Greens urge President Obama to condemn police brutality against Occupy protesters

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Image by Getty Images"]alt="OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 25: An Occupy protestor..." width="150" height="100">

WASHINGTON, DC -- Green Party leaders called for strong national condemnation of the brutal actions of police forces in their treatment of Occupy Movement protesters in several cities.

"We encourage political leaders, beginning with President Obama, to express revulsion and anger at the violent and destructive behavior of police in their handling of nonviolent protesters, and to take whatever action they can to prevent such brutality. We urge all Americans to understand that police forces that use military tactics and are unaccountable for their actions represent a threat to our freedoms," said Howie Hawkins, co-chair of the Green Party of New York State.

Greens cited the use of pepper-spray, tear gas, batons, and other weapons, as well as violent manhandling, handcuffs locked tight enough to cause nerve damage, and other tactics that inflict severe pain and injury on peaceful protesters. Incidents like the use of pepper-spray on the faces of sitting protesters by police at the University of California, Davis constitute torture and deserve aggressive investigation and prosecution, said Green leaders.

Greens also called for a probe of the alleged role of the FBI and Homeland Security Department in the suppression of protest, which if may implicate the Obama Administration in the police brutality.

Greens have participated in Occupy demonstrations throughout the US, in many cases helping to organize protests and speaking at rallies.

"While protesters face shocking brutality in some cities, the Wall Street executives who committed crimes to enrich themselves and wrecked the US economy have gone unpunished. Peddling adjustable-rate subprime mortgages to borrowers unlikely to be able to pay, bundling these high-risk loans into toxic securities, assigning the securities top ratings -- these are acts of malfeasance and fraud. It's shameful that nonviolent protesters face billy clubs, pepper spray, tear gas, and jail, while the Wall Street perpetrators get to enjoy their bailouts and bonuses with impunity. President Obama has expressed sympathy for the Occupy Wall Street protesters, but his administration still acts like it's on the side of the criminal plutocrats," said Tamar Yager, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States.

Green candidates, including contenders for the Green presidential nomination, have been outspoken in their support for and participation in Occupy events. Presidential candidate Jill Stein has remained active in Occupy Boston  and initiated the "First Amendment Pledge of Non-Cooperation with Police Repression". Kent Mesplay ( is also running for the Green nomination; more candidates may declare soon.

Greens compared the more brutal actions by police with the atrocious treatment of Civil Rights Movement participants by law enforcement, under orders from notorious public officials, police chiefs, and sheriffs like Birmingham Public Safety Commissioner Bull Connor during the 1950s and 1960s, and noted that, in too many places, such abuses have continued against Blacks, Latinos, and others up to the present time, usually outside of the media spotlight.

"The Occupy Movement has pulled a culture of violence in many police departments out into the open. The same policy of unaccountability is behind the recent Defense Authorization bill passed in the US Senate that would allow our military to detain US citizens on American soil indefinitely on suspicion of terrorism, without constitutionally guaranteed due process and habeas corpus. If such trends continue without interruption, we'll soon find ourselves living in a police state," said Leenie Halbert, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States.

"Police officers themselves, like other public employees, are bearing the burden of reductions in benefits, job security, and workers' rights in the public sector, as part of the 'austerity' that Americans are being asked to tolerate because of Wall Street's criminal actions. They should be on the side of the protesters," said Ms. Halbert.
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