Posts Tagged ‘Protest’

Uploaded onto Youtube by the account MrXstacey, this video involves Mrs. Jodi Emery, Miss Nichole Seguin and Mr. Jacob Hunter who where planning to occupy Justice Minister Rob Nicholson’s office located in Niagara Falls, Ontario on June 10th of an unknown year.  This video was posted just under three months before Marc Emery, of who they were protesting for, was sentenced to five years in a US jail for selling marijuana seeds across the border.  Mrs. Emery approached the offices at first and only at their request for her identification did Mr. Hunter and the Miss.  Nicole Seguin reveal themselves from their position around the corner.  Police where called after Jodi Emery and Jacob Hunter wanted entry into said offices.  Mr. Hunter was arrested, the officer claiming assault.  Mr. Hunter claiming assault as well.  When protestors arrived for the sit in is where things quickly escalated.  Protestors that were arrested in conjunction, along with Mr. Hunter where later released the same day.  This video is an abridged version with a link to the original video.

The video description is filled with propaganda about the “Free Marc campaign” emphasized by all capitals.  According to the information given, Justice Minister Nicholson’s offices where targeted because he signed the extradition order for Mr. Emery to the US.  What is echoed in both the description and in the protestors speech is that Mr. Emery did not enter the US to sell the seeds, yet was charged in the states and is currently serving out his sentence.  Although that is true, he had not entered the US to sell the seeds, he still sold them through the mail, which once they entered the US Mr. Emery was subject to a whole host of charges.  That fact of the matter is he did not need to be in the US to commit the crime because once the seeds crossed the border the crime was committed.

As to MrXstacey, the uploads to this account show an overwhelming support of the right to protest and very little videos involving any reference to cannabis.  And perusing through this users history, they have posted about Newfoundland, B.C. and Surrey.  This may mean that this user is local, meaning at least the Greater Regional Vancouver District area.  Some videos include past news casts with alarmist re-titles and personal vlogs with edited scenes from television used to support claims.  This might lend credence to an argument when there is none or vice versa.  For instance, by inferring that this user’s argument had no merit, negative connotation where added to the readers perception of the user helping to disregard their argument and any future statements.

What I am inferring is that through careful editing it shows the police in a disparaging light and attempts to show the protestors without fault.  Both videos are not without their own editing.  Although how this particular incident started seems to be understood by both the police and the protestors.  The advance party of the Free March campaign where prohibited from protesting in JM Nicohlson’s offices.  Though both sides contributed to the eventual outcome.  Did Mr. Hunter need to smoke a joint within five minuets of the police officer arriving?  Probably not.  Was it his right to do so, with his MMAR card?  Yes.  Was the police officers statement about the camera being viewed as a weapon, inflammatory?  Yes.  Did Mr. Hunter have to follow closely behind the officer, disregarding his instructions?  No.  He could have waited a short while.  For the officer to gather information from inside the offices, perhaps convince those inside to reopen the offices to the protestors.  Would that have happen?  It is possible.  Did the officer need to act so aggressive?  Yes and no.  Put in the same situation: outnumbered, one larger then you, smoking cannabis and not knowing how it effects him, not obeying your orders, following close on your heels and attempting to fight back; I would have reacted similar to the police officer.  That being said the protestors have endured many aggressive tactics from the police in reference to their cannabis use.  Often using decriminalized laws to seek the arrest or search for evidence for arrest because of involvement with the protest or because of partaking in cannabis.  At about 4:22 in MrXstacey’s edited video and 8:15 in the full length video, the police officers body language completely changes.  Shoulder haunches, head tucked in, firm grip on Mr. Hunter, not making eye contact or giving order or direct the protestors until another officer arrives aside from “calm down”.  This is because a busload of protestors have arrived, immediately voicing opinions and crowding around the two officers.  Many other situations have gone bad at this point.

Around 25 minuets in, in the original video, an officer explains the arrest procedure and processing but not necessarily answers any of Mrs. Emery’s and Miss. Seguin’s questions.  35 minuets in, they notice an RCMP officer who responds because “It’s an MP office.”  Again side-stepping questions about the openness of the office.

There is an overwhelming support involving the event not necessarily the cause.  Mainly revolving around the camera as a weapon statement.  The commenters that disagree have their argument circle around the fact that cannabis is illegal and how it has affect their lives through various crimes.

How this blog relates to policing’s new visibility is through the medium.  By the use of the internet, phones and cameras.  After Mr. Hunter was put in handcuffs you can hear him proclaiming loudly that that device was streaming live to the internet.  As Goldsmith explains through his article Policing’s New Visibility, the rising portability and accessibility of recording devices and the ability to share the information is what makes the police more visible to the public [even to others who where not present].  He argues even increases accountability.  Take for instance, the Rodney King beating, mentioned many times in his article.  Videos focus almost exclusively on the show of police brutality, ignoring what happened just before – Mr. King’s high-speed pursuit because he did not want to go to jail for DUI [Driving Under Intoxication].  But videos like Mr. King’s unnecessary beating can be edited for public release quite differently.  Often times to show more sensationalism.  Media outlets are also going through social media to search for stories.  As the reader may have noticed an increase of Facebook or Myspace citing in your newscast.

The police both fear and respect this new wave of technologies.  They fear it because any slip up, no matter how small may be blown out of portion, causing the police to lose face and ultimately their symbolic power and authority which means that they cannot command anyone to obey.  They respect it, because it offers a unique view into both the offenders mind and offers supporting evidence during trial.  Into the offenders mind, because everyone is as fond of making video as the police are of seizing it.

As many know, or will come to know of in the future, there have been several protests throughout the globe such as the one in Oakland, California in the United States of America. What started off as a peaceful protest over the last two months, has more recently erupted into violent confrontations with the police. As we can see in the amateur videos below, the police in Oakland have begun to evict the protestors even though there have been campgrounds setup for the protestors to peacefully exercise their constitutional rights. Hundreds of protestors at the Occupy Oakland movement have been arrested, and countless have been shot at with rubber bullets and tear gas canisters. One of the documented cases on video is of a Marine veteran, Scott Olsen, who was shot in the head by a tear gas canister at extremely close range. Also, as he was on the floor, an officer threw a flashbang near him; he was hospitalized due to his injuries and was in serious but stable conditions at the time of the incident. It was later revealed that he had suffered a skull fracture and swelling of the brain due to the impact of the projectile. I strongly feel that the police had no authority to forcefully evict the protestors in the manner that they did; especially since the protestors were for the most part complying with their orders, and had their protest contained to the designated areas. What’s your say on this matter?