Do A Little Dance, Make A Little Love…Get Bodyslammed Tonight (At The Jefferson Memorial)

from the sweet, we're puritans again! dept

Flash mobs are an odd sort of creature in the internet age. They’ve resulted in some really cool public "performances", fun little comedic bits, and are now being used to raise protests quickly organized through social networks like Twitter and Facebook. We saw what happened with the assistance of social media in the so-called Arab Spring, and the way some nations in the Middle East responded harshly to the protesters. But what about in America?

Warning: be prepared to be thoroughly pissed off.

It all started in 2008, when a flash mob was organized to dance silently (to music listened to by each individual with his or her own private headphones/music player) at the Jefferson Memorial to commemorate the 3rd American President’s 265th birthday. Apparently, this flash mob of clearly dangerous and possibly terror-plot developing waltzers was asked to leave the memorial because…well…you know what? I can’t think of a single good reason why a bunch of people silently dancing at the Jefferson Memorial on his birthday to celebrate his life should have to leave. Jefferson, a musician himself, once wrote that dancing "is a healthy exercise, elegant and very attractive for young people."

But one of the flash mob dancers was cuffed anyway. And when she sued on First Amendment grounds, she was twice told to go boogie because dancing at the memorial, even silently and respectfully, apparently was a “distraction” from the somberness of the memorial.

Upon this appeals court loss, a couple weeks ago, a group was started on Facebook to organize a protest of the ruling over Memorial Day weekend where members would waltz on over to the Jefferson Memorial and dance again, silently and respectfully, without music, so as not to disturb other tourists. It didn’t take long for the police to two-step over and ask them to stop again. In one of the finest examples of why we need to be allowed to videotape law enforcement, police cuffed a couple basically slow dancing in silence, and then lindy hopped on a couple of gentlemen’s heads, while horrified tourists looked on slack-jawed.

Look, I’m Irish, so I come from a lineage whose dance tradition basically consists of playing hacky sack without the sack, but perhaps bodyslamming silently dancing men and women onto the marble floor of a memorial for a patriot dedicated to preserving freedom and battling against needless government tyranny, not a hundred feet from the stenciled words "Nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate than these people are to be free" might not be the best use of law enforcement, the courts, or much of anything else. Let’s not mince words — this was a peaceful assembly in protest over a court ruling, and in celebration of a Founding Father of the United States. Their treatment by law enforcement was abhorrent.

I’m trying to inject some humor into this because, frankly, I find this whole thing really upsetting. And to be honest, my words alone can’t really describe the level of what occurred here. That’s why, again, I’m thankful that people have cameras on their phones and a platform like YouTube to share the videos, even if it’s stomach-turning to watch the results.

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Comments on “Do A Little Dance, Make A Little Love…Get Bodyslammed Tonight (At The Jefferson Memorial)”

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457 Comments
Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Irony

My problem with the reporting on this is those people were taunting the police and then resisting arrest. The host of the thing was walking away from an officer attempting to arrest him. They probably used more force than what was necessary but the behavior of the people is just as much to blame. The ruling, it’s pretty ridiculous. People absolutely should be allowed to dance where ever they want. I don’t blame police for doing their jobs, though.

The eejitsays:

Re: Re: Re: Irony

If not allowing yourself to risk having bones broken is ‘resisting arrest’ then I don’t know what ‘violently resisting arrest is. And having been arrested multiple times, I can tell you that at no point wewre the police ever anything less than polite, courteous and apologetic.

These fuckwits are thugs, and have forgotten the face of their father.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Irony

How were the people taunting the police?

If the peoples actions were illegal then what the police did was appropriate, but if the action were not it is totally inappropriate. When asked what law they were breaking, the officers seemed to have no response.

Just what law or ordinace were they breaking?

naschsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Irony

When asked what law they were breaking, the officers seemed to have no response.

The only response I heard was “you’ll see”. It should be a red flag in an officer’s mind that if they don’t actually know why they’re arresting someone, it might not be a legitimate arrest. And it’s not like this was some kind of clear and present danger situation, the officers had plenty of time to think it through.

With that said, I appreciate the officers were in a nearly impossible situation. Their actions could be just a symptom of the real problem. Interesting that they didn’t arrest anyone when hundreds showed up a couple of days ago.

Anonymoussays:

What occurred here is people trying to cause a public disturbance, and getting an appropriate level of response from authorities. The people involved know it is wrong, they know they are breaking the law, and failed to stop breaking the law when the authorities intervened. What happened next is the normal next step when people don’t obey an officer of the law and continue with an illegal activity.

A little civil disobedience is nice and all, but at the point that the officers got involved, they really should have stopped. They clearly did not follow the officers instructions, and resisted even when the office attempted to use physical force to stop the activity.

I have no sympathy for these dancing fools.

Bob Vsays:

Re:

Public disturbance??? I walked through a crowed going the other way the other day, should I be arrested. A little bit of common sense and a lot less lawyers would go a long way to fixing this country.

anyone rember these words…

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. ? That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, ? That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Really?says:

Re: Re:

Yes, public disturbance. If I went to my family member’s gravestone and there were weirdos dancing in front of it, I would be ticked off.

Good job copying and pasting the declaration of independence, but I fail to see anything in it giving people carte blanche to do whatever they want in total disregard to everyone else around them.

Dance in a dance hall. Reflect in a memorial. Seems common sense, no?

Maybe I just have a disconnect with the whole “look at me, I’m doing stuff to be different” crowd. Thank goodness.

tssays:

Re: Re: Re:

You would have a right to be ticked off…. just like they have the right to dance on public grounds. But NO ONE has a right to act like these cops. This makes me want to buy a plane ticket to Washington so I can dance (and I don’t dance) at the memorial.. even if I’m made an example of just like these people. Things like this will eventually wake people up and they will realize where this country is headed. They can’t arrest us all. It’s about time the people took our country back.

TDRsays:

Re: Re: Re:

Really?: “I CANNOT COMPREHEND WHAT PEACEFUL DEMONSTRATION MEANS! I WORSHIP THE LAW, IT CANNOT EVER BE WRONG! I CANNOT FATHOM IT EVER BEING WRONG, NOR DO I UNDERSTAND THAT IGNORING A BAD LAW IS NOT WRONG! I AM HOPELESSLY INERT AND DEPENDENT ON THE SYSTEM AND DON’T REALIZE HOW DELUDED I REALLY AM! WAAAHHH!”

I guess you think Rosa Parks should have stayed at the back of the bus, then. And that you also lack a little thing called common sense – these people were no danger to anyone at all but were peacefully and quietly protesting. The whole point of a peaceful protest is that it must be public for the point to be made. And it was peaceful. Thus, any violence used upon them at all is both wrong and inappropriate. I guess you just get off on thoughts of police states, though.

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The difference is that if Rosa Parks kept on sitting and grab onto the seat when the officer told her to stand up to be arrested (Not go limp, but actively resisted the order), then the cop even back then would have been in the right to force her to get into the cuffs.

Did anyone notice (I don’t know which video this was as I’m at work and it’s blocked) the cop in one of them ask the protester to put his hands behind his back and gave him 3 warnings before taking him down? 3 warnings. That’s way more then reasonable.

Yes, it’s a stupid law. Yes. I’m all for the protest. Yes. The cops acted reasonably to the situation. I didn’t see any kicking while they were down, any tasers, any takedowns without plenty of warnings. If you want to protest peacefully, then when the cop tells you that you are under arrest, go limp and let them cuff you and drag out your body. Don’t be a dick like these people (most of the people. The Woman and the older man IMHO weren’t resisting).

Dark Helmetsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

“The difference is that if Rosa Parks kept on sitting and grab onto the seat when the officer told her to stand up to be arrested (Not go limp, but actively resisted the order), then the cop even back then would have been in the right to force her to get into the cuffs.”

Let’s be careful w/our words here. No, that cop wouldn’t have been “right”. He would have been enforcing the law, yes, but that isn’t the same as “right”. Human beings have a responsibility to refuse to obey bad orders, no matter their vocation.

“The cops acted reasonably to the situation. I didn’t see any kicking while they were down, any tasers, any takedowns without plenty of warnings.”

You didn’t see the cop punching the guy in the stomach AFTER he’d been taken down? And please don’t come back w/the “that’s what they’re trained to do” nonsense. If that’s what they’re trained to do in situations like this, then their training is horribly wrong….

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

“Let’s be careful w/our words here. No, that cop wouldn’t have been “right”. He would have been enforcing the law, yes, but that isn’t the same as “right”. Human beings have a responsibility to refuse to obey bad orders, no matter their vocation.”

By right, I should have said, “He was acting as per the directions of the police force at the time. He was performing his job as described”. I did not mean ethically right. But he would not have gotten in trouble for it.

“You didn’t see the cop punching the guy in the stomach AFTER he’d been taken down? And please don’t come back w/the “that’s what they’re trained to do” nonsense. If that’s what they’re trained to do in situations like this, then their training is horribly wrong….”

I did not notice that. As I stated, I can’t go back and rewatch it. But I will be doing so when I get to a non-secured computer.

Joe Publiussays:

Re: Re: Re:

Yes, public disturbance. If I went to my family member’s gravestone and there were weirdos dancing in front of it, I would be ticked off.

Feel free to be bothered, but guess what?

It’s constitutionally protected: http://on.msnbc.com/iDiJTQ

If we should not quash even the most odious of expressions from some pretty loathsome human beings, why stoop to preventing expressions in a public space that are meant to be respectful, even if they are disruptive in someone’s opinion? We’re not talking “fire in a crowded theater” type stuff, we’re talking about dancing.

If you really think that little of our right to express one’s self in public that quiet dancing counts as worthy of sensorship, I can only feel sorry for you.

Bob Vsays:

Re: Re: Re:

Step back from the you find it distasteful part.

Gahndi, King, Stanton, Anthony, Parks just to think of a few names off of the top of my head. By your comments these people were wrong and should never have done their part in the various civil rights movements they were a part of.

There is a general failure to see the forest for the trees when people look at incidents like this.

Civil disobedience is part and parcel with our country’s history. Protesting, organizing and even forming crackpot militias, these are all normal things for Americans to do. or at least they used to be.

PrometheeFeusays:

Re: Re: Re:

I think this was indeed very disruptive. If I was visiting a national monument and uniformed goons suddenly started yelling, grabbed people, slammed them on the ground, took them prisoner and then kicked everyone out, I would indeed find this a powerful obstacle to my enjoyment of the place.

Wait, I just realized we may not be speaking about the same thing.

DCLsays:

Re: Re: Re:

So the Westboro Baptist Church shouting negative and hateful things at a memorial service is protected (correctly IMO, but they are just wrong) but peacefully and silently dancing at a national monument is grounds for getting forced to the ground and handcuffed.

At most they should have just asked those people to leave and escorted them out…. but being body slammed for not walking fast enough is just wrong. That level of force is just not justified.

