Resisting Arrest

U.S. Park Police are being unfairly maligned through the manipulation of protesters utilizing classic Saul Alinsky tactics.

I was unaware of the protests staged earlier by members of Code Pink and various other assorted liberal groups as I visited the Jefferson Memorial on Saturday May 29, 2011. I wanted to soak in the aura of a memorial dedicated to one of my favorite Founding Fathers, and I did just that. I spoke to a couple of Park Police officers standing in the rotunda, and they mentioned something about a protest that had happened earlier. We talked for some time and I was asked by a group of Australians to take their picture with the officers. These officers were friendly and listened as I bent their ears.

I read the next day on Fox News the story detailing the protest I happened to miss on Saturday and watched the accompanying video in which the two Park Police officers I spoke with appeared as they assisted in the arrest of protesters performing illegal acts. The story highlighted efforts to investigate the Park Police for using excessive force to arrest the protesters. The description of officers bent on abusing citizens’ rights was totally inconsistent with the demeanor of the officers I met. They were friendly, helpful, and engaged with various tourists who asked questions.

As I watched the video of the arrests, I was struck by the fact that the protesters were resisting arrest but no mention of this was made in the story. While they were not fighting with the arresting officers, they were clearly practicing passive resistance by refusing to cooperate with the arresting officers. These passive tactics appear non-threatening on camera and force the arresting officers to appear overly aggressive in the performance of their jobs as they struggle to subdue the protesters. The result is that the protesters can point to video which makes them appear to be manhandled by police while their passive resistance is easily overlooked by viewers not familiar with the techniques.

One protester is caught on camera with his hands held out in a what-did-I-do gesture being held from behind by an officer before being forced to the ground by the officer. The standard arrest procedure dictates that the suspect is asked to assume a position on the ground so the officer can handcuff him safely. This protester refused and was forced to the ground so his arrest could proceed.

Lost amid the arrests in the video of this story is the fact mentioned at the beginning that these protesters were violating the law and were arrested after they were repeatedly warned to cease their unlawful conduct. They were given every opportunity to stop before being arrested. They chose to make a point and engaged in passive resistance to heighten the effect of their protest. One protester even claimed that Jefferson would applaud their efforts on behalf of freedom. I suspect that she seriously underestimates Thomas Jefferson’s ability to tolerate unlawful behavior that disrupts the peace. Their behavior would not have been tolerated in that simpler time.

Many hard-working Americans visit Washington, D.C. to see the monuments and enjoy the unique experience of visiting our nation’s capital with their families. They don’t want their children exposed to protesters being arrested for making an obscure point they care nothing about. The protesters obviously care nothing about the rights of these families to peacefully enjoy these monuments to our country’s founding history. They prefer to show out and exercise what they see as their exclusive right to be heard above all others.

There used to exist the idea of respect for others to enjoy public places, but protesters such as these are really intent on destroying this idea and are merely using the ban on dancing as their vehicle. In classic Saul Alinsky tradition, they seek to tear down the established order, but they never get around to thinking about what they want to replace this established order. Do they wish to have chaos reign over us to everyone’s detriment? They don’t have a clue and never plan any further than the next insipid protest.

Instead of condemning the Park Police, I applaud their efforts to insure that I had a peaceful and orderly experience as I visited the Jefferson Memorial. I was able to reflect on the life and achievements of one of my favorite historical figures without the distraction of a bunch of clueless protesters violating the law and disturbing the peace. While there are certainly things worthy of protest – excessive government spending and regulation come to mind – this issue was not one of them and the rotunda of the Jefferson Memorial was not the venue.

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10 Responses to Resisting Arrest

  1. It is our duty as citizens to break unjust laws in protest. Yes they were using passive resistance, its kind of hard to not resist when you shouldnt be arrested in the first place. The police are using force to enforce their own beliefs and that is wrong, the only time violence should be used is in self defense, which will one day be defense from the police if we continue down this slippery slope.

  2. Tom Roberson says:

    It is one thing to protest a law one feels is unjust, but quite another to involve the police when they are doing their jobs. The point of the protest was to be arrested, not cause the police officers to look as though they were being thugs to gain further sympathy for the cause. Once arrested, the protest objective was accomplished and the duty is to cooperate with the arresting officers as they do their jobs. The police were doing their jobs to uphold the law. They didn’t make the law or pass judgment on those breaking the law. They warned the protesters several times, and arrested them when their warnings went unheeded. The people who visited the Jefferson Memorial that day with their children certainly didn’t wish to be subjected to the antics of the protesters. The proper avenue for change is in the legislative branch, not the police force. By blaming the police, you show your ignorance of our political system. Their job is not to make the laws (that for the legislature), nor interpret the laws (that’s for judges), but to enforce the laws. They were doing their jobs with no personal animosity, and nothing more.

