Holding up a copy of the Constitution, Navy man stands tall against the Oakland cops

By Brad Friedman on 10/28/2011 2:55pm
He was Standing Stone Still Amid Tear Gas in Oakland – Clutching a Copy of the U.S. Constitution
PLUS: Updates on the injured Scott Olsen and the still-unresigned Mayor of Oakland…

In our coverage of the police assault on peaceful Occupy Oakland demonstrators Wednesday, we ran the inspiring photo of a man standing in front of a line of riot police, wearing a sailor’s uniform, holding a Veterans For Peace flag and clutching a copy of the U.S. Constitution.

But what we didn’t realize at the time — not apparent from the photo, but seen in the following, remarkable video — he was also standing stone still as tear gas canisterswere exploding all around him…

I can’t help but look at the faces of the police in gas masks, presumably from the Oakland PD (though there were some 17 other agencies there that night) in that haunting video, as they look at the sailor, and wonder what they must be thinking to themselves as that hero stands facing them. We have previously written about the extraordinary violations of the First Amendment that have occurred across the country during these otherwise peaceful demonstrations. What thoughts are going through the minds of those men — all of whom are undoubtedly also a part of the same “99%” for whom Occupy protesters are fighting — during that moment?

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