Boston police arrested 141 people during Occupy Boston demonstrations on Tuesday. The early morning arrests (1:30 am) were for trespassing and unlawful assembly. After almost 15 hours in custody, all of the peaceful demonstrators detained by the Boston Police Department had finally been released as of 6 pm on October 11. Occupy Boston has many eye-witness accounts and videos of police misconduct during the arrests (see above).
Perhaps the most disturbing, and characteristic, clip is of a member of Veterans for Peace being thrown to the ground multiple times without provocation. Street medics and clearly marked legal observers who were also detained despite explanation that they were neutral observers, and in sharp contrast to how non-violent arrests ordinarily take place.
As the Boston Globe said:
Urszula Masny-Latos (executive director of the National Lawyers Guild’s Northeast regional office) said no protesters fought with police. She said police could have employed a technique routinely used at other protests—police approach a protester, tell them they are violating the law, and the protester then submits to being taken into custody—and still achieved their goal of clearing the area.
“They really attacked,” Masny-Latos said of police. “They used force that was completely unnecessary. … It was just brutal. I have no idea why they arrested us with such force’’ (Boston.com).
While police contend that their actions were, at least in part, due to an anarchist contingent that had taken control of the group, this was not the case. While police stood across the street from Occupy Boston’s General Assembly, the General Assmebly voted almost unanimously (80%) to peacefully protest Occupy Boston’s removal from the area that BPD insisted the protestors vacate by 12:00 am Tuesday.
Occupiers have been in constant contact with the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy, a non-profit that manages the publicly park owned by MassDOT, and, prior to their arrests, they had received verbal consent to stay in the park. Further, Occupy Boston has plans to launch a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for restoring damaged areas of the park. Last week, members also unanimously agreed to return to Dewey Square—and any other areas that they occupy—to repair any damaged grass.
As the Huffington Post wrote:
The Greenway website confirms that it did have an agreement with the protestors. “Occupy Boston organizers have been cooperative with the Conservancy and the Boston Police Department to date, and have agreed to avoid the planting beds and adhere to common sense rules.” Calls to the Greenway seeking comment were not returned (The Huffington Post).