The Occupy movement has added a new layer to the battle for the public right of way.
In many cities where protesters have asserted their constitutional right to assemble, law enforcement has intervened swiftly, even violently, the moment demonstrators get in the way of the movement of motor vehicles. We saw it when hundreds of protesters were arrested the second they interfered with traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge. Or when NYPD pepper sprayed young women in their attempt to keep a crowd confined to the sidewalk.
Watch how quickly things escalate in this video when an Occupy Oakland protest enters the public roadway.
The official response? As Network blog Systemic Failure points out, although the victims filed a police report, and the video evidence speaks for itself, Oakland Police have not pursued charges against the driver. The two protesters pictured in the video, Lance Laverdure, 29, and Margaret So, 36, suffered internal injuries and a broken ankle, respectively.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported:
BART police, who were first on the scene, briefly interviewed the driver, decided he wasn’t drunk and let him go. Then they turned over the investigation to Oakland police.
As of Friday, however, Oakland police had not contacted So or key witnesses, attorneys for So and Laverdure said at a news conference where they showed video footage of the incident.
“As you can see, this is not a hard crime to solve,” said Laverdure’s attorney, Simona Farrise.
Systemic Failure compares this case to an incident earlier just last month where a firefighter was a victim of vehicular assault — the suspect was immediately arrested and charged with three felonies including attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon.
Elsewhere on the Network today: New Jersey Future writes that the state is threatening to weaken its successful, money-saving Transit Villages program. Riding in Riverside reflects on the sense of empowerment that comes with cycling for transportation. And Urban Adonia shares some of the latest anthropological examinations of America’s warped transportation culture.