  3. Ryan Jay E Chesley says:

    “The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” – Thomas Jefferson

    Until June 25, 1976. it was LEGAL to kill Mormons in Missouri, If i were to save a Mormon’s life does this make me a criminal or a hero?? According to you legal is right… So saving a persons life is wrong.

    “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.” – Thomas Jefferson
    I would say they did act in Thomas Jefferson’s Honor

    “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent. ” – Thomas Jefferson

    And by quietly conceding to the laws put forth by our government you open yourself to Tyranny you may not see dance as a form of expression of one’s self… but it is, because no two people dance the exact same way. If i am so moved by a wonderful man (Thomas Jefferson) that i feel the need to have a dance of liberty in his honor… the is a right protected by OUR constitution

    “Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”- Thomas Jefferson

    Thomas Jefferson was the biggest advocate for “fight the government” he has always told us to question unjust laws. Just because you see it as a nuisance doesn’t make it wrong… Your jumbled mess of words distorting the true meaning of liberty is a nuisance to me, but that doesn’t make it illegal, It is protected under the first amendment, Just as the dance of freedom!

  4. Ryan Jay E Chesley says:

    “The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object.” – Thomas Jefferson

    Do some reading before you begin to talk on behalf of a man that was brilliant

  5. Tom Roberson says:

    Mr. Chesley, it is you who should repair to the library and brush up on history and Mr. Jefferson in particular. I have no problem resisting unjust laws, but I do have a problem with resisting arrest. The point of using arrest as a means of protest is to force a court to punish unjust behavior and arouse the sympathy of the people to change unjust laws. It is not to denigrate the policeman who has no authority to change the law. This exercise of resisting arrest at the Jefferson Memorial was designed to entrap the policemen in an over-the-top stunt to demonstrate a non-existent brutal police state infringing on the rights of the downtrodden. Spare me please. The protesters engaged in passive resistance in an attempt to denigrate the policemen charged with enforcing the law. This was nothing more than an attempt to try the police in the media rather than protest the unjustness of the law in question in the courts where it belonged. This was a classic Saul Alinsky tactic, and should not be tolerated by a society interested in preserving order. The protest should have been over the law in question, not an attempt to portray the police as the tool of a brutal repressive regime, which it is not. Mr. Jefferson would never have approved of such grandstanding behavior designed only to denigrate those without the power to change the laws. You sir, misquote and misunderstand history to push a vile and evil agenda.

  6. Ryan Jay E Chesley says:

    Leaving people alone unless they harm or steal from a person is a “vile and evil agenda”?
    BTW The courts ruled in Mr. Kokesh’s favor on all accounts…

  7. So you believe the “STATE” owns us, Mr. Roberson? You honestly believe a man I pay to PROTECT my freedom, has a right to force violence upon me, or you, or anyone for that matter simply because of his, or a gang calling themselves the legislature have an opinion that dancing isn’t legal, and the so called cop was “just doing his job.” Their was another group like that, they were called the Nazis, and they were hung for “just doing their jobs.” Martin Luther King Jr. said – Always remember, everything Hitler did was legal. Then again Mr. Roberson, I spent seventeen years of my life in the United States Navy protecting your right to be stupi… I mean free and facist, and a state slave. That’s just my opinion of course, and like dad said Opinions are like butt holes everyone has one and they all stink but yours. Hope you can actually explore where your paradigm lives and realize you are not free.

  8. Tom Roberson says:

    No, I don’t believe the state owns us or anyone, and I never stated that. However, the state establishes laws that must be obeyed for society to function properly. We the people granted this right to the state when we formed it. For freedom to flourish and the number of laws to remain minimal, citizens must exercise personal responsibility to temper their urge to do as they please just because their actions aren’t explicitly prohibited. I spoke to the officers just after this incident and they were normal people doing a job with no animosity towards anyone. The protesters deliberately provoked the situation and refused to stop despite repeated warnings. They employed the classic Alinsky tactic of provoking an arrest, then screaming police brutality as they resisted being arrested. Neither Mohandas Gandhi nor Martin Luther King advocated resisting arrest for civil disobedience. They urged their followers to demonstrate peacefully and not resist arrest because they didn’t want to be seen as provoking the authorities. Alinsky’s modus operandi was to use America’s tolerance against itself and stands in contrast to the tactics employed by Gandhi and King. If you don’t like the law, then vote someone else in and have it changed. Better yet, you run for office and change the law. Until then, this is the law and it should be enforced just like other laws. Neither you nor I get the opportunity to decide which laws we will obey or ignore. While you were in the Navy, did you get to decide which orders you would obey and which you would ignore? Of course not! Same with being a civilian.

