Body slammed and choked by cops for dancing at Jefferson Memorial


[Video Link] Kindly US Park Police protecting us from people who endanger others with gentle and quiet dance.

Adam Kokesh body slammed, choked, police brutality at Jefferson Memorial

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  1. For dancing?

    Three minutes in, and this already feels like something out of a Philip K. Dick novel.

    1. Volokh aslo shows up in this video “The Government War on Cameras” about the fact that there IS NO LAW against filming federal buildings.

  2. ‘m srry, bt rpblcn/lbrtrn rd shw hst wh ntntnlly nfrts fdrl cps t gt bttr
    rtngs fr hs shw n Rssn TV prtty mch
    s gnn gt bt dwn.

    Whl t s tr ths cps prbbly vrrctd, n rgmnt thr, hvng gy yll crzy rnt bt Ms (1975 mch dd?) nd hw y ht th gvrnmnt whl y’r jst tryng t d yr jb…wll….mght mk y dcd tht ts tm t tk dwn sm dncng dds.

    Dn’t gt m wrng, thnk th cntry s drftng slwly twrds fscst bg brthr stt. jst dn’t thnk _ths_ s vry tllng sgn.

    1. I’d like to direct everyone’s attention to the comment policy, specifically the bit about “suggest[ing] that the victim ‘had it coming’ in a civil liberties/human rights thread”.

  3. Kafka would have written about something like this except he probably couldn’t imagine anything so absurd.

  4. ‘My country tis of thee

    Sweet land of Liberty

    Let Freedom Ring’

    Welcome to the Fourth Reich you sorry sons of bitches, it has only just begun.

    -weeps-

    1. Really, you think it’s fine and dandy that a group of people who can’t abide snarky comments should be issued firearms and given a right to incarcerate along with an outright refusal to even state what laws they are ostensibly preventing from being violated? You’re just swabbing grease on that slippery slope, bud.

  5. Yeah, everyone involved in this arrest should be tazered and clubbed until they understand what they did was completely out of line. That idiot cop who wouldnt cite what law was being broken (as none was being broken)… I can only hope he DIAF. Not the most vile display of officers we have seen by any means, but still so completely aggravating that one rejoices in any slight or great misfortune that befalls any law enforcement offices.

    These are the enemies of freedom. They are no less despicable than al qaeda, the taliban, the Egyptian government during the protests. They are terrorist, pure and simple.

  6. I am sure this police man is very sorry about how he handled this. Bet he is lined up for some anger management training.

    1. he’s very sorry he got caught, he thought they had confiscated all the cameras and he doesn’t klnow how this one made it out.

    2. If there’s any remorse involved I’m sure it’s connected to the event being filmed and put on the internet and that’s it. That kind of overreaction speaks to a violent nature and suggests regular abuses of power that he’s gotten away with.

  7. OR… you could simply not dance at the monument. I know! I know! I’m a crazy fascist!

    1. It’s the Jefferson Memorial! What would he say if he saw the government arresting a couple for waltzing?!? – I’m fine if the cops took ten or twenty minutes to negotiate a peaceable stand-down. But that’s not the path they chose.

    2. yea…and if that is what you feel like doing, then why the FUCK shouldn’t you be able to? dance at the monument! dance anywhere you please! why should that EVER be wrong? why should that EVER justify any police response whatsoever?

      1. It’s a very clear message being sent, mess with US, get the boot. Step out of (the invisible) line too far, get dropped down a hole. This is an advertisement for the Energy Thieves~Fear Machine that OWNS US Govt. There is such an animal.

      2. I get the feeling our government is a little timid about people not obeying after the arab spring…

        Don’t worry, as long as you never try to assert your rights in this country you’ll be fine…

        But we are free…

    3. “OR… you could simply not dance at the monument. I know! I know! I’m a crazy fascist!”

      You’re absolutely right. There is no reason to dance at the monument. Though, there is also no reason not to.

      Of course, one could also say “Or, you could simply not voice your opinion about the government”.

  8. My hrt gs t t tht pr cp, th n n th bgnnng. Ths s th lst sht h nds n n lrdy dmndng jb. Hs bss tld hm t dl wth ths cndy-ss slvr spns, d t nw – r fc drm crcl nxt wk. nd t tp t ll ff, h knws h’s gng t b n th ntrnt.

    n ‘prtstr’ t 2:20 whns “Y ht mrc, y ht frdm, ll ths mn tht r mssng, ll ths Ms.”

    Hnstly, thy ddn’t vn s nghtstcks (nw tht wld hv bn fn t wtch!)

    1. so, use of nightsticks is where your line is? Interesting. Thanks for telling us so much about yourself.

    2. On another note, I have to side with Adam and his lot. They asked what law they would be breaking by dancing that would justify their arrest, were not GIVEN a law, therefore, they were not properly informed. Also, body slamming and choking??? Really??? Next they’ll be tazering some kid who dances there because they are bored and when the police try to grab the kid, he starts screaming, “Stranger Danger! Stranger Danger!”

    1. If the law is clear the officers involve could have simple cited the case. Then they could have issued related tickets. Arrest? Causing someone physical harm when they werent violent? No. Sorry, these cops are terrorists and should be treated as such. This was a fine example of cops instead of defusing a situation rationally escalated things to an unreasonable place and acted brutishly. Then they threatened to arrest the press?

    2. So she was wrong about the law, but the way these cops handled this situation was over the top

  9. While the law is obviously an ass in this instance, this was a deliberate attempt to provoke over a law they knew they were breaking

    Now, the way it was handled was utterly ridiculous (in this and the original instance), but if you want to commit acts of civil disobedience, you best be prepared for the reaction.

  10. soo surreal! I was waiting for the Onion logo somewhere.
    Let’s see Improv Everywhere handle this.

  11. I would like to see what was happening prior to the officers arrival. The dancers knew that they were going to force a confrontation and I thought that the initial request by the officer was reasonable. If you are going to provoke them after that then you should be prepared for the consequences. Seemed kind of ignorant to me.

    1. I can appreciate that you found the request reasonable, that’s your prerogative. I think that for the parks police to pretend that a silent dancing flash mob for a dozen people is some sort of ‘protest’ is disgusting on its face.

      Further, the only provocateurs I saw were the police. Plenty of calm ways out of that situation which were discarded by the officer who can’t take being sneered at by the dirty hippie with the fancy degree.

      I say flash mob the place every day for a month. Different silent protests. Shoe tying for 25 seconds one day. Tripping and getting up, 8 seconds the next day. Singing the National Anthem in Full (90 seconds or whatever).

      of, by and FOR the people, right?

    2. Yeah that is kind of the point of civil disobedience – to disobey. Of course they knew but it is by forcing a confrontation like this that people get to see how stupid the system is at times.

  12. Jefferson helped lead a revolution over far less tyranny than we now suffer. It is an insult to our founding fathers and everything our country stands for that we haven’t had a mass hanging day for all the monsters in power.

    I don’t think it’s an effective strategy for creating change, but I also don’t think there can be much doubt that violence against the state is ENTIRELY justified at this point. The fascists who create these policies and those who carry them out have given up their basic humanity in stripping us of our essential freedoms. Their crimes against humanity are deserving of the death penalty if anyone ever was! They are MONSTERS, not regular people like you or I. They are predators, just like any other psychopath out looking for fresh meat, and it’s high time we recognized that, and did something about their power over us.

    Freedom of speech? Try telling the truth on a soap box in any busy public space. See how long before the cops show up to kick you out or disappear you into the back of a police cruiser. The fact is that you only have as much freedom as they feel is important to maintain the illusion of freedom, to keep the revolution from happening before their stranglehold is complete. And I certainly hope there isn’t a one of you too naive and simple-minded to believe that this is as bad as it’s likely to get. These fucks are out for blood– yours and mine, and anyone who talks shit about our fascist/corporatist government.

    Now, despite my harsh words, I do support non-violent revolution, if only as a matter of practicality, both for making it achievable in a (supposed) democracy/wealthy police state and in hoping to build a more just and ethical world in the process, but seriously, fuck these fucking fascists. I’d say we ought to start International Spit On A Fascist Day, except about all that would happen is a few dozen or a few hundred people wind up in our insane nightmare gulags.

    1. “Jefferson helped lead a revolution over far less tyranny than we now suffer.”

      citation please.

    2. Nice – and wordy – little way you have of dehumanizing everyone in the world who doesn’t agree with you. Toss in a few unrelated Youtube links and you could be our new Takuan.

  13. They weren’t arrested for dancing. They were arrested for demonstrating.

    You need a permit, you can’t do it inside the memorial, and they were given a warning.

    They knew what they were doing, since Brooke Oberwetter was arrested three years ago for the same exact thing: http://www.cadc.uscourts.gov/internet/opinions.nsf/748BE2DE8AF2A2A485257893004E07FC/$file/10-5078-1308285.pdf

    “[…] holding that she was lawfully arrested for violating the reasonable regulations that govern the Jefferson Memorial, a nonpublic forum reserved for the tranquil commemoration of Mr. Jefferson’s legacy.”

    Add that to resisting arrest, and you get the result in the video.

    1. As if it fucking mattered whether Oberwetter won her lawsuit in a corrupt justice system? What the fuck, dude? This is about basic civil rights that you are being denied by your government! Why should it matter to you whether or not it’s technically legal or not?

    2. Vaguity: “They weren’t arrested for dancing. They were arrested for demonstrating.
      You need a permit, you can’t do it inside the memorial, and they were given a warning.
      They knew what they were doing, since Brooke Oberwetter was arrested three years ago for the same exact thing”

      (sry for shitty English below btw not my first language)

      Well then the question is whether this is a correct response to a nonviolent resistance? Is “resisting arrest” a black and white thing that, whatever form it takes, allows such a response from the police?

      The problem with any legal system (ours aswell as yours) is that it tends to lack grey areas as its based on a moralist ideal of absolute right and absolute wrong. Good and Evil. That an action can, no matter the circumstances, be in itself and of itself wrong. Many areas of life are due to a long legal history, given a grey zone. There are excemptions and circumstantial objections that can be given to for example killing someone (manslughter, self defence). But like for example old Advanced Dungeons & Dragons the idea that any mass of rules can cover all eventualities is wrong. We cant write laws that cover all bases.

      So all our legal systems must, to be somewhat “true” (that too can be questionned as can most areas of the police, prisons and courts and now the main interest of the judicial world is to make it “popular” instead of “true”) be staffed with people who can make exact, correct and objective choices in these kinds of situations. From Judges giving out punishment, to jail-officials giving out rights and restricting them in jail and to police who must at the very scene of the crime be able to decide how to CORRECTLY (whatever the law actually says) react to a situation.

      This works in certain fields of our legal lives. An unarmed murderer who tried to kill himself and is wounded, isnt usually body slammed. A teenage girl who tries to flee the scene is usually not tazered. At others those grey areas disappear and what we have is a black and white response. You break the law + ignore the police = get a beating. No matter how you did it.

    3. How were they resisting arrest? By not saying thank you? The definition of resisting has gotten pretty loose.

      It looks like the park police have seen too many MMA fights and spend their night dreaming up fanatasies of being able to use some cool move they learned in training. Now finally they get to use that awesome body slam or punch someone on the ground to get them to roll over. They even get to say “f@ck”! Sweet! Glad the requirement to be a park officer is to have the mentality of a bitter 15 year old boy.

      1. When the police tell you to stop moving so they can handcuff you, and you don’t, that’s resisting arrest. When the police tell you to give them your second hand for the handcuffs, and you resist them pulling it down to keep from being handcuffed, then that’s resisting arrest. They put him down rather gently, no hard slam, no risk of bodily injury on that one.

        When they police tell you to stop doing something and you continually talk back and keep doing it anyways, that’s incitement and generally leads to you being arrested. But hey, that’s what they were there for in the first place wasn’t it?

  14. Wow… I wouldn’t put up with that shit in my country. This is how it starts people.

  15. PollekeB: “I am sure this police man is very sorry about how he handled this. Bet he is lined up for some anger management training.” — Lol, good one!

    grimc: “I’m shocked that Medea Benjamin is right in the middle of this. Shocked, I tell you.” — Superlol! Me, too!

    KemperB: “…they didn’t even use nightsticks (now that would have been fun to watch!)” — The internet has made such a sad person out of you.

    jonw: “Beat up dancing people, or quit my job. I know which one I would choose.” — Agree. The cops should be refusing to enforce this rule.

    KemperB: “My heart goes out to that poor cop, the one in the beginning. This is the last shit he needs in an already demanding job. His boss told him to deal with these candy-ass silver spoons, do it now – or face a drum circle next week. And to top it all off, he knows he’s going to be on the internet.” — You realize that by not refusing to enforce this stupid rule in this instance, the cops are making their own jobs harder, and obviously guaranteeing that they will face “a drum circle next week”?

    RifK: “…if you want to commit acts of civil disobedience, you best be prepared for the reaction” — Ah, what would history be like without that attitude? And just imagine what a horrifying scene this would have been if the cops just hadn’t even shown up.

    vaguity: “They weren’t arrested for dancing. They were arrested for demonstrating.” — …arrested for demonstrating against the prohibition on dancing, for which they would have otherwise been arrested were they not already demonstrating…by dancing.

  16. So they were provoking a reaction. But it’s illegal to dance? How did that thought even pass through someone’s brain?! It’s just so embarrassing that it is something that even needs to be put on any official document.

  17. civil liberties/human rights thread?

    These people intentionally provoked the police,
    by intentionally breaking the law.
    A law they knew full well they were breaking.

    There is no civil rights violation here.
    All of the court documents are available and prove this quite clearly.

    1. New law. You can’t say any blind rhetoric about the absolute justice of the judicial system. You’re under arrest!

      1. I will make sure my rhetoric is informed,
        Why do people believe that personal opinions are the same as facts?

    2. citation please.

      Also, arranging to meet in a public place to dance for a few minutes is not a protest. And even if it is, the guy that memorial memorializes once said:

      “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.”

    3. and it was against the law for blacks to drink out of “white” drinking fountains, or date/marry white men/women etc etc etc. Are you seriously saying there were no civil rights violations there either? Is it only a civil rights violation if it’s within the law? What about when the laws are WRONG. You’re the type who would have told Rosa Parks to shut up and sit at the back of the bus. Think again about what you’ve just said.

