Friday, October 28, 2011

Nation Wide Rash of Police Brutality As Cities Try to Deny Protesters First Amendment Rights

Our First Amendment Rights are supposed to be pretty straight forward and clear.
The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. The amendment prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.
Unfortunately, seems that local governments from New York to Oakland, where a Police Officer's rubber riot bullet has a United States Marine and peaceful protestor in critical condition, are using what can only be described as Gestapo like tactics to coral and forcefully evict citizens who are exercising their First Amendment rights. Turn on any National News and you will see reports (with video footage) of Police Officers in full riot gear (reminiscent of the protests against the Vietnam War) tear gassing citizens, using batons to beat them, while throwing other citizens to the ground to put them in handcuffs...why?...because these citizens are exercising their First Amendment Rights in a way that Mayor's like Bloomberg find inconvenient, and unacceptable in the heart of his business district.
"The most basic component of freedom of expression is the right of freedom of speech. The right to freedom of speech allows individuals to express themselves without interference or constraint by the government."

If one reads the First Amendment, it is an absolute right not to be abridged. It does not say we have the right to peaceful assembly if a city grants us a permit, does not say we have the right to peaceful assembly if we do it between the hours of 3PM and 6PM on a Saturday, and only within the corralled and cordoned off space the police have set up to CONTROL THE PROTESTORS that is conveniently located miles from where they want to be. The First Amendment does not have a clause that allows towns, cities, and yes Police Officers to limit our rights, to choose where and when we can exercise them, even if said exercising of those rights upsets local business people down in the Wall Street District, or in other business districts across the land.

Shame on those who so easily want to abridge our First Amendment Rights, shame on cities who want to deny us those rights for lack of a permit they would not issue, shame on Police Officers who are using overwhelming force to evict citizens from parks and streets and shame on the news media for presenting most of the Occupy Wall Street movement in a negative fashion. Also, shame on any one of us who wants to put the rights of a business and its profits ahead of our individual and collective right to protest and free assembly.

Now I am sure there will be some who would love to dismiss my words on this subject as those of a heretic, a far left wing radical hippie liberal. Others will want to ask the question, "What about the rights of those business owners? mean that one percent who keep getting richer while America's middle class is being decimated and destroyed? How many of those opposing the Occupy Wall Street protestors watched the news and cheered the young protestors in Egypt this year as the Arab Spring spread across the Middle East? How about Tienanmen Square...did you not see that man bravely facing down a tank as a hero? Curious...should the government of East Berlin have used OVERWHELMING FORCE when the citizens brought down the Berlin Wall? It is very scary indeed when we as citizens applaud citizens in other countries who are exercising their rights to effect change, but want to turn a blind eye to the truth in front of our eyes when local police departments in cities across America are using any brutal means available to disrupt peaceful protests, are using tear gas and rubber riot bullets to deny citizens their First Amendment Rights.

Where are we here in New York rushing to the aid of our own this article is being written, a face off is looming between the NYPD and American citizens who are doing nothing more than exercising their First Amendment Rights...why? Because business owners are upset, and Mayor Bloomberg feels it has gone on long enough.

So I pose this hypothetical question to our readers, "Our First Amendment Rights are absolute, and our federal government is charged with protecting and preserving those basic human rights...because the federal government is charged with protecting our First Amendment Rights, should President Obama deploy troops into New York and other cities to protect the citizens from over reactive local police departments who are acting like street thugs, bullies bent on having their way regardless of citizen rights?

The above video is not the streets of Syria, or Egypt, the government forces are not that of a dictator. These are American Police Officers in Oakland opening fire on innocent citiizen's exercising their First Amendment Rights. It is noted here, that on CNN this morning, the Mayor of Oakland is now apologizing to the citizens for the police departments OVER REACTION.