Cops refuse to stand down and honor oath

Steve Watson
November 8, 2011

Occupy Fresno

Protesters at a public park in Fresno were harassed and arrested by police for a third consecutive evening Monday as officers told them that local penal code allowed them to ignore First Amendment rights and break up protests.

The protest group, calling itself “Occupy Fresno”, has refused to move out of the park and onto a sidewalk, asserting that it is their constitutional right to remain where they are.

Over the weekend, more than 20 of the protesters were arrested and led away by police citing a county ordinance that defines the protesters as trespassers.

Officers in riot gear approached the remaining protesters Monday night, once again asking them to comply with police orders to leave or face arrest.

Fresno County Sheriffs Lt. Andriatti and Officer Neil Dadian were filmed informing protesters that local penal code outstrips the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

“Does the penal code here and ordinances that you’ve said that we’re violating, trump the constitutional First Amendment to peaceably assemble and protest the government?” a protester asked the officers.

“In this instance here, that is what we are enforcing. That penal code…” Andriatti replied.

When asked to explain the law further, the officers refused.

Watch the video:

In another fascinating exchange captured on camera, protester Joseph Hunter calmly engaged an officer in conversation, asking that he refrain from carrying out unlawful orders and instead honor the oath he has taken to uphold the Constitution.

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“The answer is no, we are not going to stand down.” the officer is heard replying.

Hunter added that should the police department attempt to discipline the officer for refusing to carry out orders, the group would help the officer seek legal representation.

The officer would still have none of it, however, and again ordered the protesters to disperse, prompting an impassioned reaction from Hunter.

“Amazing, right? Isn’t that amazing?” he said. “No Constitution in America. No protection for your First Amendment, constitutional right to peaceably assemble. We’re radicals because we stand here defending our constitutional right to peaceably assemble.”

“Well, guess what? This country was founded by radicals who fought against the oppression of the country … I’m proud to be a radical, and I stand here with my brothers and my sisters at Occupy Fresno as an American. I’m a citizen of the Untied States of America and I have a First Amendment right to peaceably assemble and air my grievances against my government!” Hunter asserted.

Just minutes later, police began physically confronting the protesters and arresting them to chants of “Hell no, we won’t go! Occupy Fresno!”

Watch the video:

Fresno ABC affiliate KSFN-TV filed the following report on the incident:

According to the Occupy Fresno website, nine protesters were arrested Monday, with a further nine arrested this morning, bringing the total number of arrests to 33.

The group contends that at least one protester was arrested for “holding a sign in a public park”.

The group had obtained an “area use permit” from county officials, but were informed that it would expire on October 31, with a two day grace period. Since that time protesters have remained in the park.


Steve Watson is the London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’, and He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham in England.

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