Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Keep CounterPunch ad free. Support our annual fund drive today!

Police Can Also be Traitors


“…or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

-Amendment 1

This law that I believe all police swear to uphold has been violated in fascist police state actions numerous times over our history.  Too many to count really, there exists a fundamental perversion in the way police are trained and propagandized by those who issue their daily marching orders.

What happened in Oakland California was nothing short of state terrorism directed to send a political message.  This assault on the Occupy encampment had nothing whatsoever to do with the thinly concocted excuses provided by authorities.  Oakland police, along with “peace officers” from numerous surrounding municipalities, committed a spree of “wilding” worthy of third world dictatorships.

As the white house pronounced the virtues of democracy and people’s uprisings repeatedly, when those rising up were residents of foreign lands this spring, they have said and done nothing to protect the brave people’s movements here in their own land.  The hypocrisy is so glaring it’s comical.

Readers will already be familiar with the Veteran For Peace who was critically injured by a police projectile shot at his skull.  Police, in their marauding rampage, fired large metal canisters, bean bags and rubber bullets.  They used chemical weapons and there is even report of sound weaponry turned on US citizens exercising their first amendment rights.  Further, once the veteran had been critically injured by reckless intentional police violence, a crowd of volunteers came to his aid only to be assaulted by an exploding flash grenade shot directly into ther group.

These are war crimes.

Is this the turning point?

Has America officially descended into outright fascism?

We have a constitution, but it is flagrantly ignored by those sworn to uphold it.  How is this the “freedom” and the “democracy” they print repeatedly in their endless propaganda pieces?

I was present at the 2000 Democratic Convention protests in Los Angeles when police there opened up on the crowd in similar fashion.

That day the LAPD was out in force, thousands and thousands of riot-gear clad formations surrounded the event.  Helicopters never stopped circling overhead.

The people had settled into a concert featuring Ozomatli, an African band that played a joyous very danceable eclectic set.  Suddenly, the police stormed on stage, announced that the event was over and that the ten thousand people had fifteen minutes to leave the Staples Center lot, or they would be arrested.

I was filming the event with a camcorder, and I retreated across the street from the lot, which was explicitly not in the verboten zone any longer and supposedly safe and legal.  I filmed the retreating people who danced and piled out down a gauntlet surrounded on both left and right by lines of well-armed riot police holding large shields.

As the fifteen minutes ticked away, and completely unprovoked, a line of black clad police robots started firing — directly at me across the street and at a few dozen others who were simply walking away from the event.  Apparently given their green light, the LAPD thought their “serve and protect” mandate included blasting into peacefully walking citizens after whatever arbitrary time limit had passed.

Needless to say we ran for it.  I was still filming behind me as I felt the sting of some projectiles bounced off the street and back up again.  Several young anarchists turned to yell and throw their water bottles.  Others overturned a couple of newspaper boxes as they fled down the gauntlet shouting at the powers that be.

Afterward, the ACLU put out a call for footage of this police riot, and I was happy to send it.  A year later the city of Los Angeles settled the case for some x million dollars, and the ACLU sent me a check for about $700, which I was not expecting, but was quite happy to cash.

I don’t think the money made up for the loss of rights, the loss of dignity, and the open declaration of state terror that occurred that day.  No.  Money is no substitute for a nation based on laws and the securing of rights.

America has swiftly descended and remains in a nosedive.  It’s time the entire populace woke up and assessed what’s going on minus the gushing nationalism, ideological blinkers and profound ignorance usually on display.

There were children asleep in that Oakland park.  A brave, principled American marine may die.  Mass ignorance allows these travesties to continue and to proliferate.

Police cannot be a mercenary force for capital and corruption.  This abuse of American citizens cannot stand.

Joe Giambrone is a filmmaker and author of Hell of a Deal: A Supernatural Satire. He edits The Political Film Blog. He can be reached at: polfilmblog at gmail.

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine


Weekend Edition
October 21, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Wight
Hillary Clinton and the Brutal Murder of Gaddafi
Diana Johnstone
Hillary Clinton’s Strategic Ambition in a Nutshell
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Trump’s Naked and Hillary’s Dead
John W. Whitehead
American Psycho: Sex, Lies and Politics Add Up to a Terrifying Election Season
Stephen Cooper
Hell on Earth in Alabama: Inside Holman Prison
Patrick Cockburn
13 Years of War: Mosul’s Frightening and Uncertain Future
Rob Urie
Name the Dangerous Candidate
Pepe Escobar
The Aleppo / Mosul Riddle
David Rosen
The War on Drugs is a Racket
Sami Siegelbaum
Once More, the Value of the Humanities
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
Neve Gordon
Israel’s Boycott Hypocrisy
Mark Hand
Of Pipelines and Protest Pens: When the Press Loses Its Shield
Victor Wallis
On the Stealing of U.S. Elections
Michael Hudson
The Return of the Repressed Critique of Rentiers: Veblen in the 21st century Rentier Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Drumbeats of Anti-Russia Confrontation From Washington to London
Howard Lisnoff
Still Licking Our Wounds and Hoping for Change
Brian Gruber
Iraq: There Is No State
Peter Lee
Trump: We Wish the Problem Was Fascism
Stanley L. Cohen
Equality and Justice for All, It Seems, But Palestinians
Steve Early
In Bay Area Refinery Town: Berniecrats & Clintonites Clash Over Rent Control
Kristine Mattis
All Solutions are Inadequate: Why It Doesn’t Matter If Politicians Mention Climate Change
Peter Linebaugh
Ron Suny and the Marxist Commune: a Note
Andre Vltchek
Sudan, Africa and the Mosaic of Horrors
Keith Binkly
The Russians Have Been Hacking Us For Years, Why Is It a Crisis Now?
Jonathan Cook
Adam Curtis: Another Manager of Perceptions
Ted Dace
The Fall
Sheldon Richman
Come and See the Anarchy Inherent in the System
Susana Hurlich
Hurricane Matthew: an Overview of the Damages in Cuba
Dave Lindorff
Screwing With and Screwing the Elderly and Disabled
Chandra Muzaffar
Cuba: Rejecting Sanctions, Sending a Message
Dennis Kucinich
War or Peace?
Joseph Natoli
Seething Anger in the Post-2016 Election Season
Jack Rasmus
Behind The 3rd US Presidential Debate—What’s Coming in 2017
Ron Jacobs
A Theory of Despair?
Gilbert Mercier
Globalist Clinton: Clear and Present Danger to World Peace
James A Haught
Many Struggles Won Religious Freedom
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Dear Fellow Gen Xers: Let’s Step Aside for the Millennials
Uri Avnery
The Peres Funeral Ruckus
Tom Clifford
Duterte’s Gambit: the Philippines’s Pivot to China
Reyes Mata III
Scaling Camelot’s Walls: an Essay Regarding Donald Trump
Raouf Halaby
Away from the Fray: From Election Frenzy to an Interlude in Paradise
James McEnteer
Art of the Feel
David Yearsley
Trump and Hitchcock in the Age of Conspiracies
Charles R. Larson
Review: Sjón’s “Moonstone: the Boy Who Never Was”