Citing an “abundance of caution,” the Rev. James Cooper of Trinity Church said the Episcopal parish at Broadway and Wall Street in Manhattan has canceled it popular Halloween activities due to safety issues arising from a sidewalk encampment in front of the place of worship.
“Canceling a beloved family event is not a decision taken lightly,” Cooper said in a statement issued Sunday. “Last year, more than 1,200 people took part. However, we are deeply concerned about the escalating illegal and abusive activity the camp presents.”
Linda Hanick, a spokeswoman for Trinity Church, said nine people have been arrested in connection to the encampment in the past two weeks, including a man who was arrested after he put an air horn to the ear of a longtime maintenance superintendent at the church on Oct. 11. The maintenance worker was “traumatized” by the incident, she said.
“The sidewalk is owned by the city, so we don’t have the legal power to remove people from the sidewalk, but it’s our responsibility to clean it,” she said. “We hose down the sidewalk and throw away the trash.”
Those cleanings, which occur twice daily at 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., typically lead to a “tense situation,” Hanick said.
“They will only get up if a white shirt — a lieutenant — is there,” she said. “It becomes a tense situation.”
The unidentified man was arrested and returned to the encampment the following day, said Hanick, adding that church officials have recently installed eight security cameras to monitor activity nearby. Anywhere from 25 to 50 people are camped outside at any given time, she said.
A majority of those in the encampment appear to be homeless people who are resisting placement and have seemingly attached themselves to the Occupy movement, Hanick said.
A New York Police Department spokesman said there have been 18 arrests in the vicinity of Trinity Church since the last big “Occupy Wall Street” demonstration on Sept. 17. Aaron Williams, 20, the man who allegedly blasted the air horn in the ear of the church custodian, was charged with assault, menacing and disorderly conduct.
The other 17 arrests, which took place over the past month, were for mainly for disorderly conduct and open container violations. Several of the suspects had been previously arrested at “Occupy” events, according to NYPD spokesman Paul Browne.
Why haven’t the repeat offenders be banned from the property? This is outrageous.
Well, gang, to say it’s been an “eventful” week here in Charlotte as a result of the Democratic National Convention is a vast understatement. On one hand, I’m glad it’s here because it’s given me a chance to reconnect (and in some cases work) with conservative friends in town to cover it, as well as given me the opportunity to meet others who I knew through blogging and social media but who I have never had the opportunity to meet (like Michelle Malkin!!). On the other hand, however, I couldn’t help but feel yesterday while I was uptown that I lived in a strange foreign country, where the ideas being pushed were so alien, so far out that I couldn’t fathom how anyone in their right minds would push them. Then again, we ARE talking about liberals here so that shouldn’t exactly be a huge surprise.
In no particular order, here are my thoughts on what I’ve seen, heard … and smelled so far this week:
— The local media coverage of the convention has been OUTSTANDING. No joke. Between social media, news websites, and TV and radio, local reporters here have done a great job. My hat is off to them. Even the Charlotte Observer, of which I am normally a staunch critic.
— The much-hyped “March on Wall Street” Sunday was a bust in terms of the number of attendees for the rally and march. Predictions were that between 2,000 and 10,000 would show up to protest, but it ended up being roughly 800-850, according to police estimates. A nice-sized number, but nowhere in league with where organizers wanted it to be. I watched several live streams of the gathering at Charlotte’s Frazier Park uptown, which was the “base” for where things were kicked off on Sunday. You had your garden variety anti-capitalist/hate America crowd in attendance, and they were loud and proud as they marched past the Duke Energy building and Bank of America, which were both heavily guarded by law enforcement – as you can imagine. There were two arrests that day.
— And speaking of, we’ve already passed the number of arrests they had in Tampa (3). I don’t know the exact total number of those arrested here so far, but 10 of the “Undocubus” illegal immigrants were arrested yesterday – not because they don’t have “their papers”, but because they refused to move out of the line of traffic. They were released. And won’t be deported, per ICE (shock).
I took the below video yesterday of a demonstrator (not with Undocubus) getting carted off yesterday:
He claims he was arrested for wearing a mask, which is illegal in Charlotte (and was well before the convention was planned).