  9. Mr. Robeson, You are the perfect example of a mind controlled statist slave, and I harbor you no ill for that because I was that way for the better part of my 48 years on this earth. You need to define freedom and liberty and look with some intellectual honesty at your life, and the lives of the ones you profess to love. You are not free if you believe that picking your master from a list of multi millionaires is freedom. You are enslaved in your mind, and I feel sorry for that but, when you become a victim and you eventually will, you’ll probably wake up. Like many others have. Government is by consent per the Declaration of Independence without that direct and individual consent government is slavery, Period! If I didn’t vote for someone to represent me then his opinion doesn’t matter to me call him a magical unicorn or a judge or the fictional state, yes Mr. Robeson the state is a fiction. Does bugs bunny command you?
    A man I pay to protect my rights doesn’t command me ANYTIME, and the people in that encounter provoked nothing whatsoever, they didn’t approach anyone and force them to do anything the violent idiots with the guns and egos accosted them, and started the entire problem. They refused to stop despite repeated warnings, because the warnings were unlawful, like me Adam paid for that memorial with years of his life it belongs to him and as long as he isn’t disturbing or violating someones individual rights (not an idiot with a badge and a gun) then he has no obligation to listen to a moron with an ego problem. Show me any law banning dancing in Thomas Jeffersons Memorial or anywhere for that matter. Every man has the right to resist unlawful arrest the so called officers had no standing to complain and absolutely,no “cause of action” in this. I’m not Gandhi or King and I’ve studied American Law for over 4 years and have personally never been lawfully arrested, however I have been falsely arrested 3 times and have never once provoked anyone. The idiots wearing badges and guns approached me in hostility and accosted me. So far I’ve been nice and haven’t sued them to their foundations because and only because I wasn’t really physically harmed. I believe the day will come when some moron with a badge and gun will pull a weapon on me for his perception of my violating “THE LAW” and I will use my training to put him down like the dog he is. No one owns me, No harm or damage, no “cause of action”, therefore no right to do a dam thing to ME. I’ll never vote for anyone because no one “stands in my place” I’m old enough, mature enough, and intelligent enough, to self govern. I don’t need a nanny. Being in the Navy I was under contract and in voluntary servitude by my own free will, not by the opinions backed by a gun of a bunch of men and women presuming to represent me against my will Mr. Robeson, big difference. Just as I have no master neither do I want to overlord over anyone why would I want to become a master of a bunch of poor, ignorant, oppressed, mind controlled people whom I actually care about unlike their master whom only seek to rape and pillage their lives.

    Due Process – “Under our system we have repeatedly decided, in accordance with constitutional principles as construed everywhere, that no arrest can be made without warrant except in cases of felony, or in cases of breaches of the peace committed in the presence of the arresting officer. This exception, in cases of breaches of the peace, has only been allowed by reason of the immediate danger to the safety of the community against crimes of violence.” Yerkes v. Smith, 157 Mich. 557, 122 N.W. 223, 224 (1909), citing: Robison v. Miner, 68 Mich. 549, 557-58, 37 N.W. 21, (1888)
    Were the heinous dancers presenting any danger to anyone whatsoever? NO
    Did the officers have a warrant? NO
    Was a felony being committed? NO
    ergo, no authority to arrest, no obligation to obey their criminal orders, and the officers were in fact the criminals here period! Doesn’t take a law degree to realize.
    I wish you the best in your enslavement but really hope you examine your life and what you really want to leave your children, 60 million statutes or real natural law with no master to own you or your mind, good luck sir.

    James Michael Barnes IM2 of 17 years of the Navy of these united States of America Land of the “FREE” Home of the “BRAVE”…One nation under GOD with “LIBERTY” and “JUSTICE” for all. GOD Bless America. Screw the treasonous “UNITED STATES INC.”

  10. Tom Roberson says:

    Sir, why do you bother to study law if you feel that it doesn’t apply to you? Why do you throw up your Navy service as some sort of badge that grants you instant authority on American jurisprudence? You sound like the typical anarchist who feels that he is above any law of man. I suggest you find a nice island someplace where you can live as free as you please. Hopefully, you won’t require protection from hostile pirates or rescue from the ravages of mother nature. You are absolutely incorrect in stating that dancing at the Jefferson Memorial is not against the law, as it specifically is against the law. The demonstrators were arrested for willfully and purposely violating that law after repeated warnings to cease and desist. As a student of the law, surely you are aware that a warrant is not necessary to arrest individuals in the act of committing a crime, regardless of whether it is a felony or a misdemeanor. Your definition of due process states that exceptions are made in cases of breaches of the peace, which this was. You obviously feel that law is unjust, but your personal feelings don’t negate it as a law. It is apparent that you are not open to reason as demonstrated by your rambling rants. You consistently attack me personally and infer that I was not present. In fact, I was present the very day this incident occurred and spoke to the arresting officers. You also state that I’m enslaved to some ill-defined corporatist elite which frankly puzzles me. But, it is apparent that nothing I say will penetrate your wall of denial, so please continue your Quixotic quest with my blessing.

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