Saturday, September 7, 2013

Why Fear Terrorists When There Are Banjo Players Running Amok

Trey Smith


What follows below is a snippet from a disturbing report out of Philadelphia with video footage of what transpired. It is appalling, to say the least! (See if you can spot THE moment the person being manhandled a) resists arrest and b) assaults a federal officer.)
The US has yet to launch President Obama’s latest war crime of massively bombing Syria (a country that does not threaten this nation) and already federal police thugs, in this case National Parks Service Rangers, have violently arrested an Iraq War Veteran who was peacefully playing her banjo in the shade on Independence Mall in Philadelphia following an anti-war protest and march.

Emily Yates, an activist with the group Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), and a professional folksinger and banjo player, can be seen in this video [below], peacefully standing plucking her instrument when she is ordered to move by a group of Park Rangers. When she asks them (politely) why she has to move off of federal park property that is open to the public, she is not given any explanation. Then at one point, she is grabbed from behind roughly without warning and slammed, bent over, across the wooden top of a park bench, with several large rangers pinning her down, and with her hands wrenched behind her back, as they try to place metal cuffs on her wrists.

As she struggles to breathe with all that pressure on her forcibly bent-over form, a senior officer can be heard telling her to “relax” and to “stop resisting” -- though with three men piled on top of her, it is clear she is not resisting..

Yates was held in a federal lockup for two days before an arraignment on Monday, at which she was charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and, most seriously, “assaulting a federal officer.” The latter charge, absurd when matched up against the video of the arrest, is a felony carrying a heavy jail sentence.

One is reminded of those black jokes about police ramming arrested persons head first into the sides of patrol cars and then charging them with damaging public property, or punching handcuffed victims in the face and then charging them with banging their heads into the officer’s fist. It is impossible to view the above video and see any evidence of “assault.” Nor could Yates have been assaulting the larger scrum of rangers who were all over her prone body later when she can be seen being held on the ground, screaming for help, as angry spectators shouted from the sidelines for the rangers to let her go, to “stop strangling her” and to call for a medic.

Yates’ attorney, Larry Krassner, offered TCBH! a statement on the case saying: “Emily is a six-year military veteran who served honorably for two tours in Iraq. She has PTSD. She was arrested and injured by federal officers for no good reason. The US government owes its veterans better treatment than this, even when they happen to be opposed to further war in Syria.”

I would add it owes its citizens, veterans or not, better treatment than this too, especially in this particular location, of all places.

Independence Mall is a three-block piece of property run by the National Park Service in Philadelphia. A favored spot for tourists from all over the nation and the world, with the restored Independence Hall at one end, where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were written and where the Bill of Rights was passed into law, protecting freedom of speech and assembly, and the Constitution Center at the other end, where the US Constitution and its guarantees of freedom are celebrated, it is also a favored locale for protest actions, such as the protest and march against a US attack on Syria, which took place just before Yates’ arrest.

The brutal assault on this peaceful folksinger offers a stark view of the reality of America’s burgeoning police state, set as it was against the image of the building where America’s founding documents offered the hope for such a different kind of state.
~ from Park Rangers Brutally Arrest Iraq War Vet at Anti-Syria Bombing Demo by Dave Lindorff ~


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