— One thing I wanted to make sure I did yesterday was to get pictures and/or video of protesters in action. Thanks to a tip from a friend who was there for the same reason, I – along with another friend – went down to the corner of Caldwell and Stonewall and inserted myself in the mix of demonstrators who were staging a sit-in and protest in support of American traitor Bradley Manning and Wikileaks. Code Pink ringleader Medea Benajamin was in the crowd, and made her way to the “free speech zone” set up nearby. Here’s video I took of that of that below. Oh, and that’s me yelling in the background (language warning):
The word that comes to mind immediately when I see or hear Medea Benjamin is “vile.” But even that doesn’t quite cover how detestable this woman is.
— The SMELL in the middle of that protest was awful. Simply awful. It was hot, humid, raining off and on (as it had been for the last several days), and I was pretty close to wishing I had a bandana to cover my mouth and nose but not even that was/is technically allowed uptown by the police. So I dealt with it. For you.
— While on the topic of protesters, I ventured down to the “new” Occupy Charlotte encampment, which is based in Marshall Park that CMPD has allowed them to have, in spite of a beefed-up camping ordinance put in place earlier this year for the express purpose of preventing this very thing from happening during the convention. I took numerous pictures of Occupy Charlotte, and not many people were there at the time (there are approx 20-25 tents on site), but I did get what I think was a good picture of the essence of the Occupy movement, both in Charlotte and other cities around America:
The porta-johns at the Occupy Charlotte camp.
I would estimate that at their HIGHEST count, the protester numbers are probably no more than around 200. Although Sunday’s MOWSS march did not live up to their expectations (or down?), that hasn’t stopped them from utilizing their usual tactics of pushing the elderly, women, and the handicapped towards the front, and being deliberately antagonistic towards police, as was on full display yesterday.
— There was a strong contingent of pro-life marchers uptown. They were WAY over the top, and I say that as a staunch pro-lifer myself. That’s all I’ll say about it.
— The non-protester crowds were for the most part pleasant. They were – unsurprisingly – enthusiastic, seemed excited (all over the wrong candidate, of course), and were taking pictures like crazy of the MSNBC stage set up at the EpiCentre, and the now infamous Obama sand sculpture. Here’s one I took:
The Obama sand sculpture by the Black Finn restaurant.
Yes, it was that big. Almost as big as the ego of our celebrity President himself. But not quite. On a related note, I did spot Chris “Tingles” Matthews at one point …
I’ll post many more pictures later on Facebook of the DNC stuff – including more from Occupy Charlotte, and provide a link back here so y’all can view them.
Lastly, First Lady Michelle Obama made her big speech last night in front of delegates and celebrity types, and – shockingly (not) – the MSM and pundits are fawning over her alleged ability to “connect” with crowds. Hollywood types who are in town this week, and who aren’t, made their feelings known about Mrs. Obama’s speech, with some admitting they were crying during and after the speech. Well, I was too – sorta – but for much different reasons. Make sure you read this piece at Breitbart.com from Joel Pollack, who fact checked the First Lady and found her assertions to be, well, lacking. I know, hard to believe …
In overnight developments related to the DNC, the Charlotte Observer’s Cleve Wootson reports that Occupy Charlotte – which used to be based on the grounds of Old City Hall until the city beefed up anti-camping ordinances earlier this year, effectively ending the camping – is back in business and has set up camp at Marshall Park uptown:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. Occupy Charlotte protesters reopened their uptown encampment late Friday night at Marshall Park, a site where they expect hundreds to camp, demonstrate and sleep during the Democratic National Convention.
And protesters said they have invited other protest groups to share the park space, including demonstrators who set up the “Romneyville” encampment near the site of the Republican National Convention in Tampa.
Occupy Charlotte organizers say they have talked with Charlotte-Mecklenburg police leaders, who they said would allow the demonstrators to camp at Marshall Park throughout the convention. Buses containing as many as 100 people were expected to arrive by early Saturday morning, though protesters said there could be many more by the end of the weekend.
“There’s been some conversation with the city,” said Scottie Wingfield, an organizer with Occupy Charlotte. “We said we wanted to be in a public space. This is traditionally a park where people have met to protest.”