    4. What’s it like, being a fascist sympathizer? Do you sleep well at night? Have you noticed unsightly horns growing yet, or does that not happen until you actually want to see cops behave worse than this? You should be ashamed of yourself.

      This is a civil liberties/human rights thread because they were performing acts of civil disobedience to protest some straight up fascist bullshit. The court documents don’t matter AT ALL as to whether justice has been served. And the fact remains that the cops didn’t have to arrest the demonstrators. Was it their legal right to do so, given the gross injustice of the law? Absolutely. Was the force they used reasonable? In that light, absolutely. Did they have to do it? No. Was it reasonable for them to do so? No. Is the law justified? No.

      How much more do you need to make this a civil liberties thread? Seriously, wtf is wrong with you?

    5. Tell that to the Civil Rights protesters.

      One of the greatest illusions of Democracy, and one of the reasons why Democracy has proven to be one of the most dangerous and destructive of all political systems, is that people assume that, because the laws were passed by people elected in fair elections, that those laws must be OK – even if they are blatantly unjust or absurd. So they meekly accept them, say ‘these laws are our fault for who we elected, the only way to resist them is to wait for years, vote for some other guy, and cross your fingers.’

      No, this law is absurd, and it’s a credit.

      You are under no moral obligation to obey a morally bankrupt law.

      In fact, breaking a morally bankrupt law is a heroic act.

  18. Dancing is beautiful, peaceful, and joyful. If that’s “protest” then there’s something wrong with the system, not the dancers.

  19. American police cars need a new motto: “To Punish and Enslave”.

    (Right out of Transformers.)

  20. Bears repeating…

    Great job further alienating the public, you dipshit.

    I’m firmly convinced that it’s a good thing though – many of us today sit entrenched in this denial that law enforcement is handled appropriately in the USA and that police officers deserve respect and trust (when the truth is, they’ve earned neither and have repeatedly spit on the public when we’ve tried to hold them accountable)

    Anything that hastens the inevitable schism between the public and law enforcement is a good thing. It’s slowly happening, there is more distrust, less cooperation and the realization by more and more people that law enforcement is the enemy and not our friend.
    But we’re going to have to hit rock bottom before things get better.

    And apparently these cops are only too happy to sow further seeds of distrust. Here’s to you, big guy(s)!

  21. For a small group of protesters performing acts of civil disobedience.
    They failed utterly, In their planning and their execution and their post lawsuit.
    They should go back to anarchist school ASAP

    1. I agree. They really should have practiced their dance moves more. Who knows, maybe the cops would have joined in…

  22. “Ultimately you must do right because it’s right to do right. And you got to say “But if not.” You must love ultimately because it’s lovely to love. You must be just because it’s right to be just. You must be honest because it’s right to be honest. This is what this text is saying more than anything else. And finally, you must do it because it has gripped you so much that you are willing to die for it if necessary. And I say to you this morning, that if you have never found something so dear and so precious to you that you will die for it, then you aren’t fit to live.” ~ Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    “I just gotta say, backpacks in the pit are bullshit.” ~ Sean Bonner

  23. My Dad has some of THE worst moves in the history of dance, but I’d still like to see him shake it at the Jefferson Memorial some day. Why should legislation even get involved?

  24. The problem with the police and those who “support our troopers” is that there is a high percentage of questionable personalities backed up by an old us vs. them culture staffed with ex-military types that teaches an operating policy of abuse and intimidation as the way to keep LEO’s safe.

    Law enforcement in the US and many other nations is enamored with the total victory or defeat military mentality that leads to forcing a confrontation and surrender in all situations, all training reminds the officer that anything else can lead to dead LEO’s. This mentality requires brutalization of activists who fail the attitude test and it forces deadly high speed chases where innocent civilians are killed in order to prevent a stolen car or a speeder from escaping the hand of total justice.

    When a group self selects its members and then behaves badly we cannot treat them like a minority that has a bad reputation and just fix our own attitudes. Officers choose to apply for and join a working fraternity that is both powerful and in too many places corrupt.

    The problem is how to safely and peacefully retire the whole current crop of corrupted LEO’s and replace them with a new untainted professional culture of problem solvers with no military training at all that do not resort quickly to violence or have a desire to lord their position over people. Only a total purge and a strong professional new mission culture can eliminate the problems we have now.

    The major problem is finding peaceful people who are willing to uphold the current in your face intrusion laws without going down the dark path again. The abusive officers are a reflection of the abusive laws which reflect the desires of the population who elects lawmakers, we choose this abusive system for ourselves.

    We need a law enforcement unlike the one we have now which combines the aloof, angry, indifferent DMV type bureaucracy with fast cars, assault rifles, pepper spray, and Tasers.

  25. swaring in of the prasdant:
    I, AB, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God
    The Constitution is the High Low if the land super siding any and all lows and the Presdant

    How many constitution lows weer broken hear.
    .Freedom of assembly
    .Freedome of speech
    .and one more late us see if you now which one that is.

    Long live the Constitution.

  26. The annoying thing is that they are wining about no warning and not being directly told to stop. The hate America statements and asking that the Sargent address everyone with a warning dilutes and confuses any demonstration these people are making.
    When demonstrating always have your planned statements, stick them, don’t whine to the cops.

    On another note, so what does it take to animate angry stone zombie Jefferson to wreak vengeance on those who piss on freedom, and it would be mostly the lawmakers and executive policy rule bureaucrats not so much the only-following-orders douche cops.

  27. I think the Jefferson Memorial is exempt from demonstrations the same way that soldier’s funerals are exempt from a Westboro Baptist Church appearance. You can’t dance or hold aloft signs that say “God Hates Fags” unless you’re 100 yards away.

  28. Even I (a relatively morally bankrupt pussy) would start dancing witnessing this bullshit.

  29. This video is why we have a problem with extremists. I’m seething with anger and it’s not even my country.

  30. Wow, they are like Rosa Parks and Gandhi all rolled up into one. Way to pick the big issues, people.

    /sarcasm

    1. Wow, they are like Rosa Parks and Gandhi all rolled up into one. Way to pick the big issues, people.

      This made me laugh too. A bunch of bratty Libertarians baiting park police into a gotcha moment. I guess you can’t protest against the actual coercive power in this country: corporate power, when you’re whole movement’s funded by it.

      1. Without the police, politicians, and military to carry out their will, the corporations would be toothless.

        Corporate power does not ultimately spring from the market; it springs from their alliance with and co-option of the State.

  31. My 11 year old daughter is always dancing so if she was there just doing a little dance you mean to tell me she might get arrested. This is such a stupid law that needs to be changed.

  32. LET FREEDOM RING! I am so deeply saddened by this. I find it highly ironic however that so called normal Americans are just waking up to the fact that freedom in America is a farce. If any of you were or are part the counter culture these acts of violence are rather common and old hat. Just what the hell exactly did the cops think they were protecting the public from??? These ridiculous laws will only get worse until Americans stand up and change the system by any means necessary!

  33. Public execution of Oscker grant

    As long as it is not me.
    It is funy the cap has all the gear he needs but no name tag for you or athers to read, for your civil rights.

    Way is it that you never see civil lawyers doing this kind of stoff CEO’s, CTO’s or Saneters and maby eavane a Docter or Too or any Cops, or any body with a high class coreer at stack.

    This is all under the watch of constitution lawyer as president.
    So I hope you like the patriot act and the Voting machine.

  34. All the cop really had to say was ‘please stop dancing, it can draw attention to you and disrupt the peace of the monument. Thanks.’

    The girl in the glasses at the beginning didn’t look like the type of person that would argue that, but her expression seems to become exasperated once the police officer starts citing off laws.

    Just a silly over-reaction on both parties sides. They shouldn’t have pushed it, it’s a very sad turn of events.

    And – can anyone else actually read the posts with no vowels? I’m finding it very difficult!!

  35. These people in my opinion were provoking and spoiling it for the other people there. They were given a warning and then removed. Sp what is the problem here? You don’t need a law to tell you how to behave in a place like a memorial. Common sense should be enough.

    1. In an evil, corrupt police state like the USA, provoking an officer is as easy as failing to act appropriately subservient. Fucking fascists.

  36. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: anyone who supports this kind of bullshit is a fucking traitor and an asshole, and should be treated accordingly. It is not at all possible to rectify our government’s actions with the principles of liberty, justice, and democracy. They have blatantly manipulated the American people to gain power, and now they abuse their power to further restrict our right to liberty and self-governance with each passing moment. They are profoundly anti-democratic forces. They’re also nationalistic, they’re violent, they hate minorities (and one religious minority in particular), they don’t care much about ‘facts’, they’re hyper-capitalistic in a deeply corrupt way, and they believe that the ends justify the means. They’re fucking fascists. For real! Not joking around Godwin’s Law fascists, but real-life Mussolini-cribbing fucking fascists! THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING! FASCIST AMERICA IS ACTUALLY HERE!

    Also, the ‘just-doing-their-jobs’ cops are ABSOLUTELY responsible for their actions in enforcing this truly vile police state, just the same as the guards at Auschwitz were responsible for their actions, just the same as the secret police in South Africa’s apartheid era. The police in this country are every bit as inhuman and deeply ugly as every other kind of fascist in this country or any other country. Fascists are fucking scum by their very nature, reduced to sick reflections of their corrupted values and disregard for humanity by their mad paranoia and consumptive quest for dominance. They are a vile pestilence on this earth, and their continued power cannot help but ensure the doom of civilization. And the sooner everyone wakes up and realizes that the sooner we can get around to kicking their collective ass to the curb so we can go about the serious business of fixing this shit.

  37. For a group demonstrating civil disobedience I wish they had chosen their battle(s) more carefully. There are so many things going wrong, laws and regulations that really are designed to limit our freedoms to the point of them being nothing more than a thinly veiled illusion. But of all those worthwhile causes, they chose THIS? A regulation against dancing inside a state memorial?

    Also, they failed horribly at execution. Confronting the officers verbally is fine and everything, but when they (predictably) haul your asses off to the station it comes across as hugely pathetic when they started whining and muttering nonsense. And if you resist arrest, they will take you forcefully, that’s not really a surprise. Actually, I thought the officers’ response was quite measured, probably because they knew they were being taped. This was far from an actual police beating – if you want to know the difference you should ask some black people about their experience with law enforcement sometime.

    To make a powerful statement against the erosion of liberty, it’s not enough to provoke officers to somehow drag your ass off to jail as the camera is rolling. It must be about something, it must be about more than Park Service regulations in order to be meaningful.

  38. Looks like mission accomplished for Adam. Would we be looking at this if there wasn’t any official to agitate? Nope.

    But what is this, really? Is this video depicting realism or is it half staged, where only people in uniforms are real in everything they are and do?

    Can I suggest a new name for these kind of videos? Confrontation porn. Purposefully makes viewers hot and bothered.

  39. They knew they were going to be arrested. They got exactly what they were asking for. The cops warned them to stop, stayed calm, and used the minimum amount of force necessary to put them in cuffs and take them out of there. Just like they told them they would. I didn’t see anyone that wasn’t resisting getting cuffed get put on the ground.

    In an ideal world, should cops let freaky people bend the rules, ie let anarchists dance around inside the jefferson memorial? Perhaps. Should there be park rules like that in the DC monuments? Its debatable. But it isnt really all that surprising or outrageous that there would be rules against stuff like that in a national memorial, nor that the police would choose enforce them.

    They could have danced outside on the mall all day long and nobody would have given a damn. It appears that they purposely chose to goof around in a controlled environment to provoke a reaction from the cops. And that’s just what they got. Which is fine. But what makes no sense is to purposely get yourself arrested by purposely breaking some rules and then complain about it after the fact.

  40. I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty, than those attending too small a degree of it.
    — Thomas Jefferson, 1791

    Only through our solidarity can we ensure his vision endures.

  41. “If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.”

    George Orwell

  42. The problem I have with this outrage is that people fall for lingering hatred of conservatives rather than see that liberals are in no way suddenly going to stave this sort of thing off either. And yet people equate the libertarian Tea Party with the religious right. It’s odd to see the usual cookier cutter anti-capitalist vibe come out to play so often here, over the years, on BoingBoing, a highly consumer product driven blog, paid for by product advertising, that most of the readership itself has a fascist tendency to shout down conservative opinions. This thread is a happy exception. Alas, most still buy into the anti-nuclear global warming scam in which liberals promise to usher in a post capitalist utopia. When that house of cards falls completely, you know the highly speculative theory liberals have attached their wagons to which isn’t working out as predicted, welcome to Palin country or the equivalent, due to your embrace not of libertarian ideals but of partisanship alone in your 2012 electoral embrace of your Nobel Peace Prize winner.

    Here is one of the dancing fellows giving a speech. He’s a bit over the top, but hey, have a look at what type of person it takes to finally challenge the dance police:

    In comments here and there I see people defending the police since technically there is court precedent that says there are indeed laws against dancing in such places. But that’s the whole damn point: to get rid of all these laws that allow the police to exercise arbitrary power over average citizens, and to get rid of the political climate in which the police feel the need to make a big point of violently handcuffing anybody who would dare to demonstrate for freedom of action in a memorial to a founding father.

    “I own that I am not a friend to a very energetic government. It is always oppressive.” – Thomas Jefferson

    “When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty.” – Thomas Jefferson

    1. Alas, most still buy into the anti-nuclear global warming scam in which liberals promise to usher in a post capitalist utopia.

      You just had to ruin the rest of your comment, huh?

  43. Hopefully someone will try to confuse the poor cops by doing Tai Chi inside the memorial. Tai Chi ain’t dancing.

  44. Was this a demonstration? Yes, it essentially says as much in the video description. Is that illegal? Apparently so. Is that an idiotic law? In my opinion, yes, but there are arguments to the contrary. Was it appropriate to resort to violence over this type of demonstration? No. Is violence ever appropriate? Not in my opinion, unless it is in self defense. All of this is beside my point, however. The most disheartening thing about all of this (and there’s plenty to be disheartened about here) is the hateful and vitriolic comments directed at police officers. The ones in this video used more force than was necessary, and they should be punished for that. Lumping all police officers into one group of “inhuman and deeply ugly” individuals though, is in itself an inhuman and deeply ugly thing to do. Many, many police officers choose their profession out of a desire to help their community or to protect those who cannot protect themselves. Why don’t we see more videos of nice cops doing their jobs and helping people online? Why are all the police-related videos on youtube depictions of brutal injustices committed by seemingly evil men and women abusing their position of power? Mostly because no one thinks to film that. There’s not enough sensationalism involved in people being kind to other people or doing their job to warrant getting out a camera. I would, however, like to remind anyone who bothers to read this that it happens. For every monstrous power-hungry hateful cop you see, there are a dozen more that you don’t see who want nothing more than to protect and serve their fellow citizens. Anyway, just a thought.

