Occupy Houston: Port Of Houston Action, Arrests On Monday

I’ve been neglecting my home turf by not reporting on Occupy Houston. This may not be the best time for me to begin; then again, maybe it is.

Occupy Houston gathered more than a hundred demonstrators outside the Port of Houston (the count was reported by the Houston Chronicle, so take it with a grain of salt) to participate in the nationwide coordinated “Shutdown Wall Street on the Waterfront”  action:

“We are here in solidarity with the West Coast port shutdowns, but we’re not here to shut down the port,” said Amy Price, an Occupy Houston protester. “We don’t want the Houston port workers to lose money. We just want to cause enough havoc to draw a spotlight on what’s going on with our port. And the way to do that, we think, is civil disobedience.”

Twenty occupiers were arrested, 10 for blocking a public roadway (preventing a small number of cargo trucks and cars from entering the Port), 8 for using a criminal instrument to block a public roadway, and 2 not specified by the ever conscientious Chronicle staff. (Another article says 7 not 8; see below.)

The ratio of cops to protesters was absurd, as has been usual in the past month in other cities: 60 police and firefighters (the latter were called in to cut PVC pipe segments off the arms of protesters, who used them to prevent being cuffed) were allocated to the task of pacifying a couple of dozen practitioners of nonviolent civil disobedience.

What a waste of taxpayers’ money… weren’t there any real crimes going on in the city at the time?

Seven protesters were brought up on felony charges of “using a criminal instrument.” A district court judge ruled that there was no probable cause for the charges, because PVC pipe did not meet the legal qualifications for a criminal instrument.

What another waste of taxpayers’ money, prosecutors’ time and the judge’s time!

I suppose Occupy Houston made its point as intended, through nonviolent civil disobedience as intended, and as an added bonus, made the police look foolish for the charges they attempted to pin on them. But I don’t know where Occupy Houston goes from here.

FYI, here is the Occupy Houston blog. As there is no Republican convention in town, I doubt you can anticipate any violent conflicts perpetrated by HPD.

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Comments

  • jams o donnell (Shaun Downey)  On Thursday December 15, 2011 at 5:12 am

    And how many of those cops had duct tape over their badges? Any cop who does that is no longer a cop but a cop impersonator, Any arrests made by a cop doing that must constitute false arrest or better still abduction

    • Steve  On Thursday December 15, 2011 at 10:41 am

      Shaun, I don’t have a credible online source on the answer to that. Stella says she heard on broadcast TV news that some cops covered their badges. Houston PD, unlike those in Dallas, Chicago, NY, Oakland, Seattle, etc., has no history of violent suppression of protest, but sometimes things can change. In any case, as it turned out, a sane judge told everyone there was no probable cause basis to charge them with a felony. In Houston, the prosecutors are more likely to go batshit crazy than the cops.

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