Occupy DC At Odds With Police | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : Morning Edition

Filed Under:

Occupy DC At Odds With Police

MPD chief calls protest 'increasingly violent'

Play associated audio
Justin Rodriguez, 25, with a sign in front of MPD headquarters on Indiana Ave after a march from the convention center.
Patrick Madden
Justin Rodriguez, 25, with a sign in front of MPD headquarters on Indiana Ave after a march from the convention center.

The relationship between Occupy DC protesters and local authorities is beginning to fray after a car struck several protesters during a demonstration this past weekend. 

Protesters were outraged that no charges were filed against the driver, and yesterday, the Metropolitan Police Department agreed to review the incident.

But that didn't stop MPD Chief Cathy Lanier from calling demonstrators "increasingly confrontational and violent." In turn, it seems protesters are beginning to focus their anger and attention toward the city's police department.

They marched yesterday from the Washington Convention Center -- where Friday's accident occurred -- to MPD headquarters on Indiana Ave. NW. 

"D.C. police officers are now occupied by the people!" the group shouted in cadence, using its signature "human microphone" system, while standing face to face with a line of officers standing guard in front of MPD headquarters.

Compared to the tense, and in some cases, violent exchanges between police and Occupy protesters in other cities, local authorities have been recognized by some observers for having a relatively hands-off approach.

But that seemed to change Friday night. Hundreds of occupy demonstrators had gathered in the streets outside the D.C. Convention Center to protest a conservative group's dinner.

At some point, a car struck several protesters. Police say protesters jumped in front of the vehicle.

The Occupy DC media team, led by Adam Green, says the driver deliberately ran over protesters. Green contends police did not properly investigate the incident. As evidence, Green yesterday produced a second police report showing a hit-and-run incident involving a vehicle with a similar description at approximately the same time and location.

"Will the police now acknowledge that there were two incidents, not one; will they acknowledge it was not an accident, it was intentional; and will they commit to interviewing every witness?" Green asked outside Convention Center. The protesters then descended on police headquarters so that witnesses could deliver statements in an effort to force police to reopen the case.

At first, police wouldn't budge. Officers stood like statues, blocking the front entrance as protesters complained and criticized the police. But after an hour, a police officer came outside to start taking statements.

"How many people am I talking about that's got additional information?" the officer asked the group. Protesters soon began to chant, proclaiming "victory" outside MPD headquarters. 

But it may be a costly victory. Lanier now says police, who have been helping clear traffic for protesters when they march, will be "changing tactics." She called the protests "no longer peaceful."

NPR

MacArthur Fellow Terrance Hayes: Poems Are Music, Language Our Instrument

Hayes, a professor of writing at the University of Pittsburgh, was recognized for "reflecting on race, gender, and family in works that seamlessly encompass both the historical and the personal."
NPR

Diet Soda May Alter Our Gut Microbes And The Risk Of Diabetes

There's a new wrinkle to the old debate over diet soda: Artificial sweeteners may alter our microbiomes. And for some, this may raise blood sugar levels and set the stage for diabetes.
NPR

House Passes Bill That Authorizes Arming Syrian Rebels

Even though it was backed by both party leaders, the vote split politicians within their own ranks. The final tally on the narrow military measure was 273 to 156.
NPR

3.7 Million Comments Later, Here's Where Net Neutrality Stands

A proposal about how to maintain unfettered access to Internet content drew a bigger public response than any single issue in the Federal Communication Commission's history. What's next?

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.