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ACLU: Police have some explaining to do

The ACLU of Massachusetts says it's looking into how people were arrested and processed following the "heavy handed" Greenway crackdown on Tuesday.

Boston officials have so far given conflicting and inconsistent explanations for the crackdown on Occupy Boston at the Rose Kennedy Greenway on Oct. 11. They cited public safety issues, even though the demonstrators remained peaceful; rules and permitting technicalities, even though these appear not to be enforced for others; and concern for the welfare of the Greenway's lawn and shrubs, even though the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy apparently did not ask for the police to remove demonstrators. In an interview with WBUR, Mayor Menino claimed that "civil disobedience doesn't work for Boston," ignoring the historical relevance of the practice to the City's "Freedom Trail."

In August, the ACLU sued Boston Police over its monitoring of local political groups.

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Comments

"even though the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy apparently did not ask for the police to remove demonstrators "

The greenway clearly told them not to move into the new area several times, it's on both the original PR that is on the greenway site and the updated one regarding the situation.

http://www.rosekennedygreenway.org/files/8413/1836...

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As someone who was at the general assembly the night of the raid, Nancy, a representative of the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy spoke to the occupiers and agreed with us that it was an expansion due too how many people attended. She asked us to respect the new art sculptures and the newly spruced up shrubbery, plants and grass. We agreed to those conditions and she agreed to our occupation.

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When did the City sell it off to these Conservators? I hope we got a good price.

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The folks at the conservancy sent down an emissary who very clearly told us we could stay and expressed support for the movement.
What you are passing off as support for your contention is an after the fact statement. Clearly the conservancy has been told to tow the line or else. The message delivered BEFORE the event is on video and links are available on the facebook/occupyboston page. And it leaves absolutely NO QUESTION what the conservancy was telling us we could do.
And you know something, as a property owner and tax payer and commuter in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts i think I've been paying about as much as you, if not more for these facilities you and people who post messages like you have been for a long time. And I not only support the civil disobedience occurring, I feel it's LONG OVERDUE. Get used to it, cause this is what Democracy looks like.

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"tow the line" is not the expression...its "toe the line" as in put your toes all on the same line. how do you tow a line?

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I agree that it's "toe the line" not "tow the line".

However, you *can* "tow the line" on a boat. The line refers to a rope. A "tow rope" or "tow line" is used to connect two boats, like when a tug pulls a barge. The tug boat would be "towing the line".

But the history of the phrase is definitely "toe the line".

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you don't tow the line, you tow the boat. you tow with the line. if there is no boat on the end of the line, you are just draggin the line, draggin the line....

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Here is some documentation of The Executive Director of the Greenway speaking to Occupy Boston at their General Assembly meeting mere hours before the BPD raided and destroyed the second encampment.

http://youtu.be/8_y46g6EQUY
http://youtu.be/hqAG-MQs2mw

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Here is some documentation of The Executive Director of the Greenway speaking to Occupy Boston at their General Assembly meeting mere hours before the BPD raided and destroyed the second encampment.

http://youtu.be/8_y46g6EQUY
http://youtu.be/hqAG-MQs2mw

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Boston City Council President Stephen Murphy has broadened his concerns over unsubstantiated police overtime. Today on TV, he stated that the Dewey Square demonstrators now have "professional agitators" among them and are "trying to bankrupt the city." His proof? Well, he "heard."

It worries me when public officials make inflammatory remarks that can only encourage costly litigation for taxpayers and potential physical harm to peaceful citizens exercising their right to free speech.

TV Interview here.

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They were clearly outside of the freedom cage.

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"...it is unreasonable to suddenly and forcibly oust peaceful protestors from streets, sidewalks, and parks..." -- Carol Rose, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts.
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The Boston Police Dept. seems to agree wholeheartedly with the A.C.L.U. that protesters shouldn't be removed suddenly or forcibly. That's why Supt. Bill Evans and other top brass spent a great deal of time politely asking the protesters to move out of the restricted area long before anyone was removed. In fact, published reports reveal that some protesters celebrated when the midnight deadline to disperse came and went with no police action. Suddenly? When BPD was left no other choice, they began to gently arrest those who were otherwise compliant and used the most minimal, long-approved tactics against the most uncooperative. Forcibly? Ms. Rose needs to realize that videotape, long the bane of rogue police officers, is the best friend of truly professional ones, as shown the other night. The ACLU loses whatever shred of credibility it has left with this nonsense. Menino or the Patrolmen's Association should sue for defamation based on the A.C.L.U. press release alone. As for asking the prisoners about their politics or associations, a police officer never ceases to be a citizen. They can ask whatever they want. Nobody is obligated to reply.

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and then tell me why they were removed at all

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Most have admitted this and paid a $50 fine. ┬┐Comprende?

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admission =/= guilt since when is it declared unlawful to protest your government in a public place? maybe you don't believe in liberty or civil rights.

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It's usually unlawful to protest your government (or anything else) when you've been asked numerous times to leave a restricted area where hundreds have gathered without benefit of permit, around 1:30 AM.

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There were several irregularities in police conduct during the early hours of Tuesday morning. They arrested medics and at least one legal observer (clearly designated and not involved in the protest) from the National Lawyers' Guild. They also destroyed medical supplies, which hardly seems necessary to protect the plants on the Greenway or public safety.
Were the arrests justified? Perhaps (although the Transit Authority Lease to the Conservancy group specifically designates the park as a public space where speech and other rights are protected under Article 3, section 3--full text cached on Google).
Were the arrests conducted in a measured and professional matter? Not necessarily. A full investigation into the matter can only help determine where the truth lies.

