Retired Philadelphia Police Captain Ray Lewis was in Zuccotti Park last night with the Occupy Wall Street protesters. Mr. Lewis showed up in uniform carrying signs a pair of signs imploring New York City cops to join the protests. “NYPD Don’t Be Wall Street Mercenaries,” one read. Mr. Lewis was interviewed on one of the Occupy Wall Street livestreams at about two this morning. He was sharply critical of the NYPD’s conduct during their raid on the protest encampment Tuesday. “This bullrush–what happened last night is totally uncalled for,” Mr. Lewis said.
A Philadelphia Police Department spokesperson confirmed to the Observer that Mr. Lewis was a captain prior to retiring in 2004. He was photographed at the protests yesterday afternoon as demonstrators ringed Zuccotti Park in the wake of their eviction.
In his late night interview with the livestreamers, Lewis said police in New York City should have dealt with Occupy Wall Street through negotiation rather than forcefully removing protesters from the park.
“You should, by law, only use force to protect someone’s life or to protect them from being bodily injured OK? If you’re not protecting somebody’s life or protecting them from bodily injury, there’s no need to use force. And the number one thing that they always have in their favor that they seldom use is negotiation–continue to talk, and talk and talk to people. You have nothing to lose by that,” Mr Lewis said. “This bullrush–what happened last night is totally uncalled for when they did not use negotiation long enough.”
Mayor Bloomberg has stated the raid was necessary because the protest encampment carried with it a risk of crime, fire and health hazards. Mr. Lewis called that rationale “a farce.”
“They complained about the park being dirty. Here they are worrying about dirty parks when people are starving to death, where people are freezing, where people are sleeping in subways and they’re concerned about a dirty park. That’s obnoxious, it’s arrogant, it’s ignorant, it’s disgusting,” Mr. Lewis said."
I suddenly love Philadelphia, for giving us this person.