  45. Rotundo #79 and Seancho #81 have the most non-knee jerk reaction to this video that I’ve seen in this entire thread. Granted, the opposite extreme is “Falling Sky” Grimnir.

    When I first saw this video when BB posted it some hours ago, I was shocked and angry on behalf of the demonstrators. However after reading the comments and suggested court readings (per earlier links in this thread), I’m glad to have arrived at Rotundo’s and Seancho’s comments which resonate with how I currently view the situation:

    Civil Disobedience is fine when properly applied to something meaningful. Physical response is going to be applied by Police, make no mistake about that.

    But comparing the Civil Rights movement to /DANCING/ in a Memorial? That does a GRAVE disservice to everyone who fought — who are still fighting — to end injustices to humanity. This video is shot clearly to portray the demonstrators as the good guys fighting against Grimnir’s Hyper-Capitalist Violent Minority Haters(tm). However we can’t fully assess the warnings given by Park Services to get them to stop (Indeed, had they already stopped dancing before the camera even started rolling?) I can’t imagine that the officer just walked up to a bunch of people JUST STANDING AROUND. It could have been a photo-op. No, clearly they were caught in the act of dancing and asked to stop.

    They played coy, and intentionally provoked a response, to something that as Rotundo has pointed out, is hardly meaningful to ANYTHING else they could have been doing with their afternoon.

  46. OK… I’ll start with full disclosure, I am a police officer.

    1. This law is ridiculous (and borderline unconstitutional, but not quite overtly so as to cause an officer to engage in non-enforcement on those grounds).

    2. Police officers do not get the luxury of choosing which laws they get to enforce, particularly when you are staging a ostensibly high profile event specifically engineered to flagrantly violate said (ridiculous) law.

    3. As far as the use of force goes, not complying will eventually end up with someone being grabbed and/or tackled.

    As a law enforcement officer I am painfully aware of the abuses by those who share my profession. This, however, is not one of those cases.

  47. The law is faulty – the prohibition against dancing and free expression at that monument needs to be struck off the statute book. How could the law be changed?

    Provoking the cops who are charged with enforcing a dumb law is not in itself going to change anything. It highlights the existence of a dumb law, but won’t correct that law unless there is some involvement of the legislature. The activity shown in the video then risks looking futile and attention seeking.

    America is a free country where the laws can be changed or corrected. The fact is that the average person doesn’t have the impetus to lobby their representatives over the right to dance at a memorial.

    People with serious business interests (Shell, RIAA, Military Industrial Complex, investment banks, “evil” corporations at large etc.) whose livelihood really does depend on lobbying politicians will go ahead and do that lobbying, and since America is a free country, the lobbying is sometimes effective. That is not the same thing as America being a fascist country.

    1. Provoking the cops who are charged with enforcing a dumb law is not in itself going to change anything. It highlights the existence of a dumb law, but won’t correct that law unless there is some involvement of the legislature. The activity shown in the video then risks looking futile and attention seeking.

      It does two things. First, raising awareness of a stupid law is generally the first step in combating it. If people don’t know it exists, or don’t have attention drawn to it, it’s very very unlikely to get overturned. If people see a law that they don’t believe is actually enforced, they’re not all that likely to get enthusiastic about repealing it.

      Secondly, in jurisdictions based on common law, court president sets the interpretation of the law, and additionally it can be tested for constitutionality.

      Civil disobedience is a useful tactic for combating arbitrary rule and injustice, and its use in this way is given credibility by the many important changes that have been provoked by using it.

  48. This ist shocking. In Europe we’ve got experience with barmy laws and dumb policemen, but this reminds me of some backasswardly stupid places like Iran or Turcmenistan. Wasn’t America called the land of the free?

  49. • Please don’t suggest that the victim “had it coming” in a civil liberties/human rights thread unless you have some evidence to support your claim.

    Medea Benjamin
    Adam Kokesh
    I’m sure I recognise the guy in the code pink shirt that Medea was dancing with but I can’t remember his name
    Their own camera crew

    This in not a random collection of members of the public it’s a political protest. Depending on whether you listen to the soundtrack or read up it’s either protesting that dancing shouldn’t be classed as protesting (which they are doing by dancing, go figure) or protesting against the law that forbids protests inside public monuments without permits.

    If by “had it coming” we mean were actively trying to get arrested for breaking the law they disagree with how can they be anything but?

    The first two arrests were civil, the third was going that way until the brown shirted protester ran in, grabbed the guy by his bad arm and pulled all three of them to the floor @ 2.32

    Adam is younger, stronger and fitter than the cop arresting him. He’s resisting the arrest (locking his arms out, not putting them behind his back and facilitating the cuffing) but staying below the level that a charge for resisting arrest would arise. To be clear he’s absolutely NOT fighting the cop which is admirable self restraint and shows he’s still thinking clearly about the reason he’s there. He’s going to get arrested, that’s his aim in this and by making the arrest harder he’s either going to get multiple officers restraining him or a single officer is going to bounce him around until he’s got control of his arms. Either of these work fine for Adam as both make for much better TV and get him 90 comment Boing Boing threads :)

  50. @ some stage civil disobedience ceases to be a right and becomes an obligation.

    That time is now.

  51. @danegald

    It may seem like a trivial thing to protest against, however I see it as beneficial. When something as simple as holding a dancing protest is against the law, especially considering it should be covered under the First Amendment, bringing attention to it makes more people aware of just how absurd and petty some of our government workers/officials have become. I like to equate it to the “Emperor has no clothes” metaphor.

    To the individuals who believe the intended goal was conflict, I am saddened by your support and insistence that it was against the law, and thus the dancers were in the wrong. What about the First Amendment? If you give up just a little, you give up everything. This is perfectly illustrated by the consequences of the Patriot Act, War on Terror, and the War on Drugs. Is the Jefferson Memorial considered a Constitution-free Zone as well our borders now?

  52. Look, I think most people would agree that it’s not acceptable to bust in and dance, for example, in the middle of a delicate heart operation. For obvious reasons. Skateboarding would also be “considered a no-no”.

    If we can agree that it’s not appropriate to dance under all circumstances, we can discuss whether or not it’s appropriate to dance at the Jefferson Memorial. We’re into anthropological territory here, and those of you expressing the view that it should be OK to dance anywhere are being a little naive. The funerals of strangers, for example, might be considered a forum where it’s not appropriate to start “busting some crazy moves” or “gettin’ down”. Few people would be surprised to be ejected or even assaulted under such circumstances.

    Personally? I think it’s a little silly that the courts ruled you’re not supposed to dance at the memorial. But they did, and the law is the law and cops are cops. Right or wrong, this is what generally happens when you defy authority.

    But seriously, couldn’t they find something better to defy authority about?

  53. Sure, it was an act of civil “disco obedience”.

    It was completely peaceful. And the police responded with arrests and some thuggery.

    The message is that you can’t even question authority in the most gentle, non-confrontational way possible. (They weren’t blocking anyone, they weren’t even making noise, they were just dancing – and I’ve seen grandmothers dance more aggressively than that.)

    On the face of it it’s insane. Let them dance I say. Let them dance!

  54. There is a running competition in the USA to see who can enforce the most retarded law in the most abusive way?
    It is a reality tv show?
    Do people win money for this?

  55. Is it just me or there something comical about some authoritarian puke shouting orders…. in a bike helmet.

  56. Those guys are real pigs. All thats missing are the brown shirts. They remind me of the corporate pig in District 9, that revels in the fact that he gets paid to abuse people.

    Welcome to Fascism 2011

  57. Why all the aggression even if some so called rules where broken. What is it good for, why should we want to evolve in this way

  58. Hear is the death and tax poster.
    http://www.deathandtaxesposter.com/2011/
    This show the priority of the government.

    The bast indicator lint test is how the homeless, mental ill, war vets, and minority groups are being treated, it is like looking at a man’s shoes.

    Anther indicator is how we treat the people that don’t have a constatution or a bill of right.

    Last indicator is how we treat the enemy of the government.
    What we use as an justification, 2 Towers 3000 people did to justify kiling 1,455,590 Iraq people and spading 360 tons of depleted uranium with 80% birth defects will we eat Organic health food So How is the one with the yellow cake now.
    http://antiwar.com/casualties/

    So how is guilty the government or the people that late it’s government go amuck with out the leash like dog.

    My question is did any body with hold thear tax’s from the war machine maby risking your house in the process.

    We well soone reach a point ware we killed as many people that live in the US in order to protect awer way of life.
    If my grandpa was hear (Gold miner/Macinaste/innovator) he will not have given the government permission to securestr his macine shop like day did in WWII he wold of ran them of with his shotgun and his grandfather rights he had to the property.

    With $3 trillion and a war like focus we cold of seed that this is it instead of going to war we well never us anther drop of forne oil again economic warfare.

    10 year later after 9-11 we wold all have soler panels and flex full rotary turbines hybride electric cars with energy capsaring fly wills that cane power the hose incase of emergency and not dron in the flods.

    and we might of hade paper voting boths in all 30,000 post office so we cane put endavigale subjects to a vote on a moments notes.
    Then we might have bean able to sell democracy to the rast of the world.

  59. A few points!

    1) They should have been arrested. They knew they were going to be arrested, and I fully support what they did. The entire point of civil disobedience in a public area is being arrested for breaking unjust laws. A lot of people don’t seem to understand that. Although clearly a far more serious matter, the entire civil rights movement was based on this idea.

    2) ‘Being provoked’ is not an excuse to knock the shit out of someone. It’s also important to note that these cops were not provoked. For an action to be provoked implies that it was understandable. Nothing these ladies and gentlemen were doing provoked a violent reaction of any kind. Every one of those cops should be fired and brought up on assault charges.

    3) It’s not illegal to film something, unless there is a law specifically stating so, for that particular situation.

    4) Fun is not illegal. Please remember that you own that property. The cops do not.

    1. Good comment.

      But think what the message the cops would have sent if they’d showed restraint. Just let the folks have some fun. They do have some discretion.

      Then then would have shown that, “yeah, there’s a law, but as officers of the law we don’t have to be pig headed about it”.

      The dancers would have made their point and left after a while. The police officers would have gone home feeling good about doing their jobs protecting people against actual threats to law and order.

      I’m pretty sure everyone would have been happier at the end of it – including the tourists visiting the Jefferson Memorial at the time (who would have had something funny to tell their friends about, and who probably weren’t made to feel any safer by seeing harmless protesters taken down and arrested).

      1. That would have been a sight to see. Remember though, the law would still be on the books. Basically, the cops in that situation would be committing a form of civil disobedience themselves.

  60. I remember how SHOCKED I was the first time I was rousted by the police for no reason after a GD show at MSG. After the show, the NYC police are quite efficient at moving the hoard of humanity out of sight. I lived at 33x3rd at the time and kept saying to the officers, “…but I LIVE here…why do I have to move along…”

    The thing is, do you want to go about your business and have fun, or make a point and go to jail. I’m thankful for those who choose to make a point.

  61. My neurological disability would apparently get me arrested for visiting the Jefferson Memorial. It’s certainly not the worst part of being afflicted with St. Vitus’ Dance, but it adds to the misery, nonetheless.

  62. OK, well I live on the other side of the pond and don’t know the background to this. What were they demonstating about? Not that it matters really. The police completely overreacted. Whatever the cause the demonstrators they were promoting, it seemed to be a completely peaceful protest. The officer did warn them about not dancing, and I understand (from comments above) that such activities are banned at the Memorial, but yes, had I been there I’d have launched into my best morris dancing steps straight away just to show solidarity, and because it would never occur to me in my wildest dreams that the police would react the way they did. The demonstrators knew they were infringing some law, by-law, rule or regulation, but that’s something you take into account when you demonstrate. You even realise there’s a remote possibility you might be taken into custody. Don’t march if you’re not ready to spend a night or two at Her Majesty’s Pleasure (or whatever you call it over there)! So yes, there was deliberate disobedience, but I don’t think any of them expected the sheer violence that ensued. That place is a tourist attraction, for heaven’s sake! It’s a place nice genteel old ladies probably roll up to in coach parties. The police reaction was completely inappropriate, and I hope someone got into serious trouble about it.

    (Incidentally, I’m interested that nobody had their camera taken away from them. Several people were filming, and they weren’t stopped. The police must have realised the footage would appear all over the internet. Curious.)

  63. IDEA FOR FUTURE “DEMONSTRATION”:
    Stand perfectly, statue-like still
    .

    You’re still drawing attention to yourself and “demonstrating.”
    But what would the charge be? They can probably still arrest
    you: they’ll ask you to move after a while, you’ll move one
    arm, or move 10 feet and become a statue again, they’ll tell
    you to stop your pattern of “statue-ing”, and when you do it
    again, they’ll arrest you. But it will be that much more ridiculous
    than the “dancing” charge that the current demonstrators face.

  64. There’s a lot of purely emotional reaction going on here, especially from people who believe freedom of speech and assembly is unlimited. It’s not. The government can impose reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions. Otherwise a lot of people would have a grand time shutting down the streets and highways of the country. BTW – do you not think that in some ways this is exactly what the dancers wanted – on video?

  65. If we let people dance or kiss in the Jefferson Memorial, then the terrorists have won!

    This treasonous practice must be nipped in the bud. The next thing you know, people will be speaking their *minds* and expressing *ideas*, and we simply can’t have that. Not at the Jefferson Memorial. Because Jefferson warned us about the dangers of, umm, dancing, and umm, kissing.

  66. What. The. Shuddering. Fuck.

    I live in London, and the Met police can have the reputation of being, well, to put it bluntly, tossers sometimes..