The cops were probably pissed because they were intimidating the people. The 2nd angle shows a ‘stare down’ by a cop in sunglasses and the guy stands there and waves. But cops are supposed to be trained to prevent emotions from escalating the situation…. this is a FAIL in that regard.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re:

Yes, public disturbance. If I went to my family member’s gravestone and there were weirdos dancing in front of it, I would be ticked off.

Is that your standard for “public disturbance”, being “ticked off”? Really? Well, guess what: you probably just ticked off a lot more people that were ticked off at the memorial. I know you certainly ticked me off. So how about you give us your name and address so that we can pay you a little visit and give you some of that “appropriate” response in return? Surely you would have no objections to that, would you?

Right. Hypocrite. You should be flogged right along with those cops.

Re: We hold these truths to be self-evident . . .

Absent a decision by all Americans to develop spine and integrity sufficient to refuse to support a society that would be party to mass murder for political purposes, America will never be able to deal with the collapse that now threatens the very nature of their (Claimed) fundamental freedoms.

Woe. They now threaten each other with their irrationality.

Daniel J. Lavigne
“The Tax Refusal”
http://www.TaxRefusal.com

Dark Helmetsays:

Re:

“A little civil disobedience is nice and all, but at the point that the officers got involved, they really should have stopped. They clearly did not follow the officers instructions, and resisted even when the office attempted to use physical force to stop the activity.”

Forgive me, but a patriot does not stop rightful activity just because his/her government tells them to….

roobensays:

Re: Re:

yeah i’ve been wondering about the comments from the people saying “you should just stop when they tell you to”.

Why do I get the feeling that we have a growing population of people who have not matured emotionally beyond “follow the law because they tell you to”, and have moved into “do what is right, because it is right”.

These jokers seem to think that if you do what you are told, then everything will work out at the end. Shut up, stop talking, stop dancing, and comply.

That is the slope towards the police state.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re:

Why do I get the feeling that we have a growing population of people who have not matured emotionally beyond “follow the law because they tell you to”, and have moved into “do what is right, because it is right”.

What we have are a growing number of gov’t agents and apologists trolling message forums defending the actions of the gov’t and its agents no matter what. Your tax dollars at work.

xiansays:

Re:

I think that’s kind of the point of civil disobedience. Now, this isn’t the level of Rosa Parks or anything, but what she did was illegal. That’s the whole point.

Now, there aren’t any laws on the books about dancing in public, at least that I’m aware of. Also, what’s the definition of dancing? As citizens we grant the government a monopoly on violence for the purpose of running a society for the common good. With that being the case, I cannot justify an argument for body slamming a guy on the ground for putting a jig into his step in a public place.

The way I see it, these cops (or their superiors that created these orders) are out of line.

PlagueSDsays:

Re:

What occurred here is people trying to cause a public disturbance, and getting an appropriate level of response from authorities. The people involved know it is wrong, they know they are breaking the law

What “Law” was being broken? Dancing? Last I checked, Dancing was not illegal.

Oh, and a little google search turned this little bit up about the Park Police…

(http://www.nps.gov/uspp/)
“The Force provides highly trained and professional police officers to prevent and detect criminal activity, conduct investigations, apprehend individuals suspected of committing offenses against Federal, State and local laws, provide protection to the President of the United States and visiting dignitaries, and provide protective services to some of the most recognizable monuments and memorials in the world.”

Highly trained and professional??? Not so sure about that after watching this video.

I have an idea…Instead of harassing someone doing a PEACEFUL demonstration, why aren’t you out arresting people doing the actual illegal stuff…you know, like robbing stores and banks, murder, rape, etc…

To the person who posted the Constitution Quote, I applaud you.

Anonymoussays:

Re:

Have you looked up public distrubance? http://definitions.uslegal.com/p/public-disturbance/ How are the people in the video creating a public disturbance?

What evidence leads you to believe that ‘The people involved know it is wrong’? It seems just the opposite, it seems that the people involved think that what they are doing is right.

What law did they break? When asked about statues or laws they were violating none of the authorities responded with anything appropriate. They didn’t even claim a public disturbance.

What activity was illegal?

It appeared that most of the people involved followed officer instructions. Who resisten arrest and how?

Anonymous Cowardsays:

They boogied with Jefferson to challenge this month?s U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that dancing at memorials is forbidden ?because it stands out as a type of performance, creating its own center of attention and distracting from the atmosphere of solemn commemoration,? according to the panel?s ruling.

Read that, have you ever, ever heard anything so insane? You’d figure that text came from an Iraqi court because people were dancing at a Saddam statue right? Nope, right here in the USA.

Really?says:

Disruptive

Frankly, I’d find that hipsters dancing in front of a crowded monument to be more than a little disruptive. Add to that the fact that they refused to stop, and then resisted the officers, and I wouldn’t consider it much of a surprise or an “outrage” that a modicum of force was used against them.

This sort of Gen Y entitlement makes me embarrassed for my entire generation.

But hey, that’s just my opinion, and I am expressing it /in the proper venue/.

Nathan Fsays:

Re: Disruptive

Disruptive? Quite possibly in your opinion yes. Others may have found it amusing.

Their point to doing this was to ‘peaceably assemble’ and to protest the actions of the judicial branch of our government. If all they did was quietly gather at someones private home to kvetch among themselves, then no one would know they were not happy with the ruling. Thus in order for any action to take place they MUST be disruptive to draw attention to what they consider wrong doing.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Disruptive

So were they.

I find people posing for pictures in front of something I want to look at disruptive. I find people talking about something I want to contemplate in silence disruptive. I find people in general doing anything anywhere I am that I don’t want them to be doing to be disruptive.

Now I can call on the park cops to bodyslam them so I feel better. Yey.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Disruptive

Told to leave the premises….YOU MEAN LIKE THEY WERE?!

This is honestly ridiculous…

They WERE NOT BODY SLAMMED FOR DANCING. They WERE bodyslammed because they PHYSICALLY RESISTED ARREST. One of the group tried to GRAB someone AWAY FROM THE POLICE.

Seriously people, do you even bother watching the video?!

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Disruptive

And you know what? Places that ban photography SAY SO on the door or other clear informative means.

There is no ‘no dancing allowed’ sign anywhere around this or any other memorial.

The officers we’re telling them something that wasn’t specifically banned. Should they have cooperated with the officers? Perhaps, but ‘protest demonstration’ generally doesn’t mean cooperation. The guy who got body slammed was clearly resisting arrest, so sadly he gave them the excuse to get physical – doesn’t make it right, just the excuse they used.

Re: Re: Re: Re: Disruptive

“Yes, what happens if you don’t abide is you are told to leave the premises. You are not body slammed to the ground and handcuffed.”

No. That only happens if you refuse and then actively work against (note I said actively) being put under arrest.

Also, it wasn’t a bodyslam. It was a takedown move, yes. But it’s not like the cop lifted the protestor over his head and threw him down to the mat and hit him with a chair… oh.. wait.. Sorry.. Got off tangent there. It wasn’t a bodyslam.

btr1701says:

Re: Re: Re: Disruptive

And there are places that ban photography.

Apparently those cops in the video think the Jefferson Memorial is one of them.

Watch the end, where he tells one of the guys with the cameras that “videotaping in here is forbidden”.

Really, officer?

One of the major tourist attractions in the nation’s capitol and videotaping is prohibited? Funny how you and your fellow officers haven’t stopped THE MILLIONS OF OTHER TOURISTS from videotaping in there. But the moment you decide to go apeshit on a couple for the horrific offense swaying in place while standing in each others’ arms, suddenly videotaping in the memorial is prohibited?

Seems rather self-servingly convenient to me.

These guys were basically talking out of their ass and making up the “law” as they go along.

Dark Helmetsays:

Re: Disruptive

“Frankly, I’d find that hipsters dancing in front of a crowded monument to be more than a little disruptive.”

Too bad. They were no more disruptive than a Parkinson’s patient. People should be able to deal w/a little silent dancing.

“Add to that the fact that they refused to stop”

Well, of course they didn’t. That’s the whole point of a protest. You don’t stop doing what you think you should be able to do just because a browncoat tells you to.

“and then resisted the officers”

That’s what you call resisting officers?

“and I wouldn’t consider it much of a surprise or an “outrage” that a modicum of force was used against them.”

A MODICUM of force? Wow….

“But hey, that’s just my opinion, and I am expressing it /in the proper venue/.”

And you’re of course more than welcome to express it here. I just think you’re horribly flippant about what actually took place, particularly as a Veteran is involved….

Re: Disruptive

So, it’s now illegal to annoy you? And if I don’t stop annoying you, the cops are allowed to pick my ass up and slam me into the ground and choke me?

It is not illegal to dance. It is also not illegal to ignore a cop telling you to stop doing something legal. Severe physical violence in response to a peaceful protest, does that sound failure to anyone else?

rubberpantssays:

Re: Re: Disruptive

It is not illegal to dance. It is also not illegal to ignore a cop telling you to stop doing something legal.

Disturbingly, I believe that it effectively is. For you see, resisting arrest is illegal.

Don’t worry, you can bring a complaint before a judge that attended a BBQ at the policeman’s house last weekend.

Huh?says:

Re: Re: Re: Disruptive

No one was resisting arrest. They were asked to stop dancing and they didn’t. That is not illegal. THEN the police tried to arrest them – but I’m not sure what you call resisting since all I saw was a lot of choking, slamming, and co-operation from the those on the receiving end.

I mean, if you think not listening to a police officer is resisting arrest, maybe you don’t know what arrest even means?

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Disruptive

“No one was resisting arrest. all I saw was … cooperation from those on the receiving end”
I’m not sure if you saw the same video as I did.

I agree that the reason for arrest (dancing?) is stupid, and I in no way am trying to excuse the police violence, but I don’t think you can honestly say that there was no resisting arrest there.

They weren’t attacking the police officers, but I think it’s pretty clear that people (most clearly the body-slammee) were struggling (e.g. pulling their arms up and away) to make it difficult to put handcuffs on them.

Josh in CharlotteNCsays:

Re: Disruptive

This sort of Gen Y entitlement makes me embarrassed for my entire generation.

But hey, that’s just my opinion, and I am expressing it /in the proper venue/.

Who the fuck do you think you are to impose your views on others while claiming they are the ones with an entitlement issue?

You sir, are a fucking hypocrite.

Pardon me for being rude, these comments are entirely too respectful for the atrocious behavior displayed by our supposedly freedom loving government.

Cowardly Anonsays:

Re: Disruptive

I’m sorry, but have you actually ever witnessed a flash mob in person? Like, really?

In most cases everyone moves out of the way. Watch in wonder at something so different than what they had expected. Many people have smiles or laugh, some people join in, and most everyone pulls out their phone to take a picture.

That is not a disturbance. At all. That is giving the tourists an extra memory. Something that will far outlast the rather dull day of walking around a monument and a few pictures of a statue.

