5.30.2011

land of the free, home of the expanding police state: adam kokesh arrest video

In case you haven't seen it yet.
On May 28, 2011 Television host Adam Kokesh and several other activists participating in a flash-mob were arrested at the publicly-funded Thomas Jefferson Memorial. Their crime? Silently dancing, in celebration of the first amendment's champion; a clear violation of their right to free-expression. In an excessive use of force, video was captured of Adam being body slammed and placed in a choke for his non-crime.

Lest the expression "flash mob" bring to mind some action that could possibly deserve warning or arrest, please watch the video before judging the so-called crime.

Adam Kokesh body slammed, choked, police brutality at Jefferson Memorial

13 comments:

James said...

Even more dramatic than the Kokesh body-slam was the guy -- who was offering no resistance -- tackled by two guards, one of whom kneeled on the back of his neck while the other berated him to "stop resisting".

Two things did surprise me: no one got tasered, and none of the guards confiscated the camera.

laura k said...

Two things did surprise me: no one got tasered, and none of the guards confiscated the camera.

I thought the same thing! The filming went on for so long, that I began to wonder if the video was a fake. But, among other things, it would be more difficult to stage a fake brutal arrest at a National Monument than a group of people dancing.

James said...

There have been some embarrassing decisions against police who've confiscated cameras recently, so maybe they're exercising some restraint.

Which means it's time for a few embarrassing decisions against police who do this sort of thing...

Stephanie said...

Even more dramatic than the Kokesh body-slam was the guy -- who was offering no resistance -- tackled by two guards, one of whom kneeled on the back of his neck while the other berated him to "stop resisting".

While wathcing that scene I was thinking of the incident that took place on campus at UWO last year. 5 or maybe it was 6 cops have their 'suspect' (a super stressed out student having an emotional breakdown during exams) pinned to the ground face in the floor (knee firmly in the back) and they are all kicking and punching with extreme force all the while yelling 'stop resisting' 'stop resisting'.

This is clearly a police training strategy. Pricks.

laura k said...

I seem to recall hearing "don't resist" on several brutal G20 videos.

James said...

"Don't resist" is a bit of theatre for the camera. But if they want it to look convincing, they don't need police training, they need drama training... I don't remember ever seeing them saying it when the suspect was actually resisting.

laura k said...

I'm quite sure it's a required statement that they are trained to say, a kind of CYA, like reading Miranda rights before they are violated.

johngoldfine said...

Resisting arrest is a separate violation and a whole lot easier to 'prove' than 'disturbing the peace' (i.e., dancing) or whatever tag the original offence might have gotten.

That said, I can't exactly see the high civic, moral, or political purpose of dancing in the Jefferson Memorial. Watching the video, it felt much more like a deliberate (and in my opinion anyway) pointless sophomoric provocation than a First Amendment fight worth fighting.

laura k said...

That said, I can't exactly see the high civic, moral, or political purpose of dancing in the Jefferson Memorial. Watching the video, it felt much more like a deliberate (and in my opinion anyway) pointless sophomoric provocation than a First Amendment fight worth fighting.

It is absolutely pointless and obviously deliberate. But surely we don't think First Amendment rights apply solely to expressions with high civil, moral or political purpose.

And surely a deliberate - harmless, nonviolent - provocation of First Amendment rights should pass easily and without police interference, let alone violence.

I would think the deliberately gentle and nonviolent nature of what was going on would make it a slam dunk for police and even the most condescending observer to do nothing more than sneer.

johngoldfine said...

Of course, free speech is free absent any high purpose--you're absolutely right. But what have these demonstrators proven? That police are police and will always act according to form?

I just don't see the point. There are serious First Amendment fights to be fought--this (to me anyway) seems like it's ginned up for no reason.

laura k said...

That police are police and will always act according to form?

Many, if not most, Americans believe "according to form" is something very different than what is displayed here - serve and protect, if you're not doing anything wrong you have nothing to fear, protesters who get their heads bashed in were asking for it, and so on.

Many, if not most, Americans (I think) believe their FA rights are intact and police abuse is a myth.

The point of this action, to my mind, is to demonstrated what actually exists. IMO that makes it extremely useful, and considering what happened, rather courageous.

Stephanie said...

Adam Kokesh after his arrest and release in interview about the protesters' goal at the memorial:

http://youtu.be/zbP9ulzUgFo

laura k said...

Thank you, Steph! I should have thought of that myself.