After the City of Denver took action against Occupy protesters in Veteran’s Park this Friday morning, Governor John Hickenlooper had some irresponsible things to say about the police action.
The #OccupyWallStreet movement has hit a sort of mainstream stride, emerging in over 100 cities across the entire United States over the past two weeks. It’s slowly but surely becoming an unstoppable juggernaut of nonviolent resistance against—different city’s license to decide who can stay where and for what reason. Most nonviolent protests via peaceful resistance involve getting in the way so that people notice and the Occupy protests take that up a notch by putting people in place for days instead of hours.
Recently, protesters were arrested at a site in Denver—according to a news article on the subject 23 in total were arrested—and now the public (?) park they were staying in has been indefinitely closed by the city.
The bad behavior of the city to close a public park so that the occupy protesters cannot use it to demonstrate aside (as protestors could violate that order anyway to continue their peaceful resistance and protest making the city government even more of a villain) what really bothered me is the statement made by Gov. John Hickenlooper,
“Demonstrators in Lincoln Park were told every day this week they could not camp in the park. Yet each day the number of tents grew. Last night, and after multiple requests to follow the law, the Colorado State Patrol intervened. State troopers and Denver police demonstrated extreme restraint and professionalism as they encountered a very difficult situation.”
If by “extreme restraint and professionalism” he means that the police officers did not endanger the lives of protestors by committing vicious assaults or deploying non-lethal chemical weapons while breaking up a peaceful demonstration, I don’t think this man understands what these words mean. If Denver police and State Troopers are permitted to use extreme force against nonviolent protestors then perhaps they did show extreme restraint; however, in the case of police arresting people not violently resisting or rioting how much restraint does a person have to show not to behave violently in return?
Precisely how does the governor expect that the police should have acted if they did not use extreme restraint? What extreme things exactly does he expect that they restrained themselves from doing?
Law enforcement acting with the base level of professionalism should never need to include extreme restraint—anything worth being labeled extreme would probably also be rightfully labeled criminal.