Martha’s Musings: Police Brutality Unacceptable
Whether or not you recognize the name John Pike, you’ve definitely seen him. He’s the police
officer from the now viral video of University of California, Davis students being drenched in pepper spray.
These students were peacefully protesting with the Occupy Davis movement when Pike nonchalantly went down the line of seated students, spraying them in the faces with pepper spray. This video has shocked people across the nation, and is proof that the police are going too far.
Regardless of whether or not you agree with the Occupy movement, the response from many police officers should cause deep concern in all Americans who believe in the right to assemble peacefully. The pictures of bloodied and beaten human beings show us that instead of protecting these citizens’ rights, the police view the protesters as troublemakers that need to be put in their place.
When the police view 84 year old Dorli Rainey, whom they sprayed in the face with pepper spray, as a threat, there must be some serious problems within the legal system.
I’ll be the first to point out that not all police officers associated with the movement should be
blamed. According to the Associated Press, when about 50 people linked arms and refused to leave City Hall as a part of Occupy Philadelphia, none of them were arrested or brutalized in any way.
Los Angeles police Commander Andrew Smith told the Associated Press that when the police clear the park where the Occupy Los Angeles movement is assembled, “We’re going to do this as gently as we possibly can. Our goal is not to have anybody arrested. Our goal is not to have to use force.”
As honorable as some police officers are, the focus must remain on those not acting responsibly. The police officers like Pike deserve to be charged with assault. Without a reasonable threat from the protesters, the police have no right to treat them brutally.
What these officers don’t realize is that with every act of violence, they are drawing more and more attention to the Occupy movement and other movements like it. If they wanted to remain true to the oath that every officer takes upon completing their Diploma in Police Studies, they would “preserve the dignity… respect the rights of all individuals… and act with honesty, courtesy and regard for the welfare of others.” Perhaps they should review their oath before unsheathing the pepper spray.
Martha Schick is a Managing Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.