Ret. Captain Ray Lewis, perhaps the only member of a municipal police force to actually step forth and stand alongside Occupy Wall Street protestors, has found himself more and more estranged from today's police tactics. He doesn't like it, and wants to come to your city and tell you about it personally.
His latest disappointment in his brothers in blue? An incident in Seattle in the early closing hours of Gay Pride week. A high-ranking police lieutenant -- and this is caught on video -- walks up to a partier standing on the sidewalk, pepper sprays him without provocation, and grabs him by his shirt front to drag him into the street to be cuffed and arrested.
What was on the official police arrest report? That this 24-year-old male bystander had "pushed forward" and "kicked the Lieutenant in the shin," resulting in his being arrested for "assault."
When hearing the circumstances, Ray could only grimace.
"I think the officer somewhat indicted himself when he said he was kicked in the leg... if the video doesn't show that. He has been caught in an outright lie," Ray sighs.
And the use of pepper spray? (Listen up, NYC and Philly cops)
"Even if he was kicked, you do not use the level of force of the pepper spray. That's a level used when you have a totally uncontrolled assailant and that's the only way you can subdue that person," Ray offers. "Pepper spray, if done by another (non-police?) individual against a person in public would come under 'aggravated assault... not simple assault."
A multi-year veteran patrolman who worked his way through the ranks, Ray is thankful for the humanizing experience of dealing directly with the civilian population. Community support is not given casually. Was that reflected in his own experience of being arrested in NYC by his brothers in blue? Yes, and no.
"I should have been arrested. I was committing civil disobedience. I did sit in the street, and I refused an order to leave. So, the arrest was legal and the way they handled me (in contrast to the Seattle example) and all the others that day was done in a professional manner," he declares.
He regrets that this initial respect and civility shown by the police has melted away, almost uniformly, across the United States. The Community doesn't like it... and videos showing police abusing their authority is beginning to erode their respect.
So, what does he intend to do about this? At the urging of many in Occupy who see him as an authentic hero and example of doing the right thing, Ray is planning on searching out funding to put wheels under his spoken word -- a van or bus to carry him to Occupy cities across the United States.
"In addition to meeting me to learn first-hand the need for better policing, I want to get them to watch the documentary film Inside Job as I once did," he says. Even if it takes putting up a screen against the bus at a park or vacant lot.
"Every person I have asked to watch it is totally sold on the fact that we have to have major changes... that we have to take money out of politics... that the whole banking system has to be overhauled."
Another wrong he wants his fellow citizen to wake up to? For-Profit Prisons.
"This totally makes law enforcement a farce when you are arresting people and sending them to prison to make sure your city or state fulfills its obligation to keep that prison 96 percent filled... just to satisfy the prison contractors and their bottom line," he says angrily.
More background? Check out my original HuffPost article on Ray Lewis here.
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