Oakland Riot Cat

OAKLAND RIOT CAT. Here's the background.

(via Renny Gleeson)


  1. In related but separate news, I heard the police in Dallas were pretty cool to the protestors.  Need to absorb them into the movement.  It’s not like they make big money for what they do, and it’s thankless work.  They’re not the 1%, although they tend to act on behalf of that group.

    Only one officer shot Scott Olsen in the head, and only one officer threw the flashbang.  Maybe the same one.  On the other hand, lots of police are compassionate, and they’re all human beings.  We may not be able to relate, but we should try to care.

    1. Hungryjoe,

      The police as individuals may or may not be worthy of compassion on a case by case basis. On the other hand the institution of the police is quite another story. Appealing to the idea of good cops just trying to do their jobs deflects attention away from an occupational class structured to prioritize the interests of the 1%. Just as there are different qualities of individual police officers, “police” as an institution isn’t monolithic, changes over time, and we ought to be asking what the hell is wrong with our current police institutions and how can we make them better?

      1. The police maintain order.  You might say that the 1% has a greater interest in maintaining order and the 99% has greater interest in disrupting it, but it’s not the beat cop who lets a white collar criminal off easy.  That’s much deeper in the system. 

        I somehow doubt an officer’s going to stand by and watch a man stab you, no matter how nice your assailant’s suit may be.

        1. I actually doubted that an officer would stand by and watch a man bleeding on the ground after being shot in the face with a tear gas canister, and then toss a flash grenade into the crowd gathering to help him. But I don’t doubt it now.

          If you call that maintaining order, you are part of the problem, friend.

          1. I’m really sick of Boingers saying I’m “part of the problem” every time I take a reasonable approach that happens to differ from their own. 

            I guess it’s better than being called a troll every time I take a reasonable approach that happens to differ from their own.

          1. Ah, but was he drowned by a wealthy executive bay that nearly dried up until they refilled it with water from a nearby working-class lake?

          2. “Local officials said that because of a lack of funding for shore-to-water rescue, firefighters had no one properly trained to go into the water,”

            yes, budget cuts to the fire department. You made that point about someone who died.

            And what’s your point? That the police are callous assholes? Uh huh.

        2. The police started this disorder in the first place. The protestors were not beating people up, smashing windows, or setting cars on fire – they were just occupying a public space. And there can never be anything wrong with the peaceful mass occupation of public space in the name of political protest.

          Hell, their actions are less damaging and more respectful than even those of the Boston Tea Party (which was actually quite a large scale destruction of private property). I can only surmise that anyone who complains “but it’s against the law” when it comes to the Occupy movement would have supported the British in the Revolution or Hitler in Nazi Germany – both of those had “the law” on the their side too. Ethics are more important than laws, and they are certainly much more important than “doing your job”.

          1. A protest is, by its very essence and nature, disorder.  Even when it’s peaceful, it’s a disruption to the normal flow of things (which is OK and legal and Constitutional and protected) that can very quickly turn not-peaceful.  Cops are humans.  They are not psychic or omnipotent, they get nervous, and they’re expected to keep the situation under control.  That does not FORGIVE their actions, it merely explains them.

            You don’t seem to understand that some of us, some of us with SLIGHTLY more complicated opinions than your straw man there, understand that law is not the same as morality.  We understand that legality is a matter of FACT, not of opinion.  We know that actions have consequences, even when those actions are justified and those consequences are unfair.  We know that doing the right thing sometimes comes with a cost, ESPECIALLY when dealing with a corrupt system that will stop at nothing to protect itself.  It’s naive to think the government is just going to say, “hey, you’re right, we are rotten, we were just waiting for someone to notice.  Here, take over, will you?  Let me get the launch codes for the nukes for you; those are kind of important and the last time I lost them Panetta got soooo mad.”

            So no, we don’t support Hitler.  We just understand that if you were to defy Hitler, you’d end up shot or in a concentration camp.  That doesn’t mean we’d be against defiance, or that we wouldn’t pay that price ourselves.

          2. I agree completely.

            But the best way to have avoided this disaster in Oakland would have been a decision NOT to send riot police, armed with teargas, flashbangs, etc. to forcibly disperse a crowd engaged in peaceful disobedience.

            There is no way in which the actions of the police (as an organisation more than the actions of specific officers) can be defended in this instance. It is not as if the officers suddenly found themselves in an unexpected situation – they chose to deploy with the specific special-purpose weaponry to do exactly what they did.

          3. My question is this: Why are the NYPD and OPD acting like redcoats, and just where is our well regulated militia?

          4. They’re busy pushing the democracy blender in places that either don’t want it or have no place to plug it in to.  Or if you were referring to the National Guard they are either doing the same or preparing to enact martial law as soon as it is ‘appropriate’. In that vein, I am sort of wondering where the less-than-well-regulated militias are. I’ve never really been a proponent of armed loosely-cohesive para-military groups but I do wonder why we haven’t heard so much as a peep out of them. Especially the lunatic fringe subset.