    BUT.. I really cant think that *any* UK police would arrest someone for *dancing*… There are all sorts of stupid laws in the UK (see end of comment)..but you know what?… If a UK cop saw a bunch of people dancing in (erm, cant think of somewhere equivalent..Trafalgar Sq?) and they werent causing a fuss (chanting, shouting etc) then do you know what the cops would do?… Smile, ignore it and go get a cup of tea.
    IMHO, this is what happens when you give cops guns! And whats with the American thing about calling all cops (or people in authority) Sir?..Officer, yes, but Sir?..sorry, you may have my respect as an officer of the law (with a shitty job to do) but Im not calling you Sir (Unless its dripping with sarcasm!)

  67. Ah, UK stupid laws…here you go:

    It is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament

    It is an act of treason to place a postage stamp bearing the British monarch upside-down

    In the city of York it is legal to murder a Scotsman within the ancient city walls, but only if he is carrying a bow and arrow

  68. The following are only my opinions:

    1) This is a moronic law they were breaking.

    2) The police overreacted by turning violent before the protesters, but not by arresting them.

    3) I’m slightly amazed the police didn’t overreact more than they did, but the Park Police are typically a lot better trained than say the LAPD.

    4) The protester that grabbed the other protester’s arm is an idiot.

    5) The protesters elicited precisely the response they set out to elicit.

    6) Raging against “The Man”, “Our Fascist Government”, “Corporatist and/or Capitalist Elites”, “Police Thugs” or other nebulous catchphrases in an internet thread does not induce societal change.

    7) Having a government that commits fascist behavior is not the same as having a fascist government. We are heading slowly but steadily in that direction and have been for decades. You’ll know when we get there because expressions of opinion like those in this thread will be a lot rarer owing to their much higher risk. If we get there, idealists will find out fascism isn’t as harrowing or romantic as historical dramas tend to make it out to be.

    8) Denouncing all law enforcement as the enemy contributes to the problem; it does not help. Polarization leads to more and greater violence, and the belief that violence is the only avenue to remedy problems between people(s) is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    9) Adam Kokesh is a prick, but he’s not entirely wrong, and pretending he is entirely wrong because he is a prick is foolhardy.

    10) I believe that most people basically want liberty and freedom for them and their Earthly neighbors, but unchecked rage in younger generations, fear in older generations, and apathy among the depressed and disaffected in all generations opens the doors for minorities of wing-nuts to drag cultures into their “culture wars” for sake of proving ideological points.

    11) I have vastly more faith in human potential than I have confidence in our ability to fulfill that potential any time soon; but I do believe that civilization improves (by most peoples’ standards) at a snail’s pace (relative to our mayfly lifespan) and that most (not all) individuals living now would find living in the past miserable by comparison.

    12) Righteous outrage is a healthy social virtue; bigotry towards opponents (real or perceived) because of that outrage is not.

    Peace

    1. 7) Having a government that commits fascist behavior is not the same as having a fascist government. We are heading slowly but steadily in that direction and have been for decades. You’ll know when we get there because expressions of opinion like those in this thread will be a lot rarer owing to their much higher risk. If we get there, idealists will find out fascism isn’t as harrowing or romantic as historical dramas tend to make it out to be.

      The thing is, the fascism we are heading towards does not resemble the fascism of the past.

      What is the point of fascism? To protect the criminal behavior of a protected corporate class, to make justifications for profitable and awful wars, and to maintain a stability of this corrupt arrangement.

      We can have a form of fascism in America without losing freedom of speech. The reason for this is that the US propaganda apparatus has become much more sophisticated than it was 70 years ago. It doesn’t matter if you have 1,000 people on the rooftops shouting the truth – because the average person has been conditioned, from a young age, to simply ignore them, write them off, not accept any challenge to their

      Speech can be free in a fascism; all the fascist has to do is drown it out with a torrent of conflicting propaganda.

      Look at 9/11 – heaps of evidence were destroyed or suppressed without explanation, high public officials blatantly lied about every aspect of it, the ‘investigation’ was obviously a whitewash that did not call any testimony that did not fit into the official narrative, the official story is obviously a sham which is disputed by dozens or even hundreds of pieces of evidence, and Bush officials in every way acted like suspicious individuals who had something to hide.

      And yet, the average American will not even consider any alternative narrative, because they have been conditioned in many ways that such a thing is impossible – that the same government that killed 2 million innocents in Vietnam, somewhere far north of 100,000 in Iraq, etc. etc. etc. couldn’t possibly kill 3,000 innocents in NYC.

      We have limited freedom of speech – but only in our personal lives. We have -ZERO- freedom of speech over public airwaves in America (not counting public access TV), and that media is still the primary crafter of the frame of reality for a majority of Americans.

      We have limited freedom of commerce, but the laws are set up in such a way that it is hard (not impossible) for a non politically connected company to become big enough that they can actually challenge the huge corporations – and thus generate enough money to actually create momentum for change.

      In all ways we have a soft fascism in America – where you can do what you like, you can drive whatever big car you want, wear whatever t-shirt you want (usually), say whatever you want to your neighbor. But there is a line in the sand, the line of whether the powers the be feel that you are actually taking actions that significantly challenge the power structure. If you cross that line, you will be crushed mercilessly.

  69. Trafalger square isn’t really a good parallel to where they were dancing. This is an indoors solemn area. They could have danced in the street outside the monument, or on the steps of the monument and I bet no one would have noticed.

    There is a fine line between maintaining free speech and public order. I think the US is a model for the rest of the world in this regard.

    When I took part in protests against the Iraq War in DC, there was a small counter protest taking place along the route. The police stood in between the two groups and took fire and vitriol from both sides for hours at a time, but did nothing other than stand between the two groups, and preventing nothing other than violence.

    The US is a country where so long as you have a permit your freedom of speech is completely unfettered. The Westburo Baptist Church can protest military funerals for gods sake. NO ONE like the WBC, or what they have to say!

    Meanwhile Britain is a country with ludicrous free speech destroying anti-libel laws and Russia (Russia Today, the government funded “news” agency that brought you this report) regularly jails journalists and tells dissidents to eat polonium.

    I don’t think the US is perfect, and I’ll give the protesters credit for creatively designing a protest to highlight a limit on free speech. Maybe you think the right to protest should be completely unfettered, but would you feel the same way if the solemn place they decided to protest in was the Holocaust Museum, the WTC 9/11 memorial, or any number of solemn sites in your neck of the woods?

    The fact is, the freedom these protesters are asking for is probably only possible in Somalia.

  70. i believe the legal precedent used by the d.c. circuit court was mccormick vs rev. moore, aka “the footloose”. be vigilant as there are pockets in this country where dancing will land one in jail. footloose is real my friends, footloose is real.

  71. crowfang said, “A cop doesn’t have power over laws and so can’t choose which to enforce and which not to.”

    Actually, they have a *tremendous* amount of discretion over what they do and don’t enforce. Ignoring these folks would have resulted in no harm to anyone.

    If you disagree, then I ask you, seriously- what was the harm? Who and/or what were these people harming?

    If it’s gotten to the point where our government has to thrash and arrest people for dancing or *gasp* kissing in public, then this country sucks. It’s no wonder why our country is in such a sorry state, if this kind of “enforcement” is allowed or accepted.

    Really, what was the harm, exactly?

  72. “Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others…” — Thomas Jefferson.
    “I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.” — Thomas Jefferson

    Open 24 hours a day, no gates, no doors, open to the elements, on public land. How is this /not/ a public space?

    Whose rights were violated by dancing? How is banning one form of human expression, but not others, “viewpoint-neutral” – ?

    US Park Police – enforcing the solemnisation of President Jefferson’s legacy. Except, not.

  73. The D.C. Circuit court made the basis for their decision very clear. The Jefferson Memorial, they said, like a number of other commemorative sites, is not a public forum, and as such the usual laws relating to unlimited free expression do not apply. This law reflects the fact that yes, indeed “we” own the memorial, but like any society “we” have laws to control the use of shared resources. At present, the law is such that what these guys attempted to do at the JM was illegal.

    You can argue that the law is wrong if you want. You can argue that commemorative sites should be considered as public forums and thus subject to the “normal” free speech rights. But if that is what you think, argue those cases, rather than blabbering on about fascism.

    1. What ‘we’ do you speak of that feels it’s OK to forcibly prevent dancing in a public space?

      It is not a ‘we’ that includes either ‘you’ or ‘I.’ It is a usage that makes a mockery of the useful pronoun ‘we.’

      1. Its a law that has been made by “us” in the same sense as anything else that ends up in front of a circuit court.

        Are you suggesting that there is widespread opposition to the idea that commemorative sites are not considered public forums? Are you suggesting that there should be?

        Perhaps you suggesting that there is widespread disagreement about what constitutes a commemorative site?

        1. No, but only because it’s something very few people think about one way or the other.

          Let me ask you:

          Are you implying that there WAS a strong public desire to throttle expression of speech at the monument, which the politicians were satisfying by passing this law?

  74. it seems that these group of police officers created a larger demonstration, one that led to the facility being shut down and ruining everyone’s day. they chose to escalate it to that level of disruption. if causing a scene is a “demonstration”, then the officers involved here sure fit the charge.

    1. Seconded…

      OK, for the moment, consider the following scenario..

      Cops thought bubble…

      “Crap, bunch of idiots over there…what are they up to?..hmm, no placards, not shouting or making a fuss…Ill keep an eye on em…Hmm, fancy a donut..Oh god, theyre dancing..didnt someone mention that there was some daft shit about not dancing in the memorial?..they look pretty special needs, bouncing away to their ipods..and everyones ignoring them..bet they feel pretty silly..in theory, spose I should go over and do something, but I dont see what having words with them would actually do..oh, look, theyre getting bored now..some twerp is spouting off to his mates handycam. Moron…good, theyve gone….Now, lets go get that donut..”

      Later check on youtube: Dancing at the Jefferson Memorial! Yeah Dude! Views=8

      I do have some issues with restricting free speach in certain areas, but the fundamental issue is “What harm were they doing that justified such a reaction?” The entire situation seems to have been caused by the arrests.. I dont really see *who* in their right mind could find someone bobbing up and down and cutting some truly dreadful moves to their mp3 player offensive..

      Anyway, if it were me, I would state that I wasnt dancing, I was spasming in celebration at being at a memorial to a hero of the country or somesuch.

      Stupid laws should pretty much be ignored by everyone, and that includes the cops…

      1. i wonder what kind of dancing they were doing prior to the start of this clip.
        and did the officer ever ask them and establish if the dancing was a demonstration, or was it simply presumed since there were multiple people dancing (again, we did not see what transpired prior to the clip’s beginning). what if some started dancing for fun, and others thought it would be fun to join in.

  75. I’m far more disturbed by the image of a dancing body, whether at the Jefferson Memorial or anywhere else, than by said body being slammed by police.

  76. I don’t think it’s an effective strategy for creating change, but I also don’t think there can be much doubt that violence against the state is ENTIRELY justified at this point. The fascists who create these policies and those who carry them out have given up their basic humanity in stripping us of our essential freedoms. Their crimes against humanity are deserving of the death penalty if anyone ever was! They are MONSTERS, not regular people like you or I. They are predators, just like any other psychopath out looking for fresh meat, and it’s high time we recognized that, and did something about their power over us.

    I’m positive those cops didn’t sign up for the job so that they could be monstrous. That wasn’t their motivation. They are law enforcers. The law says that protestors drawing attention to themselves aren’t allowed to do that at the memorial site. So, it’s their job as enforcers of the law, to stop the protest by first issuing a warning, and when that wasn’t heeded, proceed with the arrest.

    They didn’t round up cameras or try to hide what was going on.

    Of course, the law seems a bit perverse in some respects. So, these protestors had purposely taken on the grand tradition of civil disobedience as a way to call attention and object to a ridiculous rule.

    All the actors played their parts. This isn’t the end of society. It’s how society has worked all along.

    1. Most police officers I personally know don’t go out of their way to be a-holes but they do like being hostile to the public and have an extemely judgmental mentality. Everyone else is a thing (they love the word “perp” since it dehumanizes them) to be arrested or demeaned and they are the only sensible ones.

  77. Here’s a question to those “For” the dancers:

    Can Westboro Baptist Church guys (“God Hates…” people)
    demonstrate AT a veteran’s funeral, celebrating the dead
    soldier’s death?

    (If No, then you can’t dance inside Jefferson Memorial.)

    1. Are they demonstrating in a public space?

      Then the answer is an unequivocal ‘yes,’ as abhorrent as they may be.

      1. Are they demonstrating in a public space?

        Whether you agree with the DC Circuit court or not, that court said “no”, at least not for the purposes of the first amendment.

        Are you implying that there WAS a strong public desire to throttle expression of speech at the monument, which the politicians were satisfying by passing this law?

        I’m implying that the law reflects a desire to protect at least some commemorative sites from the full panoply of free expression rights that pertain to other kinds of public spaces. I suspect that most Americans would agree with this position even if they vary in (a) their ideas on which commemorative sites should be treated differently and (b) the level of feeling they have about the issue.

        Right now, as an individual act you could still wear a t-shirt that said “Fuck Jefferson” into the Jefferson Memorial, but you can’t dance inside it, at least not in form of any organized celebration, protest or other form of event. You might have a problem if 12 of you showed up wearing “Fuck Jefferson” t-shirts too, though only when you went onto the JM premises. I think there might be room to argue about the circuit court’s interpretation, but to me that hardly sounds like fascism, or even the beginning of fascism.

      2. Actually, due to the Constitution case law,
        the answer to both is No. The First Amendment
        is not absolute. For same reason, you can’t
        yell “crowded theatre” while in a fire.

  78. In the past week, I’ve seen one fictional story that I thought was real (the mother getting sued for posting watermarked ultrasound pictures to the web), and two real stories that I thought were fictional (this one and the one that said Canadian soldiers were not sent to help flood victims because they’d compete with the private sector).

    I’m not sure exactly what this is saying about the world or about me, but it is unsettling.

  79. h ys, th slf mprtnt hpp prtstrs tht cnvnc thmslvs nd thr smpltns tht “Th Mn” s kpng thm dwn. Knwng prfctly wll tht thy r n vltn f th lw thy ntgnz th vry ppl wh hv dvtd thr lvs t phld t. Sm wll ct pssgs f th cnstttn n nt s sbtl ttmpt t cm crss s nfrmd. Wht thy lck bsds cmmn sns nd dcncy s f crs lw dgr. Ths lw s wll stblshd whch nyn wth vn th mst smplstc ndrstndng f th cnstttn wld lrdy knw. Prhps thy shld hv ctlly rd rtcl .

