Apparently the "What Do We Want? WE DON'T KNOW! When Do We Want It? NOW!!!" crowd is venturing back out from its mothers' basement, now that the first day of spring is here. And they are predictably falling all over themselves, trying and failing to pretend that their lawbreaking and provocation is all the police's fault.
The circus is starting again. Hurra, hurra, step right up and see!
It's spring, and "Occupy Wall Street" is back.
by JAMES TARANTO
Winter is over, and the elite liberal media's favorite "populist movement" is back. The New York Times reports that Saturday saw the year's "first major conflict between the Occupy Wall Street movement and the New York Police Department." Cops arrested 76 protesters, most of them for defying orders to leave Zuccotti Park, a small plaza in a largely residential area of downtown New York, after it closed for the night.
Three of the suspects were charged with felonies: "a 23-year old Wisconsin woman accused of elbowing a police officer in the face; a man accused of trying to snatch a gun and a radio from a police sergeant; and a 25-year-old California man accused of pushing an officer." Mayor Michael Bloomberg, deservedly criticized for responding limply to the "occupation" last fall, is taking a tougher line this season. "You want to get arrested?" the mayor asked rhetorically at a Monday news conference. "We'll accommodate you."
Lots of people got arrested last fall, too, and today's Wall Street Journal has an extremely satisfying report on the progress of their cases. Here's the opening anecdote:
When Jeff Rae was arrested last October with hundreds of other Occupy Wall Street protesters during a march on the Brooklyn Bridge, he decided to fight the charges, believing he had been entrapped.
On Monday, Mr. Rae changed his mind and accepted a plea agreement with Manhattan prosecutors. Why? The district attorney's office had subpoenaed his Twitter account, raising the stakes in what he had thought would be a speedy case he could win, he said.
"You're fighting the king," said the 31-year-old Washington resident, who had written "I will tweet until I'm cuffed " on Twitter during the Oct. 1 march. "It seemed like a lot of the power was in their hands." . . .
In short Twitter messages, protesters coordinate activities and warn others of law-enforcement efforts. In doing so, prosecutors believe some have revealed an intent to break the law. . . .
In the prosecution of another protester named Malcolm Harris arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge, Assistant District Attorney Lee Langston outlined why a tweet would be helpful. Mr. Langston wrote in a court filing that Mr. Harris's tweets "made clear . . . that he was well aware of the police instructions that day, and acted with the intent of obstructing traffic on the bridge."
These people may be tech-savvy, but they're so street-dumb that it apparently didn't occur to them not to post incriminating statements all over the Internet. A further irony is that the claims of "entrapment" are not only false but inverted. The lawbreaking "protesters" evidently sought to provoke arrests, which they then claimed were unjustified. If we were prosecuting these cases, we would demand a formal apology to the NYPD as a condition for any plea bargain.
It will not surprise you to learn that the so-called occupiers are unhappy that their comrades' statements are being used against them:
"The NYPD and Manhattan DA's office are on a fishing expedition for any incriminating evidence, which they have yet to find," said Justin Wedes, 25, who works on Occupy's social media team. "The result is a chilling effect on our free speech rights and the waste of taxpayer money to peruse individuals' public and private communications."
That's pure bunk. There is no right to trespass, block traffic or assault policemen, and the right to free expression does not entail immunity from having one's self-incriminating statements entered into evidence. As for a "chilling effect," it may be true that one will materialize--that is, that lawbreakers will be more careful about what they post on social media. But that's the last thing the prosecutors want to happen.
"The social contract exists so that everyone doesn’t have to squat in the dust holding a spear to protect his woman and his meat all day every day. It does not exist so that the government can take your spear, your meat, and your woman because it knows better what to do with them." - Instapundit.com
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