Video: The purported military “arrest” at the G-20 protest; Update: Confirmed: police force arrest, not military

posted at 10:55 am on September 25, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Drudge has this highlighted in red, and I’m pretty sure that the color choice will be appropriate, because this tape of a supposed military arrest at the G-20 protests has every indication of being a hoax — or more accurately, a piece of performance art. We’re getting several e-mails about it now, wondering if this is an indication that the Pentagon or the Department of Homeland Security is about to open the FEMA political-dissent camps. Take a look:

First, let’s break down what we see here. Three men drive up in a sedan, dressed in fatigues, grab someone off the street, and stuffs him in their car. An unmarked sedan? And why pull the one protester out of the crowd? What possible good would that have done? Had the authorities wanted to start arresting people, there are hundreds of regular police officers on the streets available to “grab” people committing actual violent acts, not just yelling on the street.

This looks to me like a staged piece of performance art. Fatigues can be bought easily, as can combat boots. This scene only makes sense as a way to inflame the protesters by attempting to heighten their paranoia, which (given the usual suspects who show up for these anti-globalization protests) requires a rather significant effort to cross their normal paranoia threshold.

I have a request for comment from the White House, and I’ll let you know what I hear. Until then, Drudge red-headline or no, you can color me very skeptical.

Update: Read through the comments, where Hot Air readers are picking apart the poor staging.  Note that the three men have two different kinds of fatigues, including a type no longer in use.  One of them has tan work boots rather than combat boots.  None of them have duty belts or sidearms, and they make no attempt to handcuff the protester before putting him in the back of the car. Oh, and that unmarked car has Pennsylvania plates, not DC or government plates.

It’s a hoax.  Comment of the day (so far) comes from MikeinBA:

The same people that think 9/11 WAS staged, think this WASN’T staged.

Update II: Bob Owens believes this was an arrest by police officers and that it wasn’t staged, but is also not military.  The orange tip on the weapon held by a police officer in the background indicates a load of non-lethal ammunition.  Bob may well be right, but wouldn’t police have handcuffed the guy before throwing him into the back seat — especially if he was resisting?  I’m still skeptical.

Update III: Further evidence supporting Bob’s contention that it’s neither a hoax nor a military intrusion on civilian matters (via HA reader Dan):

Click on the image to see the full picture.  Notice both the brown shoes on the camo-dressed cop to the left and the unmarked sedans in the background.  Not sure if this is the same unit with the same suspect detained, but it does appear to match the earlier scene.  I’m thinking that Bob’s got it right.

Update IV: Stephen Gutowski gets confirmation from the G-20 Joint Information Center that the men clad in camouflage fatigues are police officers, and that the man was arrested for vandalism.


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AS for the crowd attacking the police, few people will knowingly attack a cop. That is one of the big taboos, that still survives. Some of the same people will smack John Doe nobody upside the head with a brick for no real reason.

thmsmgnm on September 25, 2009 at 4:24 PM

I agree, but these crazies at the G20 are attacking law enforcement officers.

I don’t know. I just cannot get my head around the process that drives a person to these radical actions.

csdeven on September 26, 2009 at 1:25 AM

@ LordJack

Actually it isnt worthless. While you are correct in assuming that civilians are not subject to the doctrine of the Army, they are in fact subject to the doctrine of the Army by implication.

The law 10 USC, Sections 771 and 772 have implication in their interpetation of the ‘distinctive’ part of the Army uniform. So, referencing the Army Regs as to part of what THEY consider distinctive, is a good START as to what the judges will use as their basis as to what is distinctive.

See how this works, if the Army states this is distinctive about their uniforms, the US Code will ALSO think it distinctive.

So, yea, the Army Reg is not the law by which the person would be charged, only the basis by which the US Code will be enforced. So, it actually IS relevant.

B3 on September 26, 2009 at 1:26 AM

There seems to be quite a bit of haggling over the camo uniforms and the possibility of police ‘faking a military operation’. They are faking nothing. It is damn serious business they are attending to in the best, safest, and most noble way they can, and their clothing should be the least of your worries. Many officers and civilians have been injured during these G20 Summit’s which take place all over the world, and some have even been killed.