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  80. To completely fairly judge this, I’d have to see the preceding half hour or so to see what kind of “dancing” they were doing that resulted in the authorities being called in the first place.

    Under the circumstances shown, the guy who got body-slammed was treated entire appropriately, in fact he was treated more politely than necessary.

    Personally, if I had been a visitor during all of this I’d have probably been pretty annoyed at the disrespect shown by a group of kids thinking that the Memorial was a great place to just go and dance and goof around.

    What were they trying to prove? That if you provoke authority then authority tends to assert itself? Yeah, big accomplishment there.

  81. It’s sad. My family is German. When I was growing up Americans were always heralded as liberators. How things change. Maybe you should start a charity to buy brown shirts for those cops.

  82. It’s a stupid law, yes.
    The cops violently overreacted, yes.
    Comparing this little pissing in the wind stunt to the bravery of Rosa Parks, though, is insulting and wrong-headed.

  83. The sign at the entrance said “QUIET PLEASE.” Maybe the Park Police needs to add an asterisk and footnote explaining the Supreme Court’s decision that it’s not okay to cause a ruckus inside the monument.

    ANALOGY ARGUMENT: If you’re saying it is okay to dance at this location based on the principal of “free expression” then by the same logic I can line up 1,000 actors in full Nazi uniforms and run a conga line through the Holocaust museum giving an interpretive stiff-arm dance to Michael Jackson’s SMOOTH CRIMINAL.

    If we agree that it’s okay to enforce a law keeping protesters away from funerals I think we can say “no dancing or other scene behavior” inside a national monument. It’s not really a stretch. If a school group was unruly inside the same space it would be okay for the police to bounce them. If I saw a teacher arguing with a an officer otherwise I’d expect her to be arrested, too.

  84. I’m on the fence with this one since as an archaeologist, I can very well see the potential hazards of unrestrained mass demonstrations in a historical monument. I feel that while this comes off as a first amendment issue, maybe this is a bit more nuanced than a can they-can’t they question.

    Ties to this is the question of whether or no the Jefferson Memorial is a public space. Perhaps there are two parts here: Should it be a public space? and Is it one?

    I think historical monuments might not always come under the purview of public space and again, it might not have to do with freedom of speech/etc, but concerns about protecting the monument. I wonder how the police would have reacted if these demonstrators had danced right outside the JM, which would be unequivocally public space.

    I think one of the main problems here was that the police were unable to articulate the laws they were using and because of that, they came across as if they were doing something wrong. Police brutality is obviously wrong but again, the last guy was resisting (not by attacking but by locking his arms) and the second last guy fell because his friend was trying some weird maneuver.

  85. Someone above said something like “If you are demonstrating you need a permit”. Slow dancing is demonstrating? I think what these folks are trying to do is to point out how absurd the police and their rules have become, and then what they will do to enforce those terrible rules/law. If slow dancing with your partner is a indication of demonstrating then we are only months away from me being arrested and thrown to the ground for holding my wife’s hand while we walk through the memorial.

    If the police had just walked away from the slow dancing couple none of this would have happened and no harm would have been done to anyone. The only thing that all the uninvolved folks would have walked away with is a the idea that some people in DC are not afraid to display their affection for their spouse.

  86. start the ‘walk like a tourist” dance craze.
    Then …..

    On the other hand time place and manner are foundational speech principals. If they unevenly apply a TPM regulation to different protests that would be a problem.

    Westborrow would be there next week silently protesting, or not silently. Their argument: You let others protest here without a permit.

    Is the permit process burdensome?

  87. ‘What comparison, then, can I find for the people of this generation? What are they like? They are like children shouting to one another while they sit in the market place: We played the pipes for you, and you wouldn’t dance; we sang dirges, and you wouldn’t cry. ‘For John the Baptist has come, not eating bread, not drinking wine, and you say, “He is possessed.” The Son of man has come, eating and drinking, and you say, “Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” Yet wisdom is justified by all her children.’ ~ Luke Chapter 7 verses 31-35

  88. The context sure makes these arrests seem ridiculous. I abhor violence.

    However I need to ask one thing. If the officer had asked them to leave the premises and they refused would it have been acceptable to physically remove them at that point? If they resisted being physically removed would that then be resisting arrest?

    I’m not clear on US laws but in Canada if you are asked to leave the premises by an officer you listen or you get arrested. If you then resist like we saw in this video you get charged for that as well and get the enjoyment of additional physical force being used against you.

    So why didn’t the officers in this video just ask them to leave? That would have certainly seemed more legitimate than saying dancing is not allowed. This was likely treated as an unauthorised gathering to protest something or are we to believe that a random group of strangers got together and happened to start dancing and this is all a misunderstanding?

    This group gathered at the monument with a purpose and cameras to film it. I saw at one point a person with a professional grade video camera leaving the area. Whether the purpose was to see if they could get police to get physical with a ridiculous premise I cannot say. Next time they should try with a group of mimes.

    1. “The context sure makes these arrests seem ridiculous. I abhor violence.”

      When someone chooses to engage in political protest in a public space they are violating my right to use that space for it’s intended function and you are interfering with the duty of the state to make sure that *everyone’s* rights are protected, not just yours.

      When you choose to resist or disobey the orders of the duly appointed representatives of local, state or federal government it is YOU who have initiated a violent act against constitutionally authorized police forces. They have taken an oath to serve the public interest, not your narcissistic needs.

      If you choose to engage in direct action you should go into it with full knowledge of the possible outcomes. Don’t come back later whining like a child when the actions you deliberately engaged in yielded exactly what you were looking for.

      As a member of a democratic nation you participate in the social contract and you are therefore duty bound to obey the rule of law. They are your rules after all. If you choose to disobey them, and that can be an honorable choice, then YOU are responsible for the consequences of your actions.

      Grow the $%# up.

      1. “When someone chooses to engage in political protest in a public space they are violating my right to use that space for it’s intended function and you are interfering with the duty of the state to make sure that *everyone’s* rights are protected, not just yours.”

        You do not have a fundamental and inalienable right to not be irritated or inconvenienced. Your desire to not be irritated and inconvenienced sure as hell doesn’t trump the right of others to not be brutalized and injured.

        “When you choose to resist or disobey the orders of the duly appointed representatives of local, state or federal government it is YOU who have initiated a violent act against constitutionally authorized police forces. They have taken an oath to serve the public interest, not your narcissistic needs.”

        “Constitutionally authorized police forces” are still human and still capable of being in the wrong. If they are enforcing unjust laws or behaving in an abusive fashion it is our DUTY to resist them on behalf of every one of our fellow citizens. Even the ungrateful, self-absorbed and privileged ones. Also, bonus irony points for calling other people narcissistic after complaining about protests getting in the way of your oh-so-important use of public spaces.

        “If you choose to engage in direct action you should go into it with full knowledge of the possible outcomes. Don’t come back later whining like a child when the actions you deliberately engaged in yielded exactly what you were looking for.”

        You walk out the door every day knowing full well that you could be injured or harmed in a variety of ways and likely engage in seemingly-mundane behavior that could also potentially result in injury or harm to yourself. You also run the risk that people you encounter could cause you harm or injury either for things in your possession or for no good reason at all. You accept this risk every day. Somehow I doubt you’d want everyone around you to say “You knew what you were getting into” and ignore you should you end up face down and sucking concrete for whatever reason. Even if I do think you’re an idiot for essentially giving the cops the leeway they need to do the same thing to you in the future, I wouldn’t want it to happen and I wouldn’t think you’d deserve it for a second.

        “As a member of a democratic nation you participate in the social contract and you are therefore duty bound to obey the rule of law. They are your rules after all. If you choose to disobey them, and that can be an honorable choice, then YOU are responsible for the consequences of your actions.

        Grow the $%# up.”

        If growing up means seeing a nonviolent person as being not just complicit in but almost entirely to blame for their own assault, I want nothing to do with it. It’s one thing to understand that the agents of the state’s authority can and will attack you if you disobey or defy them. But to suggest that when such attacks come their victims should suck it up and deal is truly repulsive.

        1. MertvayaRuka said:
          “You do not have a fundamental and inalienable right to not be irritated or inconvenienced. Your desire to not be irritated and inconvenienced sure as hell doesn’t trump the right of others to not be brutalized and injured.”

          Adam Kokesh was not brutalized or even injured. The whole scene has the air of political theater. Adam Kokesh is agitating for a just cause, one that I support. It seems to me in the video that he accepts the consequences of his actions. He resists just enough to get arrested which is I presume what he wanted so as to direct attention to his cause. What I object to are the other protesters who seem to have glommed on to his protest and to the common-taters here using this as a means of advancing their own agenda. (I have my own too, I want to push back against libertarians to make it clear they are not a majority.)

          I do not claim a fundamental and inalienable right to not be inconvenienced. We are a nation of laws and you have a duty to obey them. If you disagree then you can vote for change, agitate for change, violently rebel for change or leave.

          “”Constitutionally authorized police forces” are still human and still capable of being in the wrong. If they are enforcing unjust laws or behaving in an abusive fashion it is our DUTY to resist them on behalf of every one of our fellow citizens.”

          Absolutely. MLK gave his life for a just cause. But MKL didn’t fight for his rights or even the rights of other backs, he fought for everyone’s rights. His cause was selfless not self centered. That is an important difference. If you wish to change the political landscape then what you need to do is to convince enough people to follow you to make that a reality. Libertarians have failed to do this because they have a false model of human nature. Not because of the oppression of the state.

          “You walk out the door every day knowing full well that you could be injured or harmed in a variety of ways and likely engage in seemingly-mundane behavior that could also potentially result in injury or harm to yourself.”

          No I don’t. I walk out my door with the confidence my representatives, the police, will put a bullet in the head if need be of anyone who breaks the law.

          “Somehow I doubt you’d want everyone around you to say “You knew what you were getting into” and ignore you should you end up face down and sucking concrete for whatever reason.”

          Well I actually have been mugged and I did end up face down on the sidewalk. He got a $1.25. There is a huge difference between a common punk looking to get enough for a fix and a cop. One is breaking the laws, the other enforcing it. You should study up on why the actions of one are legal and the other illegal. I’ll school you on that if you wish.

          “Even if I do think you’re an idiot for essentially giving the cops the leeway they need to do the same thing to you in the future”

          I’ve been homeless twice, I belong to the gay community, live in an urban and highly diverse community and I have never ever been arrested for anything and I’ve always had a good report with the police. I’m not giving them leeway, both the police and Adam are doing exactly what they should be doing.

          “If growing up means seeing a nonviolent person as being not just complicit in but almost entirely to blame for their own assault, I want nothing to do with it.”

          It didn’t look that way to me. Adam wanted to get arrested, that is the whole point of direct action. This is assault to you? Seemed pretty polite to me.

          “By the way, we’ve just had a re-dedication of the Haymarket Martyr’s Monument here in Chicago”

          I am highly skeptical that tossing a stick of dynamite into the police will advance one’s political agenda. Not even Bill Ayers would condone that so I guess we know where you lie on the political spectrum. “In the internationally publicized legal proceedings that followed, eight anarchists were tried for murder.” Good.

          Look, if you’re going to engage in bloody, violent revolt make damn sure you win.

          1. “No I don’t. I walk out my door with the confidence my representatives, the police, will put a bullet in the head if need be of anyone who breaks the law.”

            I’m not sure if you realize what a scary statement that is.

            “Well I actually have been mugged and I did end up face down on the sidewalk. He got a $1.25. There is a huge difference between a common punk looking to get enough for a fix and a cop. One is breaking the laws, the other enforcing it. You should study up on why the actions of one are legal and the other illegal. I’ll school you on that if you wish.”

            Yeah, thanks, I all ready know why the actions of one are legal and the other illegal. What you seem to be glossing over is that “legal” doesn’t necessarily equal “moral” or “justified”. But I guess I’d have to be as smart as you to understand why things like that don’t matter.

            “I’ve been homeless twice, I belong to the gay community, live in an urban and highly diverse community and I have never ever been arrested for anything and I’ve always had a good report with the police.”

            Goodie for you. Too bad your experience is not the experience of everyone else.

            “It didn’t look that way to me. Adam wanted to get arrested, that is the whole point of direct action. This is assault to you? Seemed pretty polite to me.”

            Yes that was an incredibly polite body-slam. I’ve never seen anyone lifted up off their feet, thrown at the floor and then choked with such care and delicacy.

            “I am highly skeptical that tossing a stick of dynamite into the police will advance one’s political agenda. Not even Bill Ayers would condone that so I guess we know where you lie on the political spectrum. “In the internationally publicized legal proceedings that followed, eight anarchists were tried for murder.” Good.

            Look, if you’re going to engage in bloody, violent revolt make damn sure you win.”

            Even though it was Pope Ratzo at #222 who mentioned the Haymarket thing, I’m going to respond to a bit of it. What I find interesting about your comment is the sentence in the wikipedia article you’re quoting about it that comes right after the “eight anarchists were tried for murder” bit. – “Four men were convicted and executed, and one committed suicide in prison, although the prosecution conceded none of the defendants had thrown the bomb.” I guess enforcing the law is far more important than any kind of justice in your world.

          2. Good morning MertvayaRuka:
            “I’m not sure if you realize what a scary statement that is.”

            We are a nation of laws and every citizen has a duty to obey them. Why? Because you agreed to them. Unfortunately it is _only_ the threat of violence that prevents some people from doing whatever they want. A civil society is the very antithesis of anarchy. I prefer the former, as do the majority of others.

            “”legal” doesn’t necessarily equal “moral””

            You have a moral obligation to obey the law because you have chosen to join with the social contract under which we all operate. If you wish to change it’s terms there is a process to do that. Blacks, women and gays have all been successful (to varying degrees) at changing their status. None of which could have happened without non blacks, men and straight folk making common cause with them to achieve their goals. Your job is to do likewise. I think that Libertarians have been fairly successful at convincing many people to go along with them. I disagree with their political ideology and argue against it. Like now.

            “Too bad your experience is not the experience of everyone else.”

