March 22–Last Thursday, March 15, attendees of the Occupy Midwest Conference were peacefully complying with police orders to vacate Compton Hill Reservoir Park, when they were violently attacked by St. Louis City police officers. The Occupy Movement is a collective response to social injustice and corporate greed. Rather than addressing the ongoing crisis of families being foreclosed on and the resulting destabilization of neighborhoods, a high unemployment rate, and the corporate syphoning of money from public education, the city of St. Louis is using it’s resources to repress a non-violent assembly.
“We felt very safe in the park until the police showed up. As we were crossing the street to leave, a line of blue charged into the crowd – batons swinging – and began striking people. It was chaos. The screams of those being beaten were terrifying to hear. I felt helpless,” reports Carrie Bumgardner Luna.
Despite the fact that he was not resisting arrest, one Occupier was repeatedly beaten in the face with the butt of a mag-lite. After already being beaten and cuffed, an officer then methodically snapped and broke two of his fingers. Another Occupier was repeatedly beaten in the head requiring staples. Both Occupiers were hospitalized. A third Occupier was hit in the neck and choked with a baton, thrown to the ground and kicked in the face causing permanent damage to his jaw structure.
“It’s shocking and disheartening to see people you love being violently attacked, bleeding from their bruised faces. It was a senseless betrayal of trust. It really helps me better understand what people of color in our city go through every day,” said Oren Goldberg.
Occupy St. Louis has always been responsible stewards of public space and disavow the graffiti damage done to the Compton Hill Reservoir Park.