In what may be one of the most disturbing videos yet to come from the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, a Citibank customer is seen snatched off the street by police, and forced into the bank, presumably to be held and then arrested.
In the video, the woman, wearing business attire, is confronted by a man in street clothes, pointing his finger and saying “you were inside.” The woman responds that she is a customer, and shows the man her account information. When she and her male companion turn to leave, the man pushes her companion out of the way, grabs the woman and carries her back to the bank. Watch the video below:
One thing that the Occupy movement has done is highlight the horrifying way the authority of public institutions like law enforcement agencies are used by private individuals and organizations against the general public. These incidents are normally spread over time and geography, or focused on one poorly enfranchised group or another, keeping outrage localized and preventing it from spreading. The focusing of attention and outrage on these incidents then relies on a few individuals with the power to bring state or national attention. All too often those leaders quickly become discredited as private interests seek to distract from their abuses of public authority.
The Occupy movement has served to condense these incidents in time and space, giving us a highlight reel of abuses of authority that clearly demonstrates the standing of the general public versus politically and economically powerful private interests. We have seen a string of these incidents despite the international attention and the ubiquity of recording devices. This is perhaps the most frightening aspect of all; abuse of authority has become so common-place, that even under great scrutiny, public institutions don’t see the need to alter their behavior.
It will be interesting to see the cost in police overtime and lawsuits when all this is said and done. The greatest cost, however, has already been charged to our civil liberties.