By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Time to push back: No way should anybody let this drop. Last week's Occupy Dallas arrests should be taken as a direct challenge, not a lesson or defeat.
The Dallas Police Department is already trying to paper over the outrageous arrests of seven bank protesters last Saturday on trumped-up "misuse of sidewalk" charges. (Eight people in all were arrested.) This reeks of official misconduct.
The cops claim a small riot started in front of Bank of America downtown when a protester refused to get off a concrete planter that was bank property and then attacked police with a union flag. Stephen Benavides, an organizer for the United Steelworkers, remains in jail, accused of assaulting a public official.
If Benavides, a seasoned organizer, attacked a bunch of Dallas cops, then he must be the dumbest union organizer on Earth, which he's not, people who know him say.
Buzz talked with Hobie Hukill, a school librarian and union activist in Alliance/AFT, who was the other guy on the planter with Benavides. Hukill said a lot of people were crowded into a small space, chanting but behaving responsibly.
The planter formed a "mini-stage" from which Hukill and Benavides led the chants.
"From completely out of our line of sight," he said, "from behind us, I heard this, 'Get off the planter.' I turn around. Stephen does too.
"I think I said the word, 'What?' and the guy has punched both of us in the chest, a glancing blow for me, but he nailed Stephen, and at the time [Stephen] was doing that he was saying, 'Get off the planter.'
"In less than 10 seconds ... Stephen was flat on his face."
Hukill thinks the guy who punched him identified himself at first as working for the bank and was wearing a bank security uniform, but the same guy shows up in news video wearing a Dallas police jacket.
We have Dallas cops working off-duty for the banks the same way they work off-duty as bouncers for the bad bars. That entire arrangement is rife with conflicts of interest, and we can't let our cops play the part of 1930s-era goons beating up UAW organizers for Henry Ford. It's bad medicine for us, bad medicine for them.
But appealing to City Hall won't accomplish jack shit, because of the sold-out culture there. What the protesters here will have to do is what they did in Oakland — bulk up and go again. The one thing we can't do is let this lie.
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I may be mistaken, but most protest movements begin as disorganized and disheveled eruptions, much like a moment of anger. They take time to coalesce, to achieve some kind of organization. The evidence that these protestors might be 'on to something' is the emotional response that their presence elicits. Certainly, the initial Tea Party marches aroused diverse, and often vitriolic reactions. Granted, the Tea Party didn't camp out and create messy ( and persistent) tent-cities. It is apparent to me that our traditional processes for 'change' are mostly responsive to those who wield disproportionate amounts of influence. It isn't enough to simply vote, this has become a ineffectual panacea, a default response from those who would prefer that the disagreeable sight, and presence, of these encampments would just 'go away'. If there is no real substance to this purported "movement", it will simply dissipate. This isn't the outcome that I expect.
Oh Shut up you snot-nosed liberal piece of human excrement. Funny how your pathetic life exists at the hands of those you purport to despise. Who owns the Dallas Observer you yellow snake? The Village Voice Media is a privately held corporation headquartered in Phoenix. So your insignificant worthless job is bankrolled by the "evil" corporations the retarded Occupiers detest. YOU ARE THE PROBLEM. Why don't you quit working for the Big Bad Corporate World and pitch a tent. Because you're a terrified little meaningless puke.
They should go occupy their homes and make their mess there, instead of having the taxpayers cleaning up after them-literally, we are paying workers to clean up their camp garbage. Don't they know they come off as hypocrites?? You don't promote change by camping out. They should take a lesson from the Teaparty if they want to know how to create change, peacefully. Ironic, huh?!
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The cop who pushed Benavides certainly did the wrong thing. If he felt a crime was being committed, he should have made a simple arrest or called for help from the other police who were present. But by pushing Benavides off the planter (or whatever they were standing on), he endangered the lives of several innocent people and caused a police riot. When the police responded, instead of trying to serve and protect the people by solving the problems, they chose to viciously attack and arrest Benavides and seven other bystanders. Did they ever ask any members of the crowd about the role played by the cop who started the whole thing? It doesn't look like they asked any questions about anything.
The police and their backers (the Dallas City Council) should have to pay BIGTIME for this attack on the citizens. They broke several laws in this incident. The police seem better trained to attack and apprehend than they are to serve and protect the citizens in a democratic society. Clearly they need better training.
Stephen obviously started the "riot" as he was being pushed off the ledge http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...
Stephen Benavides should be released immediately. He was specifically targeted by the police and was physically dragged by the police into the street to be beaten and arrested. It was a blatant attempt by authorities to cut the head off of the beast that is Occupy. Occupy is many things but it is NOT A VIOLENT movement. BTW: I was standing 5 feet from Stephen when he was grabbed so this is EYEWITNESS testimony.
Please join Occupy on their next march...
If you r not Local? MARCH WITH OCCUPY EVERY SATURDAY!!!!
If Occupy Dallas can adopt an anti-corruption platform instead of the disjointed messages, they will be much more respected. An Occupy Dallas member's page http://owwc.gu.ma , supporting a business owner who lost millions of dollars to a corrupt officials, seems to go a long way in starting down that road.
Wow Jim, always thought you were a loon, but never realized how much of pathological nut job you were until this article.
Yeah, anybody who refuses to grin and swallow the lies and half-truths put out by the Dallas Morning News and the Dallas Police Department have got to be certified nuts...and if someone thinks they have a video that lying eyes believe --they are REAL lunatics....
Good story. Have personally spoke with multiple protestors, and despite what you see on the 5:00 news. This is quite accurate. Thank you jim