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police could not be reached for comment early Saturday.
At Marshall Park, an information tent and a smaller tent had already been set up early Saturday. Several police cars were stationed around the park around 2 a.m. An officer stood outside one, peering at the encampment through a pair of binoculars.
Last Fall, Occupy Charlotte protesters opened a camp in uptown Charlotte on the grounds of old city hall. It was broken up in January, when the Charlotte city council voted to ban outdoor camping on public property.
There are already demands being made for tents and other “occupy” supplies:
The Occupy Charlotte camp is back up now at Marshall Park. Tents and supplies would be appreciated. #clt#cltnews#dnc#dnc2012
Once more of the local media get wind of this, I will be very interested in reading what CMPD has to say about Wingfield’s assertion that there were talks between the “occupiers” and the city and police to get permission (presumably without a permit) to set up camp. “March on Wall Street South” is predicted to bring between 5,000 to 10,000 protesters to the Queen City (Charlotte) for a march Sunday that will begin at Frazier Park uptown, the “base” of the march. At least one OWS activist confirmed with the Observer earlier this week that demonstrators would attempt to set up tents to sleep in and occupy Frazier Park.
If it’s true and the police gave protesters permission to set up camp at Marshall Park (photo), it makes you wonder why the Democrat-countrolled city council bothered at all earlier this year to strengthen existing anti-camping ordinances to essentially prevent camping on all public property – in advance of the Democrat National Convention in Charlotte. It also makes you wonder if they’ll be inclined to allow activists to do the same at Frazier Park. First and foremost are the public health/safety issues involved. Will Black Bloc types be instigating violence? What about sanitation (which turned out to be a huge issue with Occupy Charlotte)?
I’ll update this post with more information once (if) the police go on the record about whether or not they gave permission to set up a tent city. Stay tuned.
The Obama administration told law enforcement authorities to go easy on Occupy Wall Street protesters, even though they were violating local laws, according to documents obtained by watchdog group Judicial Watch.
Emails from the General Services Administration show that the federal agency, acting on orders from the White House, told federal law enforcement authorities in Portland, Ore., not to enforce curfews on protesters camped out on federal property. JudicialWatch.org obtained the emails through a Freedom of Information Act request lodged last year.
In one exchange from Nov. 6, 2011, officials from the Department of Homeland Security and the GSA discuss a group of 11 protesters camped out at the federally-owned Terry Schrunk Plaza.
“They have chained themselves to a large drum filled with concrete,” reads an email from Department of Homeland Security/National Protection and Programs Directorate Chief of Staff Caitlin Durkovich to GSA Public Buildings Service Commissioner Robert Peck. “GSA controls the permits and has asked FPS [Federal Protective Services] not to enforce the curfew at park and the prohibition on overnight encampments…Our FPS Commander in Portland says they are standing down and following GSA’s request to only intervene if there is a threat to public safety,” she added in the email.
Peck — who later resigned amid revelations his agency held lavish junkets at taxpayers’ expense — replied: “Caitlin: yes, that is our position; it’s been vetted with our administrator and Michael Robertson, our chief of staff, and we have communicated with the WH [White House], which has afforded us the discretion to fashion our approach to Occupy issues…The arrests last week were carried out despite our request that the protesters be allowed to remain and to camp overnight…”
“We now have a new GSA scandal — one that involves the Obama White House,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “These documents clearly show that federal agencies colluded with the Obama White House to allow the Occupy Wall Street protesters to violate the law with impunity. These documents tell us that the GSA and DHS can’t be relied upon to protect federal workers or property.”
The WH approach to Occupy as indicated by these emails is quite revealing when you think about the visceral dislike the Obama administration and their fellow Democrats in Congress have for the Tea Party – you know … actual peaceful protesters. Think about it: A top priority for this WH for the last three-plus years has been to demonize and vilify Tea Partiers as “extremists” and “violent racists” who oppose Obama solely on the basis of his race, who want him out of office “by any means necessary.” There is no basis for this whatsoever and in fact it is not true, but you’d think it was based on wildly distorted and in many cases deeply exaggerated and/or falsified mainstream media “reports” about Tea Party rallies, and ObamaCare town halls across the country. In contrast, you have Occupy encampments in various cities in the US where violence and crime was commonplace: theft(more here), “hacktivism“, destruction of private and public property, urination and defecation on public and private property, assaults, rapes … and even deaths. Yet in spite of all this, the White House reached out to keep “peaceful” (not) Occupiers from being disbanded and/or arrested at Occupy Portland, one of the most active and provocative camps in the America.
