It has become pretty routine for local police to engage in thuggery and run roughshod over Constitutional protections in the name of maintaining order, which increasingly means not annoying big companies.
With habeas corpus suspended, our own Attorney General maintaining the Administration has the right to kill suspected terrorists (ie, pretty much anyone) without a trial, and electronic surveillance ever on the rise, it might seem hard to get worked up about small minded suspensions of the right to make a political point in public of the sort planned in Charlotte, NC.
As recounted in the Charlotte Business Journal, the City Council passed strict (meaning of questionable legality) security rules for the Democratic convention this summer. Natch, some of the big local companies seem to have gotten to the city manager, who designated the annual meetings of Bank of America and Duke Energy (May 9) the sort of “extraordinary event” that merits intrusive searches:
Law enforcement will be given broader powers during these events to search backpacks, coolers, satchels and messenger bags. That includes briefcases and carry-on luggage — the kind with wheels often used by lawyers to transport reams of documents.
The new ordinances also detail a list of items that are grounds for arrest. Among them: spray paint, permanent markers, hammers, crowbars, box cutters, utility knives, chains, padlocks, lumber, plastic pipe, pepper spray, mace and police scanners.
Note that this list omits mundane items that are forbidden, such as masks and scarves. So protesting anonymously is against the law too?
The ACLU is not happy, particularly since the city council never contemplated nor approved having shareholder meetings deemed “extraordinary events.”
It’s pretty clear what will happen. The searches will be used to establish a cordon sanitaire to keep the demonstrators away from the corporate headquarters. And it isn’t hard to imagine that agit-prop toys not on the official list will be confiscated too.
Notice how no one questions this use of public funds? Why should local governments pay for this sort of thing? Big rich companies are perfectly capable of hiring their own security goons, if safety were really an issue. It isn’t. This is all about demonstrating who really wields clout in the social order. The police are visibly aligned with the 1%. That’s the real message here.