CNN is reporting that an NYPD officer was stabbed on New Years Eve night by an OWS protester as the officer attempted to arrest the protester. The incident reportedly followed the re-occupying of Zuccotti Park and the march that followed. Let me state as strongly as I can that I condemn the actions of this protester, both as a police officer and as a citizen who wants so strongly for this movement to succeed. Time and time again, I have urged everyone who will listen, that the road to success for this movement is non-violent civil disobedience. Violence will only serve to nullify the hard work that so many within the occupy movement have done over the past several months.
In the words of one of the greatest and most successful non-violent protest leaders, Mohandas Gandhi, "first they ignore you, then they fight you, then you win." While I was proud to see protesters re-occupy Zuccotti Park, the images of protesters using inflammatory and degrading speech towards the officers who came to arrest them were utterly tasteless. Let the authorities be the ones to provoke and use violence, the movement will get a lot further along that way. Remember the slogan chanted at raids on occupy locations around the country, "the whole world is watching." The whole world is indeed watching and that is why people within the occupy movement do not need to appear belligerent and certainly not violent when confronted by the powers that be.
It is important to remember that the police officers too are the 99%, even if some don’t realize it yet. It is up to each of us to reach out to them and show them the truth. We are just as capable of free thought as the next guy and can understand a logical argument when one is presented to us. Common sense, however, dictates that when these officers are confronted by violent behavior such as stabbings and personally offensive language on the part of protesters, they like anyone, will be turned off by the overall message and are far more willing to do the dirty work of those in power. For these same reasons, I understand it is hard for some protesters to have force used upon them without returning force but it is still vitally important to the survival of the overall movement to remain non-violent.
If one needs proof that the police officers are capable to hearing and agreeing with the occupy movement, look no further than Captain Ray Lewis (Ret.) of the Philadelphia Police Department or myself. Remember above all that non-violence worked under the leadership of Gandhi and it worked under the leadership of Martin Luther King Jr. For crying out loud, what makes anyone think it can’t work now? If you are involved in the occupy movement, I beg of you, for the success of the movement, to urge everyone you know within the movement to remember that the whole world is watching and to remain non-violent and non-confrontational. Civil disobedience works! Just ask any veteran of the Civil Rights movement.