One of the many things lay-persons don’t realize about Law Enforcement is that pretty much all police agencies, from Mayberry to Metropolis, have been left no choice but to slowly evolve over the last 25 years or so into what is essentially recognized as paramilitary organizations. That includes their clothing, uniforms, footwear, and gear. Whatever the situation dictates, police have to be prepared for whatever may come.

Most, if not all, police agencies are an official group or organization that forms itself in a military styled hierarchy and operates on the military style command structure, but is civilian. They take an oath and are sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States and to protect the United States from enemies, foreign and domestic, just like the military. They are also similarly trained and equipped in many ways like the military. I have trained at Marine Corp Camp Pendleton myself and San Diego has a full blown inter-agency used training facility at Camp Elliot, which is part of the Marine Corp Air Station at MiraMar, where I have had thousands of hours of training over the years.

Since the late 1980s, thanks to acts passed by the U.S. Congress, millions of pieces of surplus military equipment have been given to local police departments across the country in an effort to better equip police agencies to deal with the likes of criminals such as the the two guys at the bank shootout in Los Angeles some years ago. Also, because of the looming threat of domestic terrorism at the hands of foreign nationals, and even our own countrymen like Timothy McVeigh, and so on.

We’re not talking just about computers, office equipment, night vision goggles, and BDU clothing either. Military-grade semi-automatic weapons, armored personnel vehicles, modified tanks, helicopters, airplanes, and all manner of other equipment once designed for use on the battlefield is now being used on American streets when the need arises… including BDU’s, Camo’s, and other militaristic apparel.

Be prepared for the worst, and hope for the best. It is the nature of the beast and our times demand that the police be trained and equipped for any situation they may likely encounter. It behooves us to support them too. They are, after all, the absolute first line of defense in our communities no matter what situation or calamity may arise. And there have been some doozy’s over the years all across our country, especially since the 1960′s.

SWAT didn’t even exist until the late 1960′s-early 1970′s when radical groups such as the SLA (Symbionese Liberation Army) made it a mandatory evolution of local law enforcement to be prepared to do battle in the streets of America. Local police were out gunned, poorly trained, and poorly equipped to deal with such radical groups. For that matter, Law Enforcement has always played catch-up with their equipment and training.

We didn’t issue Colt AR-15′s to all front line patrol officers until after the North Hollywood Shootout of February 1997 where body armor clad Larry Eugene Phillips Jr. and Emil Matasareanu tried to rob the Bank of America branch on Laurel Canyon Boulevard in North Hollywood with numerous hi-power assault weapons and thousands of rounds of ammo.

Phillips and Matasareanu engaged the officers in a brutal firefight. They were firing armor-piercing rounds into the patrol cars that had been positioned on Laurel Canyon in front of the bank and even fired on helicopters. Those first-line defense patrol officers were way outgunned, armed with only standard Beretta 92-type 9 mm pistols and .38 caliber revolvers, and some also carried 12-gauge pump-action shotguns, but the body armor worn by Phillips and Matasareanu was strong enough to withstand them all. Multiple officers and civilians were wounded in the seven to eight minutes spanning from when the shooting began to when Matasareanu entered their white sedan to make a getaway.

We were forced to evolve yet again lest our police officers and the good citizens of our communities become easy prey for the likes of those two. Then there are the numerous gangs acoss the country too.

The G20 Summit’s have historically been heavily demonstrated against and have always resulted in the demonstrators basically shutting down the city wherever the summit is held. They historically also vandalize businesses everywhere in that city causing millions to billions of dollars in damages, and engage law enforcement violently with tactics designed to illicit a response which in turn demands various tactical methods be used by the police to minimize the violence and the damage to the community, maintain some level of control and civic order, but still get the job done.

That includes involving numerous local and federal agencies from around the area where the G20 Summit is held to bolster the jurisdictional police agencies ranks and help protect not only the community, but the G20 Summit attendee’s as well. The anarchist demonstrators don’t get permits to assemble on the city streets and sidewalks and they never stay within the boundrys set up for all the demonstrators.

While they are screaming ‘Free Speech violation!’, a great very many of them are purposefully violent and their motives are ulterior, devious, and highly destructive. One need look no further then how they arrive at the very start equipped for the fight with goggles, gas masks, helmets, breathing masks, gloves, special clothing, and backpacks of equipment specifically designed and used for vandalism to know what they are truly there for. Not to peacefully assemble and exercise their rights, but to destroy while simultaneously creating some sembelence of temporary anarchy, and all the while permanent anarchy for our country and entire world is their ultimate desire.

