Police departments around the country could learn a few things from the Detroit police. Many of these cities have had bloody confrontations with Occupiers including mass arrests, beatings and pepper spraying by police. Meanwhile the Occupy Detroit group has enjoyed a unique, peaceful relationship with police. During the five weeks the group camped out in Grand Circus Park in downtown Detroit there has not been a single arrest by that city’s Police. And recently the Chief of Police, Ralph Godbee, praised occupiers “for working with DPD to truly maintain peace and exercise free speech in a manner we all should be proud of!”
Like similar groups Occupy Detroit engaged in their share of unlawful behavior. For one thing, they shut down rush hour traffic across the Ambasssador bridge linking the US and Canada. The bridge carries 10,000 trucks a day and OD demonstrators formed a human chain closing it on the Detroit side. The police waited out the demonstrators and did nothing. After an hour the demonstration ended with no arrests.
On another occasion the Occupiers staged an anti-foreclosure demonstration and marched, without a permit, to the downtown offices of Bank of America, shutting down traffic. Police responded by blocking all on-coming traffic, allowed the demonstrators to occupy the street despite the lack of a permit and did not harass any of the 500 protestors, many of whom were UAW members.
A few days later Occupy members marched to Wayne State University in Detroit’s mid-town area and protested the presence of Duncan Niederauer, CEO of Euronext and leader the New York Stock Exchange since 2007. Neiderauer was in town for a video taping of a program, “Leaders on Leadership” at the University. Detroit Police sat in their cars, watched the demonstrators and did nothing.
When two OD members in the studio audience asked Neiderauer why he had not been punished for “his role” in America’s economic crisis they were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, not by Detroit Police, but by Wayne State University police. Outraged, the demonstrators laid siege to the University police station demanding the release of the OD members....Read the rest at CounterPunch
Detroit Police and the Occupy Movement
by George Corsetti
The mayor of Detroit, Dave Bing, also deserves credit.
In contrast, Corseeti notes,
In the Occupy arrests in New York or other places what you see is essentially a police riot with self-induced chaos. Instead of calm self assurance on the part of the police there is anger that their authority is being challenged and a lashing out at anyone who happens to be nearby.
Unprofessional police leadership and rogue cops, or Mayor Bloomberg?