So, Gawker has just published a first-hand account of yesterday’s events at the Citibank branch in New York, where 24 people were arrested, including one woman whose arrest was caught on video, making the police look not so good.
|Elana Carroll, one of the protesters arrested at Citibank, provided a first-hand account of events.|
One thing that struck me was the description of the police. It sounds as if the particular group of police involved in the arrest were sort of a bunch of dicks.
However, she also added this:
Certainly the arrest was a big moment. But all of the interactions with the police and seeing what it was like to be processed etc. was really eye-opening as well. Aside from the cops who arrested us, many of the cops we interacted with told us that they “commended” us and were proud that this movement is happening.
This is something that I think most protesters and observers are aware of, but should be repeated, often. The police are not the enemy, and it would be a mistake to let the protests be taken over by an us versus them mentality. The economic and regulatory reforms that protesters are after are going to help everyone in the long term, and almost everyone in the short term. I think most of the police know that, and the couple of times I’ve been down there, I’ve been impressed with how professional the police have been, and how congenial the environment seems to be.
There are, of course, a handful of cops who are authoritarian bullies — it’s probably why they became cops in the first place — but most of them have genuinely devoted their lives to public safety, and are just trying to do their jobs. Similarly, there are a handful of protesters who are there because they like being annoying assholes, but most of them are selflessly trying to change a broken and unjust financial/political system.
We have to shine a spotlight on the high-profile events, like bank arrests and face-macing, while not losing sight of the fact that this is a struggle for the economic and political security for everyone.