According to Oakland mayor Jean Quan, yes, they did.
Man, I hate it when I’m right. Word is that Quan admitted in a radio interview that the assaults on the Occupations the past few days followed a conference between 18 different city governments; it wasn’t just a matter of local governments making independent decisions supposedly based on the situations at the Occupations as they’ve been trying to play it the past week. Again, it seems clear to me that the government isn’t shutting these individual protest sites down out of concern for health and safety; they’re shutting the sites down because they want to destroy the movement.
As I type, the NYPD is refusing to allow protesters back into Zuccotti Park despite the fact that a New York state judge has ordered the city to allow the Occupation to continue. Yet again, in what seems just the latest in a long string of similar cases over the past decade, law enforcement is ignoring the rule of law, relying on brute, unconstitutional force when the law of the land doesn’t immediately give them their way. When the police, whose job it is to enforce the law, are ignoring the courts, whose job it is to interpret the law, you know the whole system is fucked.
Will these police departments and city officials be open to law suits further down the line, possibly even eventual legal reprisals? Sure, though the process can take years and there’s no guarantee of justice. I have little doubt the people ordering these raids are willing to take that risk in order to make short-term gains against the Occupy movement in the hopes of killing it now–a form of what Robert Jordan called “sheathing the sword.”
It’s a little depressing when being a realist makes you sound like a cynic, isn’t it?