Wall Street protests highlight issue of police brutality

DemonstrationUnrest, Conflicts and WarNew York City Police Department

As a nonviolent activist, I read with interest your article "Wall Street protesters to target N.Y. police" (Sept. 30). I have had considerable contact with the police on the front lines of various protests over the years, and while most police officers have treated me with respect, on occasion some brutes have revealed their macho side.

Unfortunately, the New York City Police Department has an awful reputation for mistreating protesters. Since almost everyone has a camera these days, one would expect the police to be on their best behavior, but some still get out of control, presumably because they do not fear any punishment from their superiors.

I am unable to be in New York, but the protesters there have my unmitigated support, and, yes, it is necessary to demand that police treat the protesters with respect. It is abominable and cowardly to attack defenseless protesters. Such behavior brings opprobrium on all members of the force. Ideally, their fellow officers would chastise the miscreants, but I fear that such bad behavior won't be cleaned up in-house.

Ironically, it is the protesters demanding accountability from the bankers who drove the economy off a cliff who are victims of police brutality. What are the chances the police will ever arrest the real criminals — the heads of those Wall Street firms?

Max Obuszewski, Baltimore

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