Daily Archives: September 27, 2011

Following the Wall Street protests, I can’t help but recall this particular Jacques masterpiece. Like Les Parapluies de Cherbourg it was based on real events. In this case events impacting on a far greater number of people than members of Jacques’ family.


Because he made musicals, Jacques wasn’t taken seriously by people who should know better. One of the greatest of all losses to AIDS, he was as seriously a politically-committed filmmaker as Jean-Luc Godard, and understood society and the complexities of modern life as well if not better than Guy Debord. And that’s not to mention his comprehension of the human heart in extremis.

It goes without saying were he with us today he would be marching in the Wall Street protests, to the undisguised distain of
The World’s Worst Newspaper

“When members of the loose protest movement known as Occupy Wall Street began a march from the financial district to Union Square on Saturday, the participants seemed relatively harmless, even as they were breaking the law by marching in the street without a permit. “

Which as we all know makes beating, “Mace” and pepper-spraying such “loose” characters perfectly justifiable.

“But to the New York Police Department, the protesters represented something else: a visible example of lawlessness akin to that which had resulted in destruction and violence at other anticapitalist demonstrations, like the Group of 20 economic summit meeting in London in 2009 and the World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle in 1999.
The Police Department’s concerns came up against a perhaps milder reality on Saturday, when their efforts to maintain crowd control suddenly escalated: protesters were corralled by police officers who put up orange mesh netting; the police forcibly arrested some participants; and a deputy inspector used pepper spray on four women who were on the sidewalk, behind the orange netting.’

Police! Milice! We know who you are!

“The police’s actions suggested the flip side of a force trained to fight terrorism, in a city whose police commissioner acknowledges the ownership of a gun big enough to take down a plane, but that may appear less nimble in dealing with the likes of the Wall Street protesters. So even as the members of Occupy Wall Street seem unorganized and, at times, uninformed, their continued presence creates a vexing problem for the Police Department.”

The protesters are both organized and informed — which is why the NYT is lying about them.

“In recent weeks, police commanders have been discussing the riots in London this summer, and strategizing how they would stop a similar situation in New York, said Roy Richter, the president of the union in New York that represents officers of captain and higher rank. And since August, investigators with the Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have monitored the online efforts of activists to bring demonstrations to Wall Street, people briefed on the matter said.
The Police Department conducts an internal review of its response to every large-scale demonstration, and the protest on Saturday appeared to have resulted in the largest number of arrests since the demonstrations surrounding the Republican National Convention in 2004. The events of Saturday are certain to be examined, especially since so many protesters were recording the events with cameras; videos of the pepper spray episode, for example, offered views from several angles.”

Clearly the NYT is implying that there’s an “angle” that will support the police version of the events.

There isn’t.

“Paul J. Browne, the Police Department’s chief spokesman, defended the use of pepper spray as appropriate and added that it was “used sparingly.”
But Councilman Peter F. Vallone Jr., chairman of the City Council’s Public Safety Committee, said that in the video clips he had seen, the use of pepper spray “didn’t look good,” although Mr. Vallone cautioned that he wanted to know if any interactions had occurred between the officers and the women in the minutes before pepper spray was used.
“If no prior verbal command was given and disobeyed, then the use of spray in that instance is completely inappropriate,” Mr. Vallone said. On Monday, several Web sites identified the supervising officer who used the pepper spray as Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna, a longtime commander in Manhattan. Like a number of other officers, Inspector Bologna is a defendant in lawsuits claiming wrongful arrests at protests staged during the Republican National Convention in 2004.”

Plus ca change plus c’est la meme chose.

“A police official who had spoken to Inspector Bologna following the incident confirmed that the inspector had used the spray. “He did his job and now he’s concerned for the safety of his family,” said the official, who asked to remain anonymous because he was not authorized to confirm the inspector’s name.”

“According to the Police Department’s patrol guide, officers may use pepper spray under certain conditions, including “when a member reasonably believes it is necessary to effect an arrest of a resisting suspect.” The guide also advises that the spray should “not be used in situations that do not require the use of physical force.”
The Civilian Complaint Review Board, an independent agency that investigates allegations of police misconduct, received 328 complaints in 2010 relating to the use of pepper spray, accounting for about 5.5 percent of the total number of complaints citing improper use of force.”

“In the past week, the review board has received more than a dozen complaints relating to officers’ interactions with protesters, said a spokeswoman for the board, Linda Sachs.
Although the Police Department has closely monitored the encampment of protesters in the Financial District and stationed officers there, there appears to have been little discussion between the police and the protesters.
Mr. Browne, the police spokesman said that the protesters never sought a permit for Saturday’s march.
The lack of communication between the two sides may have set the stage for the confrontation on Saturday near Union Square. “

“When groups have permits, “the department is pretty accommodating when it comes to street marches,” said Christopher T. Dunn, associate legal director for the New York Civil Liberties Union. He added that some groups had perfectly good reasons for not wanting to engage with the police, and “that’s certainly their prerogative.”

It’s a lot more than a “prerogative”

“In interviews, police officials described the lack of a permit and the fact that protesters were obstructing traffic as key factors in the arrests and the department’s decision to end the march.
“If you have a permit, the police will accommodate for things like diverting traffic,” Mr. Browne said. “If you take a street for a parade or protest without a permit, you are subject to arrest.”
Mr. Richter, of the police union, said that from the perspective of the protesters, the Police Department’s decision to suddenly end the demonstration might have appeared arbitrary.
“I can see it from a demonstrator’s view, asking, ‘What changed?’ ” Mr. Richter said. “But there comes a point when the command staff makes a decision that the crowd is too big, and we’re at a breaking point, and we have to take back the street.”

“Take back the streets”? That’s what citizens call for. The police are supposed to be working for the citizens — not against them.

Time for an encore.

and (because life goes on) one of the greatest of all finales