But now the tourists have another memory. One that I’m sure will defiantly affect their vacation choices in the future. They just witnessed people being arrested…..for hugging, kissing, and dancing.

So, I’m sorry that you find these people to be ‘hipsters’ and you disapprove of their manner of speech, but that doesn’t take away their right to it.

Remember, if you accept the trampling of other peoples rights b/c you don’t like what they have to say, where will you turn when someone doesn’t like what you have to say and you find yourself without your own rights?

Killer_Tofusays:

Re: Disruptive

According to your own argument, the police should be allowed to come to your house and body slam you. After all, you are only doing what you are legally allowed to do, which is voice your opinion. And go figure, thats all those people were doing when they were assaulted by police. Just some food for thought.

Rekrulsays:

Re: Disruptive

This sort of Gen Y entitlement makes me embarrassed for my entire generation.

Yes, how dare they feel entitled to exhibit their constitutionally protected right to expression! Or their right to not be harassed by uniformed thugs without having broken any laws?

Just like that damn Rosa Parks shouldn’t have felt entitled to sit in the front of the bus. Cops should have slammed her to the ground and knelt on her head…

Colin C.says:

Re: Disruptive

> Frankly, I’d find that hipsters dancing in front of a crowded monument to be more than a little disruptive.

And clearly the momentary disruption of your precious day calls for someone to go to jail. God help the barrista who ever spills your coffee.

> This sort of Gen Y entitlement makes me embarrassed for my entire generation.

Indeed. Disgusting these folks who are so encapsulated in their own sense of entitlement that they can’t withstand a disruption of their little pleasures of the day. You’d hope that they’d be made of sterner stuff.

Jenisays:

Re: Re: Disruptive

I know … was thinking about that, too. If I went to the Memorial and saw people quietly dancing, and didn’t know the story behind what they were doing, I might find it a little odd but I would simply smile and move on. I don’t see that they were harassing or following or tormenting anyone else in the vicinity.

But then I was brought up to mind my own business and not judge others.

Anonymoussays:

The appeals court found that dancing was not allowed at the memorial, because while it is open to the public, it is NOT a public forum. Therefore, it falls under jurisdiction of the Park Service (and the Park Police).

Protesting without a permit is a violation of Park Service rules.

So while you all keep crying about ZOMG these mall security guards are trampling our right to protest!!1!, these protesters are not going about it properly.

Yes, we (the people) have a right to assemble. No, we do not have a right to assemble whenever and wherever the hell we want. And if we violate the rules/laws during a protest, then we should expect a smackdown (as these people most certainly did, hence the open call for photographers and media)

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re:

“I wasn’t aware we needed permits and licenses and permission from the government to protest the government.”

you need permission from whoever is in charge of the venue when it is not a public forum. and since the courts have (so far) ruled that the Jefferson Memorial is not a public forum, then yes, you would need permission from the Park Service.

Streets are public, but they are not a public forum. You would need permission from the city to hold a protest in a street.

pixelpusher220says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Actually, yes you do if you wish to do so legally. You missed his pretty straightforward explanation of why.

You (and they) are completely allowed to protest at the TJ Memorial, but you are required to coordinate that protest with the entity in charge of the jurisdiction – in this case the Park Service. They can deny the permit and you can sue them to get it allowed. That’s how our legal system works.

Of course you obviously can just go protest like these people did too. But there are likely consequences of that.

And note I’m not defending the cops here, just that we are a nation of laws that we all agree to and have the ability to petition for changes to those rules if we don’t like them. Simply not obeying the rules, even if they boneheaded and wrong is not the ideal way to react, unless you’re willing to take the consequences of those actions.

Sometimes the latter is the best way to get your point across though. And here we are.

pixelpusher220says:

Re: Re:

Actually that has been a law in just about every jurisdiction. You need a permit to organize a protest and hold it ‘legally’.

Flash mobs are an interesting stretch to that concept. If they organize and plan ahead of time, which this group appears to have done, yes a permit is needed, especially at a public national memorial.

If someone tweets ‘everybody go here and do X’, is that prior organization and planning? I’d probably say no.

But the mobs where people meet and practice the dance steps etc. before hand probably are.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re:

“Protesting without a permit is a violation of Park Service rules.”

After Oberwetter twice refused requests to stop, Park Police officers arrested her for ?interfering with an agency function? and ?demonstrating without a permit? in violation of the National Park Service Regulations, 36 C.F.R. ? 7.96(g)(3)(ii)(C).

http://adwww2.americanbar.org/SCFJI/Lists/New%20Case%20Summaries/DispForm.aspx?ID=464

it’s not a link to the NPS site, but if the appeals court cited it, it’s good enough for me.

Dark Helmetsays:

Re:

“Protesting without a permit is a violation of Park Service rules.”

From Wikipedia on the First Amendment:

“In United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U.S. 542 (1875), the Supreme Court held that “the right of the people peaceably to assemble for the purpose of petitioning Congress for a redress of grievances, or for anything else connected with the powers or duties of the National Government, is an attribute of national citizenship, and, as such, under protection of, and guaranteed by, the United States.””

Screw the Park Service and their overly aggressive puritanical nonsense. The right to peacefully assemble is a hallmark of my country’s values, and this incident was sickening….

roobensays:

Re:

You know, just because it is the way law isn’t interpreted, doing things a certain way, because the government wants you to, doesn’t mean it is right, or even legal.

The government imposes illegal laws all the time. The job of the 3 branches of government is to balance and determine if the law is valid.
Our governement has forgotten their job, and enact laws whether or not they are legal. Look at the Patriot Act – this clearly violates the 4th amendment by giving the government powers to ignore the need to get a warrant. Which is expressly laid out in the 4th, but that law just got renewed.

So, to recap – just because the law says you have to do it a certain way, doesn’t mean that the law is legal, or ethical.
I don’t recall the 1st amendment saying that congress will allow people to peacefully assemble when they have a permit, it says “congress shall make no law…abridging..the right of the people peaceably to assemble…”.

So no law means – no law, except when I want to control when people exercise their rights.

btr1701says:

Re: Ruling

The appeals court found that dancing was not allowed at the
memorial, because while it is open to the public, it is NOT a
public forum

Which is one of the reasons this decision may likely be reversed on appeal.

The ruling that memorials are not public places flies in the face of well-settled 1st Amendment jurisprudence. The Supreme Court ruled back in the 1960s that streets, sidewalks, parks, monuments, and memorials are “traditional public places” where free speech is given heightened protection. So for this court to suddenly say, “No, they’re not” is both surprising and ripe for challenge.

btr1701says:

Re:

Yeah, I lived in DC for many years and have been to the Jefferson hundreds of times and never once could it have been described as “somber”, “serene” or “contemplative” when I was there.

It’s always a raucous nightmare with dozens of tour groups all shouting to be heard over one another, little kids racing around, screeching at each other, and just generally like any other crowded place. It’s no more serene than your average shopping mall at Christmas time.

Re: Re:

Yeah, I lived in DC for many years and have been to the Jefferson hundreds of times and never once could it have been described as “somber”, “serene” or “contemplative” when I was there.

It’s always a raucous nightmare with dozens of tour groups all shouting to be heard over one another, little kids racing around, screeching at each other, and just generally like any other crowded place. It’s no more serene than your average shopping mall at Christmas time

I was thinking exactly this. For all those claiming that the dancing was “disruptive,” I’ve been to the Jefferson Memorial a bunch, and the mobs of elementary school kids running around are a hell of a lot more disruptive than anything these folks were doing.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re:

I’ve been to the Jefferson Memorial a bunch, and the mobs of elementary school kids running around are a hell of a lot more disruptive than anything these folks were doing.

Yeah, but those kids weren’t protesting a government ruling. Running around screaming is alright if you aren’t protesting some government action. If you are, then just silently swaying is enough to get you roughed up and arrested.

JSsays:

Maybe dancing at the memorial is not breaking the law but when a cop tells you to stop dancing and leave, just do it. You’re not going to win if you stand there and disobey. And you are in for a world of hurt if you resist.

Why does everyone think they need to get into a pissing contest with “the man”?

Don’t like being told to leave a public place? Fine. Take it up in the courts where it will actually make some difference. But actively resisting arrest is just going to get you hurt and yes that big guy that got body slammed to the ground was actively resisting arrest.

JSsays:

Re: Re:

Because people who cringe like cowards in the face of overbearing authority never accomplish anything.

If you think actively resisting arrest and getting physically harmed doing so is accomplishing something, all the more power to you.

I’d rather walk away, live another day, and struggle against this “overbearing authority” in another manner such as through the media and the courts.

Here’s a tip. As soon as the police show up and you refuse to comply with them you have immediately lost. Perhaps not the war, but you have lost that battle. You will not win. They cannot let you win. They will continue to escalate until you comply. It is just not worth it.

Anonymous Postersays:

Re: Re: Re:

“If you think actively resisting arrest and getting physically harmed doing so is accomplishing something, all the more power to you.”

It is accomplishing something: it is highlighting abuses of power.

People should not be afraid of their governments; governments should be afraid of the people.

RadialSkidsays:

Re: Re: Re:

Luckily, I live in a “right to resist” state, where if the police overstep their authority, I have a right to resist them, up to and including the use of deadly force.

It may sound like empty tough talk, but I’m not afraid to draw my Glock 21 if circumstances make it necessary, and I’m not afraid to die fighting injustice.

Gwizsays:

Re: Re: Re:

If you think actively resisting arrest and getting physically harmed doing so is accomplishing something, all the more power to you.

But these people were not actively resisting at all (except, perhaps, the one guy pulling the other guy away from the cops), they were mostly doing nothing after the cops started touching them.

Does not obeying a police officer’s every command now instantly equal resisting arrest? Scary.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re:

If you think actively resisting arrest and getting physically harmed doing so is accomplishing something, all the more power to you.

Thank you.

Here’s a tip. As soon as the police show up and you refuse to comply with them you have immediately lost. Perhaps not the war, but you have lost that battle.

No, you haven’t. Unless you’re a sociopath that cares only about yourself, that is.

You will not win. They cannot let you win. They will continue to escalate until you comply.

You will win the moral war. They cannot win, though they will continue to escalate, not realizing that they are defeating themselves.

It is just not worth it.

For a sociopath? No. For someone with a conscience? Yes. And then some.

Anonymoussays:

To be brutally honest, at the point they start making sarcastic responses about ‘what is dancing’, ‘what if you’re out of time when making movements…’, etc etc is when I lost total respect for these ‘dancers’. What response did they expect out of the cops? “Oh we’re sorry, carry on!”… hardly!

Being a smart ass gets you no where. All hope was lost when they started raising their voices and resisting the cops. Now don’t get me wrong, I think the cops were wrong in their initial assessment of the situation, that is of course if they were not dancing as they were in the video. If that was how they were dancing prior to the start of the video, a warning and then a subsequent arrest if they do not stop was in order. Because the ‘dancers’ physically resisted arrest, the proper course of action was to take em down.