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of Occupy Boston: To obey the ground rules they agreed to and the repeated requests of the police to observe those rules.

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Really? Who gets to determine the rules? The BPD, arbitrarily? If that's the case, then this democracy is sunk all to hell, because those with police power, and monetary power, have already won.

It's clear to me that at the very LEAST, the Occupiers had permission and/or an understanding with the person who had the power to make the call about the expansion from the Conservency.

They did no wrong in exercising that which they had permission to do.

The BPD and the Forever Mayor apparently think THEY are above the rules or that they get to make them up as they go along. This isn't Calvinball, this is a democracy.

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occupied the next block on the Greenway under cover of the Charlestown Bridge stand-off. They really DID need the space.

Occupy "moved" the park boss through direct engagement and dialogue from 'no' to 'ok if you take care of plantings.' That was her decision and she made it. They talked. Menino and Davis were insulted they were not consulted.

The crackdown "operation" had been planned long in advance and all of the meetings and leadership was eager to execute using it's fancy electronics like infrared cameras and WiFi jamming, and military precision.

They proved they could displace over a hundred citizens who resisted by interlocking arms. It was a big "WIN" for BPD, EMT, state police, sanitation, public works.

And it was a big win for City of Boston's secret CIA that is authorized under the law (Thanks Mitt) to keep dossiers on private citizens without probable cause.

Everyone got a lot of overtime.

Part of the plan was to have sanitation there, rip down the tents and toss 'em in the trash. They PLANNED to destroy their personal possessions. They were not just exercising authority to draw a line (notwithstanding the basis for exercising the authority) but they planned and did ADMINISTER a PUNISHMENT, a totally unnecessary and mean-spirited punishment.

Ed Davis and Tom Menino are small-minded people. If you think the way they approached this situation diminished the resolve of those arrested and wrongly deprived of property without due process, you would be mistaken. Ergo, Menin and Davis are stupid, too.

If you feel like you're waking up in a police state, then you're waking up. You're in a police state.

We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us.

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Well, now. If we all got our information from published reports, then this world would be a much more civil place.

It would help if you were actually there to witness first hand the events of the evening instead of relying on only what you have read. You are using information that you read and puffing it up to respond to a situation that you are not involved in, yet want it to read as if you are so.

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"They began to 'gently' arrest. . . "? Gee, we must be watching very different vids. They could cuff people who are standing calmly by letting them remain standing, calmly. They could cuff people who are sitting (as a way of resisting), gently. I'm sure the police arrested a number of the more than 100 arrested "gently." But on "my" vid, I didn't see the need to throw anyone to the ground, and/or jam knees in the back of their necks (cuts off breathing), as was done. (I'm not sure if chanting/yelling at a police officer is considered the same, legally, as "resisting.")

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When BPD was left no other choice...

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Actually the press release says they are investigating "whether or not officials are questioning them about political activity and associates" based on things like that happening in the past (specifically in reference to a protest about Israeli occupation of Palestine -- irony). I don't think there has been even rumors of that occurring in this case, so Adam, I don't know where you're getting "allegations" from as there are none in the press release. It looks like ACLU making the stretch from Occupy to one of their existing efforts, namely, shedding light on police data sharing with Department of Homeland Security (specifically through the BRIC).

So as much as I would prefer to ridicule and belittle O'Fishy, he actually has a very valid point here -- no one's cause is served when you go for over-the-top rhetoric to try and get your press release covered. Carol Rose already has a blog on boston.com, no need to go all media-whore and try and use the other evening's event to bolster your existing campaigns (as valid as that campaign may be). You lose credibility.

Although the tossing of veterans was hardly "gentle" and saying that a storm-trooper-clad cop is just chatting as a private citizen to someone they just zip-tied and dragged across a park, is not just disingenuous, it's stupid.

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OP modified to reflect what they actually said, thanks.

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What I don't understand is, if only the most non-aggressive measures were employed by the police, how did elderly veterans end up on the ground? It's not as if the protesters were fighting back physically. If the police were really being as gentle as possible, they could have seen to it that the American flag didn't fall on the ground. There is also a photograph from that night of a Boston Police Officer with his hand on a woman's throat. How can anyone who wasn't there claim the police weren't aggressive?

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...and everything to do with trapping tourists. The route was specifically designed to bring tourists past establishments owned by political supporters at the time.

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it is the idea of what the freedom trail represents. Not the exact routes but the places on it which represents this countries fight for Independence and the rights which all USA citizens have under the constitution and the bill of rights.

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it is the idea of what the freedom trail represents. Not the exact routes but the places on it which represents this countries fight for Independence and the rights which all USA citizens have under the constitution and the bill of rights.

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/end blue face paint/

Yeah, all the historic sites of the Abolitionist movement, the American Revolution, etc.., they were planned so that someone's bar would get tourism dollars a hundred or two years later. The point is that we make a point of selling our 'towne' on the basis of its place in our nation's history. That place includes a whole lot of civil disobedience, much of it actually fairly active, violent and "illegal." For the authorities (particularly the mayor) to say that they "won't tolerate civil disobedience" is, perhaps, the height of both "un-Americanism" and hypocrisy. Our country was founded on pretty uncivil disobedience. The "Occupiers" are being ludicrously civil as a collective. Individuals within there may be snotty or looking to boost their ego/radical cred, but I think they're in the minority.

If Menino has a problem with this...well I'm glad he wasn't Mayor during the early to mid 70s.

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