Just how many other deliberately agitative, combative, and violent Occupy protests around the country did the WH step in to try and protect? I’d sure as heck love to find out.
First, the latest developments in the Brett Kimberlin campaign of “legal” terror that I wrote to you about last week – via Kimberlin target Stacy McCain:
Aaron Walker, whose complaint against convicted terrorist Brett Kimberlin became a conservative cause célèbre this past week, was reportedly taken into custody today after a court hearing in Rockville, Maryland.
One person who attended the hearing in Montgomery County District Court said that Kimberlin asserted that Walker’s continued blogging represented a violation of a “peace order” Kimberlin had obtained against the Virginia attorney, who says Kimberlin tried to “frame” him for assault earlier this year.
During the course of the hearing — which reportedly lasted about an hour — Judge C.J. Vaughey appeared to become increasingly hostile toward Walker, who was taken into custody when the hearing concluded.
Walker has since been released, but please make sure to read Stacy’s full post for the short version on what happened today, and on how one of Kimberlin’s chief targets – Walker (the true victim) – had the tables turned on him in court and eventually was arrested (why? more here). Doesn’t sound like Aaron did himself any favors with the judge, but the judge himself, who admittedly didn’t know much about the Internet, was probably the last judge a Kimberlin victim would want hearing his or her case – especially since much of it revolves around cyber-stalking/threats — Anonymous-style.
Kimberlin, a convicted domestic terrorist, is shamelessly abusing the legal system in an attempt to silence truthful critics in what law blogger Popehat appropriately calls “lawfare”:
3. Aaron’s arrest illustrates how well lawfare can work and how dangerous unprincipled rubber-stamping of protective orders can be. Imagine it: you write something about a dispute. Someone involved in that dispute goes to court in another state and accuses you of harassment and gets a “peace order” against you. That person claims that your writing is threatening, that it has led to threats, or that it constitutes persistent harassment. If you are very lucky, the judge denies the application because it is too vague, or because it seems to complain about protected speech — but if you are unlucky, the judge rubber-stamps it without even demanding to see the allegedly offending posts. (Note that here Kimberlin characterized Aaron’s posts, rather than submitting them all.) Now you’ve got a vague order against you forbidding you from contacting or harassing the “victim.” But what does that mean? Surely, you tell yourself, under a century of America’s First Amendment heritage, it doesn’t mean I can’t write a blog post discussing the dispute and explaining why the peace order application is made by a convicted perjurer and notorious domestic terrorist. Well — maybe. Or maybe not. Again, it depends upon your luck with the judge. Here, based at least on initial reports, it appears that the court construed Aaron’s blog as a violation of the peace order. I’ve read all of Aaron’s posts on the subject, and none satisfy any principled or constitutional definition of unlawful harassment. None of them incited lawless behavior. If, as reports indicate, the judge jailed Aaron based on those posts, the judge did so lawlessly because Aaron violated a vague and ambiguous prior restraint on protected speech.
4. Kimberlin’s success in this regard will embolden other practitioners of lawfare, and allow them to chill and deter speech they don’t like. Consider Aaron’s dilemma upon being informed of the new and overtly bogus peace order: was he to cease speaking on an issue of public interest regarding a public figure, or was he to spend money on a lawyer to try to get the order lifted? Now imagine lawfare practitioners demanding such protective orders in multiple jurisdictions far from the writer. Imagine the costs and legal risks, and ask yourself how many people will be willing to incur them.
It’s insane. But it’s the world we live in. And while Popehat, like Walker and Patterico, have encouraged people to not be partisan about this issue because it can impact all speech both left and right, and because liberals have also been targets of Kimberlin, I find it hard not to inject partisanship in this considering the tactics Kimberlin and his allies are using have all the hallmarks of radical Occupy/Anonymous cyberterrorism/intimidation which they, of course support and are affiliated with. Nothing comparable exists on the right. Nothing.
