Last night, in the latest in a series of nationwide police actions designed to prolong and strengthen the Occupy Movement, Los Angeles police engaged in a focused, decisive and ultimately successful attention-gathering operation. Drawing on their storied history of overreaction as well as demonstrating their leadership status in American law enforcement, the LAPD was the first force to deploy bomb-sniffing dogs and a cherry picker in their media-attracting arsenal.
As part of their campaign to cement images of Occupy protesters as non-violent victims of police overreaction, the use of new kinds of scary looking, supposedly non-lethal weapons against unarmed protesters were featured in the slideshows of the local paper of record. Other officers also wore special hazmat suits to underline the demonstrators’ point about the use of imagined threats to justify fear-based police overreaction.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck declared that he was “satisfied” with the operation and “relieved”. I share Beck’s relief. There was a chance that cold weather in the North, and general boredom in the South, would cause the Occupy protesters to quietly lose interest and abandon their encampments. The work of Beck and other movement supporters, most notably Linda P.B. Katehi and Michael Bloomberg, ensure that current Occupy protesters will stay energized, and that new recruits will be added to the Occupy encampments.
In related news, the Philadelphia police department also had a smaller, but similarly successful, media-focusing operation go off without a hitch.