Published November 04, 2011
It was inevitable that the “F*** the Police” generation would grow into a meaner version of the left that has long called police officers “pigs” and worse. Despite its union support, the Occupy Wall Street crowd has taken police hate and confrontation to a level seldom seen outside of organized crime.
Gone are the days of goofy liberal protests where police officers stand idly by watching the street theater. The Occupiers have escalated their levels of abuse, confrontation, intimidation, harassment and threats – all so they can score good video clips to boost their movement. Even an awful incident like the Scott Olsen injury is viewed as a “win” by many in the movement. They got it on video, after all.
Meanwhile, in Occupying events around the United States, police are mocked, screamed at, spat upon, confronted, pushed, knocked off motorcycles and loads more. New York confrontations resulted in hundreds of protesters arrested. While Occupiers attacked Oakland police with everything from “eggs” and “paint” to “feces” and “M-80” firecrackers, the bigger threat is a new tactic called “doxing.” It’s part of the culture that comes from hacker group Anonymous, which is one of the major organizers of the Occupy Wall Street protests.
Doxing is a hacker tactic designed to dig up the public, and often not-so-public, information on an individual. “The time has come to retaliate against Oakland police via all non-violent means, beginning with doxing (releasing of documents and data) of individual officers and particularly higher-ups involved in the department's conduct of late,” reported CNET on an Occupy Wall Street statement.
The same strategy was used on New York policeman Anthony Bologna, who famously pepper sprayed Occupy Wall Street protesters. Anonymous went after him and his family. “Enranged, the faceless, nameless mob known only as Anonymous has begun pooling the personal information of not only Officer Bologna, but his wife and children,” wrote BuzzFeed.
The same strategy played out at Occupy San Diego when the occupiers’ own livestream media crew repeatedly confronted and threatened individual officers. Angry that one police officer wouldn’t let them in to videotape the police closing their camp, the Occupy Wall Street livestreamer shouted: “We are legion. You will not hide Officer Pollack.” “Dox Alan Pollack,” he added, telling his viewers to dig information on the police officer.
At another time during the protest, the same livestreamer went down the line reading police badge names and repeatedly telling his viewers to investigate the officers in question. When he got to a higher rank, he became even more insistent. “If you guys saw it at home, that’s the guy we really need to dox. He is the one in control of this whole operation.”
But some things are expected, according to Dominique Arotzarena, president of the Oakland Police Officer's Association. During the protests in Oakland, officers “took a lot of people spitting on them all. Then every name in the book and they just took it.” Why tolerate threats and more? “We’re police officers – part of the job.”
But the incidents don’t end there. And though he sympathizes with some of the protesters’ concerns, pointing out that the “vast majority are peaceful,” he was bothered by the new attacks on officers. “They’re going to try and stalk cops – maybe access your personal lives and screw with them.”
Naturally, the old school media aren’t telling you about this. You’ll see lots of complaints about “abuse” by police and not one major media story on this new high-tech intimidation tactic. The only mention of anything even remotely similar came when Anonymous also threatened to attack the New York Stock Exchange.
As CBS’s Jeff Glor explained on Oct. 11, “The New York Stock Exchange says two apparent attacks on its website by hackers linked to the Occupy Wall Street protest failed. An internet security firm says hackers struck once during trading yesterday and again after hours. An Exchange spokesman says neither the website nor the big board were disrupted.”
Anonymous has also gone after the police department as a whole, using “digital retaliation against the Oakland Police Department for the force it used against protesters this week.”
It’s awful that police officers have bottles, paint, rocks, and even feces thrown at them, as happened in Oakland. But something like that’s always been the case when police officers face down rowdy crowds. God love them for tolerating it. Few of us could.
But this high-tech assault into the personal lives of officers, publishing their family information, their home addresses and more, is reminiscent of Mafia-like intimidation. The kind you see in movies, not on livestream.
If Occupy Wall Street wants to actually be an adult movement, it needs to repudiate such actions, and act like one. And Attorney General Holder should use the full force of government to investigate such intimidation and harassment of public safety personnel. Maybe then the media will tell you what Occupy Wall Street is really like.
Dan Gainoris the Boone Pickens Fellow and the Media Research Center’s Vice President for Business and Culture. His column appears each week on The Fox Forum. He can also be contacted on Facebook and Twitter as dangainor.