Unfortunately this is going to get worse before it (hopefully) gets better. If you haven’t already, please donate to show your support of Walker, Patterico, Liberty_Chick, and others who continue to be harassed by way of “lawfare” by associates of Brett Kimberlin. This issue is too critical to our free speech rights to allow to fall by the wayside.
NOTE: Today is Blog about Brett Kimberlin Day, initiated to show support to bloggers, lawyers, and others on the right and left who have been viciously targeted by both Brett Kimberlin and his merry band of AnonyThugs who are using the First Amendment as a harassment tool against “enemies” of convicted domestic terrorist aka “Speedway Bomber” Brett Kimberlin. I wrote my original post a couple of days ago, and since then blogger Patterico has written a detailed account, published today, of some of what he, his family, his employer, and fellow bloggers/friends/associates have had to go through at the hands of thugs like Brett Kimberlin and supporters. READ IT when you’ve got a few minutes. You’ll see that both conservatives and liberals alike were targeted – the liberals because they refused to play along with Kimberlin’s disgusting tactics and game-playing.
When done, please make sure to donate to the National Bloggers Club’s fund for Patterico, Aaron Walker, and others who have been victims of vile, vicious PERSONAL harassment, stalking, intimidation and bullying to the point some of them were fired from their jobs or continue to be harassed at the one they have. These people also have reason to fear for their lives. Also, check the trackbacks to this post for other bloggers who are writing about Brett Kimberlin, and Michelle Malkin’s post as she is keeping a running update of those who are blogging about him. Also, if you DON’T blog but Tweet, make sure to use the hashtag #BrettKimberlin in your tweets so it can become a trending topic on Twitter. Thank you.
When you get into the business of writing about politics and current events, whether you do it for the love of it, the money, or both, you set yourself up for being a target of your political opposition. It is the nature of the beast. Most of the time if the opposition isn’t trying to counter your points respectfully, they’ll just laugh at you and/or call you nasty names over a period of time and move on. Other times they won’t move on, but they won’t carry it any further than just online word wars. But there are also cases where it can escalate way beyond that into territory it never should – where people’s families, homes, and livelihoods are directly targeted, threatened, and negatively impacted by thugs who have absolutely no concept of what “freedom of speech” means, and who believe there are no boundaries/limits whatsoever that they shouldn’t be allowed to cross in trying to “shame” those who they oppose. Such is the case with Brett Kimberlin, a despicable human being who has waged a disgusting campaign of legal terror and abuse against conservatives who write truthful articles about him and his domestic terrorism past. The man is vile. Absolutely vile:
I have spoken directly with both Patterico and Aaron about their ongoing battles.
The mainstream press, not just the conservative blogosphere, needs to hear and report their stories.
This is a convoluted, ongoing nightmare that combines abuse of the court system, workplace intimidation, serial invasions of privacy, perjury, and harassment of family members. McCain was forced to move with his family out of his house this week, and has just gotten a small taste of what Aaron and Patterico have been enduring over the past year. Aaron and his wife were fired from their jobs after their employer feared the office would be targeted next. Convicted bomber Kimberlin has filed bogus “peace orders” against Aaron, when it is the Walkers who are the victims, not the perpetrators.
And Patterico’s plight will send chills up your spine when he is ready to tell it.
Institutional inertia, incompetence, and apathy among law enforcement officials on both coasts have exacerbated the victims’ suffering. It has moved far beyond a partisan or political story to a bottomless, Kafka-esque morass. And, via investigative journalist Matthew Vadum, it certainly doesn’t help that “progressive,” left-wing foundations that have funded Kimberlin continue to look the other way.
Ted Frank at Point of Law summed it up: “A scary tale of what can go wrong if one makes the wrong enemy of someone willing to persistently abuse the civil and criminal legal system, and how poorly the legal system protects those victims.”
Please read Michelle’s full post for background on what Walker and others targeted by Kimerblin have gone through.
