ALEC, Phoenix Cops, and Video of Demonstrators at the Westin Kierland

The Stones' "Street Fighting Man" comes to mind...

Intriguing video by activist/videographer Dennis Gilman of the fray at the ALEC conference between demonstrators and Phoenix police. While it's hardly the siege of the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, some of the tactics of the police are certainly questionable.

The scene where the cops are pushing a piece of fencing onto nonviolent protesters, and in the case of one cop, kicking a protester, seems bizarre, counterproductive and unnecessary. 

The cops should be trained to deal with nonviolent demonstrators, and I do not imagine that kicking a sitting demonstrator would be part of such training.

Also, police in general are a little too liberal with the use of pepper spray. Gone (mostly) are the days when the cops would rush a crowd with clubs and bust some heads. A canister of pepper spray is the new cop baton.

I wouldn't want to deny the constabulary the option of using pepper spray, but it is a nasty chemical agent, one that affects the passive and the violent alike. It should be deployed only when necessary.

I wasn't present for this melee, so I'm not judging its use here. At the time, I was reporting inside the Westin Kierland, where the ALEC convention was underway. That afternoon, I walked out to observe the battle lines. It was mostly calm then.

The thing I didn't understand then, and don't understand now, is why, when the police said they were calling it a day around 5 p.m., the demonstrators decamped and said they would be back at 8 a.m. the next day.

As the cops withdrew, I remember looking at one kid, nodding to the Kierland, and joking, "There's the Winter Palace, ready to be stormed." He just laughed. 

But if the point, as the demonstrators maintained, was to shut down ALEC, rather than to just mix it up with the po-po, here was one more occasion where they missed their chance. Though, many of the redeemed themselves with the occupation of SRP, later that same week.


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11 comments
Chem Trail Karen
Chem Trail Karen

This is what is wrong with America. Sheriff Joe gets shit from the liberal Obama administration for doing his job and these terrorists are allowed to disrespect our police. The majority of good christian people wont stand for this. 

desertgirl
desertgirl

The police in Phoenix are a bunch of punks. They seem to always be on a macho power trip. Shame on this town for allowing this. You allow a police state and you are next.

Right2fightCA
Right2fightCA

Stephen,

Here you are bloging away about some low-lifes holding banners saying "END CAPITALISM" while I am stuck looking at ads on the right of the screen. I doubt the Voice Media Group gives this up for free. Wait, they are an evil corporation.  The sight of those chanting "FUCK ALEC" while kids are walking on the sidewalks and being pushed in strollers sounds like it represented them well. I could support them fighting against the power hungry corrupt politicians,then I see that the leader of the anti-alec movement, Lisa Graves, is so well funded by corrupt labor leaders and NEA school book publishers.

If I had been in that hotel with my kids on vacation that I saved and worked (yes work and many there had no desire for that) hard for and the protestors came rushing in I would have grabbed the cops pepper spray myself to nail them with.     

Good blog Stephen, you just didn't do your homework before posting.  

Chem Trail Karen
Chem Trail Karen

The protesters are terrorists and should be locked up. These police offifers did nothing wrong. Pepper spray is just a food product anyways and it never hurt no one. ILLEGAL IS ILLEGAL. STOP BREAKING THE LAW! 

Bernankeye
Bernankeye

I was there. It was nothing but meth heads panhandling for money for Obama reelection. Everyone asking for spare change. Things got heated when some visitors from Iowa refuse to give their change for Obama.

Henrietta Russel
Henrietta Russel

The violence is both petty and gratuitous, there was no need to hit a passively sitting demonstrator on the head with the gate. It was quite deliberate and was done by the same officer who deliberately trod on her knee and then kicked her several times. I guess he likes picking on girls.

Wasillawitch
Wasillawitch

Thanks for posting this video Stephen.   A picture (video) speaks a thousand words.

This Occupy thing is all a mixed bag for me.

I agree that people have the right to protest.  I don't agree that protesters have the right to disrupt businesses or public services.  But then, without that, does anyone pay attention?  That's the rub.

We have groups (like ALEC for example) and businesses (like Goldman Sachs) that are manipulating both our markets and our government.   Our capitolism and democracy are being undermined.  Until the pendulum swings back the other way and a more moderate balance is struck, there's going to be civil unrest.

Unfortunately, Occupy wasn't well thought out and organized.  Messages and goals have been overtaken by ?well what do they want, who/what are they?

If there's ever going to be any real change effected, the "protest movement" had better get it's act together, or someone else needs to step up to the plate.

desertgirl
desertgirl

what you think protesters don't work? You are either very young or very foolish. Righttofight is your sign in? I think that says it all

Bernankeye
Bernankeye

I was there. I was the one screaming "kick her in the ovaries!!!"

fratdawgg23
fratdawgg23

You are on the Crazy Train headed south of Sanity.

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