John Timoney’s Bloody Journey

by DAVID ROVICS

John Timoney, until recently chief of police of Miami and before that Philadelphia, formerly of New York City, where he also was a high-ranking cop, is heading to Bahrain to train the cops there, according to the Associated Press.  If you happen to know anybody from Bahrain who might be thinking that hiring this New Yorker could be a step in the direction of less massacre-oriented policing policies, this might be a good time to relieve them of any such illusions.

John Timoney is a deceitful thug.  Here’s the background in a nutshell, for all who might be interested.  In 1999 tens of thousands of peaceful protesters shut down the streets of Seattle and more or less shut down the big meeting of the World Trade Organization.  Because they were peacefully blocking roads they were violently attacked by thousands of cops with massive amounts of tear gas and other weapons.  In another part of town (Nike Town) a couple hundred people destroyed corporate property, were declared to be violent anarchists, and got massive amounts of media attention.  The police chased them around but could never seem to catch them.  Nobody got hurt in Nike Town other than the violent anarchists.

At every protest against corporate rule after that one, the corporate media went into high gear terrorizing everybody about how violent anarchists from Seattle were coming to destroy the city.  Many people started believing this mythology, and it became a good enough pretext for future violent attacks on peaceful protesters after Seattle.  It became a good enough pretext for cities like  Philadelphia and Miami to hire police chiefs like John Timoney.  They hired Timoney because of his reputation as a brutal man willing to get the job done, no matter how many heads had to be cracked open to do it.

In Philadelphia in 2000 the job was to keep the Republican National Convention flowing smoothly, with the protesters kept at bay.  In 2003 the job was to keep the Free Trade Area of the Americas talks going along unimpeded.  By all accounts the RNC protests in Philadelphia were especially notable because of widespread police brutality — both in the streets and in the jails.  In 2003 I was in Miami for the FTAA talks, and what I saw from the time I got there to the time I left was a city under martial law.

John Timoney was the man in charge, and he was telling the people of Miami and his police force that the violent anarchists from Seattle were coming to destroy the city.  He took it further, showing his troops artfully-edited video footage that was supposedly of the Seattle protests, where it appeared there were injured or dead police on the ground at the protests (this never happened).  These Miami police were scared, and for no reason.  Timoney presumably knew they had no reason to be scared, but there was no doubt that many of these cops believed the media lies which Timoney had been exaggerating even more for their benefit.

Every downtown exit was shut down for days, and almost all the stores and restaurants were shuttered, shop owners made to fear riots that would never happen.  Massives fences were erected everywhere, and thousands of police everywhere you looked were wearing the most sinister-looking riot gear, many of them weighted down with an array of “non-lethal” weapons of all kinds, along with the lethal ones there for backup.

In one arbitrary moment the protests were declared illegal and within moments thousands of mostly young people were being drenched with tear gas and attacked, many of them in their backs, with bean bag bullets, rubber-coated steel bullets, tazers, and clubs.  As people ran into the poor, mostly Black neighborhood near where the conference was taking place, people were helpful, and were also informing them that certain people in their neighborhood had been told by Miami police that they should be encouraged to rob the protesters coming in from out of town — any potential criminals were apparently given free reign to mug for the duration.

Make no mistake, unfortunate people of Bahrain — this man is coming to make everything even worse.  But he’ll smile at the cameras glowingly, and tell them how his police are all acting with the utmost restraint and respect for freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.  It won’t be true, though.

JT inspired me to verse twice.  Here are the songs I wrote in his honor:

“Butcher for Hire”

http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=1124863

“Miami”
http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=2281146

DAVID ROVICS is a singer/songwriter based in Portland, Oregon. His website is http://www.davidrovics.com.

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
August 31, 2015
Michael Hudson
Whitewashing the IMF’s Destructive Role in Greece
Conn Hallinan
Europe’s New Barbarians
Lawrence Ware
George Bush (Still) Doesn’t Care About Black People
Joseph Natoli
Plutocracy, Gentrification and Racial Violence
Franklin Spinney
One Presidential Debate You Won’t Hear: Why It is Time to Adopt a Sensible Grand Strategy
Dave Lindorff
What’s Wrong with Police in America
Louis Proyect
Jacobin and “The War on Syria”
Lawrence Wittner
Militarism Run Amok: How Russians and Americans are Preparing Their Children for War
Binoy Kampmark
Tales of Darkness: Europe’s Refugee Woes
Ralph Nader
Lo, the Poor Enlightened Billionaire!
Peter Koenig
Greece: a New Beginning? A New Hope?
Dean Baker
America Needs an “Idiot-Proof” Retirement System
Vijay Prashad
Why the Iran Deal is Essential
Tom Clifford
The Marco Polo Bridge Incident: a History That Continues to Resonate
Peter Belmont
The Salaita Affair: a Scandal That Never Should Have Happened
Weekend Edition
August 28-30, 2015
Randy Blazak
Donald Trump is the New Face of White Supremacy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Long Time Coming, Long Time Gone
Mike Whitney
Looting Made Easy: the $2 Trillion Buyback Binge
Alan Nasser
The Myth of the Middle Class: Have Most Americans Always Been Poor?
Rob Urie
Wall Street and the Cycle of Crises
Andrew Levine
Viva Trump?
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Behind the Congressional Disagreements Over the Iran Nuclear Deal
Lawrence Ware – Marcus T. McCullough
I Won’t Say Amen: Three Black Christian Clichés That Must Go
Evan Jones
Zionism in Britain: a Neglected Chronicle
John Wight
Learning About the Migration Crisis From Ancient Rome
Andre Vltchek
Lebanon – What if it Fell?
Charles Pierson
How the US and the WTO Crushed India’s Subsidies for Solar Energy
Robert Fantina
Hillary Clinton, Palestine and the Long View
Ben Burgis
Gore Vidal Was Right: What Best of Enemies Leaves Out
Suzanne Gordon
How Vets May Suffer From McCain’s Latest Captivity
Robert Sandels - Nelson P. Valdés
The Cuban Adjustment Act: the Other Immigration Mess
Uri Avnery
The Molten Three: Israel’s Aborted Strike on Iran
John Stanton
Israel’s JINSA Earns Return on Investment: 190 Americans Admirals and Generals Oppose Iran Deal
Bill Yousman
The Fire This Time: Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “Between the World and Me”
Scott Parkin
Katrina Plus Ten: Climate Justice in Action
Michael Welton
The Conversable World: Finding a Compass in Post-9/11 Times
Brian Cloughley
Don’t be Black in America
Kent Paterson
In Search of the Great New Mexico Chile Pepper in a Post-NAFTA Era
Binoy Kampmark
Live Death on Air: The Killings at WDBJ
Gui Rochat
The Guise of American Democracy
Emma Scully
Vultures Over Puerto Rico: the Financial Implications of Dependency
Chuck Churchill
Is “White Skin Privilege” the Key to Understanding Racism?
Kathleen Wallace
The Id(iots) Emerge
Andrew Stewart
Zionist Hip-Hop: a Critical Look at Matisyahu
Gregg Shotwell
The Fate of the UAW: Study, Aim, Fire