Fork in the River NEW method or OLD?
A critical choice regarding methods of law enforcement is now playing out in Wisconsin and across the country. Will we throw out the “new”, in favor of the “old”? We know the outcome of
both methods from a look at the past.
The First Amendment states:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The right to protest is a given in the Bill of Rights. Peaceful protests and demonstrations have and will always be a part of democracy. It is through law enforcement where the rubber meets the road, or the club meets the head. Through a long history of protest in this country, we have witnessed different methods of dealing with protest.
The most enlightening and positive lessons that resulted from the Wisconsin Protest last Spring, had little to do with the action itself. Chief Tubbs, as head of the Capitol Police, made a real gamble and demonstrated the new methods of handling one of the most massive demonstrations in the State’s history.
Under great pressure from old-way, conservatives he put his reputation on the line to try something new. The fist thing he did:
1) Set up a line of communication with the protest leaders.
He was out there every day talking and communicating what law enforcement needed to maintain order and safety, while protesters listened, negotiated, and compromised for a solution for both sides.
2) Law Enforcement did not vilify the people and the people did not vilify law enforcement.
Protest leaders where adamant in their instructions not to blame the police or call them names.They pointed out, on hundreds of occasions, they are just doing their jobs.
It worked. The protest of occupation of the Wisconsin Capitol, that spanned months, resulted in few arrests. No one incident of beating, gassing, kettling, took place. Ironically, because the protest lacked the typical confrontational violence of past protests, the success of Chief Tubbs risk was hardly noticed – but we can learn from it. Both sides were lifted to a place above and beyond their call. Chief Tubbs was under intense pressure to employ the “old” way, and we can only thank him for his great contribution to peace and civility.
Conservatives did not like it, and you can believe they were applying pressure on Chief Tubbs methods, then and now. Like GOP Rep. Whitewater (picture foreground left) Steve Nass
Tubs is to blame
The OLD METHOD
The “old method” of handling the people’s exercise of 1st Amendment rights, is as familiar as it is ineffective. We have seen the “old method” decade after decade always with the same result. Death, injury, tear gas, beating and brutality. Before Tubbs, it may have appeared the only way to protect and serve. It begins subtly, often in the dark of night. It is not an action but an attitude, as demonstrated in a recent video captured at the Occupy Wall Street action. It demonstrates the tired, subtle, old attitude of some law enforcement officers when approaching a peaceful demonstration.
“My little night stick is gonna get a work out tonight”
The “Old Method” has failed for decades in hundreds of instances, resulting in the injury and death of hundreds of people.
1) No communication with city officials and protest leaders.
The people and the officials do not communicate. The hollow between an attitude of fear and an attitude of freedom is filled with an unknown, most always played out in aggression, violence, injury and death. Mayors, City Officials communicate to law enforcement that the people have no right to assemble. They are a threat to their political future.
This needless atrocity has been played out in the streets of the world, time after time, always with the same tragic and predictable result as demonstrated most recently on the streets of Oakland, California.
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His name is Scott Olsen. He is a veteran of two tours in Iraq, only to be brought down by the Oakland Police. His family live in Onalaska, Wisconsin. All so unnecessary. A direct victim of the old attitude turned into unleashed violence as is inevitable. We know this from every past instance of handling protest with the “Old methods”.
It all begins so subtly as right here in Wisconsin – Arrest Everyone
It begins with the belief in the old method, that police should be empowered as they see fit to squash the people’s 1st Amendment right. Case in point, the bill moved out of committee in the Wisconsin Assemply:
AB237, which would give arrest powers to law enforcement officials over anyone “violating a law that constitutes a civil forfeiture if the law enforcement officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the person is violating or has violated the law.
The bill was introduced to give the Wisconsin State Patrol reassurance that they are empowered to arrest person’s who are exercising their rights provided by Wisconsin statutes to film, and photograph the assembly proceedings from the public gallery. Thus far, the action of the State Patrol demonstated below is not really legal.
Notice the “my little night stick” expressions on the faces of the Wisconsin State Patrol in the short video.
An example of the “old method” occurring daily in the public gallery of the assembly house in Wisconsin. The action is so questionable the State Patrol needs reassurance for its action in the form of Bill AB237.
One of the bill’s cosponsors, Sen. Van Wanggaard (R-Racine), did not respond to requests for comment by initial publication of the article regarding the bill.
He expresses the “old method” of handling protest so well in his own campaign add.
Authored by Reps. Joel Kleefisch R-Oconomowoc), Chris Danou (D-Trempealeau), Joe Knilans (R-Janesville)
If you agree with the subtle “my little night stick” message of Sen. Van Wanggaard and his fellow law makers, you are in favor of the “old method” of violence in face of the 1st Amendment. You are dooming another generation of citizens their right to petition their government and willing to risk the blood on your hands that will inevitably follow, when they might be veterans, your cousins, your family, your daughter or son.
I am with the “new method”. I am with Chief Tubbs.
Under note from google
Observations on Content Removal Requests
* We received a request from a local law enforcement agency to remove YouTube videos of police brutality, which we did not remove. Separately, we received requests from a different local law enforcement agency for removal of videos allegedly defaming law enforcement officials. We did not comply with those requests, which we have categorized in this Report as defamation requests.
“Evil and corruption thrive best in the dark” – Robert La Follette