Regarding the “peace orders”, Patterico points out:
It is beyond the scope of this post to detail every way in which Kimberlin’s peace order is misleading and deceptive. Kimberlin complains that Aaron spoke of purchasing a gun, implying that Aaron’s statement was aggressive — when Aaron actually said he had bought a gun to defend himself. Kimberlin claims that Aaron is responsible for “alerts” coming to his email inbox, suggesting Aaron is emailing him, when in fact the “alerts” Kimberlin is talking about are Google alerts. If you write about this guy on the Internet, he may run to a judge and say you are causing abusive alerts to come to his email.
You might say: what’s the harm in getting a peace order? I have watched this play out in other venues and I know just what Kimberlin is up to. As soon as he gets a “peace order,” he will run back to court the very next time Aaron mentions his name in public. That means that Kimberlin asserts the right to abuse the court process to harass Aaron — and if Aaron tells the world how Kimberlin is abusing the court process, Kimberlin will claim that as a violation of the peace order and try to have Aaron held in contempt of court.
Kimberlin and his crew have relentlessly harassed Aaron, me, and others over the course of the last several months. It is not harassment for us to tell the world what happened to us. It could happen to any of you. His supporters have outed or threatened to out commenters to this very site. They talk about wives, children, and fathers of bloggers and commenters. They ceaselessly abuse everyone they can who speaks the truth about Kimberlin’s past.
Ultimately, this is a free speech issue. Kimberlin and his group of thugs have done their level best to attack everyone in the blogosphere who wrote anything negative about him. Now the blogosphere is starting to wake up, and there are so many critics he can’t possibly intimidate them all.
I can’t wait to hear Patterico’s full story. In the meantime, would you hit Stacy McCain’s tip jar? He and his family could sure use the assistance right now. And prayers, too.
Friday, by the way, is “Everybody Blog About Brett Kimberlin” day – Lee Stranahanexplains:
Here’s what you do to take part…
Research Brett Kimberlin on your own. Don’t trust secondary sources; look for the orginal articles articles published about him, too.
On Friday, May 25th — write an honest, factually accurate post about what you learned and what your OPINION is. Brett may try and sue you, so be accurate, factual and separate fact from opinion.
The post doesn’t have to be long — ANYTHING helps.
After you post, Tweet, share, whatever — get the post out there.
I know many of you don’t blog, but don’t worry – it really doesn’t have to be a post at all: Tweet about him, write about him on Facebook, post in comment threads and on message boards. I’m using the hashtag #BrettKimberlin at Twitter because no one has indicated otherwise about any other hashtag. Why do we need to do this? Because not only do we need to support our fellow conservatives, but it is also IMPERATIVE that we show Kimberlin via our words that we will NOT be intimidated by his bull sh*t attempts to squelch free speech.
If you’re going to protest a minion of the Evil One-Percent(tm) –in this case, a state government official concerned about the integrity of the elections he supervises– you might try protesting in the right room…
I saw a very funny example of the ineptness of the Occupy protesters today. I was at CPAC to speak on a panel on voter fraud and the 2012 election with John Fund, Catherine Engelbrecht, and David Norcross. We got to our ballroom as the prior session was winding up. It was being hosted by David Keene of the NRA and the panelists were talking about criminal-justice reform and the Second Amendment.
As the panelists were speaking, two Occupy protesters walked up to the stage and unrolled a big banner attacking Kris Kobach, the secretary of state of Kansas. Kobach is a very smart lawyer who worked at the Bush Justice Department and was elected secretary of state in 2010. He has raised the ire of liberals because of his support for common-sense election reforms like voter-ID and proof-of-citizenship requirements for individuals registering to vote, both of which were passed by the Kansas legislature.
There was only one problem for the protesters — they were in the wrong room (LOL!). Kobach’s panel was going on elsewhere in the hotel and he was not on the panel that David Keene was moderating or the one that was about to start. When Keene told the protesters that, everyone in the room started laughing at them and they sheepishly folded up their banner and left. They apparently never made it to the actual room where Kobach was speaking.
Kobach, it turns out, was speaking in a different room, on an immigration panel. (He did crucial work on Arizona’s SB 1070, for example.)
And they want us to let them lead us to a better world? As the great Homer Simpson would say, “D’oh!”
