Forum

Wall Street protests highlight policy brutality

The most recent Wall Street protests, or “occupation,” has received a lot of media attention.

Members of this occupation, dubbed the “Occupy Wall Street” campaign, have been met with alarmingly hostile reception from the New York Police Department and local authorities assigned to the area. Protesters refer to themselves as “the 99 percent” because they claim to represent the majority of the population being taken advantage of by the 1 percent that make up the wealthy population. The protesters began occupying Wall Street on Sept. 17 to protest the way the U.S. political and financial matters were being managed and were met by unfriendly resistance despite the campaign’s dedication to peaceful protesting.

We feel that the protesters had every right to speak their minds, as provided for in our Constitution, and should not have been treated this way by the NYPD.

News of the police’s unexpectedly violent reaction toward protestors first broke when several sources, including ABC News and The Guardian, reported that an officer, Deputy Inspector Anthony V. Bologna of the NYPD, was caught on film macing peaceful protestors and making several aggressive arrests. Throughout this past week, there have been several reported incidents of police abuse toward peaceful protesters. The most recent incident occurred on Oct. 1 when the protesters marched on the Brooklyn Bridge, where over 80 people were arrested and several videos were taken of seemingly non-threatening protestors being blindsided, punched, kicked, beaten with batons, and eventually arrested.

The level of NYPD police brutality against people exercising their First Amendment rights is a concern — to see protesters on film being beaten and dragged, and to see those with video cameras being targeted by the police, suggests that authorities were well aware of their unethical conduct. The police should not protect only a handful of people, but also the larger majority.