping of power by the police, Scott Olsen would probably still be participating in Occupy Oakland, waving his American flag high while protesting for a better America. The rest of us should bravely stand in Scott’s place, waving our own flags high, to prove that police force corruption will not be tolerated by the people.