Thursday, December 20, 2007

"Is this what democracy looks like?"

Today, police maced and tasered protesters trying to attend a city council meeting in New Orleans.
NEW ORLEANS - Police used chemical spray and stun guns Thursday as dozens of protesters tried to force their way into a packed City Council chamber during a debate on the planned demolition of some 4,500 public housing units.

One woman was sprayed with chemicals and dragged from the gates. She was taken away on a stretcher by emergency officials. Before that, the woman was seen pouring water from a bottle into her eyes and weeping.

Another woman said she was stunned by officers, and still had what appeared to be a Taser wire hanging from her shirt.

"I was just standing, trying to get into my City Council meeting," said the woman, Kim Ellis, who was taken away in an ambulance.

"Is this what democracy looks like?" said Bill Quigley, a Loyola University law professor who opposes demolition, as he held a strand of Taser wire he said had been shot into another of the protesters.

Quigley said he would explore legal action over the incident, which he believed violated public meetings laws.
Kactus has been posting about this at Feministe.

*Added* These police aren’t any more wholly to blame than the Abu Ghraib guards were wholly to blame. It seems to me the blame lies with the city council and whatever company is getting money for tearing down these homes and rebuilding yuppie condos in their place, and then trickles down from there to include the cops. All of them. Not just the cops.

I’ll go ahead and say it: It’s classist to blame it all on the cops, while the ruling class gets to look down their nose and clutch their pearls and say, “Oh, what brutes!” Don't ignore they systematic nature of this oppression by making it a singular incident of police brutality.

Kactus has a great post up here.

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