I agree a little non-disruptive dance (no music, no wild actions or attention getting movements, ie slow dancing in a non-goofy manner) is no reason to arrest someone, but that is clearly not what was being done in the video. The dancers were antagonizing and they got what they deserved.

Its kind of like the concept of yelling FIRE!! in a public place, when there is obviously no fire. To do that would cause disruption. Now if you whisper fire (when there is no fire) to your friends/family in idle conversation, thats a different story… Remember, this is just an analogy, and all analogies break down at some point… Dancing wildly with the purpose of getting attention is disruptive, while RESPECTFULLY dancing is not disruptive. These ‘dancers’ were not respectful at all, voice and action, in the video.

I have no sympathy for them and fully support the cops in their final decision.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re:

“Remember, this is just an analogy, and all analogies break down at some point…”

The point was to show we do not have complete freedom to do whatever we want, whenever we want. I recognize yelling fire is a safety hazard. The point of the analogy was to display that we do not actually have the freedom to say whatever we want, whenever we want. While we do have certain freedoms, yelling fire in a public place isn’t one of them (unless of course there is a fire). Disrespecting cops is not another one of those freedoms…

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re:

We only know what they (the dancers and tech-dirt) are telling us… we do not have the luxury of a video prior to the police engagement. All we have is the tech-dirt writer’s words that they were respectfully dancing. If you have some sort of source or knowledge other than this, please, do divulge it. They had their fifteen minutes of fame, and they have their arrest. Good riddance.

Osays:

Re:

But they have a point!
If you want to make something illegal, you must be able to define it in clear terms. Look at the first couple to be arrested, they didn’t even really look like they were dancing, more like hugging while moving a little.

It IS important to define ‘dancing’ if it is going to be outlawed, and the very fact that those cops arrest people for doing something they can’t even define clearly shows how stupid this is.

The dancers were also peaceful at first. Only when the cops decided to go Gestapo on them did they become vocal. And really, once cops start acting like Nazis, it’s only fair to get vocal and protest loudly. Because cops should never act that way, and when they do it’s important to make sure people around notice.
If the cops had been more moderate or just wiser in their behavior, I wouldn’t condone the behavior of the dancers. I’m also quite sure the dancers did not even expect the cops would escalate things that much… They probably were not planning on making all that noise until the cops behaved like fascists.

btr1701says:

Re: Re:

It IS important to define ‘dancing’ if it is going to be outlawed

Absolutely. In order to define “dancing” as a demonstration and therefore an illegal act, the principles of law that have been in place for 200+ years require that citizens be able to inform themselves of the parameters and legal definitions of the prohibited conduct.

btr1701says:

Re:

Its kind of like the concept of yelling FIRE!! in a public place,
when there is obviously no fire.

Except that example is completely inapplicable. The “fire in a crowded theater” cliche is generic shorthand for the Supreme Court’s “clear and present danger” test.

In order for restriction on speech to be justified under that test, there must be a clear and present danger of death or serious bodily injury as a direct result of the speech. Such would be the case with a false claim of emergency in a crowded place. Such is not the case with two people silently swaying in each other’s arms in front of a statue.

ClarkeyBalboasays:

Re:

“To be brutally honest, at the point they start making sarcastic responses about ‘what is dancing’, ‘what if you’re out of time when making movements…’, etc etc is when I lost total respect for these ‘dancers’. What response did they expect out of the cops? “Oh we’re sorry, carry on!”… hardly!”

The entire point of them asking those questions, sarcasm or not, was to get the officer to provide more information. If the officers can’t even site the law that they are going to be arrested for, then those officers have no grounds on which to arrest the dancers. Another point with questioning “what is dance” is that it is such a broad definition. The first couple arrested were practically swaying, there was no noticeable footwork. If they went onto “So You Think You Can Dance”, they would be on the gag reel.

Hugh Mannsays:

I'm not overly sympathetic

A bunch of people got together to engage in a demonstration – though they tried to deny it was a demonstration.

The cops actually seemed pretty calm and straightforward. The first cop seemed to try to not escalate anything, but just tell them the way it works and the consequences. And then you had people clearly intentionally taunting the cops and making inane claims like, “you have to give me a warning!”

The only real rough stuff (and I didn’t see anything as rough as is being claimed in comments here) was when the cops moved to cuff one man, but another man jumped in and physically grabbed the first man, actively interfering with the cops. The other incident was with a man who refused to move at all, so the cops moved him.

I have way more sympathy for the ones who actually were engaged in more honest civil disobedience. They committed their act, made their point, and were at least minimally cooperative in being arrested. I have no sympathy for those who taunt the police, cause physical escalation, etc.

I happen to agree with the concept that such demonstrations are distracting (whether audible or not) and not in keeping with the intent of the monumnet. Just like I am against the Bible-thumping bigots who protest military funerals and think it’s just fine to keep them away from such solemn events, even if they do involve the goverment/military. I do not believe that you have to allow all sorts of stupid speech in order to protect valuable speech.

I would also note that the cops all seemed to do just fine with the videotaping going on.

HM

Anonymoussays:

Re: I'm not overly sympathetic

As the writer of the post starting out with: “To be brutally honest, at the point”, I fully agree with you… however, im curious about the military funerals you talk about… is there a link? I am a devout christian, but I have not heard of or seen anything in a military funeral that would cause me to protest them… just curious about the topic is all.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: I'm not overly sympathetic

As a christian, I cannot agree with or support a gay lifestyle. I am not here to start a dispute over that. However, I agree that that should not deny someone a proper burial. Love the person, not the sin… I have to say not all Christians are like those at this Westboro Baptist Church. Picketing at a funeral is disrespectful and is not the time or the place for it. I have to say, those ‘christians’ at this church are not acting in a christian manner. But what is expected in a fallen world? Christians are to be a light in the darkness, a refuge of sorts… their actions are not doing this…

Use your headsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: I'm not overly sympathetic

I’m just going to go out on a limb here and say that using the phrase “fallen world” is going to garner you a fair bit of ill will on the internet. However, if you wanna preach here then go for it, tis not my pleasure to stop you. I could debate you till I was blue in the face, but I value my time a bit too much for that. Just thought I’d let you know that your entire post is rendered moot by those two little words.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I'm not overly sympathetic

Thank you… I seriously wish more commenters were like you. I too, could debate you till I was blue in the face, but arguing a point neither side is willing to budge on is a fruitless effort and a waste of time. At some point, for brevity sake, it is just best to agree to disagree and leave it at that.

As per your comment on my choice of words, I agree, with you, it does bring ill will on the internet, as well as in the real world. I expect it in both places, even if I am approaching it in a respectful manner. For what it is worth (as you dont hold the Bible in the same regard as I do), the Bible says that Christians will be persecuted, no matter what. To be a Christian is to be persecuted:

2 Timothy 3:12 – “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,”

Pitabredsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I'm not overly sympathetic

The reason you get ill will when you say this is a fallen world is that you’re “respectfully” telling those of us that don’t believe in imaginary sky fairies that you are

a) Not one of the “fallen” and therefore better than everyone else
b) Delusional
c) In utter contempt of everything non-Christian. Or even better, that doesn’t adhere to your exact interpretation of Christianity.

You’re delusional, ignorant and disrespectful. You get “persecuted” because you’re a self-righteous asshole, not because you’re a Christian.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I'm not overly sympathetic

Saying “telling those of us that don’t believe in imaginary sky fairies that you are” is not respectful… this is a very ignorant statement. I do not shun you for accepting evolution which, in my opinion, falls into the “imaginary sky fairies” category…

a) Not one of the “fallen” and therefore better than everyone else
Everybody is fallen, no exceptions. The difference between you and me is that I recognize I am fallen and can do no good in and of myself. So as Paul (an Apostle of Christ) says in Acts (paraphrased): I am the worst of the worst… all of my achievements/deeds are worthless and count for nothing (he had all the religious credentials that would make those of his time think he was a “good” religious person). Christians who claim they are better than anyone else are false christians.

b) Delusional
I dont think others are delusional. Just mal-informed. I was in the same position at one point. So my heart goes out to those in this position because I understand what it is like.

c) In utter contempt of everything non-Christian. Or even better, that doesn’t adhere to your exact interpretation of Christianity.
God calls us to a high standard. One that no one can fulfill but Jesus Christ. No one can live up to the 10 commandments except him, because he is perfect. But if someone saved your life, wouldn’t you want to please him the best you can? Have you ever lied, stolen, lusted? I know I have. This is crime against God. The punishment is death (which is why all must eventually die). However, if you accept that Christ died in our place, you’ll go to heaven and not hell. Christ’s death however is not a license to sin. We are to strive to abide by God’s will, to lead a guiltless life as best as we can. So yes, we TRY to abide by God’s will, but not always possible. And there are things that are left for us to decide, what things we enjoy to do that aren’t necessarily Christian, but aren’t considered sinning either.

“You’re delusional, ignorant and disrespectful. You get “persecuted” because you’re a self-righteous asshole, not because you’re a Christian.” I may be delusional, ignorant and disrespectful at times, and I apologize. But I try my best to present Christianity to the world in a manner that comes across as respectful, logical, and in love for that is what Christ did. I will not deny that I have been an asshole (just ask my wife, haha… she endures so much that comes out of me). And if what you mean by “self-righteous” as TRYING to live a life that is honoring to God and Christ, that is what a Christian is to do. If that comes off as self-righteousness Im sorry that it does. Christianity is not about promoting self, it is about promoting God’s righteousness as He is the only righteous one. TRYING (emphasis on trying) to live a lifestyle that is good must go hand in hand with Christianity (they are inseparable) and, therefor, is why Christians will be persecuted. So if this is what you mean by “self-righteous”, that and Christianity should be one in the same.

Jenisays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I'm not overly sympathetic

If you had any clue regarding the meaning of respect, you wouldn’t say:


“…believe in imaginary sky fairies that you are”
all three “a, b, c points”
“You’re delusional, ignorant and disrespectful. You get “persecuted” because you’re a self-righteous asshole, not because you’re a Christian.”

Respect is a 2-way street.

Now give me a good reason to show you an iota of respect much less any credibility.

Osays:

Re: Re: I'm not overly sympathetic

The Westboro Baptist Church are really extremists of the worse kind.
I’m an atheist myself, but I heard even Christians strongly dislike the WBC. I heard many Christians say WBC are not even Christians, more like a cult based on Christianity.

They protest homosexuality, soldier burials… They have signs that say “God hates America” “Thank God for the dead soldiers” and I heard they claim 9/11 was God’s punishment because the USA is a bad country. They also believe they are the only true Christians and only they will go to Heaven.
There is no valid reason to protest military burials, but they seem to hate the USA and like to strike where it hurts most: people’s patriotism. Nothing annoys patriots more than disrespecting dead soldiers.