The tents may be gone but there are other things that are still, er, lingering. Via Charlotte TV station WCNC:
CHARLOTTE, N.C.– A haz-mat crew with the Charlotte Fire Department was called to 600 East Trade Street, the site of the Occupy Charlotte movement, on Tuesday morning.
City workers who had been cleaning the area noticed toilet paper on top of a storm water grate that drains into a nearby creek. Charlotte-Mecklenburg police and city officials believe some protesters have been using the drain as a toilet.
“We’re looking at the environmental impact on the stream down there with the wildlife, and things like that,” said Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Dulin.
“Plus the water goes downstream for other people to drink further down. But again, we’re just trying to cover all our bases, and make sure that if there is any type of environment impact, that we’re able to identify that and then correct that and make sure there is no further environmental impact downstream,” he added.
About four protesters watched as haz-mat crews scooped debris into five containers for testing. Eric Dow, who has been on the site since October 2011, says he never saw anyone using the drain as a toilet. He says new protesters are told where the closest public restrooms are.
Tuesday morning, firefighters used pry bars to open a storm drain so a HazMat team could collect samples. Police said when they were removing tents Monday, they suspected some of the Occupy protesters had been using the drain as a toilet.
The protesters have been occupying the park since October and firefighters said the problem could have been one that passed beneath the purview of city officials for months because the area was covered by tents.
Gee, hmm. That sounds like, hmm. I dunno – a public health issue? I know I wasn’t the only one warning about that very possibility months ago. Occupiers, of course, will partially blame the city for refusing to grant them special permission to keep a portapottie at the camp, but in the end (pun intended) it’s a reflection of both the sorry state of the camp as well as the not-so-surprising inaction from the Democrat-controlled Charlotte City Council back in November when their first opportunity to tackle this situation came up for discussion. Oh well. At least it wasn’t police cruisers that were being used as pooping facilities.
Occupy Charlotte has always struggled with that dynamic. Differences of opinion split the protesters into factions early on. More recently the group tried to distance itself from a few campers who burned an American flag at the protest site.
[Occupier Eric] Dow says people who were not invested in the political message of the Occupy Wall Street movement routinely joined the camp.
“We had some that would literally be walking out of jail and would stop and not know anything about us and just stay here,” says Dow.
Hmm. I certainly can’t imagine any situation where public safety issues might arise with people like that joining “the movement”, can you? Hate to say “Toldjah So” but …
Oh, and to top it all off – Occupy Charlotte prided itself on its supposed “commitment” to “green living.” Some members were so “devoted” to green causes that they were arrested in mid-November after joining up with the radical environmentalist group Rainforest Action Network to protest Bank of America’s coal-related activities/investments. Apparently that “green living” message was not always practiced at the camp – considering not just the storm drain incidents but also the lawn at Old City Hall, which was crushed and crunched by the constant foot traffic, 3 dozen tents, and make-shift kitchen they had on site … not to mention there were reports some Occupiers trashed donated items like an on-site medical tent generously donated by a supporter.
Yeah, some of these people didn’t respect personal nor public property, were sometimes hypocritical when it came to “green living”, and frequently wanted something for nothing. Go figure.
In any event, this is just a postscript on the former campsite uptown at Old City Hall. Even though a court hearing this afternoon on the issue of allowing the tents onsite was postponed for at least a week, I suspect the city will win in its defense of both the new ordinances – which were designed in the interest of the public’s health and safety (shock) and for the safety of political figures who will be attending the Democrat National Convention here in Charlotte in September, and the Occupiers will have keep drifting around to find somewhere else to park it – but on private property, not public.
Which sort of takes the “sting” out of attempts by OWS types who deliberately defied city governments nationwide by using public property for things in which the property wasn’t intended on “free speech” grounds, and who many times intentionally stirred up and instigated confrontations with law enforcement (not to mention pushed women, children, and the handicapped to the front lines) in order to fan the flames of discontent as a way to keep the movement going.
