I’m not big fan of Occupy Wall Street. In fact, I’ve often been dismissive of them and called them some names. I can’t say I’m sorry, especially the way they are covered in the sympathetic mainstream media. The ideas floating around the movement like “economic democracy” just seem stupid and stubborn to me.
I have wondered sometimes, however, if the mainstream media’s coverage is really accurate. Listening to Planet Money on NPR and other media outlets, I wonder if some of the stupidest and most unworkable ideas were treated with sympathy precisely because such ideas could never be a threat to life as we know it. Another aspect of Occupy Wall Street is simply that our government is run by corrupt Wall Street sharks who make loads of money when they win and loads of money from the public through the government and the Federal Reserve when they lose.
One sign of that corruption would be found in the personal guards of those bankers—I refer, of course, to the NYPD. During a march of Occupy Wall Street, police arrested one Michael Premo, claiming that he had assaulted a police officer:
“In the police version of events, Premo charged the police like a linebacker, taking out a lieutenant and resisting arrest so forcefully that he fractured an officer’s bone. That’s the story prosecutors told in Premo’s trial, and it’s the general story his arresting officer testified to under oath as well.”
Along with this story came another one: despite the fact that everyone saw the police videotaping every aspect of the events during the OWS protests, somehow they had no one on the scene who had recorded any video footage.
Premo’s defense lawyer, who seems to have an inspiring work ethic, went through one privately recorded videotape of the day to find that another cameraman, had been right in the middle of the alleged assault. That cameraman showed her footage that proved the police were videotaping the incident:
“For one thing, the video prominently shows a TARU cop named Bosco, holding up his camera, which is on, and pointing at the action around the kettle. When Premo’s lawyers subpoenaed Bosco, they were told he was on a secret mission at “an undisclosed location,” and couldn’t respond to the subpoena.”
When they finally forced Bosco into a private meeting, he insisted despite the video evidence that his own camera took no footage that night. But it didn’t matter. The video also showed that Premo didn’t charge into anyone. The police tackled him.
So the good news is the jury found Michael Premo not guilty. The bad news is, if Premo’s attorney had not worked hard at tracking down the videotape, the police would have sworn on the stand that Premo was the offender, and the jury would probably have found Premo guilty simply on the basis of the cops saying he was guilty.
You may draw your own conclusion. For myself, I have resolved that I will never believe anything simply because a man with a badge and a gun tells me to believe it. If I personally know the person as good and upright, that will be different. But if I don’t personally know the man or woman, neither the badge, nor the blue uniform, nor the sidearm, will permit me, as a juror, to vote that a person is guilty on the basis of a police officer’s word alone.