Again, they’re strongly extremist so I guess they really just want to hurt people’s feelings as much as they can, and normal people won’t find much sense in what WBC does.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: I'm not overly sympathetic

The Westborough Baptist Church is lead by a man named Fred Phelps. He goes to military funerals with his church/family and heckles the grieving by holding signs and yelling things like “God hates fags”, and suggests that soldiers die because they protect a country that supports (some) basic human rights for homosexuals as well as heterosexuals. If you google Fred Phelps, I’m sure more information will pop up. I hope this answered your quesion.

Use your headsays:

Re: I'm not overly sympathetic

You must be very careful when you use phrases like “stupid speech” and “valuable speech.” You see, the danger is that YOU don’t get to decide what is stupid or valuable, even if you are of the opinion that we should protect/deny one or the other. I am of the opinion that it is nobody’s right nor privilege to decide whether the things I say are stupid, valuable, or neither.

I doubt these officers would have bothered these people had they been, say, less-than-quietly celebrating the recent death of Osama bin Laden. And if they did, I doubt that the people on this forum saying the reaction to the assembly was warranted would even bother.

I will agree that some of the people involved were asking for it with comments like “what is dancing?” (although that is an amusing point). And I can also see requiring a permit to protest if the property is not a “forum for public discourse” except I think that there should not be a permit for such a thing. If it’s not a forum for public discourse, then I don’t think some impersonal head behind a desk should be able give permits for public discourse. That’s idiotic…to those in the “disruptive” camp, what if they had a permit and you found it disruptive, hmm? what then?

I’ve rambled enough for one day, do try to employ logic and reason when replying to this.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: I'm not overly sympathetic

You must be very careful when you use phrases like “stupid speech” and “valuable speech.” You see, the danger is that YOU don’t get to decide what is stupid or valuable …

But I’m sure he thinks he should be the one that decides. That’s the way these types always are.

Hugh Mannsays:

Re: Re: I'm not overly sympathetic

No, I’m not wrong. My belief is what it is. I hear you have a different belief. It’s not wrong or right. It’s my belief. It just happens to also be right. 🙂

Seriously, though, I don’t think we have to tolerate KKK rallies in order to preserve the ability of our citizens to have constructve exchanges. Granted, these demonstrators were mostly just annoying spoiled children who obviously didn’t get enough (or got way too much) attention from their own parents, and not the KKK. However, it think the principal holds.

Of course, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not like they were screaming and setting things on fire, but the Jefferson Memorial was not built to be a dance hall, and I really do think the context of the location can play a valid role in determining what is appropriate speech there.

HM

pixelpusher220says:

Re: Re: Re: I'm not overly sympathetic

“I don’t think we have to tolerate KKK rallies in order to preserve the ability of our citizens to have constructve exchanges.”

And just where is the line over what is and isn’t acceptable? or will you “Know it when you hear it.”

How about the West Baptist protests at funerals? That’s downright ‘hate’ speech in my book. But it’s allowed because we have freedom of expression.

“I really do think the context of the location can play a valid role in determining what is appropriate speech there.”

Completely agree, and the THOMAS JEFFERSON Memorial is just about as perfect a place for emphasizing free speech as you can get…

Re: Re: Re: I'm not overly sympathetic

Of course, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not like they were screaming and setting things on fire, but the Jefferson Memorial was not built to be a dance hall, and I really do think the context of the location can play a valid role in determining what is appropriate speech there.

I’m sorry, but the First Amendment does not separate out “appropriate speech” and “inappropriate speech”. In fact, that’s kind of the point.

I’m really scared by this thread and how many people are so willing to give up the First Amendment because they don’t like the speech involved. That’s freaking scary.

Hugh Mannsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: I'm not overly sympathetic

There are all sorts of limitations. You can’t shout “fire!” in a crowded theatre. Schools can prohibit the wearing of t-shirts with obscenities or other disruptive messages. You can be required to get a permit and limit your speech to certain loctions/times in the case of public property and streets.

Here, the police seem to be saying that the demonstration (which is exactly what it was) was disruptive to others trying to enjoy the memorial. Sure, it was silent, but that’s certainly not dispositive. They were doing the equivalent of torturing your little brother by holding your fingers right in front of his face and chanting, “I am not touching you! I am not touching you!” and trying to tell Mom that you couldn’t possibly be bothering your little brother if you weren’t actually touching him.

I actually think the First Amendment is plenty strong enough to support the high ideals it is meant to support without having to tolerate childishness as a side effect.

Seriously, these protesters totally reminded me of the annoying “college know-it-all hippies” on South Park. More interested in making minor points in a dramatic fashion than in actually making a diference.

HM

btr1701says:

Re: Re: Re: I'm not overly sympathetic

Seriously, though, I don’t think we have to tolerate KKK rallies
in order to preserve the ability of our citizens to have constructve
exchanges

The Supreme Court says we do. (American Nazi Party vs. City of Skokie, Illinois) You may disagree with that decision, but it’s nevertheless the law. And if the Nazis have a legal right to march through a town filled with Holocaust survivors, you’ll have a hard time convincing me that swaying silently in place is somehow beyond the pale.

Re: Re: Re: Re: I'm not overly sympathetic

True, and thanks for the precedent citation. But me and many others on this site probably don’t want to argue using the tautology that “It is the law, and thus it is right. We’ve all seen laws that we don’t think are right.

“You may disagree with that decision, but it’s nevertheless the law”

Letting the odious nazi’s march is correct, not just because it is the law, not just because it is one of the founding tenets of this nation, not because it was first scribed by our great thinkers, but because it is fundamentally true and important reality for human co-existence. Man cannot be free if his ability to express his beliefs is limited.

Bob Vsays:

Re: I'm not overly sympathetic

I agree with you mostly in theory on the resisting arrest part. I think they were a bit excessive for the situation but I’m just watching it on my computer. In actuality it may have felt threatening to the officers and that level of force was needed for those peacefully resisting being handcuffed. Duct tape over the shrill girl may have been a better option.

I have a question for you though, who gets to decide what is stupid speech. Is it obvious when I hear it.

btr1701says:

Re: I'm not overly sympathetic

The cops actually seemed pretty calm and straightforward.
The first cop seemed to try to not escalate anything

The best way not to escalate it would be to ignore them. Since the behavior actually wasn’t disruptive and harmful in any meaningful way, it would have been best just to let them have their 10 minutes of dancing. If they weren’t able to provoke a reaction, they’d get bored and leave. Instead, the cops gave them the very reaction they were hoping for.

I would also note that the cops all seemed to do just fine
with the videotaping going on.

Well, right up until the end when the cop starts telling people that videotaping inside the memorial is prohibited, despite the fact that literally millions of people videotape there every year and it’s clearly perfectly legal to do so.

Anonymoussays:

Re: I'm not overly sympathetic

I do not believe that you have to allow all sorts of stupid speech in order to protect valuable speech.

So the first amendment should only apply to speech you approve of, huh? Typical (for you).

I would also note that the cops all seemed to do just fine with the videotaping going on.

Wow. The cop jostling the cameraman and telling him to go away was very evident in the video. Even after being told that the cameraman was a member of the press, the cop’s response was “doesn’t matter”. Looks like you got caught not telling the truth (again), doesn’t it? What, you thought no one would call you out on it? Think again.

Hugh Mannsays:

Re: Re: I'm not overly sympathetic

Not sure what you mean about getting “caught not telling the truth (again)”. Wasn’t aware I had lied once (let alone caught at it), much less multiple times.

I saw the cops clearing out the entire memorial at the end, but don’t recall the exchange with someone who claimed to be with the press. I don’t deny it. I just don’t remember it. I didn’t have the sound on too loud. In any case, I was focusing primarily on the first cop, who had multiple camers trained on him and he was very calm and did not engage with them.

HM

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: I'm not overly sympathetic

Not sure what you mean about getting “caught not telling the truth (again)”. Wasn’t aware I had lied once (let alone caught at it), much less multiple times.

The power of cognitive dissonance at work, huh?

In any case, I was focusing primarily on the first cop, who had multiple camers trained on him and he was very calm and did not engage with them.

Initially. Later he was not so calm and tried to stop the cameras. You kind of left that part out (again).

Hugh Mannsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: I'm not overly sympathetic

Yeah, I guess several minutes of very calmly putting up with the cameras counts for nothing when the decision is ultimately made to direct everyone to leave – whether they have a camera or not.

Boy, you’ve sure got my number. I sure thought I was getting away with something pretty sly until you caught on to me. My, how observant and intelligent you are. I bow in submission to your obviously superior moral and intellectual prowess.

You should probably not bother to respond to my comments again, because I am clearly incapable of standing against you, and I know your highly-evolved mental and emotional abilities are wasted on the likes of me.

HM

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I'm not overly sympathetic

Yeah, I guess several minutes of very calmly putting up with the cameras counts for nothing…

Gee, you mean if I “put up with” something I don’t like for “several minutes”, it is then okay for me to assault whoever it is that is annoying me? Hey, I never knew that! /s

…when the decision is ultimately made to direct everyone to leave – whether they have a camera or not.

There you go again. That didn’t happen. They did not “direct everyone to leave”. You and the truth just don’t get along, do you?

Boy, you’ve sure got my number.

It’s not hard, you’re pretty blatant.

I sure thought I was getting away with something pretty sly until you caught on to me.

Are you really that dumb?

I bow in submission to your obviously superior moral and intellectual prowess.

And here I was, thinking that you only bowed to tyrants and their thugs. Well, I’m afraid that I must refuse your bows as they would put me in with company that I do not want to be in with.

You should probably not bother to respond to my comments again, because I am clearly incapable of standing against you, and I know your highly-evolved mental and emotional abilities are wasted on the likes of me.

I agree that my responses are likely wasted on the likes of you, but they aren’t really so much for your benefit as they are for the reading enjoyment of others.

Anonymous cowardsays:

For everyone siding with the govt., guess what? A massive dancing demonstration is being organized on the 4th. Can’t wait to see some park police attempt to restrain hundreds if not thousands of people.

Btw, this was organized by a veteran. If you didn’t or don’t have the balls to risk your life for your country you should probably fuck off.

vivaelamorsays:

Re:

“Btw, this was organized by a veteran. If you didn’t or don’t have the balls to risk your life for your country you should probably fuck off.”

It is perhaps fitting that in your rage you chose a wholly misogynistic metaphor for your statement. I’d more likely rate someone willing to risk their life for one stranger in another country than someone willing to risk their life for their own country. The disrespect you show for gender serves to emphasise your apparent lack of perspective. If you’re going to worship heroes then choose individuals, not careers.

The Mansays:

Annoying, attention grabing morons.

Those people deserved a lot more harsh treatment than what they got. Going into a Memorial to put on some stupid dance, just to get attention…that is all they wanted! Not world peace…not feed the poor…not put a roof over someone’s head. No they wanted to go and dance like the juvenile, ‘I need attention’ generation of losers that they are. Disrupting everyone else experience at the memorial.

