If this past weekend was any indicator, it proves that police are intolerant of peaceful demonstrators, no matter what side of the political spectrum they fall on.
On Saturday, police arrested a group of antiwar protesters in Philadelphia for Criminal Conspiracy and Failure To Disperse.
And on Friday, police shut down a “Patriots Day Tea Party” in North Carolina because they were demonstrating without a permit, even though they initially were told they didn’t need a permit.
Police also arrested a journalist during the Philadelphia incident, who was not even part of the group but taking pictures as police were making arrests.
The arrested journalist was Cheryl Biren, managing editor for the liberal site OpEd News.
The North Carolina protesters had applied for a permit in July but were told they didn’t need one. But days before the event, that all changed and they were told they needed a permit, but by then, it was too late to apply.
In July, Stemler appeared before the Smithfield Town Council and informed the Board of her intentions. On July 14, Stemler filed a Temporary Use Permit Application with Smithfield Planning Director Paul Embler, but was reportedly told by Embler the permit application was not needed. Days before the event, Stemler said she learned from Embler a permit was in fact needed but it was too late to receive Council approval.
Now the town of Smithfield is up in arms over the incident.
Smithfield Town Manager Eric Williams tells WTSB he would like to see changes made after police shut down a peaceful 9-11 Patriots Day Rally on the steps of the Johnston County Courthouse Friday afternoon. Williams also voiced his displeasure with a comment made by a Smithfield police officer on Monday who stated, “Those tea baggers, they got what was coming.” Williams said, “It is not a comment that makes me very happy.”
Read all about it on the WTSB radio station. You may have to scroll down to find the stories because it doesn’t allow you to link to the individual articles.