by Tara Servatius
Meck Deck blogger
After reading the nine-page list of the stuff the Charlotte City Council plans to ban, I’m beginning to think that city management and the police “get it” when it comes to what they could be facing from violent anarchist/communist protesters of the type that torched Seattle, turned Chicago upside down and more recently paralyzed New York. The city’s proposed ordinance is one heck of a preemptive shot over the bow.
This alone proves that city bureaucrats have been watching the Occupy protests closely and have learned from them:
It shall be unlawful for any person to throw, emit, or cause to be used as a projectile, or otherwise disperse any noxious substance.
(c) Noxious substance as used in this section means any substance that is harmful or destructive or foul or offensive to human beings, such as but not limited to garbage, trash, refuse, animal parts or fluids, manure, urine, feces or other organic waste by-products.”
Charlotte’s current ordinances would have been like Swiss cheese for these people. Basically they can’t camp out, hang out, obstruct streets or sidewalks or intentionally cross over a police line or barricade.
This gives the police the ability to act quickly the second — literally — protesters step over whatever lines the city wants to draw around them. In otherwords, before they get out of hand.
And the best part? The protesters have to cover the cost of this policing. And one lump sum up front won’t do. If the costs escalate because the protesters get out of hand, they must reimburse the city afterward, taking the burden off local taxpayers:
The applicant shall be responsible for hiring and paying off-duty law enforcement officers, or reimbursing the city for the costs of providing on-duty law enforcement officers, to appropriately police street closures. For festivals, the applicant shall be additionally responsible for hiring and paying off-duty law enforcement officers and fire/EMS personnel, or reimbursing the city for the costs of providing on-duty law enforcement officers and fire/EMS personnel, to provide internal festival safety and security and for hiring and paying necessary emergency medical technicians.
The permit official, in consultation with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police and fire departments, shall determine the number of officers and fire/EMS personnel needed to appropriately police street closures and for internal safety and security, and the number of emergency medical technicians needed, and the time when such services shall commence and end, taking into consideration the following:
The permit process is bound to cause the most problems for the protesters if it passes court muster and a challenge from the ACLU. City officials know darn well that these protests are loosely organized. Anyone who watched the Occupy protests knows that “Occupy,” is a movement — not a group — loosely organized by master protesters who don’t really lead pre-defined groups, but instead excel at persuading loopy radical wackos to show up and then manipulating them on the scene.
But the permitting process the city is setting up specifically for the DNC is geared toward predefined groups who are supposed to apply for permits as one group. The ordinance says that if one group’s march conflicts with another’s, they will have to have it in another place or on another day or face having their permit denied all together. This will force any radical wackos who want to show up to do it under one group name, coordinated in advance, with definable leaders to take financial responsibility for any mess they make. That presents a monumental organizing task for the protesters, who will have to do all this beforehand, something they haven’t had to do.
And it forces them to predefine how many people are in their group and likely to show up. If they say they’ve got 500, and 2,000 show up, the city has an instant excuse to shut everyone down before the protest can get underway.
I have to hand it to City Attorney Bob Hagemann, if it passes constitutional muster, this is brilliant.
And the city can revoke the permit at any moment for no stated reason.
Now the only question that remains is whether Charlotte’s loopy left city council has the courage to pass this as is … Good luck, Bob.