Up | November 19, 2011
>>> if the first two months of occupywall street was gains, they struck back. on tuesday, the mayor ordered police to clear the occupiers out of zuccotti park in an early morning raid. police destroyed the occupiers personal belongings, including 5500 or so books in the people's library on site. one city councilman , rodriguez, was thrown to the ground, beaten and arrested at the scene. mayor blook berg and police made sure it was done away from the eyes of the press supposedly for their own safety according to the city. on thursday, protesters organized a day of action to mark the two-month anniversary of the movement. 1,000 protesters gathered near the new york stock exchange in an almost entirely nonviolent demonstration. there were a few exceptions. thursday night, thousands marched over the brooklyn bridge , a peaceful protest. i was there. we will talk more about that later. also, thursday, protests and arrests in los angeles , st. louis, portland, oregon, and other cities around the country. month are than 300 arrested thursday, 200 in new york city alone. captain lewis, you were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct including disrupting traffic and refusing to move on. there was an image of you being arrested in your dress blues down in front of the new york stoke exchange that was -- went kind of viral. there is some footage of you being arrested. you are a retired police captain. you served in philadelphia. why did you come down to "occupy wall street " on thursday?
>> i didn't come down on thursday. i actually came down on monday. i came down to assist the movement. i have been retired for a year in a very secluded life. i have moved up to new york in the catskill mountains . you can't see nobody. nobody can see me. it was a walldon type of lifestyle which i wanted. i used the internet for my only source of information. not the tv, not the newspapers. i saw this action being taken by these protesters. the conditions they were living in and the fact that they were not doing this for themselves. they were doing this for all people suffering injustice. that just conviction that they had for social justice just inspired me. i couldn't do anything else but come down. i would have been down sooner but i was working on a very important project in upstate new york against the gas companies. the term is fracking.
>> you are involved in fracking activist?
>> so you came down this week. would you tell me about the arrest itself? i guess the question i am dying to know is what your interactions with the nypd was like. presumably, it was a little different if i had been down there arrested or something else. obviously, you were dressed like this. what was that interaction like?
>> it was exemplary of professional conduct. with me and every protester that i witnessed.
>> they had an extremely tough job. they are human beings too. there is the fight or flight reaction. police cannot have the flight reaction. so they have to have the fight. subsequently, this can get out of hand. that's why you have the white shirts, the white shirts are the ones who are supervising. what i saw down there was the white shirts doing fighting. therefore, who is supervising? that is when you have anarchy. the problem -- i also want to make clear to everyone in the new york police department that my statements, video, was edited. i knew that was going to happen. the one step i could take to minimize that from happening was to refuse any interviews with fox news and a fox representatives came up to me. i saw the fox. i said, you stay away from me. you are a big part of the problem.
>> i'm a little wordy.
>> you are not wordy. you are perfect. this is fascinating stuff. all of us have been -- i'll speak for myself. i have been watching this upfold. in the beginning, i have been surprised by some of the mr. is overreaction and people on the internet said you are naive to be surprised by police overreaction. there is part of me that feels like "a" i'm worried about confrontations with police becoming the sign post for the movement as opposed to the content of the 99% message. at the same time, i have been really upset by the various police overreactions we have seen across the country. it seems consistent. you have seen time and time again nonthreatening, nonviolent, peaceful protesters being the subject of force. batons, pepper spray . i want to play this video making the rounds this morning. this is students at uc california davis, sitting down completely pie completely peacefully, laenginked arms, protesting tuition hikes. this is what happens to them. the person that e-mailed that to me this morning said it looked like someone spraying cockroaches. this was pepper spray . what is your reaction when you see a video like that?
>> my reaction is that corporate america is using their own police department as hired thugs. that's a disgrace. i also want to explain. i have to get a few things in here on my own.
>> i was holding a sign that said, nypd , do not be wall street mercenaries. it was misinterpreted. what i found out. they will never see that sign again for this reason. i was trying to convey the message, do not become wall street mercenaries. just that one word, do not be instead of become was that i was alluding to the fact that they already are mercenaries. i didn't realize that until i was told.
>> have you gotten a lot of backlash to that?
>> no, but i got one person that told me that. then, a light bulb went on in my head. he is absolutely right. i was inferring they are mercenaries now. that is not the case. i apologize to every nypd officer out there if you interpreted it the wrong way.
>> you seem to have this conflicted stance about what is happening between the protesters and the police . i understand that given your unique personality. you are both a protester and a retired police officer . i don't think there are a whole lot of people in that part of the ven diagram as of yet. in wisconsin, when we saw when there was the move to destroy collective bargaining by governor scott walker , we saw police standing in solidarity with protesters. it was a very powerful image. i don't think we are seeing a lot of that so far. i want you to go back to the psychology of fight or flight . describe to me what is in your head as a police officer as you stand there facing people linked arms or sort of confronting you in a nonviolent way. what is the psychology of that moment like?
>> you are being confronted often times in a nonviolent way. sometimes there is more violence coming from the demonstrators than you see. there is a tremendous amount of hostility being thrown your way, disparaging remarks against your mother, your parents, and everything like that, being spit upon. you have to stand there and take a lot of that. we are all human. cops are just as human as everybody else . they are going, some of them are going to lose their temper. everybody has lost their temper. that is the reason you have to have supervision. that's why the white shirts cannot get involved in fighting because then it is anarchy. there is nobody supervising.
>> their role is to be the check when you lose your cool?
>> you have said so many important things and thank you so much for being here. first, i want to remind you and all of us where you started. you were drawn to this movement because of the values it was expressing?
>> i think what's been so critical about this week is that we have had an effort to shift the profile of what this movement is about. you can change any picture. maybe you can't change the occupy movement but you can certainly change the picture by pouring enormous amounts of cops into every television frame. what's motivating people to come is not that it is a police versus the people conflict. it is because of the values that are being represented here which i think were expressed at the 99% for the 100%. the other thing that you talked about that i think is just a little fact is that with this question of mercenaries, there was some important reporting over the last few weeks about how in fact i believe pat martin has wrote about it for counter punch. you have got a giuliani program, called plan detail. wall street can hire nypd . don't pay the benefits or the p pensions. you are completely right your words were vulnerable to editing. we saw that this week.
>> you said earlier you don't want this to become a police versus protesters story. statement, one of the things that's been so interesting is that the police have actually played such an important cat lit tick rule since day one. a lot of people dismissed it. then, there was that horrible image of a police officer pepper spraying this woman in the face. suddenly, it got bigger. 700 people arrested and then it really took off. i thought that the movement was really dwindling, zuccotti park was becoming increasingly kind of sorted and sketchy. then, they cracked down with such extreme force and all of the sudden, it is reinvigorated and they have their biggest march ever.
>> we don't want the movement, if i'm coming from where you are coming from, to gain in public view based on the number of arrests made. i don't think there is any surprise that the captain feels some ambivalence about the movement. you have to be a captain to feel that. given there is this tension when it comes to the rule of law breaking down on both sides. where you have the jack asses versus jack boots . both sides taunting the other. my question is, you talk about the values that are being expressed. is it not clear to