NYPD must be held accountable
The “Occupy Wall Street” movement is into its 10th day and we have, perhaps unsurprisingly, seen a number of videos depicting police brutality and misconduct. The protests, which include several hundred people, have occupied Zuccotti Park near Wall Street since Sep. 17, and a 1,000 more joined this past Saturday. The cause behind the protests is the ever-expanding gap between rich and poor in the United States, and the government’s inability to do anything about it. Why then are police officers, claimed protectors of the people and the peace, seen using mace on peaceful protesters? Walking down the streets of New York City, one sees demonstrators on every corner, why then are the police targeting these demonstrations?
Police officers who participated in brutality against the “Occupy Wall Street” movement should be prosecuted. They are not exempt from staying within the law, and even less so when the cameras are rolling. Twitter exploded with updates about a friend or a friend-of-a-friend getting maced. And YouTube takes it even further with videos of the violence. In one of the videos, a girl is seen walking on the sidewalk as part of the protest when an officer sprayed her with mace. Another shows a man walking along with the demonstration when police decided to apprehend him, even though, as seen on video, he did nothing wrong. The protesters were not doing anything illegal. The police officers are facing an overwhelming number of accounts of brutality, and something must be done.
The truth behind the protests is purely economical. For the first time in a long while, students in particular are standing up against their oppressors. For the first time, knowledge of the financial situation and the youth’s future sparked outrage. According to The Washington Post, the average college graduate carries more than $27,000 in debt at graduation, and more than 85 percent of the Class of 2011 moved back home. It is the protesters’ right and, to themselves, duty to be outraged. What has occurred so far has been peaceful and largely calm. This non-threatening method of protesting warrants protection from authorities rather than bullying. Perhaps as long as the slow recovery — which is sometimes questionable as well — persists, demonstrations will go on, too. But the answer to a peaceful protest should not be brutality, especially on part of police officers.