Saturday, March 17, 2012

SWAT Team Raids Occupy Miami Safehouse

From Crooks and Liars:

Mahmoud and other Occupy Miami members were preparing to travel downtown to protest the birthday of Chase Bank CEO Jaime Dimon when at least half a dozen police vehicles screeched to a halt in front of the building on NW Seventh Street.

A cop in a dress shirt and bullet-proof vest jumped out of an unmarked car, aimed his gun at them, and shouted, "Everyone on the ground," according to Occupy Miami members.

"I thought it was either a joke or he was robbing us," says an occupier who gave his name only as Cobra. "Then an ice-cream truck full of SWAT officers pulled up."

"They said that they had gotten a tip that we had "long guns" and were going to use them at our protest," Occupy member Thomas Parisi told Miami New Times.

More here, with video.

My older brother, a staunch, but reasonable, conservative, made this observation when I compared unfavorably the government's treatment of the Tea Party rallies to the heavy-handedness used against the Occupy groups: Tea Party groups show up, protest a few hours, and go home; OWS stays for weeks. Okay, that was a fair observation. Whatever your interpretation of the first amendment versus private property or public disruption laws, the Occupy groups do, indeed, create a much bigger social hassle for public authorities than their conservative Tea Party counterparts. I mean, I still think it's harassment, but the conservatives have an argument, at least.

So I wonder how my brother, or any other conservatives who make the same assertion, would explain this one? This Occupy group in Miami was on their own private property. Sure, they were about to go to a demonstration, but they hadn't even left yet. And the cops didn't simply show up and bust them: they used the paramilitary assault force commonly known as a SWAT team to come in and fucking take over. On a "tip" that the Occupiers were bringing guns. And never mind the fact that there are numerous documented instances of Tea Party protesters who actually brought guns to their rallies and were not detained or arrested by police.

Can somebody please explain to me how this is not police harassment?