First Friday Pepper Spray Incident
In Downtown Phoenix this past Friday, a whole crowd of people were hit with pepper spray when a team of police vastly over-reacted to Occupy Phoenix presence at the Friday Art Walk. While police claim “someone not affiliated with Occupy Phoenix hit an officer with a skateboard” this does not match eye-witness reports, nor does it explain the radically excessive response and police action.
What do we mean by excessive? The Phoenix Urban Health Collective reported on their page that, at said event, “police pepper sprayed a young man who was already handcuffed in the back of a patrol car. We at PUHC try not to use emotionaly loaded words lightly. But given the fact that this child clearly posed no threat to anyone, we welcome a dialogue about whether such malicious acts seem to meet the legal definition of torture.”
Several occupiers and protesters also mentioned bystanders, most notably children, being present and that the police did not seem to be targeting a single individual or group, but instead were spraying “up, not out” in order to spread the spray into the air.
Here is a video of several occupiers who were willing to share what they saw of the incident. Thank you to them, and to AZ-Resist-ALEC for the raw footage that is available.
This is just one event of several where Occupy protesters, both in Phoenix and nationwide, have experienced excessive force from the police. Please remember to mark your calendars for December 9th and December 10th, Occupy Phoenix’s Days of Action for Victims of Violence. Please read the tentative schedule on Facebook and keep checking the Occupy Phoenix calendar for more information.