Wish I was there, I would have gladly helped the police SLAM as many of those morons faces right down the stone steps.

Re: Annoying, attention grabing morons.

“just to get attention…that is all they wanted”

Wrong. They wanted to assert their right…your right…to do sensible, quiet activities in a public place. You know, the kind of rights that they/you were given in the constitution and its amendments.

They knew there would be consequences, probably arrest, possibly violent, and yet offered themselves so that they could protect our rights. Rights aren’t only protected by talk: civil disobedience and the resulting excessive laws/force often need to be demonstrated before they can be denigrated.

These ‘hipsters’ (and they may have been losers all their lives up to this point, as far as I care) are now heroes. American Patriots in the true tradition of the revolutionaries and founders. Standing up to The Man (your handle).

Lots of commenters on your side seem to argue the tautology that if the laws say the dancers are wrong, or the laws say they can’t assemble there, then they ARE wrong. Well, at what point, for you, do the laws limiting your freedom become excessive? ‘No dancing here’ is OK? How about ‘no dancing in public’? What about a curfew? What about ‘no gatherings over 5 people without a permit’? If we pass a Bylaw that says so, does that immediately make it right? For you, it seems yes. For some people, the laws/enforcement become excessive when they run against the Bill of Rights. For others, it’s when they conflict with common sense. Both thresholds have been crossed here.

The best reaction for the police in this situation? They should have said (to themselves) “Nothing to see here, move along.” If so, there would have been no disruption, no rights violations, and no problem.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Annoying, attention grabing morons.

Once again, the police were called to the memorial. You can even see, in the beginning of the video, one of the officers fiddling with his gloves like he’d just gotten off his bike.

If someone asks them to enforce the law, they can’t very well say “sorry, I disagree with it, so I’m not going to”. They are obligated by duty and law to perform their job.

Rekrulsays:

Re: Re: Re: Annoying, attention grabing morons.

If someone asks them to enforce the law, they can’t very well say “sorry, I disagree with it, so I’m not going to”. They are obligated by duty and law to perform their job.

If the law is wrong, they have a moral obligation not to enforce it. If a state passed a law that said anyone wearing a baseball cap in public was to be shot on sight, would the cops then be legally obligated to go around committing murder?

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Annoying, attention grabing morons.

Yes, they are legally obligated.

One would hope they are also morally obligated to quit their jobs on the spot, as well.

But as long as they are part of law enforcement, their morality has no part in it. Justice is blind.

If, at any point, an officer does quit their job over a situation like this, to make a stand, they will have my utmost support. However, police choose not to take a stand over dancing at a memorial? I won’t hold it against them.

Re: Re: Re: Annoying, attention grabing morons.

Glove removal, necessarily, implies recent arrival?

Recent arrival, necessarily, implies that someone actively called them?

Someone actively calling them, necessarily, implies that a law was broken and the police MUST act?

I read your comment with this argument elsewhere, got annoyed, but chose not to bother with someone with such a trifling grip on logic and causality.

Your use of deductive reasoning is simply to apply your observations to the pre-constructed narrative you hold. Smart people, in stark contrast, tend to consider other explanations for trivial details like glove removal, we see many other potential explanations, and since no conclusion can be drawn from glove removal, put that bit of trivia in the bank, should it be useful at a future juncture.

See here, Sherlock, people remove gloves because they are warm occasionally. Police arrive on bikes because they are riding bikes and happened by, sometimes, even without having been called. People call police to complain about things when no law has been broken, so the police don’t need to act just because they’ve been called.

The police are obligated to perform their job…but not your interpretation of it.

If I, now, call the police to go to your home to arrest you because you are “bullying me” on the Internet, do they have the obligation to arrest you? Or would they be allowed to look at the facts, and make a case-by-case decision on how they will act?

Re: Re: Annoying, attention grabing morons.

These ‘hipsters’ (and they may have been losers all their lives up to this point, as far as I care) are now heroes. American Patriots in the true tradition of the revolutionaries and founders. Standing up to The Man (your handle).

Excuse me?! As a son of an actual American Patriot who put his life on the line for 3 tours of Vietnam, and the grandson of a Colonel during WWII, and the great-grandson of a lieutenant colonel in WWI, and the great-great-great grandson of a colonel in the Civil War, and a great-x-grandson of a sergeant in the American Revolution, I find your statement incredibly insulting to the people who actually risked their lives for the freedoms of these precocious performance artists. It’s insulting to the patriots actually at war at this very moment.

Please. “Dancing” makes one a revolutionary? This is somehow a “revolution” now?

Dark Helmetsays:

Re: Re: Re: Annoying, attention grabing morons.

“Please. “Dancing” makes one a revolutionary? This is somehow a “revolution” now”

No, Bill, they’re patriots for standing up for the very rights apparently every member of your family spent time fighting for them to have. You should be proud of them for not squandering what apparently all of your family except you fought for….

Pitabredsays:

Re: Re: Re: Annoying, attention grabing morons.

If you risked your life for a country that will arrest people for dancing, what did you really risk your life for? The freedoms you so espouse are being systematically stripped from us. Just because they’re not facing death or bullets doesn’t make them less patriotic.

BTW, your buddies that are risking their lives this very moment? It’s not always for freedom. A lot of it’s driven by profit, even if they think it’s for freedom. When the military brass is saying we need to reduce the budget and limit engagements but the politicians say no, they’re fighting for profit, not for freedom.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Annoying, attention grabing morons.

“War is profit. USA invades other countries so they can STEAL natural resources. “USA government” (the Elite) is creating an empire.”

What fucking natural resources are there in Afghanistan? Vietnam? Somalia? Even if we turned Iraq into the world’s largest Exxon station, it would take forever to recoup the money wasted there from taxes on gasoline and oil.

Re: Re: Re: Annoying, attention grabing morons.

Hmmm, I’m tempted to respond with something around “Dance Dance Revolution”, but instead I’ll go with:

a) Yay for you. I, also, have a string of family members who fought, died, served as PoWs, etc. IF you trace most people’s linage, you are sure to find some who died at war. And it doesn’t make one whit of difference as to the quality of my arguments, nor yours.

b) Dancing does not make one revolutionary. Dancing in front of the authorities, who have said that you may not dance, does. Doing so to protest an abrogation of our constitutional rights – and ones so essential to a free society, makes them heroes. It is self-sacrifice for the defense of a free society. Must one be a soldier to do so? Please advise Rosa, MLK, the Chinese guy standing in front of the tank, Gand…oh, why the fuck even bother with a list. Hopefully, you get the point.

Your effort at trivializing these heroes is sad. You are mocking the frivolity of ‘dance’ in a deliberate effort to ignore their obvious intention: civil disobedience.

The fact that we owe a debt to those that risk mere beatings and jail for our rights does nothing to diminish the debt we owe to those that risk far more. Pity that you think so.

Hugh Mannsays:

Re: Re: Annoying, attention grabing morons.

We use the term “hero” WAY too much to basically describe someone who shares the same values we do.

Did these boneheads evey TRY getting a letter-writing campaign going to demonstrate that there are a LOT of voters who care about this – as opposed to a dozen or so wannabes who just can’t bear the fact that they were born too late for a 60s sit-in?

HM

Re: Re: Re: Annoying, attention grabing morons.

Hero = deliberately and willingly risk your well being or undergo loss or suffering, for the sake of others.

We’re not talking about sports heroes, “my mom is my hero”, my math teacher is my hero…cliches that sometimes may be true but probably aren’t.

We’re talking about civil disobedience in defense of First Amendment rights.

Instead of criticizing THEIR methods, if you think a letter-writing campaign is more effective, go for it. BTW, how do you know these dancers aren’t also doing that?

Anonymoussays:

You know, I’m honestly sick of people scapegoating the police for doing EXACTLY WHAT THEY’RE SUPPOSED TO DO. If this was an abuse of power, then fine, bitch about it. But this wasn’t. This was the law being acted out.

And before people start whining about “poor judgment” and how the “police should be ashamed”:

1) Justice is blind. Know what that means? It means that the law should be unbiased, consistent, and not subject to the personal whims of each individual enforcing it.

2) You do NOT have the right to dance or protest wherever you please, despite what some people are saying here. You walk into a courtroom and start break dancing, you will get shit for it. You try to do Yoga on the White House lawn, you’ll get tackled by the secret service.

3) Any sort of protest, event, or gathering is banned at the Jefferson Memorial. PERIOD. You don’t like the law, fine, then go through the processes of changing it (even if that involves appeals and constitutional challenges). But you do NOT, EVER, expect that a Police Officer will change it on a whim for you, because they simply CAN’T.

4) The dancers were NOT BODYSLAMMED FOR DANCING. PERIOD. They were ASKED to stop. No one put a gun to their head, no one waved a big stick in their face. They were ASKED. And they REFUSED a request from a police officer.

5) If you fail to comply with a police officer who is enforcing the law, they are obligated, by DUTY, to use measures that will enforce the law (see 1). If you do not voluntarily stop your illegal actions, the police can, will, and must use physical force to stop you. If you try to PHYSICALLY resist, then they can, will, and must use further force.

I mean, what the hell do you people want the police to do? The fact that they were there in the first place means someone wanted the dancing stopped. Are they supposed to arbitrarily say “Sorry, we’re not enforcing the law anymore”? Are they supposed to say “sorry, these people said no, so we can’t do anything about it”?

Once again, the fact that the police CANNOT arbitrarily decide which laws to enforce is FUNDAMENTAL to an unbiased legal system.

Anonymous Postersays:

Re:

“If you fail to comply with a police officer who is enforcing the law, they are obligated, by DUTY, to use measures that will enforce the law”

There are far better measures that could have been used other than bodyslamming people to the ground. They could have simply handcuffed people and walked them away from the scene, they could have coralled them into a specific area until backup arrived to help detain them in a non-violent manner…there were several non-violent options available to them, and they chose not to use them.

The police are servants of the public, not of some higher power that cannot be touched or questioned. As a member of the public that the police are supposed to serve and protect, I don’t find that they either served or protected my rights and the rights of those they bodyslammed.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re:



THEY TRIED TO HANDCUFF THEM AND WALK THEM AWAY.

Seriously, can’t you even just watch the video? It’s only 11 freaking minutes.

1) They asked them to stop.
2) They tried to walk them away (with minor force).
3) They handcuffed them when the continued.
4) They tried to handcuff the another guy who was dancing, and then ONE OF THE GROUP MEMBERS TRIED TO PULL THE GUY AWAY.

The police didn’t start the violent action, it was the guy in the brown shirt that tried to yank his pal away from the police.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The police didn’t slam him, the guy in the brown shirt dragged him down. The officer was holding his arm, and got dragged down too…you can’t exactly body slam someone just by grabbing their left shoulder.

