I suspect that many of you saw some of the same disturbing images I did earlier this week of an undercover California Highway Patrol Officer pulling a handgun on a group of Oakland, CA protesters affiliated with the “Ferguson” movement.
There were photos of the two officers marching at the head of a group of protesters before someone in the crowd started shouting—correctly, it turns out—that officers were undercover police. The crowd grew hostile, as they accused the officers of being agent provocateurs.
Tech culture journalist Xeni Jardin claims:
Freelance reporter Courtney Harrop has Storified a series of eyewitness posts from protesters and journalists who witnessed the undercover agent’s activity, which reportedly included encouraging protesters to loot and commit other crimes, before the agents were outed.
We know that undercover officers have embedded within the crowds of various protests across the country, and these officers have been very instrumental in identifying and taking down violent agitators that have attempted to hide among peaceful demonstrators. That is the far more likely purpose of embedding these officers within the crowd.
That members of the protest were capable of violence is self-evident; after some in the crowd started screaming that the two men were undercover officers, the officers identified themselves as police and the taller officer deployed an ASP baton (but did not use it) as the crowd advanced upon them.
One protester them bum-rushed the shorter officer in the green and yellow hat, allegedly punching him in the face and tackling him. That officer then body-slammed his attacker to the ground, and as the crowd surged forward, the officer in the brown jacket pulled his gun to defend himself and his partner against a hostile crowd of up to 50 that was gathering around them, threatening to swarm.
If the officers were there to incite violence—a claim that police haters have been all too willing to believe—then many of the same people who documented the arrest of this violent agitator should have had video and photographic evidence of these officers inciting violence. Precisely zero photographic or video evidence from this media-saturated march supports that claim, and in fact, one of the NBC photojournalists covering the protests said that the officer was justified in pulling his weapon on the hostile crowd.
“Yeah, it was an appropriate response,” Michael Short, 38, of Oakland and a freelance photographer for the San Francisco Chronicle told NBC Bay Area on Friday, two days after the officer pulled the gun at Harrison and 27th streets in Oakland. “I would have been scared if I saw my partner get knocked to the ground. He was justified. I felt threatened by the protesters, too.”
Law enforcement officers have a right to defend themselves against credible threats of violence, despite what the supporters of Michael Brown, Kajieme Powell, Vonderritt Myers Jr, Dillon Taylor, etc may claim.