Occupy Wall Street and the Police
On September 17th, 2011, Occupy Wall Street (OWS) officially launched in New York City’s Zuccotti Park. OWS spurred a larger Occupy movement that spread quickly across the country, with Occupy sites emerging throughout the U.S. in a matter of days.
Relations between police and OWS protestors have been mixed. Some sites have experienced neutral or positive interactions, while others have generated substantial conflict, including several notable instances of excessive force by police as well as violence against police by protesters.
The Occupy Movement, like many social movements, poses great challenges for police, including the dual responsibility for protecting civil rights while maintaining civil order. While the Occupy Movement and other protest movements bring police together in emotionally charged and potentially volatile environments, thoughtful police administrators are working hard to find ways to avoid the use of violence and abuse of authority by police.