Ahhh, protestors. I have little use for them. It's not that I don't respect their right to dissent, I do. But in my twenty years behind the lens, I've seen many a protestor up close and I can safely report the mass majority of them don't know (1-2-3-4!) what the hell they're fighting for. Perhaps it's my blue collar roots, but I have a hard time listening to a college kid who's yet to earn a dime of his own money scream at me about what's wrong with the world. Hey, here's a thought: grab a shower, join society and fight injustice from the inside. You won't score as much weed in the process, but you will be surprised how much you can accomplish with reasoned discourse, instead of that old bongo you found in your uncle's storage unit. That said, there's only ONE thing I detest more than guy with a homemade sign: some asshole cop who thinks the sight of hippies in the park is a blank check to crack some heads.
And if grainy video is to be believed, that's exactly what happened in Minneapolis Saturday night as police moved in on a group of Occupy Minnesota demonstrators. Seems the young people were determined to set up their tents in Peavey Plaza and Loring Park, a plan that filled law enforcement officials with such apoplexy, they decided to go medieval on any and everyone in sight. Don't believe me? Check out the video. You'll see heavy-handed riot cops doling out ass-whoopings to anyone they could lay gloves on. Recording devices received much of their wrath, for what's more infuriating than a dude with no discernible income and a four hundred dollar phone in his hand? That's a judgement call you'll have to make on your own, unless you're one of Minneapolis' Finest. They seemed to agree beforehand that iPhones were the enemy of the state and only unnecessary roughness could guard society's loins from this Cupertino-based threat.
If that wasn't brutish enough, one coiled constable took it a step further, upending a photog's fancycam for no. effing. reason. It's sickening to watch - even if you don't have a groove in your right shoulder like I do. KSTP's Chad Nelson was busy minding everyone else's business when a uniformed officer took umbrage at the photojournalist's silent witness. Without so much as a "Stop or I'll shoot!", said officer shoved the expensive camera off Nelson's shoulder, slightly injuring him in the process. Ya know, cops - like photogs - don't make the money they should. Willfully damaging an innocent TV camera is akin to dropping an anvil on one of those flashing highway signs. It's dangerous, criminal and highly uncool. But so too is declaring martial law on people you disagree with, let alone some poor working stiff who has every right to put your badge number on screen. Which is why I sincerely hope Officer Pushy gets what's coming to him, for through his tantrum, he lowers the standing of the many honest law enforcers who keep our cities and streets safe from marauders, pestilence and the occasional musty trustafarian.
UPDATE! UPDATE! UPDATE! UPDATE! UPDATE! UPDATE!
New video of the despicable act has surfaced, clearly showing what some here at The Lenslinger Institute has described as "a bitch move". We've also received word that KSTP Photog Chad Nelson will be filing a criminal complaint. Bravo! As for the cop in question, his name has yet to be released, but across the nation past associates of the man have gone on-line and recognized his sanctimonious shit-house grin as one of the many things they don't miss about him. We here on the TLI campus have only shake our heads and wonder what would turn a seemingly sworn officer into an unrepentant schmuck.