Unless you’re talking about someone else?

And I don’t see the kick…do you have a time?

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

Look again. The cop yanks him and pushes him down. Ok, the guy in the brown shirt didn’t get kicked, but he did get punched in the face and the shoved away just before two cops jumped on his ass (even though he wasn’t trying to flee or anything).

The guy in the white “disobey” shirt just after that was resisting arrest. Nothing violent or worth the choke hold, but still resisting.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

Look again, and watch brown shirt’s legs. Brown shirt yanks him one way, the officer pulls him the other, and then brown shirt starts clinging to white shirt, and even does a leg-lock of sorts. The officer WAS pushing his back, but not with huge force, the “take down” was brown shirts fault.

As for the punch, I don’t want to get into semantics, but the officer had his palm facing forward. It was to the face, but the intent was to push him away, especially since he followed it up with the exact same move to the shoulder.

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

The cop was already pushing him down before the leg lock even happened. Plus, why did he yank the first guy back in the first place? The cop had backup (as pointed out earlier), they should have prioritized the one that was actually resisting. The one cooperating shouldn’t have been assaulted like that. The guy in the brown shirt also didn’t deserve the dog pile.

I can shatter your nose with my palm. Just because the palm was out, doesn’t mean it wasn’t a punch.

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

Now that I think about it, arguing about semantics is pointless. Let’s look at the real problem. It’s not illegal to dance, it’s protected by the first amendment in two ways (in this case). Dancing is a form of expression by itself, and this was a protest and protests are protected by themselves. If anything, this was an illegal act on the police side and resisting could be construed as self defense.

It won’t, these people will be convicted of resisting arrest and disorderly conduct (and whatever else can be slapped on them).

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/crime-scene/del-quentin-wilber/no-dancing-at-jefferson-memori.html

It is illegal, and it was upheld by the appeals court. Like I said, if you don’t like the law, there are processes for it (which the protesters WERE doing, except they screwed up and made the issue more about “police brutality”).

However, blaming the police for this incident is completely asinine.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

You can’t prioritize one person without releasing the other. And I said, yes, he was pushing, but not nearly with enough force to knock someone down. Only to force them to their knees, at best, and that’s assuming the person was being compliant (which they were). He wouldn’t have hit the ground if it hadn’t been Brown shirt grabbing him and tripping him up.

As for a “dog pile”, hardly. One officer put his knee on his neck/head, the other put weight on the lower back. When someone has shown physical violence of some sort, two people is basically the minimum to safely keep them subdued, while handcuffing them.

And the yank and the shove, the yank is trained reaction. If someone you’re holding is running away, you hold them back and try get them down. Yes, it wasn’t White shirts fault he was being pulled away, but the officer felt and reacted to it like he was trying to escape. Not the best response, but not exactly “police brutality”. Brown shirt made a stupid move, and it caused a response.

Ditto to the shove. Once again, probably not the best action (or at least, not the best target for the action), but not exactly police brutality either. When you’re actively clinging to someone being arrested, being pushed away is a standard response.

Jaysays:

Re:

1) Justice is supposed to be blind. But it’s being tinted towards an authoritarian state to justify almost anything.

2) How about freedom of expression?

3) This goes against everything that Jefferson stood for. And unless it’s put up to the judicial system and even the executive, talked about and discussed, it can never change.

4) Watch the video, watch the guy get bodyslammed, and another hit on the head for nothing.

5) If the force is illegal in the first place, then I can use self defense if need be or protest them. And nothing stops them from expressing my views on their abhorrent behavior.

“Are they supposed to arbitrarily say “Sorry, we’re not enforcing the law anymore”? Are they supposed to say “sorry, these people said no, so we can’t do anything about it”?”

Better options would have been to use dialogue to ask them to move it down somewhere else, see if the law needs enforcement, or not hitting people for civil disobedience.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re:

1) Then the problem is at the top. The police cannot, and SHOULD not, have the power to write or unwrite any laws that they so choose.

2) Doesn’t change the fact that you can’t do whatever you want wherever you want. Freedom of Expression still has its limits.

3) Not according to this: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/crime-scene/del-quentin-wilber/no-dancing-at-jefferson-memori.html. And once again, the blame isn’t being placed on the law, everyone is just bitching about the police.

4) The guy was bodyslammed because he refused to put his hands behind his back (look at his arms), and he was walking away from the officer, forcing the police to follow him. He was taken to the ground because he was moving away. And could you give me the time for the hit on the head?

5) The force wasn’t illegal, though. It was in direct response to the actions being taken by the protesters.

Jaysays:

Re: Re: Re:

1) And why is that? Look at the Wisconsin situation, and how the police sided with the unions. That was illegal as well. Are you saying that they have to uphold the law irregardless of the consequences? Shouldn’t we WANT officers that think “this is a bad law?”

2) There’s not such a limit in the Constitution. You live by the consequences of your actions, but the government is not supposed to limit your expression (as CT explained above)

3) The cops chose to adhere the law, no matter the frivolous nature of it. But let’s see what happens as they have to enforce it next time

4) The cops never explained what they were to be charged with in the first place. Merely that they were being arrested. That’s not necessarily a legal arrest.. Look around 2:40s for the hit on the head.

5) We’ve had one cop pull a gun because he saw an innocent man open carry. Do we really need cops that only follow the law blindly? Better question, couldn’t this have been handled much better than with violence?

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

1) Off-duty cops; makes all the difference. And no, you don’t want that. If you think their judgment would only apply in ways you agree with, well then…

2) So you’re saying I can stage a 50-man sit-in on your back patio?

3) Once again, it’s not their choice. It’s their job.

4) Already explained this. The guy tried to stop someone being handcuffed by physically removing him from an officers hold, he then laid on top of the guy to prevent him from being cuffed…at that point, physical removal was necessary, so the cop shoved him away. I fail to see how that’s remotely “getting hit for nothing”. And they were being arrested for a failure to comply with law enforcement (who WERE enforcing a law), and then for resisting arrest.

5) And I’m almost sure that pulling the gun in that circumstance was NOT procedure…or necessarily legal. And no, there wasn’t a better solution, not when the protesters used physical resistance. They were refusing to be arrested, they weren’t physically complying, and one of them even tried to physical stop an arrest. Notice how the belligerent one wasn’t smacked around? That’s because physical force to shut someone up isn’t allowed.

Anonymoussays:

Re: That's what the guards at the Auschwitz said ...

Did you just pull out Godwin’s Law? How much more hyperbole can you get?

Honestly, stop pulling out the “corrupt pig” mentality, and actually take a critical eye to the video, and TRY to tell me where the police abused their power or authority.

Sure the law may be wrong, but in any situation where the dancers DIDN’T want to make a political statement, this would have ended with “You can’t dance here” and “Oh, sorry officers”.

Dark Helmetsays:

Re: Re: That's what the guards at the Auschwitz said ...

“Sure the law may be wrong, but in any situation where the dancers DIDN’T want to make a political statement, this would have ended with “You can’t dance here” and “Oh, sorry officers”.”

The original issue in 2008 proves you 100% wrong….

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: That's what the guards at the Auschwitz said ...

You’ll have to link me to the story, then, because the wikipedia article suggests otherwise:

“She was charged with demonstrating without a permit (charge later dropped) and interfering with park police.”

Of course, that doesn’t say much either, but it does make you “100% wrong”.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: That's what the guards at the Auschwitz said ...

Says the guy who didn’t even bother to critically analyze a story before turning police officers into blatant scapegoats?

Until you actually give me a story link, I have no damn clue what actually happened during the arrest. You seem to be under the assumption that it occurred like:

“You can’t dance here.”
“What?”
“YOU’RE UNDER ARREST, GET ON THE GROUND!!!”

But you know what they say about assumptions.

Rekrulsays:

Re: Re: That's what the guards at the Auschwitz said ...

Honestly, stop pulling out the “corrupt pig” mentality, and actually take a critical eye to the video, and TRY to tell me where the police abused their power or authority.

Other than the guy in the brown shirt who tries to pull the other guy away from the cop, I didn’t see anyone doing anything that would justify any level of force from the cops. Once that one idiot tried to pull the guy away, it was like the cops decided everyone needed to be taught a lesson regardless of if they were resisting or not.

Not to mention that this demonstration was in response to a woman being arrested for simply dancing at the memorial. She wasn’t protesting or demonstrating, she was dancing and some idiot judge decided to make up an excuse to charge her with an imaginary crime.

The laws governing protests and demonstrations are meant to ensure that they don’t cause undue disruption to the public, businesses and the government. These people weren’t bothering anyone. The main cop couldn’t even tell them what law they were breaking.

Unless I’m mistaken, isn’t being told exactly what law you’re breaking one of the fundamental rights people have when being arrested? And no, I don’t accept “not following a cop’s orders” as a valid reason to be arrested.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: That's what the guards at the Auschwitz said ...

Looking it over again, it seems that they were, in fact, arrested for dancing. They received that warning when the police first arrived.

However, you don’t have to be told the law before you’re arrested. While it wasn’t in the video, there was plenty of time while they were handcuffed (and while everyone else was sent out) for them to be told their rights and such.

Like I said several times before, you may not like the law, but the blame does not fall on the Police when they are asked to enforce it.

aldestrawksays:

Re:

My guess is the park police will just close the memorial like they did at the end of the video. It will be curious to see how they handle an, un-permitted protest in front of it. They could bring in the riot police and not let anyone near it or they could let it happen and hope interest in later mass protests dies down.

Anonymoussays:

This whole thing was a set up to test a court ruling. The good news for that bunch of sissified freedom fighters is that they got put in the DC City Jail and probably got to show off their dancing skills for a bunch of guys awaiting trial for murder, rape armed robbery, assault etc. I’d guess a couple even got to perform a little striptease for Bobo that night. Hope it was worth it kids!!

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re:

@teka: Grow up. The utopia you seek doesn’t exist. The world is the way it is. And stop the “odd way of walking” bullshit. Those people were there to pick a fight over an adverse ruling they were unhappy about. They provoked the cops and got what they deserved. These aren’t innocent victims, they’re professional provocateurs. They know the risks walking in the door. And hopefully they’re aware of the considerable danger they face being jailed over a weekend in DC. That jail has a reputation for violence and sexual assault. That bunch of candy asses will not fare well in there, but I presume they have considered it before they decided to make their point. Just because you may have freedom of speech doesn’t compel you to use it unwisely and to your likely personal detriment.

Re: Re: Re:

The world is the way it is. And stop the “odd way of walking” bullshit. Those people were there to pick a fight over an adverse ruling they were unhappy about. They provoked the cops and got what they deserved.

Buck, why does it not surprise me that you are so anti-First Amendment?

Protesting the government means they “got what they deserved”? How do you call yourself an American?

And hopefully they’re aware of the considerable danger they face being jailed over a weekend in DC. That jail has a reputation for violence and sexual assault. That bunch of candy asses will not fare well in there, but I presume they have considered it before they decided to make their point.

