Now in its 31st day of existence, the Occupy Wall Street movement continues to experience violence at the hands of the very police forces that should be protecting it.
In the first weeks of the demonstration in New York City, police were videotaped as they trapped female protesters inside a sidewalk barricade and then sprayed them with mace at point-blank range. Days later an NYPD officer was caught bragging about using his night stick on protesters. In Boston, members of the police force physically assaulted members of Veterans for Peace, a non-profit educational and humanitarian organization dedicated to the abolishment of war.
NYC Occupiers, whose numbers swelled to over 6,000 during the day of Global Change, clashed with police as they marched to Times Square on Saturday. Officers, some in riot gear, got violent again with protesters by using metal batons on crowds and issuing mass arrests.
For one ex-Marine in attendance, this obvious violation of constitutional rights and violence toward unarmed, peaceful protesters was the last straw. In the video clip below, former Marine Corps. Sgt. Shamar Thomas from Roosevelt, NY goes toe to toe with the NYPD. An activist in the Occupy Wall Street movement, Thomas voiced his opinions of the NYPD police brutality that had and continues to plague the #OWS movement.
“This is not a war zone- these are unarmed people, it doesn’t make you tough to hurt these people!” Thomas went on later to state: “I was involved in a riot in Rutbah Iraq in 2004, and we did not treat the Iraqi citizens like they are treating the unarmed civilians in our own country”
Thomas is just one of over 1,500 retired soldiers that have organized OccupyMARINES, and intend to use their experience to aid and protect the Occupy Wall Street protesters.
His passionate display of solidarity with Occupy Wall Street protesters earned Thomas an appearance on Countdown with Keith Olbermann where he discussed what the Occupy movement means to him and the potential for other veterans to get involved.
Image Credit: Flickr – Nick Gulotta