          5. I have been thinking that the PTB would shit gold twinkies if OWS hooked up with the eliminate-the-Fed and open-carry crowd(s).

        3. That’s only partially true. They maintain order for the establishment. If you doubt it, look at the long and storied history of pulling back policing (and fire departments!) from inner-city neighborhoods.

          A cop won’t stand by and watch a stabbing, the vast majority of the time. But they’ll definitely take their time helping you in a less stabby situation, depending on where you live. I’m moving out of the industrial part of my city next week, and I fully expect that the next time someone busts my car window, I won’t be waiting three to four hours for a bored desk-jockey to drive up and take down the details.

          Just remember that order is often a euphemism.

    2.  Cops have been pretty cool in Houston too.  A few arrests at the Leeland Federal Building two weeks ago, but we were blocking the entrances. Negotiated evac from Herman Square for a previously scheduled event. Things seem set up pretty well in Tranquility Park. We’re having a Corporate House of Horrors there in Saturday night. and poems and scary stories on Sunday night. I might do a reading of The Man Who Fell out of Bed on Sunday, as it’s about the creepiest real life horror story, but I won’t step up to the mike if lots of people have original content. 

      We may not get to stay in Tranquility past next week. If the eviction comes I’ll be there.  Been reading up on the flashbangs. I got plugs, welder’s mask and gloves. I think I can take a flashbang. And everything has been mostly civil here, so I don’t think there will be a problem.

      Forget Herman Cain. Remember Herman Blume:

      “They can’t buy backbone. Don’t let them forget that”

        1. By “pretty cool” you mean treating you like an American citizen, right?

          I couldn’t quite articulate why “they are acting pretty cool” bothered me, but you hit the nail on the head.

          When we start saying things like, “Wow.  These officers aren’t being assholes!  They aren’t treading on our rights as American citizens!  That’s awesome!” Then … well, we know there is a problem.  That shouldn’t be notable.  It should be the norm.

    3. I think it’s fair to blame a cop for doing the wrong thing, but I also think it’s OK to understand why they might.  It is their job to ensure the safety of all citizens.  Protests and riots are tense situations and can go very wrong, very fast.  It’s hard to know the right thing to do and easy to jump the gun, so to speak. 

      The abusive ones need to be held accountable for their actions but I don’t envy any of them right now. 

  2. I just noticed after seeing this pic elebenty times today; is that cop wearing latex exam gloves? Is that just for the cat or is it part of a safe… something or other program?

  3. There’s also happyfuncop: http://memegenerator.net/Happyfuncop

    Source: http://img207.imageshack.us/img207/4320/baoccupy260504432665.jpg (via: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/10/26/1030222/-BREAKING-PHOTOS:-Images-CONTRADICT-Oakland-PD-Press-Release-on-Rubber-Bullets)

  4. Dangit BoingBoing, I clicked that “the background” link expecting it to be a desktop background-sized version of the image for super-large viewing enjoyment.  I was disappointed.

  5. The cop is actually swinging the cat round to bang it on the wall…very slowly and gently.
    Just to show the cat what will happen if it doesn’t comply.

  6. Isn’t it odd how the police inevitably and invariably become entangled in movements of demonstration and civil disobedience, taking sides with the opposition as they employ the tactics of repression?  Who would have guessed all those officers in Seattle happened to be pro-WTO?  Or that the officers in Oakland are all for the 1%?  Or that the park police officers at the Jefferson Memorial love the opportunity to deny citizens their first amendment rights?  Or could it be that the nature of confrontation, the disrespect for order, and the disobedience displayed by those whose very purpose is to make a point by pushing boundaries invites a suppresive reaction by an institution mandated to enforce order?  The disproportionate violence occasionally used by the police and the transgressions of some officers hardly suggests any insidious conspiratorial motives any more than does the excessive use of force sometimes exercised in high adrenaline situations.  All it takes is one spark or faltering of judgement in a highly volatile atmosphere for an escalation of force to get out of hand.  All these movements love to push but it’s frustrating when nobody pushes back.  Thankfully the trusty police are always there to oblige their need for a sparring partner.

    1. So are you suggesting the cops are like the Jewish capos in the concentration camps: more brutal than most of the Nazis, charged with keeping order, and faithfully carrying out their duties in exchange for special favors from their superiors?

  7. “It’s not the cops fault, they’re just doing their job.” Well there are a lot of jobs to be done in this world, but these people signed up for this. Haven’t we spent decades at least documenting what it is to be a policeman in an unjust society? Isn’t it available to anyone in a public library?

  8. I feel sorry for the unfortunate bastard who’s generous character has been crushed by a dehumanizing criminal justice system. But I do not sympathize with them when they’re systematically destroying the basic human rights and sense of peace of an individual or group.

    Sorry cops. The system is failing you, and you are failing you. It’s a shitty gig all around.

  9. I really feel like there’s a missed meme opportunity here…but maybe I’m the only one that remembers the Biz Markie song “Nobody beats the biz.”

  10. I hope they got that cat back to the owner the article says the police evicted from the park. Must be sad for both of them.

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