So is it over?
|Did the 99 percent win, or will it be undone?|
I’m referring to the fact that a Cook County judge this week made a ruling that I’m sure has Mayor Rahm Emanuel tearing his hair out, has the Police Department perplexed, and has people talking about legal appeals.
AND ALSO LIKELY has the conservative ideologues of the world ranting and raging about “activist courts” and “damn liberals in Chicago.”
Even though when one looks at the ruling and the circumstances, it actually makes a lot of sense. Almost too much sense for me to believe that an official came to this conclusion all by himself. But will some future judicial panel decide to undo what happened on Thursday? Is it over now, or will it be over later?
For what it’s worth, the ruling is going to cause criminal charges against 92 protesters to be tossed out of court. These particular protesters were of the “Occupy Chicago” breed – those activists who go about complaining that 1 percent of the populace is pocketing all the wealth for themselves; leaving the remaining 99 percent with nothing.
Remember last year when those protesters were taking to camping out in public locations all over the country to try to force the masses to pay attention to them?
WELL, IN CHICAGO, they were setting up in Grant Park – the same place where the Chicago Police of ’68 were beating up protesters against the Vietnam War who came to the Second City because it was hosting the Democratic National Convention.
The beatings and other use of force last year wasn’t anything as intense as what happened all those decades ago.
But there were mass arrests. Emanuel would have preferred to not have these people screeching and screaming in the public park that Chicago likes to think of as its front lawn. After all, they made the neighborhood look so gross!
The “excuse” used by Emanuel to have police go into the park were the curfew laws that exist on the books. Technically, people aren’t supposed to be in the park after 11 p.m.
EMANUEL CLAIMED PUBLICLY at the time the fact that the activists were told in advance that they couldn’t stay after 11 p.m. was evidence of a new, humane approach to the Chicago Police Department – harassing the “hippie freaks” without appearing to be harassing them.
Except that Associate Judge Thomas More Donnelly didn’t quite see it that way. He ruled that the way the city handled the situation amounted to violations of a person’s right to assemble freely.
Or, as Donnelly put it, the city’s enforcement of the curfew is way too erratic. Too many other people get to hang around the park in the late hour of the day (and wee hours of the following day) without having to fear they’re going to be picked up by the police and tossed into a jail cell.
They may face a fair chance of getting mugged, but that’s a different issue altogether.
DONNELLY EVEN WENT so far as to point out that night in early November of 2008 when all those people packed Grant Park to hear Barack Obama give what turned out to be his victory speech upon learning he had, in fact, been elected as U.S. president.
That wonderous night when Chicagoans got to regale in the mood of knowing that “one of ours” (even if he really is a Hawaii native) had managed to achieve the goal that local people like Sen. Paul Simon and the Rev. Jesse Jackson had strived for – but failed to achieve.
But technically, when they didn’t all go home before 11 p.m., they were curfew violators. Should the Chicago Police Department have tried to bust some skulls open in order to chase people out of the park?
Maybe the ideologues would enjoy that image in their wildest fantasies. The rest of us, including the judge, see the folly in such thoughts