The Scoop and Run was fine. Hindsight is 20/20. Their clothing and uniforms are fine too. These demonstrations and garden variety riots are very fluid. Clothing style means jack as long as the event ends with minimal destruction and minimal inury to everyone, including the demonstrators.

SilverStar830 on September 26, 2009 at 1:49 AM

SilverStar830 on September 26, 2009 at 1:49 AM

Amazing post, there Silverstar. You really illuminated the fact that police forces have been forced to become paramilitary forces over the past couple decades in order to be able to respond to LEFTIST VIOLENCE. Gad, what deranged cretins we are dealing with.

Fishoutofwater on September 26, 2009 at 4:04 AM

Current military foorwear includes tan boots with certain types of camo. That said, the officer wearing the tan boots is not wearing them correctly, either, which looks to me like police-in-cammies, rather than military personnel.

Siddhartha Vicious on September 26, 2009 at 7:08 AM

Why are police officers out on the streets wearing camo in the first place? Then there’s the black so many wear in broad daylight.

Ah well. I guess the days of seeing police officers dressed like police officers like on Adam 12 are gone. There again, nurses don’t look like nurses, either.

But the goal is to keep the law-abiding cowed and under control. They know the criminal element will always exist and that they aren’t afraid of the police. It’s not about controlling criminals, it’s about controlling the rest of us.

Though I’m conservative, patriotic, believe in law/order and all that, I can’t help but to think that our Founding Fathers hadn’t even heard of a police force. These guys that get arrested in these protests-we never know why they were arrested…and don’t care. I seriously doubt that myself, my family or society at large is any safer because this clown was thrown in the hoosegow for a few hours.

Dr. ZhivBlago on September 26, 2009 at 7:28 AM

Flyfisher – Thanks for linking to the pics on ‘Prison Planet’ It’s only 7:36 am, and I’ve already had my minimum recommeded dose of total freaking idiocy for the day.

Siddhartha Vicious on September 26, 2009 at 7:37 AM

SilverStar830 on September 26, 2009 at 1:49 AM

good post!! People wearing backpacks and acting like this should expect, and may even welcome, aggressive treatment. If they need attention, what better way than to wear a back pack and conduct yourself like a numbnut. I think the police showed great restaint

flyoverboy on September 26, 2009 at 11:01 AM

SilverStar830 on September 26, 2009 at 1:49 AM

Excellent. Plus, upon further review and consideration, the guys doing the scoop are just too manly to be in cahoots with the G20 leftist protesters.

Akzed on September 26, 2009 at 12:42 PM

And at 0:22 you can see SWAT guys in the road protecting the scoopers from the crowd.

Nice work. I guess we’ll soon get interviews of the arrestee whining about his rights.

Akzed on September 26, 2009 at 12:48 PM

Hah! I guess my BS detector is vindicated.

Aristotle on September 26, 2009 at 1:12 PM

What kind of cops grab a person without putting their arms behind their back and fastening them with a plastic tie? That was a very unprofessional nab!

Queen0fCups on September 26, 2009 at 5:01 PM

The camo in the video is muti-cam and bdu, both not used by reg Army. BDU has not been used since 2004 and muti-cam is onley used by spec-ops guys in Afganistan. BDU is however still used by Naval Expeditionary Units. If this has been covered already, my aplologies.

GREENTURTLE on September 26, 2009 at 5:29 PM

maybe they were dressed in camouflage in order to blend in with the protesters? the two holding the guy didn’t drive up in a sedan, they were outside when it came by.

Phoenician on September 26, 2009 at 7:24 PM

They just tossed him in the car to remove him quickly. What’s he going to do seated between two real men. Um. Nothing. Nice snatch and grab. The cops were probably just told to grab their old military uniforms or some were cobbled together at the station for the occasion. That’s why they’re not quite uniform.

Mojave Mark on September 27, 2009 at 1:03 AM

What kind of cops grab a person without putting their arms behind their back and fastening them with a plastic tie? That was a very unprofessional nab!

Queen0fCups on September 26, 2009 at 5:01 PM

Effective cops that are in a hurry. Count the seconds it took them to get him away. His arms weren’t doing anything those cops didn’t allow. Often, people who do things know who to do them more than youtube viewers.