            My experience is fairly typical. Most homeless folk are the victims not the perps of crime. Forty percent work full or part time. Many are GLBT. I went to a dry shelter, (no drinking or drugging allowed) and most of the other women there left in the morning for their daytime jobs. Every morning I had to walk past the dealers, who were _not_ homeless, on the corner selling to the suburbanites on their way to work. I am grateful that there is a police substation a block and a half from me. That is also typical. Most people in poor neighborhoods are very appreciative for the job that the police do because they have direct daily experience that without them their community would descend into anarchy.

            “Yes that was an incredibly polite body-slam.”

            The point is that it was theater. Adam _wanted_ to be arrested. That’s the whole objective of direct action.

            “What I find interesting about your comment is the sentence in the wikipedia article you’re quoting”

            Yes I know, I read that. I didn’t include it for reasons of space and because it looks like a rat’s nest of “he said she said”. Just because those who were arrested didn’t throw the bomb it doesn’t mean they weren’t complicit. They were accomplices by reason of being participants and by failing to act to prevent a crime from being committed. If you have knowledge of a crime you have a moral duty to alert the authorities. Even if you don’t pull the trigger or toss the bomb you are still guilty of the crime your accomplice committed.

            Why? What is my moral justification? The reason that our laws are just is because we all agreed to a constitution that establishes the rule of law and the means for changing them. Morality is like money. There is no fact of the matter that makes this 20$ bill worth anything. What gives it value is that we all agree to give it value.

            You live in a community where you and everyone else has agreed to follow certain rules. That fact places a moral duty on you to obey them or work to change them according to the provided process for that. Ultimately you can revolt. There was no process for a British colony to declare it’s freedom. It became a fact because they revolted and _made_ it a fact. You are free to do likewise. Good luck.

          3. We are a nation of laws and every citizen has a duty to obey them. Why? Because you agreed to them. Unfortunately it is _only_ the threat of violence that prevents some people from doing whatever they want. A civil society is the very antithesis of anarchy. I prefer the former, as do the majority of others.

            This is complete nonsense. Justice transcends laws. Even if it didn’t the constitutionality of law requires testing, and civil disobedience is an excellent way to bring it the test.

            If we took your advice there never would have been a Rosa Parks and the people who hid Jews during the Holocaust would not have existed. Your logic is exactly the type that makes gross injustice and totalitarianism possible.

          4. [i]You have a moral obligation to obey the law because you have chosen to join with the social contract under which we all operate.[/i]

            This is crap and leads to all kinds of evil. However, judging by your other comments, I don’t believe you actually believe it, since you suggested in other comments that it’s moral to disobey the law as a means of working to change it. So clearly you DON’T believe you have a moral obligation to obey the law. Or you believe it’s immoral to break unjust laws in order to change them, but that you should do it anyway. Either way, you probably should better articulate your position, because if your argument is, “You have a moral duty to obey the law, or to break it if you think it’s a bad law,” why are you arguing in the thread at all?

            If, by some wacky circumstance, it became law that everyone must kill and eat a baby every day, is the moral thing to do to eat a baby every day while petitioning congress to change the law?

            Of course not. It’s a ridiculous example, of course, but there are non-ridiculous examples.

            [i]If you have knowledge of a crime you have a moral duty to alert the authorities. [/i]

            Likewise, here. If harboring escaped slaves is illegal, and you know somebody who’s doing it, you have a moral duty to alert the authorities? I don’t think you actually believe it.

            (I’d also argue that the notion that we must obey the laws because it’s a social contract we agreed to is a little suspect… I don’t remember signing anything. I was born into the society, and changing to a different one a) posits that one exists that has more agreeable terms to me (and as countries extend their reach and influence others policy, this becomes less and less true as time goes by… there’s only so much land), and b) that even if I could, it doesn’t mean leaving behind my entire life. “Agree to this contract or you lose all your stuff” sounds like duress. Of course, I’m being a little facetious here, but say we eventually did get a one world government. Would that still apply? There’s nowhere else to go.)

          5. There is a huge difference between a common punk looking to get enough for a fix and a cop. One is breaking the laws, the other enforcing it.

            The problem is that, as a government becomes more corrupted over time and more representative of the interests of the few, the ‘laws’ become not a mechanism to prevent criminality, but a mechanism to provide social acceptance to criminality; to allow criminals to act without social retribution.

            Look at the ‘war on drugs’: a whole vast criminal enterprise, empowering and enabling several subsidiary criminal enterprises, enforced under the banner of ‘the law.’

            When the law is itself a criminal and immoral thing, how much faith are we to put in it?

            Is it a fair measure of a man’s goodness and moral character, that he obeys odious laws without complaint?

            Unfortunately, it seems to be the inexorable and consistent pattern of all governments, that they will become more corrupt and less representative of the interests of the broader public over the decades, until some crisis happens and the whole society collapses. This is a primary reason I think we need to move beyond the institution of government in organizing our society.

            “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”
            – Jiddu Krishnamurti

  89. That bike hat really makes the scene. I like watching him try to put his glasses on the bike hat. Made my sunday morning. I’m still giggling.

  90. What if their dancing was part of a religious worship? Can people dance if they are praying at the Jefferson Memorial?
    Can they pray?

    I’ll bet if they were holding a religious worship there and they were dancing or singing, they wouldn’t have been slammed into the ground and handcuffed.
    The police would probably even protect them from others that might disrupt their solemn prayer.
    I guess solemnity/ religion is the only way to legally honor in the US.

    1. They did not ‘have to leave because of these doofi.’

      They had to leave because of the POLICE.

      The protesters did nothing to cause the other people to leave.

      That was 100% the choice of the police. They could have let them stay. Instead, they chose to kick everyone out and clear the room, without any particular reason.

  91. Wtf? I get disemvoweled? Wait…I got disemvoweled! Awesome!

    This is a civil liberties thread?

    I’m sorry, I thought it was a “twit right wing radio show host gets what the heck he deserved” thread?

    By the end of the comments I feel much better about my views. My apologies for not footnoting the Oberwetter case law.

    But I do (non-snarkishly) apologize for letting my personal hatred for Libertarian-Republican glory hounds in search of publicity for future senate runs get in the way of my normal goal of non-flaming internet happiness.

    1. It’s an odd political dynamic when someone who has devoted his time to protesting war, islamophobia, and the surveillance/police state is labelled ‘right wing.’

      What is your definition of ‘right wing?’ Opposition to ‘Obamacare?’

  92. You missed one, Antinous – #112 right now, crowfang, “they were asking for it”…

    But that attitude is what it’s all about, you know. Karl Rove has talked about it, Neal Stephenson writes fantasies about it, Noam Chomsky was the guy who first started writing academically about it. They want to shape our minds, so that we cleanly self-delineate into the rulers and the ruled; they want today’s kids to say “serves them right, for talking back” when they see their own parents brutalized by sadistic thugs.

  93. This is just more self absorbed Libertarian posturing.

    “I can do anything I want! If you hinder me in any way it’s fascist tyranny!!”

    You live in a large modern post-industrial nation state, not an agrarian sparsely populated commonwealth. The laws must be written in a way that takes everyones rights into account, not just *you*. As much as you might wish it, you are not the center of the universe.

    I am looking forward to watching more Libertarians getting the crap beat out of them until they get a $#@ clue. Given how thick their heads are however that will take a long time.

    1. Sad thing is, they are fighting for your rights too. You make them out as a criminal- they are just trying to hold on to the last bits of freedom we have. I would be way more worried about the prison state of this country than a bunch of dancing hippies.

    2. Thanks for making it so clear.

      What motivates a majority of libertarians is a deep seated love of peace and an abhorrence of violence for any reason.

      Libertarians abhor the state because they see it resting on a foundation of force and violence.

      Thanks for your statist perspective crystal clear: you think violence is A-OK, think it should be used against people you disagree with, and are delighted by the potentially crippling body slam onto marble you saw in this video.

  94. I just came across this http://www.rutherford.org/articles_db/press_release.asp?article_id=914 . Being asked to leave a national park because of a political sticker on their car???? Something odd is up with the national park police and I don’t quite understand whether these are separate isolated incidents or if they are all that badly trained.
    I also don’t understand how being slammed to a stone floor and having a knee on your neck is “reasonable”.
    I do understand that jabbering about all of this on a Sunday on a website is typical of how and why we all get distracted in the petty bickering instead of affecting real change. *sigh* I sometimes despair of human nature and what it will take to rise above where we seem to be headed (ugh, can’t even express myself well today)

    1. [quote]I also don’t understand how being slammed to a stone floor and having a knee on your neck is “reasonable”. [/quote]

      It’s reasonable because the guy was resisting arrest. First he disobeyed the officer’s orders to stop, then he refused to leave, then refused to hold still for handcuffing. The officer did his job exactly the way he was trained to do it.

      These doorknobs were there to provoke a situation and got exactly what they had intended. They don’t deserve anyone’s sympathy, they deserve disdain for setting this all up then doing everything needed to disrespect and provoke authority.

  95. Note in the Court’s decision against Oberwetter’s suit: “For his part, Mr. Jefferson is on record discouraging celebration of
    his birthday. “On Mr. Jefferson’s accession to the Presidency
    [visitors] had waited on him, requesting to be informed, which was
    his birthday, as they wished to celebrate it with proper respect. ‘The only birthday I ever commemorate,’ replied he, ‘is that of our
    Independence, the Fourth of July.’”

  96. Your government keeps limiting the much flaunted freedoms that it’s supposedly defending overseas, keeps bailing out financial criminals, keeps making economic blunders that are destroying the future of your and the entire world’s children, your president signs the continuation of a legislative abomination via a machine, your political discourse has become a contest of who can buy more airtime to shout the most ignorant nonsense, and you get all flustered and shout FASCISM because some fools are prohibited from dancing in a place of reverence that wasn’t designed as a party hall or auditorium? Now that’s rich.

  97. Did I stumble into the comment section for 12-year olds? The First Amendment doesn’t mean you can do what you want, anytime, anywhere. It doesn’t matter if they didn’t break a law. They broke a rule and national monuments/parks have rules. Then they acted like children when confronted.

      1. Oh man. I was the ultimate rule breaker, but I had my limits. These guys went into this thing wanting to challenge the rules, fair enough. But when push came to shove, they acted like nitwits. Rule Number One is that you never, ever give them a reason to over-react. And then there is the idea of respecting where you are. It’s not a place for that kind of behavior. You can dance and sing in a cemetery, but should you? That’s not what it’s there for. You have to pick your battles and on a scale of 1-10, this one is -50.

        1. ‘that kind of behavior’

          what, willful slow dancing?

          that is OUR lawn, and not yours alone. The police are supposed to enforce the law AND public order. I see ONLY public order being enforced by someone with spray-on pants and an unprofessional attitude of confrontation and escalation.

          Also, hippie got his goat. Hippie’s gotta pay, amirite?

          1. ooooops. I see only ‘the law’ being enforced. Not public order. My misstatement.

            But who closed down the monument? Was it the dozen people who wanted to gather there in silent protest for a few minutes? or the cops with the control drama?

          2. I just took another look at the video again and realized it was Medea Benjamin of Code Pink. They knew very well what they were doing. They were looking for an over-reaction and they got it. And she acts all innocent. Sheesh. That video, which I read was edited, is straight out of the James O’Keefe/Breitbart playbook. Code Pink are now the O’Keefes of the Left?

            I hate the New, New Left. They are such morons. They make it easy for the right to marginalize them.

            btw: you do know that maybe a year ago they stopped a group of Christian* schoolkids from holding a group prayer at the memorial? Where was the Code Pink outrage about free speech then? This was done to protest another lefty incident involving dancing at the memorial.

            *not a christian or religious

          3. This is one of those cases where even though I disagree with them, I will fight for their right to be disagreeable. I’d fight for your right to be disagreeable as well if someone tazed you, bro.

            The only moronic thing though is the lazy shortcut your brain takes that lets you write people you find disagreeable as being worthy of dignity.

            might I add that when you throw dirt, you really lose ground. Most of your arguments would be much stronger without the invective and character assassination. Honest tip.

          4. proof-reading fail. Sorry.

            *…the lazy shortcut your brain takes that lets you (or me) write off people we find disagreeable as not being worthy of dignity.

        2. It’s skipping that middle step of escorting them from the property and instead going from zero to chokehold in 40 seconds while shouting “stop resisting” that doesn’t work for me. Although I’m sure we can both applaud the absence of truncheons.

          But your support for the taking of total physical control over someone who is being only marginally disagreeable only speaks to your own tolerance for tyranny.

          There were de-escalation steps skipped here. If it were Disneyland they’d have a point, but this was in front of a statue of Jefferson fer chrissakes. The guy who said shaking it up a bit is necessary. It’s such a foundational principle that we all paid for a statue of the guy. C’mon!

  98. @rebdav (#54)

    Yours is a voice of reason. Your comment is a deeply insightful one, and one which comes only out of experiences which you’ve chosen to reflect upon in order to understand the dynamic(s) involved.

    I often find myself thanking other boing boing commenters more than really writing good comments myself. I’ll try more often to write something worthwhile, but I just can’t top what others write (and what you wrote here). Thanks for actualizing in words what I feel regarding the problems with law enforcement and the general public/citenzenry. I’m grateful for boing boing for some many great postings which challenge me to think through these exceptionally difficult issues I face in this life (we face in our lives). Sometimes it’s overwhelming, but reading people’s comments such as this make it so worthwhile.

    Thank you.

  99. And everybody make sure that Lionel Ritchie does not enter these
    premises cause you just know he’ll be DANCING ON THE CEILING )

    i can do my own rimshot thank you.

  100. do we have enough to id some of those those cops? Maybe we can “arrest” them right back.

    There are more of us than there are of them.

  101. They are profoundly anti-democratic forces. They’re also nationalistic, they’re violent, they hate minorities (and one religious minority in particular), they don’t care much about ‘facts’, they’re hyper-capitalistic in a deeply corrupt way, and they believe that the ends justify the means. They’re fucking fascists.

    Up until the end, I thought you were talking about the founding fathers.

    Dancers: make your own Jefferson Memorial, and be free and dance in it all you want. You really want to dance in the ‘Official’ memorial? I’m pretty sure George Carlin would ask: why?

    1. Dancers: make your own Jefferson Memorial, and be free and dance in it all you want.

      We already did that. They’re dancing in it.

