The lead protester, Adam Kokesh, was thrown to the ground and choked by Washington, D.C., Park Police, despite the fact that he was not resisting at all. At the same time, another protester was punched in the face and a news cameraman was “roughed up” as Fox News put it.
All of this for dancing at the memorial for a man who was a champion of free speech? Good job, government!
This encounter was the result of a federal judge ruling that dancing counts as a form of protest, which is illegal on federal property unless you have a permit. The dancers showed up to prove multiple points.
First, they asked, “what constitutes dancing?” It is incredibly subjective and opens the door to any number of abuses of power. “They, uh, were moving erratically, which was dancing, so I arrested them.”
Next, they danced at Jefferson’s Memorial in celebration of free speech to prove that dancing can be, and usually is, celebratory, as opposed to protest.
Lastly, they wanted to show that you can dance without causing a problem. Clearly the D.C. Park Police felt otherwise. The whole incident was captured on film and posted to YouTube, and the Park Police officials have declared they are beginning an investigation into whether the police used unnecessary force.
Memorial Day is a time to remember the people that have sacrificed their lives to keep the United States a free country. And this abuse of police power right before the sacred day really just makes me sad and angry.
I am not a veteran, but many members of my family are, and I remember growing up with tales of their experiences.
The Jefferson Memorial in Washington DC. by Ashley ChristieOver the weekend, five people were arrested at the Jefferson Memorial for “expressive dancing.”
One grandfather fought at Guadalcanal, another was a naval aviator. My great uncle survived after his jeep was blown up by a German landmine, and one of my other uncles still suffers from PTSD he developed from serving as a Marine in Vietnam.
I know for a fact that they didn’t do all of that, so a guy could get punched in the face by a cop for slow dancing in front of Jefferson’s feet.
Hypocrisy and abuses of power, such as these are not what over a million Americans have fought and died for over the past 200 years, and they shame the sacrifices of these brave men and women.
I hope that the investigation is able to find justice, so that this nonsense can be over with.
Events such as these are always upsetting. The fact that it happened, so close to a day dedicated to our heroes makes the event especially tragic and poignant.
Adam LaMascus was born and raised just north of Los Angeles, and attended St. Francis High School, graduating in 2007. He's been living in Corvallis for a little over two years now. He's a history major with plans to transfer to OSU. In his free time, Adam enjoys playing video/board/roleplaying games, reading, watching movies, archery, writing fiction, and fighting with swords while dressed in armor. You can find Adam on his Facebook page.