VIDEO: Police Turn Forceful as They Arrest 100 at Occupy Boston Scene
Protesters claim police action turned violent after midnight on the Rose Kennedy Greenway, when dozens of Occupy Boston demonstrators were arrested and officers demolished a second camp.
Early this morning Boston Police arrested protesters and demolished a new camp established on Monday by the Occupy Boston movement.
Occupy Boston organizers say at least 100 people were arrested and some eyewitness reports from the scene are charging Boston police with violence.
The original Occupy Boston protest zone in Dewey Square, near South Station, remains intact today. Sean Ryan, a former candidate for City Council, posted a photo of Police Commissioner Ed Davis standing in the area that had been cleared.
"Occupy Boston" protestors were given warnings by police to abandon a second encampment or face arrest Tuesday morning, but, despite the openly stated intentions of protestors to only passively resist their evacuation, a number of officers were seen using what appeared to be excessive force against them. (Malden Patch editor Chris Caesar was on the scene.)
As midnight approached Monday, activists locked arms in a show of peaceful civil disobedience. Officers dressed in all-black quickly surrounded, slowly pushed and - some, but not all - employed aggressive physical force to move and arrest them.
Officers were also seen assaulting non-threatening bystanders and using force on subjects who clearly seem to be already complying with their evacuation orders.
The police action came only at the group's second tent city on the Rose Kennedy Greenway where park patrons had recently spent $150,000 to spruce it up, according to a report in the Boston Herald. Mayor Menino had asked the group to leave the area by midnight and police moved in about 1:30 a.m.
Protesters said they had expected arrests, but not with the degree of force displayed by some of the officers.
The Boston Police released a statement on Monday night:
"Protestors have been asked to return to their original camp site on the Greenway and leave the area of the Greenway by Pearl Street where they expanded to earlier today," said a statement from Boston Police Media Relations. "That particular section of the Greenway recently underwent a renovation of the green space by the Greenway Conversancy. We have been communicating that request to protestors in various ways including in person, Twitter and flyers."
According to police, print copies of this message were distributed at the second camp that was later dispersed:
The Boston Police Department has continued to respect your right to peacefully protest. The BPD is also obligated to maintain public order and safety. We ask for your ongoing cooperation.
What the BPD expects from Occupy Boston Participants:
• Respect police instructions and, if asked to leave an area, please do so peacefully, taking your belongings with you.
• Don’t engage in negative behavior, such as fighting, throwing objects, or destroying property.
• If you are noticed by the BPD that you are unlawfully assembling, or trespassing, you will not be allowed to remain in the area. Please immediately leave the area with your belongings, or you will be subject to arrest.
What Occupy Boston Participants can expect from the BPD:
• BPD will arrest those knowingly in violation of the law if necessary.
• Police will employ the use of video-cameras in areas surrounding the Rose Kennedy Greenway. The video will be used to capture the images of individuals who are engaging in disorder. Those images will then be used to lodge criminal complaints in a follow-up investigation conducted by Boston Police detectives.
• Officers will conduct themselves in a professional, respectful and proportional manner.
Know the Laws:
• In the event that 5 or more armed people or 10 or more people are unlawfully, riotously or tumultuously assembled, the police can demand that they immediately and peaceably disperse.
• Any person who unlawfully assembles and does not disperse after being ordered is subject to arrest and imprisonment of up to 1 year or a fine between $100 and $500.
• Remaining upon land of another after having been forbidden to do so by a person who has lawful control over the premises.
• Any person who trespasses is subject to arrest and imprisonment of up to 30 days or a fine of up to $100.