The Occupy Police Blotter

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Nov. 11 2011 4:58 PM

The Occupy Police Blotter

A young man with an Anonymous mask, wearing a military uniform, marches with Occupy Wall Street protesters on November 11, 2011 at Zuccotti Park in New York. AFP PHOTO/DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

Photo by DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images

National Review rather brilliantly captures the emerging anti-Occupier line -- These guys are violent crooks! -- by kicking off a blotter to track crimes that occur on Occupied turf. Smart, but a little ropey so far, with a lack of sourcing. And I fear the message might be getting muddled by the definition of what "crime" is. Riots in Oakland? Ugly, violent, sure. But this?

14 Arrested by NYPD in Marches Connected with Park Cleaning: Fourteen protesters arrested despite Mayor Bloomberg’s decision to halt the cleaning of the park.

Arrested for what? We learn that some of the arrests were for offensing like "wearing masks of Guy Fawkes." (New York has a law against public mask-wearing, a useful relic of anti-KKK legislation.) Is the fact of an arrest qua justification for dismissing the movement as violent? Let's be careful. There is actual violence and tumult at some Occupy protests, such as the rape reported at Occupy Dallas. But civil disobedience? That's not violent. That's just often misused as a tactic.

The movement learned early on, after the October 1 arrests on the Brooklyn Bridge, that confronting police power would lead to media coverage. It sure does. But as the movement should have learned last weeked, when Occupiers protested Americans for Prosperity, the tendency is for coverage of arrests to subsume coverage of anything else going on. We haven't heard much discussion of the movement's demands for a while. The gonzo discussion of violence is swallowing that up.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 


Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.


Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Trending News Channel
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 3:21 PM “The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.