      All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.
      –Thomas Jefferson

  102. if you look closely, you can see that the first cop is a bike cop and is using a bluetooth
    therefore they should’ve known he would be a douchebag
    you have to look for the signs

  103. I don’t understand one thing. How was MLK able to give The Speech, if demonstrations aren’t allowed at these memorials? Would they have arrested MLK also today, if he were alive?

  104. I’m still trying to wrap my head around “non-public forum”.

    So, the Jefferson Memorial is private property?

    What about singing? Whistling? Laughing?

    By the way, we’ve just had a re-dedication of the Haymarket Martyr’s Monument here in Chicago, to commemorate the event that brought about the International Worker’s Day, May 1st as a worldwide holiday. I’m always a little surprised when I remember that May Day started right here in my home town in the US.

  105. Forget dancing at the Jefferson Memorial. We need to have a law against jacking off in Congress. There would be 535 U.S. lawmakers hauled off to jail tomorrow.

  106. Hummm…I remember another video I saw…but it was in 1939 in Germany.It’s America…yes and there is only one America-South,Central and North America- Police and Government are the same in this side of the world.No difference, really!

  107. As a General Electric representative I find this absolutely ridiculous. These kids knew they were confronting the law, their treatment was just. Had they been using the patented GE dance free technology, they would have been praised by law enforcement for their “dance free” approach. Connect with friends with GE dance free technology now at DanceFreeGE.com

  108. Wow it took 200+ comments for people to actually show that doing stupid stuff in public, I don’t know, makes you look stupid.

    I’m not a violent person, but when people are doing stupid things around me it just annoys me. Annoys me enough to leave, be upset, possibly even say something to them. I’ve never been pushed that far, but dancing in a public memorial is just irritating. I don’t care what kind of right you think you have. I have just as much right to tell you to quit doing that it’s irritating. (Which you won’t, because you simply do not care about others….that is your right is it not?)

    I’ve seen several police “brutality” videos…yawn boring.

    1. When a cop tells you to do something and you don’t at least half way comply you are going to end up on the wrong end of a physical arrest.

    2. An officer is not a lawyer. I believe they see their job as to keep the peace, which you do not seem to believe you are disturbing. Yet if I was present in the crowd, I would have told the officers that some A-hole is disturbing the peace could they do something about it. This isn’t a park, street corner, or some other open place. People are here to see the monument, not be irritated by your spazzing.

    I’m more irritated by the “protesters” belief that the big bad cops were mean to him….boo F’n hoo. Stop doing shit like that in a crowd full of people and you won’t have problems.

    OMG I just realized civilization has the word civil in it! WHO KNEW!

    1. This is my takeaway from this.

      This is a small incident, and relatively minor in many ways.

      But it reflects a disturbing trend in America.

      This trend could broadly be called the ‘authoritarian mindset,’ the reliance on more and more harshly enforced laws to deal with even trivial social problems, the the unquestioning allegiance to authority and the laws as they are written.

      There has been a clear trend over the last few decades of police on all levels viewing others less as fellow citizens who they should dialogue with, work with, and try to help; and more as adversaries who must be brought into compliance at all costs.

      Perhaps it never really existed; but the time of the ‘citizen police’ is over. In America today, a shiny badge gives you a license to commit any sort of crime without fear of significant consequence – literally.

      How was this case handled? A few demonstrators were dancing and creating a scene. First, the police assume that the act is disturbing others in the monument, but without actually receiving any complaints from any actual human beings who were disturbed. So the police are finding a ‘disturbance’ where none really existed, thus creating the problem they sought to prevent.

      Surely, you can’t have a disturbance if no one is actually disturbed.

      Second, what is their first reaction? Do they go and talk to them, human-to-human? Do they politely ask them to stop, that this is not the place for this, could they please leave?

      No. Assuming this video starts at the point of contact, the first communication from the police is a explicit THREAT – stop dancing or we will arrest you.

      Starting from a threat, and not finding immediate compliance, the police escalate the situation by introducing violence into an inherently peaceful scene.

      So, the situation ends violently – but it’s a violence 100% introduced and precipitated by the police.

      How does CIVIL SOCIETY work? What is the basis of it?

      It is peaceful exchange and interplay between people. In a civil society, if you are whistling on the street corner, and I want you to stop, I will recognize our shared humanity, go up to you, and kindly ask you to stop. If you don’t, I will explain that it is hurting my ears. If you still persist, I might ask another aggrieved person to ask you to stop as well. If that fails, I will probably just walk to another street corner.

      That is civil society. That is peaceful society. That is how humans interact with each other, when neither one of them has a gun or the preponderance of force.

      Unfortunately, government is the absence of civil society.

      Government is the antithesis of civil society.

      Government is force. Government is coercion.

      And when you have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

      So he starts not with a polite request, but with a threat. Then immediately escalates it into violence, until compliance is gained through coercion and pain.

      This is not how the world should be run.

      Supporting it in any measure, even a small case like this, is insane.

      Of course, underneath the velvet glove of even the most polite police request is the iron fist – the implicit knowledge that, if you deny the polite request, he has a gun and you don’t, and he could shoot you and claim you threatened him and face no consequences; or at the very least arrest you. So no police request is truly innocent. But even burdened by the heavy badge, police officers should not forget that they are humans too, and they can affect a change in the behavior of others in that most human manner – through peaceful dialogue.

      Sadly, the velvet outer glove has been wearing a lot thinner of late – and police seem to be growing further and further from their basic humanity.

      I’d like to figure out a way to organize society without the iron fist in the first place.

  109. Remember the Egyptians were breaking the law when they formed in the square, they failed to follow the laws that there country had written and our government backed.
    I do not hear anyone bemoaning the military in libya is just enforcing there countries laws as they follow the orders they are given.

    either you have free speech or you do not, what is the middle ground? That you are only allowed to say what the powers that be agree to?

  110. Dear innumerable anonymous commenters,

    I appreciate your outrage, but Oscar Grant’s murder by a BART cop in California is rather marginally related to this incident in Washington, DC.

  111. #167
    “I think one of the main problems here was that the police were unable to articulate the laws they were using and because of that, they came across as if they were doing something wrong.”

    –This also crossed my mind. Clearly the officer was referring to some law, but couldn’t cite it. I wondered how fair it is to require officers to be able to cite every law in existence– there are a lot of laws. I am leaning toward the notion that they should be able to cite any law they intend to enforce– if they can’t cite the laws they’re enforcing, it begs the question how familiar they are with the law, how it should be applied, and if it exists at all.

    #200

    –OK. Gonna need to see Lincoln’s birth certificate, like, now!

    #227

    “Absolutely. MLK gave his life for a just cause.”

    –I know this is a popular expression, but it rubs me the wrong way. MLK didn’t give his life for a just cause. I whole-heartedly believe he lived his life for a just cause. His life was taken from him for heinous causes. It’s one thing to willingly trade your life to save another’s (taking a bullet for someone), but it’s an entirely different story to live by principles that you know to be just, even in the face of the daily bigotry, hatred, threats, suffering that he willingly bore with the hope that he could make the world a better place.

  112. The Civil Rights Movement of the 60’s didn’t have Youtube. It did have the sort of strange fruit Southern hospitality that appalled even Eisenhower. This merged imperceptibly into the Vietnam war protests, leaving a lot of blacks wondering where the cameras went. They re-emerged on the campus of Kent State, where four or five white kids died suddenly of heavy metal. Kent State didn’t have Youtube, either.

    Osama bin Laden sat in a room, on a carpet, with a dozen or so jihadis arranged around the wall. He nodded in congratulations when the news came that the twin towers were down. Ten years laters, a bullet in bin Laden’s left eye and one in his ear, Barak Obama congratulated himself. Clearly, there was a was difference here; bin Laden modestly invited the world to his underestimation of the effects of burning aircraft on 911. He had Youtube.

    Truman, who unleashed hell on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, fist-pumpingly secure in the redeeming solace of absolute world power, had no Youtube.

    What a shame. Youtube should accompany the powerful to bath and bed, to prevent such ironies.

    Chairman Mao’s first priority these days would not be to capture radio stations. He’d flood Youtube. Watch out, kids. Who owns Youtube?

  113. Poor Thomas Jefferson, the powers that be took a great big shit on his memorial.

    When dancing becomes a criminal act, you know you live in one seriously screwed-up country.

    Also, any country that employs officers of the law who threaten to arrest people for violating a law which they cannot state clearly, is more of an exponent of fascism and unquestioning obedience to authority, than the so-called sacrosanct “rule of law”.

  114. Maybe the law is stupid, maybe not; but saying they were arrested for dancing is misinformation. They were arrested for demonstrating, and personally, I wouldn’t want to visit a commemorative site and have it overrun by dancers, buskers, protesters, demonstrators or whoever trying to find an audience for their own agenda.

    Maybe the cops overreacted, but the video I watched showed the officer asking if they were a group, asked to talk to who was in charge and told them “I’ve given you your warnings, if you come out here and demonstrate by dancing you will be placed under arrest.” The dancers escalated the situation from there, being unreasonable and asking ridiculous questions such as “What is dancing?” and proceed to have their demonstration and be arrested.

    Cops are people too, which means they make mistakes, can’t remember word for word every piece stature, and get hot-headed when a bunch of yokels start feigning ignorance, act disrespectfully, and try to pick a fight to get hits on YouTube.

    This Kokesh fella has plenty of outlets and his intentions were obvious. This was a publicity stunt plain and simple. Making a scene during memorial day weekend at a memorial site to shoot a viral video might not be explicitly illegal, but it oughta be.

    1. I agree. If you start acting like you are still five years old, expect consequences. I do not feel bad for them at all. In fact, I felt like they were children saying, “I’m going to do this because you told me not to!” And come on, the guy shouting, “you didn’t give us a warning!” oh yes they did. And you purposefully chose to provoke them. Sorry, but I am giving them all a big eye roll (14 is more mature than 5 ;)

  115. Wow…talk about assigning the wrong man for the job. That cop with the bicycle helmet is clearly unsuitable for a very public position guarding a tourist location considering he seemingly hates any outward displays of emotions. Instead of firing him, I’d rather the person responsible for assigning him there be fired instead.

  116. “Maybe the cops overreacted, but the video I watched showed the officer asking if they were a group, asked to talk to who was in charge and told them “I’ve given you your warnings, if you come out here and demonstrate by dancing you will be placed under arrest.” The dancers escalated the situation from there, being unreasonable and asking ridiculous questions such as “What is dancing?” and proceed to have their demonstration and be arrested.”

    That’s not a ridiculous question. An officer MUST identify a crime before any action. False arrest can be punishable by being fired under a due process hearing. In Mass we have what’s called the quinn bill which are incentives to actually get a higher education for law officers. I highly doubt any of the officers in the video have attended college.

    “Cops are people too, which means they make mistakes, can’t remember word for word every piece stature, and get hot-headed when a bunch of yokels start feigning ignorance, act disrespectfully, and try to pick a fight to get hits on YouTube.”

    So why should cops even show up for this then? The fact of the matter remains that you don’t bother to enforce laws that are trivial. Arresting a jaywalker doesn’t make sense when other crimes are going on.

    Do any of the police ever think that this could have simply been used as a distraction? So meanwhile Al qaida could blow something up and police are arresting people holding hands!

    “This Kokesh fella has plenty of outlets and his intentions were obvious. This was a publicity stunt plain and simple. Making a scene during memorial day weekend at a memorial site to shoot a viral video might not be explicitly illegal, but it oughta be.”

    So why did police even bother? Joey Skaggs has done things like this in NYC for the past 40 years..

    1. It is probable the blind leading the blind when it comes to the legalities of false arrest, but the cop stated clearly, he would arrest them if they danced. Then they were arrested. The demonstrators forced the cops to play their card (which is exactly what they seemed to want).

      The dancing question wasn’t intended to be edifying. He was being a smart-alec to incite a response.

      If you want to make a list of other choices that could have been made I would start with the variety of options Kokesh had to change what he thought was an unnecessary law, before taking direct action. He could have written a letter, made a bit on his show, interviewed, petittioned, pamphleted, etc. When they started buffooning-around the cops had to do their job.

  117. As a veteran of 30+ years of civil disobedience, including both the mass protest and the absurdist theater varieties, I thought the dancing protesters did a very effective job. They used current media documentation and dissemination effectively – here we are talking about the action and the possible motives and histories, at length.
    The cops, who could not even cite their legal basis for arrest, are the ones who closed the Jefferson Monument to the public, not the less than a dozen (initially silent) protesters. If one the protesters’ intents was to highlight the growing levels of violent repression by those in power in the US, and of passers-by to acquiesce to violence being done in our/their names, this protest was well-staged. As for what the protesters were yelling, if was certainly above the cries of “Your gloves don’t match your shoes” of my ACT-UP FDA kiss-in days (which resulted in MUCH more police violence on much slenderer legal pretexts, and eventually, appropriate funding for AIDS research and realization that queers are not resourceless targets for bigotry).
    I hope to see more people dancing at more monuments soon. Silent moving protests worked well for the Women in Black and mothers of the Argentinian disappeared – let us do the same.

  118. Please don’t cite laws to determine whether a particular behaviour is wrong or not. This is why American’s don’t understand freedom.

  119. Oscar Grant.
    The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Police shooting of Oscar Grant refers to the fatal shooting of unarmed civilian Oscar Grant by BART Officer Johannes.
    God Bleas

  120. i dont know what i find more disgusting. The cops, the people not reacting, or a 300 comment thread discussing semantics. This is absolutely embarassing, and what makes me sick about america.

  121. Ok, I am not under the impression that “dancing” in a public place is considered illegal anywhere in our nation (Have we not all watched Footloose?!). Joking aside, the issue here is this…

    Dancing at the Jefferson Memorial is no different than dancing in a public park while picnicking. However, given that the Memorial is a more enclosed and confined space I can understand the notion of protecting others around you. If some fool was doing the running man and accidentally ran into my child or knocked over an elderly person, I for one would be fairly peeved. 1, for doing the running man, and 2 for not being more cautious around others.

    That being said, that was clearly a number of people with the intent to protest or have a demonstration of some kind, at which point are they not supposed to have a permit of some kind? or provide notice to the local authorities? I am fairly certain there is some protocol regarding it.

