Extremely Dangerous 84-Year-Old Woman Pepper-Sprayed By Police At Occupy Protest

Unlike New York and Oakland, the city of Seattle has recently expressed support for occupy protesters. However, this may not include the police, who yesterday took the eminently necessary step of pepper-spraying a tiny octogenarian.

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The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that the City Council approved a resolution Monday in support of the protesters' right to free speech. But on Tuesday, marching Occupy protesters clashed with police on bicycles, who pepper-sprayed about twelve of them, including a pregnant woman, a priest, and 84-year-old Dorli Rainey. Seattle police spokesman Jeff Kappel says, "Pepper spray was deployed only against subjects who were either refusing a lawful order to disperse or engaging in assaultive behavior toward officers." But Rainey wrote to The Stranger with a different take:

Something funny happened on my way to a transportation meeting in Northgate. As I got off the bus at 3rd and Pine I heard helicopters above. Knowing that the problems of New York would certainly precipitate action by Occupy Seattle, I thought I better check it out. Especially since only yesterday the City Government made a grandiose gesture to protect free speech. Well free speech does have its limits as I found out as the cops shoved their bicycles into the crowd and simultaneously pepper sprayed the so captured protesters. If it had not been for my Hero (Iraq Vet Caleb) I would have been down on the ground and trampled. This is what democracy looks like. It certainly left an impression on the people who rode the No. 1 bus home with me. In the women's movement there were signs which said: "Screw us and we multiply."

Tuesday's events recalled violence at Occupy DC earlier this month, where a driver hit a pregnant protester and her family with his car, and a 78-year-old attendee at the conservative AFP summit fell or was pushed down a flight of stairs. Of the elderly woman, a member of the Occupy DC media team told me, "there's no evidence that anyone from Occupy DC injured her directly or indirectly." She added that DC police had "straight up choked" protester Georgia Pearce — Occupy DC later posted video of that event.

If protesters pose a physical threat to police or civilians, then police obviously need to act. But in several instances, they seem to have acted in the absence of such a threat — was 4-foot-10-inch octogenarian Dorli Rainey really perpetrating a dangerous assault? And in other cases, they've failed to protect protesters themselves, as when they refused to cite the driver who hit pregnant Brandy Sippel and her family. Dealing with Occupy protests has been an important test of officers' ability to keep protesters and others safe while guaranteeing free speech for all. Unfortunately, some police forces are failing.

New Face Of Occupy: Pepper-Sprayed Woman, 84 [Newser]
Dorli Rainey, 84, Pepper Sprayed By SPD At Occupy Seattle Protest [Stranger]
Elderly Woman, Priest Pepper-Sprayed During Occupy Protest [Seattle Post-Intelligencer]

DISCUSSION

katiepunkin
Punkin Skywalker

Police brutality is a bad thing, but don't automatically count out the elderly and their potential for violence. My great-grandmother did the following:

1. Punched my father in the gut so hard it knocked the wind over. She was in her mid-seventies. In her defense, he made a sarcastic comment.

2. Kicked my uncle in his naked balls with her hard boots after his friends pantsed him at his high school graduation party. She was seventy. In her defense, he shouldn't have been naked.

3. In her eighties, she toned down the violence, but her tongue was definitely good at giving anyone, anywhere a verbal lashing, even if all they did was touch her glass candy dish (I was scarred).

4. Also in her eighties, she refused to let my then teenaged cousin shave her legs when the poor girl was shipped across country and forced to stay with this terrible woman by her mother for unruliness. My mom rescued the girl who wasn't allowed to talk to kids her own age in the neighborhood by decree of Great Grandma.

Old people are not necessarily harmless. My grandmother (don't even get me started on her reaction to a DUI sentencing) and great-grandmother will show you that.

Edited to add: I'm just realizing my irrational fear of old people is not so irrational...