I transcribed a TV interview with retired police Captain Ray Lewis, below, and typed it up in the form of a news article. He’s sympathetic to the OWS cause and was arrested at a protest in New York. He says some protesters are hurting the cause by the way they’re confronting police, and he offers some suggestions.<
Lewis started by saying, “The use of force is absolutely necessary if they [police] are met with force, and often times at these protests they are met with force. But the amount of force can only rise to . . . the minimum level necessary where you overcome the force that you’re receiving. And often times [it] goes way above that. And that’s also due to a lack of proper supervision at the scene.”
Referring to the University of California at Davis pepper-spraying of students, seated with arms interlocked, Lewis said: “I was profoundly shocked at that, and . . . what they [police] did is give them [the movement] a tremendous weapon. And those people that endured that are going to look back at that and they’ll realize how important it was . . . because now you’re including mainstream America, looking at that and saying, ‘This is not right.’ “
Asked about the circumstances of his own arrest as a protestor, Lewis said, “I went to that demonstration . . . with my sign . . . and I had no intention of being arrested at all. In fact it didn’t even come into my mind. When I saw these individuals . . . being arrested, their conviction inspired me, because . . . they’re giving up their freedom for justice for other people, for everybody. And that conviction inspired me that, Hey, I’ve got to do it. And so I realized . . . right there at the moment, that I’m going to be arrested, and I sat down. It was a totally legal arrest. I broke the law. I refused to move when ordered. The arrest was handled in an exemplary fashion. Also for all the other protestors I saw, they all received professional treatment.”
Rachel Maddow then said, “We’ve seen protestors . . . try to reach out to the police and say, ‘you are the 99%.’ I’ve heard people chanting, ‘Raises for the Police!’ We’ve seen people . . . trying to make [it] a common cause. But we’ve also seen some of these sharp, and in some places very disturbing confrontations between police and protestors. You were there in uniform . . . and holding a protest sign. What were your interactions like with the other police who were there on the scene covering [the protest] as part of their job,” to which Lewis said, “Zero.” [although he elaborated slightly]
Rachel Maddow then asked Lewis what the reaction of the protestors was, seeing him in uniform but realizing that he was on their [the protestors] side. Lewis replied, “Oh, [they were] extremely thankful, and they said it gave them tremendous motivation to continue this fight.”
Maddow then asked Lewis what he saw as his involvement, if any, in the future with the OWS movement. Lewis responded, “One of my goals is to try to increase a better understanding between the protestors and the police, and how to get the cause going forward in a better fashion than confronting the police. You’re not going to win *any* confrontation with the police. You’re guaranteed you will lose. And so I’m trying to get them to understand [that] even the vocal shouting is detrimental. It doesn’t help the situation at all when you’re shouting about their mothers and everything else. I’m looking to get people to talk to the police along the barricades. The police won’t look at you when you’re talking to them because they’re trained not to. They don’t want to be distracted. So, they’re not being ignorant. They’re just doing what they’re trained to do. But even though they’re not looking at you, they’re hearing you. And I’m telling protestors, to just give their heartfelt feelings about why they’re there and what’s going on in their lives and their family’s lives.”
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