    In any case…to the first couple handcuffed who claimed “you didn’t warn me or say anything to me!” If the officer warns someone else within ear shot of you, then you are considered to also be warned. S/He does not have to be speaking directly to you for you to be issued a warning.

    To all those on this thread (and others to be sure)…Its not a fine line between proper authority for the safety and security of all and a fascist nation such as Nazi Germany…STOP comparing the 2. You denounce military personnel when they make an error in judgment on the battlefield and harm civilians, or cry foul when an officer steps over the line using what you deem to be excessive force….BUT believe me…If you were being attacked by some psychotic fool, you’d be damn happy that the officer on the scene jumped him. And you would not care about how much force they used when capturing the pedophile rapist of your child. If an invading force was coming down our streets, you would be thankful that our military personnel were there to defend you at that moment.

    I am not blanketly justifying all questionable or wrongful acts by those in authority or in a uniform, I am cautioning you as citizens to keep your eyes and minds open to understanding the situation and what they are going through.

    The guy screaming I have a bad shoulder…based on what I could see, the officer was not putting any undue stress or attempting to cause any additional pain to his shoulder specifically beyond the reasonable amount to restrain an individual. Him claiming “OW” does not mean he was being hurt purposefully and with malicious intent. No officer ever pulled out a gun and brandished or discharged it. I didn’t see any sprays or excessive force. I saw officers doing their job within reasonable limits (beyond the ludicrous nature of arresting people for slow dancing). Personally, if that had been me as the officer, I would have said, “Stop being douche bags and move along. Go dance in the park to your hearts content. And take some dance lessons prior to it, you’re all terribad!”

    I am with Anon that its laughable such a long thread formed with commentary, though he and I are certainly as guilty as everyone else for posting too.

    1. Your comment is a good indication of why Police are almost never convicted of egregious crimes, and why when police even blatantly lie in court the juries tend to believe them.

      Because Americans are conditioned to assume cops are doing right, and even in the face of all evidence, will continue to feel deep down that the police can’t possibly be wrong.

      Look at all the cognitive dissonance in your post!

      You clearly, being a human being with a conscience, feel that there is something wrong here.

      And yet, you stretch to ridiculous lengths to justify the police actions.

      “What if they had plowed into some kid? The police have to be violent, because what if there were a murderer or pedophile they were arresting?”

      Frankly, what does that have to do with anything?

      These protesters weren’t threatening to knock down any children. They weren’t murderers or pedophiles.

      The police chose to deal with the infraction in an authoritarian rather than civil manner, and then acted like they had threatening and dangerous people, as if they caught somebody running around with a Bazooka.

      The actions of the police are indefensible, but

      The law is wrong not because it bans dancing, but because it censors all type of political speech in an important national landmark. It bans anti-war demonstrations, sign-holding, or candlelight vigils as well.

      Saying you are free to demonstrate, but only in the places and times where the state you are demonstrating against allows (ie, “free speech zones”), is no freedom at all.

      It is a small law, but one that goes against the very nature of America and of Jefferson’s vision for the world.

      The bureaucrats and police who passed and enforced this law are spitting on Jefferson’s grave.

      1. Your comment is a good indication of why Police are almost never convicted of egregious crimes, and why when police even blatantly lie in court the juries tend to believe them.

        I didn’t absolve police everywhere of wrong doings in all cases, nor did I say they were wholly right in this circumstance. I specifically stated that if it were I, I would have simply told the “demonstrators” to stop being jackasses and go dance elsewhere.

        I did point out that what you “saw” the police do in that video was NOT egregious to the point of “OMG! They are the Gestapo! They must pay for their crimes against civilians!!”

        I will admit to agreeing with Col Jessup when he said, “I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand a post.” to SOME extent. SOME…not entirely.

        People come on these boards and slam officers and military personnel for anything they deem the slightest of offenses. Forgetting that these people are human too. We ask them to take on roles in our society that will cost them their very lives or the lives of others if they make a mistake….and yet we are shocked when they do make a mistake? Who is being unreasonable?!?

        They are supposed to know the law by heart…and they are supposed to have the public’s best interest at heart! Democracy is in its essence about “the good of the many” and if its best for a small group of people to not dance there, so that the rest and majority of others can enjoy their time there…Well, Damn straight they should be asked to leave!

        If I had been there with my kids and those people had been there disrupting my time and my childrens’ time and enjoyment of a national landmark and history…I would have been pissed. And I would have ASKED that they leave. I would akin what these people were doing to a group of kids talking loudly and using their cell phones in a movie theater. Is it wrong or illegal…no. Is it rude as hell and disturbing to the majority of others there…YES.

        I am not stretching to any ridiculous means to justify bad police behavior or actions, I am using an extreme to illustrate that scenarios in which we find that behavior acceptable.

        If someone is resisting arrest, what in the hell do you think the Police are TRAINED to do?! A choke hold, wrestle them down, brandish a weapon, discharge said weapon…all are acceptable means at the officers disposal depending on the situation and the officer’s best judgment. We put them in that position and ask them to use that judgment and training.

        The other extreme is NO police anywhere…and I am sorry, while I would hope for a world in which police and security are unnecessary because people do what is RIGHT and are always GOOD…I know for a fact, that is NOT the world we live in.

        Again, I do not want the Third Reich, any more than I think you do….but I am not naive enough to think that the Police are perfect or that every “demonstrator” is truly innocent.

        And yes…I am a former soldier. I did stand to post with weapon in hand and defend this nation’s principles and freedom of its citizens. So, you’re welcome. And I hope you find it in yourself to perhaps look at situations like this one a touch more objectively and find the middle ground. Be willing to point out what BOTH sides have done right, and what BOTH sides have done wrong. Its rarely ever black and white.

        1. I will admit to agreeing with Col Jessup when he said, “I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand a post.” to SOME extent. SOME…not entirely.

          This Col. Jessup sounds like a perfect fascist.

          It’s worth noting that almost every totalitarian state in history claimed to be doing it for for safety and, yes, ‘freedom’ of its subjects.

          Imperial Rome, Napoleonic France, Nazi Germany, Soviet Union, etc. In their internal propaganda, they ALL claimed that there actions were specifically to protect the freedom of the citizens from external threats.

          Frankly, if I don’t want to ‘protection’ offered, don’t expect me to be grateful for it. Especially if I am paying through the nose for it.

          90% of what our national security state does has nothing to do with ensuring the security or freedom of Americans. Quite the opposite. Go read ‘War is a Racket’ by the most decorated USMC General of his era. Nothing much has fundamentally changed since.

          These Park Police make a starting salary of $50,000 a year. That’s pretty damned high, especially considering the nature of the work. Asking them to show basic human decency to the public they are supposedly serving is not so much.

          http://www.nps.gov/uspp/recruitng.htm

          The other extreme is NO police anywhere

          Don’t present false dichotomies. Of course some form of police are necessary.

          The solution is simple:

          1) A framework of law that is based on inherent human rights and an unchangeable code of morality, rather than arbitrary laws. America is NOT a democracy, and it was never supposed to be one. Democracy is one of the worst of all political systems, because it leads the majority to have a feeling of moral superiority when they oppress the minority.

          2) For all police (all individuals, for that matter) to be 100% fully accountable for their actions, the same as if they were not wearing a badge. If they are preventing or responding to aggression, that’s great. If they are themselves committing agression, that’s criminal and they should be prosecuted. If they don’t want to be held on the same level as other citizens, that’s fine – they can simply quit and find another job. At $50,000 a year, it wouldn’t be hard to fill the ranks with people who will respect this one basic rule.

        2. quori wrote, “We ask them to take on roles in our society that will cost them their very lives or the lives of others if they make a mistake”

          Like roofers and bus drivers?

  122. Guys, I know these cops took it too far, but honestly, if I were thinking about doing the same thing at the Jefferson Memorial (I live in DC and I’ve been to a lot of protests) I would expect to be arrested.

    Just like Vincent Gray: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0411/52966.html

    Because the Park Service is going to consider it unlawful assembly. Is that fair? Well, I think a lot of people are going to disagree here but yea, I can accept it.

    When we do Santa Con in DC every year, we walk over to the Washington Monument and the rule is, we have to stand outside the fence. We can’t actually walk onto the marble skirt surrounding the monument. And ya’ll know Santa Con is not about *anything*. It’s just the rule. Because really, the monuments are for the tourists, not the protesters or the local flash mob/drunk Santas.

    And in my experience (chalking on the sidewalk around the IMF) (handing out flyers about the Sudan in Lafayette Park), as long as you’re nice to the cops, the cops will be nice to you. Like it was said earlier, they’re just people too.

  123. Quori, there is a fine line in the legality of choke holds used by police. It’s academic in the context here. The choke hold, the body slam (really?), etc was simply unnecessary. The most effective tool of the police should be their brains, not bullying. A sharp minded officer could have handled this situation without that samount of force, or any real force imo. It worries me that police are unable to think on their feet and use their wits to control situations. Defaulting to victory by attrition in any situation is how things get out of control.

    What’s more disruptive to your family’s tourist experience – some protestors getting wrangled by the police, or your children watching bolice choke and body slam benign protestors (obnoxious or not, there was nothing dangerous going on here).

  124. The ironic thing is that the law itself invites disturbance, it helps create the problem it seeks to solve, instead of preventing it.

    Harsh laws often create the opposite effect of what is intended – because people simply don’t like being ordered what to do. Unless they have been conditioned to authoritarianism, the natural human impulse is to do the opposite of what is forcefully ordered.

    There is a lesson for all of society here, applicable in hundreds of different areas.

    Shadows of the war on drugs here…

  125. @anon 116: There’s a lot of purely emotional reaction going on here, especially from people who believe freedom of speech and assembly is unlimited. It’s not.

    I’ll just leave Mr J’s take on that here:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    Thomas Jefferson, at the time serving as Ambassador to France, wrote to Madison advocating a Bill of Rights: “Half a loaf is better than no bread. If we cannot secure all our rights, let us secure what we can.”

  126. Gotta love the freedom-lovers in this thread ranting about the fascists and how they should all suffer for their opinions. “I would gladly sacrifice your life defending your freedom to agree with me!” Delicious hypocrisy.

    I, for one, would love visiting a Jefferson Memorial where Fred Phelps and his ilk were allowed to wave their signs and chant their hateful slogans. Come on! They aren’t *hurting* anyone! Sure, it’s not dancing. Maybe we can just allow the dancing, right? And maybe just people who are trying to raise money for famine relief, because that’s important and compassionate. Oh, and people who want to express their political beliefs, but only if they do it in the form of interpretive dance. Or mime. Yeah, mime!

    Or maybe not. If not wanting that kind of crap in Jefferson’s Memorial makes me a “fascist” then I guess I must be. And I guess I deserve to die in a fire. At least at my funeral, the Phelpsies will have to wave their signs from the sidewalk.

  127. I reacted strongly when I first saw the video, but after doing a search (May 28 + arrests + Jefferson Memorial), I see other sides to this issue. It’s more complex than it first appears.

    1. Anon ….

      Totally agreed! If you looked at my criticism of the officers it was simply – was that really necessary?! – I stated if it had been me, I would have simply asked them to move along and said, “Stop being jackasses”.

      Pmocek…
      I do not think it is fair at all to put Police, Firefighters, Military personnel, and the like in the same category as a blue collar laborer. Public or Mass transit operators are another category all together. Yes an airline pilot has numerous lives in their hands, but the frequency of issues that arise is actually quite rare comparative to what Police and FF. To be honest, it might even be fair to put Military personnel in another category all together too! There are many jobs in which others can be put at risk from your actions, but no more or less so than for any common person driving a vehicle who could plow into a crowd of people. Police (especially Metro police comparative to rural town police) are in harms way at a far greater percentage. The likely hood of something going wrong increase exponentially for them.

      Zyodei….

      I am not really sure where to begin with you. You make statements that show a great deal of intelligence, but then a lack of a wisdom. This indicates to me that you are smart, yes, but either young or simply inexperienced. Its an assessment that could be wrong, but I am basing it solely on your words here.

      First off…when it comes to sociopolitical arguments, nothing is ever simple. Save perhaps Totalitarianism. I hate to say, your 2 bullet points will not solve any problems and are far from implementable. We have CEOs of corporations making 20+ million a year and they are rarely responsible or accountable…and you expect the officer making $50k to be? How would you ever enforce “accountability”, much less even define it within the parameters of their job. Why should one’s salary even ever be considered to a question of doing what is right. It should not matter what one does, how much the are compensated. Do what is right all the time.

      Second, Democracy is at its core designed to provide what is best for the majority. And it has been the best political system the world has known. NOT the longest lasting, which is clearly Monarchy. You mention morality…but that’s a huge bucket to try and define. Some people have no issues stoning others to death, yet others want to forgive all, still others want to see the world burn. Morality is ever so tied to religion and personal viewpoints. Yes, some social morals come into play, but those are loosely defined by law. Murdering someone for no reason might be condemned by all people, but murdering the person attacking you might be forgivable by some and not by others. Morality brings in shades of gray…lots of shades of gray! “Simple” is no where to be found here.

      Lastly…Col Nathan Jessup. Seriously…you don’t know who that is or where the quote comes from? Either you live under a rock, or you don’t know what a VCR is. And if you don’t get my reference here, mores the pity. My 10 yr old doesn’t know Col Jessup by name…but she knows the quote and the film which its from. And yes, he was ostensibly a fascist. He was right in the sense that a blanket of freedom requires some sacrifice. Usually personal sacrifice on the part of someone willing to do what it takes to provide it. Now he was wrong in the view that no one should question how he does said job…no one is beyond reproach, and it is our civic duty to question everything around us, continually. But he was right in the sense that this nation is filled with people complaining about the manner in which our “security” is provided, and yet never have done the job themselves. The wonderful phrase is “walk a mile in my shoes”.

      “Pick up a weapon and stand to post”, then you might have a better understanding of what it means to be a soldier, a marine, a police officer, etc is the point the character’s statements are trying to make. Its not easy, its hard…very very hard.

      And again, while the Officer in question was not wholly right…the “protesters” weren’t wholly right either. They were being idiots in my opinion based again solely on that video. Someone on the protesters side taped it, they edited it, they skewed it to fit their views and message to be sure.

      I for one hold BOTH SIDES accountable to their actions and question both of their choices and decision making.

  128. “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

    -Thomas Jefferson

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