For years, I have included a "Do Something!" column in my newsletter, The Crystal News, which encourages readers to do what they can to improve the world. This new blog is a mini journal of my social action deeds and a spotlight of some of the individuals and groups I see doing positive work. I hope you are as moved to act as I am...
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Friday, December 2, 2011
FireDogLake reminds us all of how the UC campus police abuse Occupy peaceful protesters. Join me in asking the Department of Justice to honor their civil rights:
If you haven't already, you must watch this video of campus police officers at University of California, Davis indiscriminately pepper-spraying protesters while they sit quietly on the ground, as though the officers were simply watering plants.1 Law enforcement has no right to use violence as a tool of torture and punishment against those who do not pose a threat to their safety. This incident is plainly assault and is therefore a criminal violation of our most basic civil rights. That's why we're calling on the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division to investigate the campus police officers involved in the UC Davis pepper-spraying incident and uphold our right to peaceful protest without fear of violent retaliation.
No matter your feelings on the Occupy movement, you should be disturbed by what you see in this video.
The UC Davis campus police have attacked Americans who are actively exercising their constitutional right to assembly. This is exactly the specific type of crime and abuse by authorities that the DOJ Civil Rights rights division was created to stop -- not just because this assault was meant to stop people from practicing their rights, but to also send a message to other towns and cities that similar, blatant violations will not be tolerated.
In the video, as protesters sit quietly awaiting arrest, a campus police officer walks up and down the line, spraying protesters in the face with pepper spray at point-blank range. All the while, the protesters remain calm and orderly as they endure their torture. As Salon's Glenn Greenwald wrote over the weekend, "...It's only when we see steadfast, courageous resistance from the likes of these UC-Davis students is [the] erosion of [our] rights manifest."2
Who ordered this disproportionate show of force, and who is paying for it? Is there a coordinated effort to suppress this movement on the federal level? If the DOJ Civil Rights Division begins this investigation, we have a chance at curbing further police brutality against peaceful protesters in other states around the country. If not, then the extent to which our government is complicit in this violence will be laid bare for all to see.
Even repressive governments in the Middle East and North Africa are looking to the United States for inspiration on how to effectively suppress dissent.3 We must stand up for the rights of protesters across the country to peaceably petition their government for redress of grievances while we still can.
I look forward to working together to not only protect the rights of the Occupy protesters but our individual rights as American citizens.
To join me in demanding that their civil rights be honored, Click Here!
Thank you for reading my blog today. Please be kind to yourself and to others. Share your visions of peace and justice with the world. Strive always to leave each place you visit the better for your having been there! - TCK