So now your condoning forced rape? Just the other day because one commenter on our site made sick comments you insisted it reflected all of our positions here. Yet here YOU are, condoning violent rape.

Shall I point out to the people in “policy circles” that apparently everyone who supports things like PROTECT IP is pro-rape? After all, that’s your logic.

Anonymous cowardsays:

You’re wrong, he stopped dancing, he was just standing there and got body slammed.

Violence isn’t the answer to not complying with a request especially if there was no violent intention there to begin with.

You’re giving too much credit to the pigs. What was the purpose of the choke move exactly?

This isn’t a police state you dumb fuck

Anonymoussays:

Re:

The protesters got violent first. No clue what video you’re watching.

The guy in the brown shirt grabbed his pal that was getting handcuffed, and tried to yank him away from police custody. HE was the one that brought the first guy to the ground.

This group was full of idiots who escalated the situation. Period.

Use your headsays:

Re:

haha you misunderstood. I’m not saying it’s “cool” to celebrate an execution, nor am I saying it isn’t to protest a court ruling. I’m saying that I assume the police involved and many posters here would feel that way. You are not wise to insult those with whom you argue, you may find that you misunderstood, but have already burned the bridge of reconciliation.

Anonymoussays:

You know, I was going to write a long and complicated post detailing my reasoning for my position on this issue, and then I remembered two words. Fred. Phelps.

If the courts are going to side with him protesting military funerals and harassing mourning family members with vitriolic and hateful speech on first amendment grounds, then they MUST also side with a bunch of quiet and peaceful protesters dancing in a memorial to celebrate a founder father’s birthday, right?

… RIGHT?

To do anything would be phenomenally hypocritical and make a complete joke out of our entire justice system.

Rabbit80says:

Re:

I keep seeing the arguement that one guy was trying to grab the other away from the police.

I really don’t see how that can be considered a violent action against the police. A violent action would have been to attack the officer to enable the other guy to get away. That would have warranted the police using force TO RESTRAIN THE GUY THAT ATTACKED THE OFFICER!

The incident as it actually happened did not warrant the force used.

The guy that got bodyslammed whilst walking away from the officer – that officer should have called for assistance rather than doing the bodyslam.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re:

How does it not warrant it? He refused arrested, and physically tried to stop it. Force was used to remove him from the guy being arrested, and then force was used to keep him still and handcuff him so HE could be arrested.

As for the bodyslammed guy, no matter if its one or two guys, he still would have been physically brought to the ground for not remaining still…and I’m not sure how the timeline actually syncs up, but it seemed to have happened right when Brown shirt was being cuffed.

(And on an ironic side, when two guys subdued Brown Shirt, it was called a “dog pile”)

HothMonstersays:

While I sympathize with the protesters, see this and the original arrests as being ridiculous I don’t see the big deal about the body slam.

He was resisting arrest. He was asked to stop – he didn’t. He was asked to leave – he didn’t. So the cop said he was under arrest and he should put his hands behind his back – he held them in front of him. Now that is passive resistance but it is still resisting arrest. The cop was left with no other options, that guy is obviously bigger and stronger than he is. There was no way for that cop to get his hands behind his back with him on his feet, so he put him down.

This is what he is trained to do, this is what he is suppose to do. A cop should not just give up when he has started arresting someone and that person refuses to comply. Once you fail to comply the officer will make you comply. Adam knew what he was doing and knew what was coming. Talk to any experience protester and they will tell you to resist you should go limp and fall to the ground. Why will they tell you that, because if you don’t you are gonna get put on the ground.

From reading the comments I was expecting someone to get charged and tackled or just randomly grabbed and tossed to the ground, like this guy: http://gothamist.com/2008/07/28/cop_caught_on_video_assaulting_cycl.php . But really we can argue about the law, and the stupidity of the whole situation. But that cop did what he was suppose to and acted well within his authority.

cradesays:

Re:

Yeah, that guy was an ass. He also tried to get the other guy who was not resisting arrest hurt by yanking on his arm while the policeman was trying to arrest him. The fact that it’s against the law to dance in a public place and they actually enforce I think is more troubling than the actual “bodyslam”.

HothMonstersays:

Re: Re:

He is a professional protester, not that there is anything wrong with that, Adam Kokesh. The guy who got slammed is not the same idiot who tried to lock arms too late and lays all over that other guy when they are cuffing him, but yes that guy was a jackass.

But yes the situation and the law are ridiculous. I’m am just addressing the screams of police brutality.

Just found this, its interesting http://www.policechiefmagazine.org/magazine/index.cfm?fuseaction=display_arch&article_id=563&issue_id=42005

Anonymous cowardsays:

If a citizen is nonviolently ignoring a pigs ridiculous request then the pig should move on! It doesn’t give them the right to use force.

Pigs aren’t supposed to chase high speed cars either (for speeding and traffic violations) the same should apply here. The veteran was just standing there with his arms out to clearly show he was no threat

Anonymoussays:

Re:

he was holding his hands out to be a pain in the ass. He was passively resisting. He was walking away and resisting the cops attempts to bring his hands behind him. Passive resistance brings about the use of force to make you comply. That guy was too big for the cop to grab his arm and bring it behind his back, since they can’t bend you wrist anymore. I didn’t notice a nightstick but if he had one there are a few moves he could have tried but really I stand by my opinion that the slam was an appropriate level of force.

The chokehold after was probably a out of line but not the slam.

vivaelamorsays:

Re: Re: Re:

“A choke hold is a fairly legitimate move to ensure physical compliance”

If you’re talking about air chokes then I was under the impression that they were a big fat no-no for American police (as they should be). For dealing with passive aggressive protesters I would cringe at any type of choke being employed.

Prisoner 201says:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

From a martial artist’s perspective, that choke hold had to be a psychological “establish dominance” type of thing. It is a move that occupies both your hands (i.e. no guard) and leaves the other guy both hands free at punch distance. Not a move you make if you are expecting a real fight.

Kevin Clarksays:

dancing at the Jefferson Memorial

Human rights and arguments about freedom are always the most difficult at that point where two rights conflict. The right to quiet enjoyment of a public monument versus the right to make a political statement. Its tough. I see little discussion in the comments about anyone’s rights other than the protestors. (Are protestors inevitably self-absorbed and self-important? Doesn’t seem likely, but these folks obviously were).

Why was the memorial chosen? Why not protest at some place where no one would object? Perhaps precisely because no one would object. No one would really care.

It seems likely that the protestors chose the monument because it would ruin the experience of the rest of the public. It seems that they chose to subvert everyone else’s rights to their own.

I see no nobility in that. But, I’ll keep reading to see if some of you can add to (or change) my thought.

HothMonstersays:

Re: dancing at the Jefferson Memorial

The memorial was chosen because this was a protest of the people who were arrested there in 08. The protest happened now because they just lost their court case appeal. So the venue was fitting.

The people who originally got arrested were just trying to have a little fun and have a little silent dance party for TJ’s birthday, it was not intended to be a protest.

Anonymous Postersays:

Re: dancing at the Jefferson Memorial

The whole point of civil disobedience and protest is to bring attention to an issue or grievance, and the best way to get that attention is to draw it to the issue in a memorable fashion.

Disrupting the normal “flow” of things is often the best way of drawing attention to something.

Which would draw more attention: a group of people dancing in a public park, or a group of people dancing at a memorial of one of America’s most historical figures?

Disruption is just that: disruptive. It often takes disruption to get people to snap out of their normal ways of thinking and ponder new issues and ideas.

This is why these people chose that place and that action: it was noticeable, it was outside of the norm, and it was bound to disrupt a “normal” experience for people visiting the memorial.

Protests work the best when they are disruptive. When they are merely background noise that can easily be ignored, they fail in their purpose.

Anonymoussays:

Re: dancing at the Jefferson Memorial

You see, the problem with this argument is that the courts have already set such a clear precedent for this kind of behavior that there should be no question about this “conflict of rights” you mention. The freakin’ Supreme Court has already decided that Fred Phelp’s right to “make a political statement” trumps a grieving family’s right to have a peaceful funeral.

Unless you are willing to argue that these protesters were so much more obscene and disruptive than Fred Phelp’s many vile protests that their protest would not be protected by the first amendment while his would, then you have no argument at all.

Seriously, the First Amendment is kind of a big deal here in America.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: dancing at the Jefferson Memorial

Except the Jefferson Memoral isn’t public property either:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jefferson_Memorial#Dancing_controversy

“In May 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia rejected Oberwetter’s claims, confirming a lower court’s finding that “the Jefferson Memorial is a nonpublic forum reserved for the tranquil commemoration of [President] Jefferson’s legacy”

vivaelamorsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: dancing at the Jefferson Memorial

“but I am simply establishing the facts that are in place.”

I believe the point you missed was that non-public forum is a distinctly different phrase from private property. I don’t know if funeral grounds are really private property, but if they are then that is wholly different from being a non-public forum.

Jenisays:

Re: Re: dancing at the Jefferson Memorial

I don’t know how anyone can compare a funeral to this instance.

Funerals are deeply personal and painful to the mourners. They should not have to deal with fringe kook protesters in their time of loss and grief. That’s cruel and inhumane, IMHO.

This is a stone memorial, there are no mourners and it’s not a funeral. Quite a different scenario.

naschsays:

Re: Re: Re: dancing at the Jefferson Memorial

He wasn’t comparing a funeral to the Jefferson Memorial, you misunderstood the entire comment. He’s saying that if hateful bigoted noisy speech at a military funeral is protected, why not peaceful respectful silent protest at a public memorial?

(the court saying the memorial isn’t a public place doesn’t make it so)

Jenisays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: dancing at the Jefferson Memorial

I see what you’re saying, nasch. I should have been a bit more clear – I’ve been seeing repeated comparisons to that Baptist church group and just don’t see how there can be any comparisons. Perhaps I did misunderstand. If so I apologize.

But I agree with the point – if it IS okay, as the Supreme Court says, for those fringe kooks to disrupt such a somber occasion, certainly a little quiet dancing in a public place is harmless.

Re: dancing at the Jefferson Memorial

While I agree with you that there is a clash between the

“…right to quiet enjoyment of a public monument versus the right to make a political statement.”

…I will say that one of those rights is a hell of a lot more important than the other, with respect to maintaining a democracy. I mean, orders of magnitude more important.

If forced to choose between the two, I would choose the right to make a political statement. That seems to be much, much higher in the hierarchy of rights. Which is probably why the FIRST Amendment, the first section in the Bill of Rights, directly assures both the right to free speech and the right to assemble.

…I’m not sure why the “right to quiet enjoyment of a public monument” never was enshrined in our Constitution, but it is safe to venture a guess that it is of lesser importance.

If you see no nobility in people spending their time and risking their fate to assure your and my rights as guaranteed by this Republic’s constitution, you are blind to heroism.