Saturday, November 19, 2011

Police Captain Ray Lewis is Up with Chris Hayes to discuss the role of Police in Occupy protests, and the potential for Police to become Mercenaries for the Rich

Retired Philadelphia police Captain Ray Lewis was arrested on Thursday at the Occupy Wall Street protest.  Today he was on Up With Chris Hayes to explain his arrest, his stand, the role of police in situation and even the role of the police hierarchy to keep police violence in check.  He had retired over 8 years ago and was living what he described as a "Walden Pond" existence of solitude in the Catskills Mountains.  Except that he had become involved in hydraulic fracturing activism, so it's not like he was having a life of total simplicity.  Instead he would have been getting aware of the wrongness being committed upon our people, and when he saw the Occupy movement start he knew he had to get involved.

As a retired Police Captain being arrested by NYPD's finest, that's great symbolism.

He had some most interesting things to say about the role of Police Hierarchy in dealing with situations like this.  He said you always have "white shirts" (supervisors) overseeing the situation to reign in the tendency for fighting to erupt.  That is, we have an innate "fight/flight" reflex and the job of police officers requires they cannot engage in "flight" so therefore they tend to engage in "fight".  The "white shirts" are there to keep that fight tendency in check.  But what we've seen in the response to the Occupy protests, says Capt Lewis, is that the white shirts (supervisors) are engaging in the fight, and that therefore we have anarchy.

He says he'd been carrying a sign that got misinterpreted.  The sign read "NYPD don't be mercenaries for the 1%" but he didn't want to say that NYPD is currently mercenarying for the billionaires, but calling on them to not BECOME mercenaries.

There is a critique of police activity that the police is acting to protect the billionaires from the protest movement.  When they do, that would make them "mercenaries for the 1%".