I wrote earlier about the start of the rally on Liberty Avenue, and after the police announced that the crowd had to either clear the sidewalk or start marching/moving, many did walk back to the park. Not everyone. In this blog post, I want to share what I experienced there on Liberty before I walked back to the park. The video posted here is my own, unedited.
About the video, I began to tape because the situation looked a bit tense, and I have been extremely concerned with the issue of how police treat citizens since the two gay bashings happened last summer. In the second of those, the victim experienced the process of filing a report as intimidating. I have heard numerous people claim that the police behave badly, so here was a chance to watch and see what the police did or didn’t do. I want to add, that there was one lesbian who claims that she was pushed by a cop directly before what I have on tape. It may or may not have happened. I believe the officer says that he had told her she couldn’t stand in the road and to get up on the sidewalk, he then touched her arm. She describes that as an assault and pushing I believe. I don’t know. I didn’t see it, so it is her word against the officer’s if she files a complaint. I think I would have noticed it if it had been very much, but who knows. I was personally, most interested in seeing everyone get back to the park.
A woman person had spoken briefly at the bull horn, about being treated horrifically by police at another time. I could barely hear her and when I saw that person standing over with a baby stroller I walked over to ask if I could talk to her. She said she didn’t want to talk about it with the police there, and they were standing right behind her. There was a person in a black shirt who was yelling at the police. He was quite animated, and I began to tape.
I don’t want to make a value judgment on what is expressed in the video. It is clear these queers are extremely angry at the police in general, and these officers are taking the full force of that. Others may argue if the anger is justified or not justified- I don’t want to go there, because no matter, the anger exists. It is real and there is a lot of it. From my perspective, because of how angry these queers are, there was no possible way for the police to act that wouldn’t encourage more anger or resolve some of the anger. They could have been the most perfect professional police or the worst of the worst and this part of the crowd would have been expressing this anger. When there is so much anger, there is no solution- no way for these two “sides” to work together for the greater good, and from my experience here, this is one of the two big issues that the rally accentuates.
While I started taping because the situation seemed tense, I continued to tape because in my opinion, the police were acting extremely professionally at this point. These three officers were taking the anger of these other folks. Anger that was generalized and not really about these three individual officers. At one point, a black woman says, “You need to hear this,” to the officers, and I wonder, is that a solution to the anger? If we got all the police together in a room, and then let people who feel anger express that anger, will those individuals leave the situation done with being angry? But that isn’t really her main message. She expresses at one point that as long as these officers are wearing a uniform, to her they will never be more than pigs.
The person in black who is expressing himself to the officer, at one point acknowledges that whatever happened to him had been a long time ago. What role does carrying around this type of anger play and does it help or impede the efforts to make our communities safe for everyone?
I used this photo that I took with this post intentionally. “Gays Bash Back.” I think it is an essential question the whole of the LGBTQ community needs to consider. Is bashing back helpful, and if so, when and where and against whom? Personally I see two sides to this. I see ways it could be positive and ways it could be negative, and I’m not expressing any bias past saying I see two sides. Looking forward to what readers have to say in the comments. I’m going to write a very short post about going to the park, and then a post about what I experienced after the arrests had started.