Posts Tagged ‘elderly lady’

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems as if pepper spray keeps popping up in the news lately. The most infamous incident, of course, is the protest at UC Davis when the campus police doused a group of peaceful protestors. I know, I know, they were told to move and refused, but c’mon people. They were just kids and they weren’t hurting anyone. Was the pepper spray really necessary? I’d have to say no, but that’s just my personal opinion.

There is also the incident in North Carolina where an off-duty officer sprayed a crowd. You can read the story in another post here at Anonymous Artichoke that specifically addresses it. Anyway, the officer claimed the crowd was getting out of hand and that he only sprayed a little “puff” in the air to regain control. That worked beautifully, of course. What better way to calm people down than to shoot a horrendously painful irritant at them?

Also, there’s the story about the elderly lady, the priest, and the pregnant woman who got sprayed at an Occupy protest in Seattle. Sounds like the opening line for a joke, doesn’t it? Unfortunately it isn’t. Read about it here. The police spokesman claimed that “Pepper spray was deployed only against subjects who were either refusing a lawful order to disperse or engaging in assaultive behavior toward officers” (www.seatlepi.com). Wow, so this 84-year-old woman must have been a hellcat I guess. Add in the priest and the pregnant woman and you’ve got a trio of major offenders there.

There were also several people arrested during the incident. A young girl who swung a stick at an officer, several individuals suspected of pedestrian interference, and a man who threw an unknown liquid on an officer. Hmm, it’s enough to make you think twice about visiting Seattle isn’t it? With all those dangerous people on the loose and all.

On a side note, I had to look up “pedestrian interference” because it sounded so damned stupid I just had to know what it was describing. Here is the definition straight from the Seattle Municipal Code*:
SMC 12A.12.015 Pedestrian interference.

A. The following definitions apply in this section:

1. “Aggressively beg” means to beg with the intent to intimidate another person into giving money or goods.

2. “Intimidate” means to engage in conduct which would make a reasonable person fearful or feel compelled.

3. “Beg” means to ask for money or goods as a charity, whether by words, bodily gestures, signs, or other means.

4. “Obstruct pedestrian or vehicular traffic” means to walk, stand, sit, lie, or place an object in such a manner as to block passage by another person or a vehicle, or to require another person or a driver of a vehicle to take evasive action to avoid physical contact. Acts authorized as an exercise of one’s constitutional right to picket or to legally protest, and acts authorized by a permit issued pursuant to the Street Use Ordinance, Chapters 15.02 through 15.50 of the Seattle Municipal Code, shall not constitute obstruction of pedestrian or vehicular traffic.

5. “Public place” means an area generally visible to public view and includes alleys, bridges, buildings, driveways, parking lots, parks, plazas, sidewalks and streets open to the general public, including those that serve food or drink or provide entertainment, and the doorways and entrances to buildings or dwellings and the grounds enclosing them.

B. A person is guilty of pedestrian interference if, in a public place, he or she intentionally:

1. Obstructs pedestrian or vehicular traffic; or

2. Aggressively begs.

C. Pedestrian interference is a misdemeanor.

Legislative history/notes:

(Ord. 117104 Section 1, 1994: Ord. 116897 Section 1, 1993: Ord. 113697 Section 1, 1987.)

Cases: Subsection B 1 was upheld as constitutional in a challenge based on breadth and vagueness and does not deny equal protection of the laws. Seattle v. Webster, 115 Wn.2d 635, 802 P.2d 1333 (1990).

*Here is the site if you want to look for yourself.