Read the posts by SilverStar830 to understand it all.

exception on September 27, 2009 at 1:52 PM

Ed Morrissey wrote: “This scene only makes sense as a way to inflame the protesters by attempting to heighten their paranoia…”

Ed, I completely agree. The police were clearly trying to inflame the the protesters.

greggish on September 28, 2009 at 3:20 AM

Well, at least I was right that it wasn’t Military Police who were seen there (video, capture episode).

Weird half-in/half-out uniforms, though, for law enforcement.

Lourdes on September 28, 2009 at 4:43 AM

SilverStar830 on September 26, 2009 at 1:49 AM

Great post with one exception: uniforms worn ARE important.

It’s also legitimate AS law enforcement to identify as such. Legitimate IDs, legitimate uniforms when on duty, at least enough in appearance to be identified as LE.

The “cobbled together” dressing is what throws me in this video — seems to be individuals ACTING as LEO but who are not so in appearance (lack of identifying objects, badges, patches, anything and irregular dressing overall for anyone on duty). IF off duty, anything goes but LE still must identify themselves as such in any arrest situation.

So we don’t know what was said to the guy captured but the silent video (sans any statements) makes it appear to be men acting like LE with possible pretense. It’s easy to see how people would question this as to legitimacy.

I agree with other comments here that the guys doing the capturing are by far in better shape than average and do look fit and active in behavior as LEO, it’s just their irregular get-ups that create the question.

My hunch (what I wrote here the other day about this, earlier in the comments) was that they were LEO not necessarily on duty but making themselves available, and thus, the irregular clothing. Or, they’re associated with the protesters going for theatre on film.

So, glad to read it’s the former and not the latter.

Lourdes on September 28, 2009 at 4:52 AM

Effective cops that are in a hurry. Count the seconds it took them to get him away. His arms weren’t doing anything those cops didn’t allow.

exception on September 27, 2009 at 1:52 PM

Yes, they sure did a very good job.

Lourdes on September 28, 2009 at 4:53 AM

I agree it could be a hoax, but it could also be a real arrest of an active duty G.I. that was identified among the protesters and as such was in violation of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

As a retiree, there are rumors of G.I. becoming sympathetic to the left wing agendas, and forget that partaking in such marches/demonstrations in uniform is a violation of the UCMJ, and forget that the regulation also forbids participation out of uniform. This may have been a valid arrest with the military taking care of their own.

MSGTAS on September 28, 2009 at 10:32 AM

In addition to the reason of “inflaming the protesters” that Ed Morrissey gave as to why the police would want to give the appearance that they are with the military, another important reason for this, is to prepare us for the coming military repression when people start to insist that we have a functioning democracy.

Democracy = Socialism

greggish on September 28, 2009 at 11:33 AM

The anarchist demonstrators don’t get permits to assemble on the city streets and sidewalks and they never stay within the boundrys set up for all the demonstrators
SilverStar830 on September 26, 2009 at 1:49 AM

When was the Constitution amended to force Americans to get a permit to protest?

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;or
abridging the freedom of speech,or of the press;or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

I cannot believe you are justifying the militarization of our civilian police forces.There was a reason we passed the Posse Comitatus Act.

You said; “the The Scoop and Run was fine. Hindsight is 20/20.”

Really, why do Police, FBI and ever other law enforcement agency wear jackets that identify them as LE even during raids and undercover work?

I for one do not want to see Law Enforcement turned into para military organizations. That is a function of the National Guard not civilian LE.

Soldiers are trained to be warriors, not peace officers — which is as it should be. But putting full-time warriors into a civilian policing situation can result in serious collateral damage to American life and liberty.

Separating our common defense from our domestic tranquility was the vision of the Founders, and we shouldn’t turn our back on it lightly.

ScottyDog on September 28, 2009 at 1:56 PM

One of the many things lay-persons don’t realize about Law Enforcement is that pretty much all police agencies, from Mayberry to Metropolis, have been left no choice but to slowly evolve over the last 25 years or so into what is essentially recognized as paramilitary organizations.

Thank you SilverStar for an excellent analysis of the development of specialized police units.

I recall that when the G-8 summit was held in Toronto in 1987, we were given a chilling message that there was a good possibility that people (including some of us on the police force) could be killed in the protests.

CanuckInPA on September 28, 2009 at 10:25 PM

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