The movement here, I should note, was relatively tame by comparison but had gotten more radicalized as the months went on. And while the camp itself is no longer in existence, make no mistake about it: In a few months, career radical liberals and anarchists will descend on this beautiful city and attempt to unleash hell during the DNC in ways that will make even the most radicalized of the Occupy movements (like Oakland) seem like child’s play. Occupy Charlotte has been a training session of sorts for the Char-Meck Police Department, who by most accounts handled yesterday’s camp “eviction” admirably. I just hope that carries over to the convention, where battle-hardened officers will be confronted by far leftists who are so high on their own ego that they don’t care if they get hurt, arrested, or hurt others in the process. The CMPD needs to be firm but measured with this crew, because goodness knows these militant professional agitators don’t need to be given anymore excuses to whine about than they already (claim to) have.
Got a lot of irons in the fire right now so this post will be brief.
The Democrat-controlled Charlotte City Council recently approved pre-DNC 2012 (September 2012) ordinances designed to protect the safety and security of the city and its visiting convention-goers from the left wing / anarcho-mobs that typically frequent Presidential political conventions. Those ordinances essentially mean now that Occupy Charlotte is no longer allowed to camp at Old City Hall in uptown Charlotte. They can still protest there 24-7, they just can’t camp or sleep there or set up anything that could be used as “living accommodations” … unless they need a tarp or tent for a shelter from the rain. They are also allowed to keep one open tent as an “information” tent.
That ordinance went into effect at midnight. The CMPD, who are right across the street from the camp, were there around 7 this morning to announce that Occupy Charlotte was in violation of the ordinances and that they must comply with them or face arrest. Some campers rolled up their tents, and some cleaned out tents in hopes they wouldn’t be construed as “living accommodations” but there are still several dozen tents onsite, with several “occupiers” saying they will stay and face arrest if necessary. Keep in mind, too, that the “occupiers” put out a mass call for occupiers from other cities to join them so some who are there right now preparing to join in the stand-off are visitors. The CMPD gave them until 2:30. Their attorney Ken Davies is trying to file for an injunction, citing “vagueness” of the new ordinances, but as of my reading of the #OccupyCLT hashtag on Twitter at this time, that’s not going to happen.
It remains to be seen as to whether or not the CMPD will face a lot of resistance at 2:30 or if most/all will comply with the new laws. At other prominent Occupy camps around the country, violence has erupted when police have tried to take down tents that Occupiers refuse to.
I don’t have the direct link, but if you want to watch a live stream of events, Creative Loafing Charlotte has posted the link at their Twitter feed page, which is @cl_charlotte.
As they say … stay tuned.
Update – 5:45 PM: Just like that, save for the “informational” tent, the Occupy Charlotte tents are gone. There were 7 arrests on misdemeanor charges. Looks like the Char-Meck Police Dept. handled things well in spite of the typical OWS stall tactics. The Charlotte Observer has a good recap of events, some of which they describe as “bizarre”, that took place today prior to, during, and after the “eviction” of the tents. Photos here – video here.
I should note that Occupy Charlotte’s attorney is still hard at work trying to reverse today’s CMPD handiwork:
Occupy Charlotte made one last attempt to forestall the eviction, going to Mecklenburg Superior Court at 2 p.m. and asking Judge Jesse Caldwell to issue a restraining order against the city. Caldwell said the docket was full and told the protesters’ attorney, Robert Davies, and City Attorney Robert Hagemann that they would have to wait.
Hagemann said the city would not wait. Davies then tried, unsuccessfully, to find another judge to issue the order.
“A bunch of people will get arrested,” Davies said. “We did everything we could.”
Davies said later this afternoon that a hearing on the restraining order has been scheduled before Judge Caldwell on Tuesday afternoon. The goal, he said, is to call for a delay to any further implementation of the demonstration ordinances.
A lawsuit filed by Davies on Monday asks a judge to declare that the use of the lawn at Old City Hall is “protected as free speech, assembly, association and the right to petition the government” under the First Amendment and N.C. Constitution. It further requests a judge to declare that applying the new city ordinances to Occupy Charlotte’s demonstration on the law would violate their rights.
Later, the suit alleges the new ordinances “has already irreparably harmed” the movement. The suit was filed on behalf of Occupy Charlotte and five people who have participated in the movement.
I’m reading on Twitter that some “occupiers” are planning on putting some tents back up tomorrow. That should be very interesting …