VIDEO: America's Out-Of-Control Police State
7. On September 24, 2008, according to the New York Times: "A naked and apparently emotionally disturbed man fell to his death from a building ledge in Brooklyn on Wednesday after an officer shot him with a… stun gun, the police said. The police and witnesses said he had been yelling at passers-by and swinging a long light bulb tube at officers before he fell." Mind you, this man was merely standing around naked on the ledge of a first-floor building awning. He did not try to hurt passerby and only swung the lightbulb tube when police tried to grab him. (He certainly should not have tried to hurt cops.)
But should he have died for this? Was it right for the cops to zap him, which knocked him out, and sent him to fall head-first onto the pavement? The NYPD, for its part, admitted that the situation was not handled appropriately, releasing a statement that said: "The order to employ the [stun gun] under these circumstances appears to have violated guidelines."
8. It's the video that launched a hundred encampments. On September 18, 2011, with Occupy Wall Street just passing its humdrum first week in Lower Manhattan, not far from the financial capital of America. A police officer later identified as Anthony Bologna approaches a group of peaceful,c hanting protestors angry about being trapped in orange nets being set up on the sidewalk by cops. After all, it is not illegal to stand on the sidewalk, and penning someone in for the purposes of arrest is highly unorthodox.
Bologna can be seen approaching the crowd, which is heavily skewed young and female, and spraying them in the face with what appears to be pepper spray. He gave no warning and walked quickly away, suggesting that his aim was not to control the situation and make arrests, but to cause harm or send a message. The NYPD brass agreed; after Bologna told the media he felt "tortured" by the incident, he was transferred to Staten Island, far from the Occupy protests.
However, as others have pointed out, Bologna lives on Staten Island (so his working there is kind of a reward) and was merely docked 10 vacation days for his role in the incident. Bologna told DNAInfo that he "would do things in the same way" if he had to redo the incident.
In a second video from that day, seen here, he appears to spray indiscriminately into another crowd, even grazing a fellow officer.
Of course, media outlets spun it with misleading headlines such as "Occupy Protests Turn Violent," when the only violence reported was police-on-protestor brutality. In any case, the video led to a renewed sense of righteousness for the protests, and the population of Zucotti Park exploded almost as soon as this clip went viral.