Thursday, May 3, 2012

Occupy decamped

Occupy Lincoln had been camped on Centennial Mall since October, taking advantage of a loophole in City law which left the mall in limbo:  not really a street or sidewalk, and not a park, either. The City of Lincoln has patiently negotiated with the group, which originally agreed to leave the mall by March 1.  As that date approached, the City agreed to an extension to May 1, in an effort to minimize the risk of a lawsuit and to avoid a confrontation.

Plans had been underway for some time on a police operation to remove those occupiers who chose to ignore the deadline, but Tuesday evening the group decamped, for the most part.  The police chief, noticing that some of the occupiers seemed to be trying to clean up the area, called for a roll off, and most of the flotsam and jetsam was picked up and deposited by the occupiers.  At 4:00 AM on Wednesday, a contingent of police officers and employees from the Health Department and Public Works Department finished the job, filling a small dump truck and trailer with the junk left behind.

Only three people were on the mall when LPD arrived in the wee hours. Two of those left voluntarily (one carrying his tent), and the third was arrested when he failed to immediately vacate upon being so instructed a few times.   I was pleasantly surprised that the occupiers removed the great majority of the stuff they had brought onto Centennial Mall, as I expected we would have to deal with far more refuse. As it turned out, the job was wrapped up in less than half an hour.  The news media, some of whom were at the scene at midnight, never even knew the operation was underway until after it was over. All in all, it was an anti-climatic end to the occupation.

I smiled over this error in an early version of the news on the Lincoln Journal Star's website. Those Polish police really know how to swat a mosquito with a ball bat.  Dang you, auto correct!

17 comments:

H said...

The Occupiers are gone, but what about the dead grass left where they had their tents set up? AS a taxpayer, I resent the abuse of public space.

Perhaps it is good that the dead grass is visible, however. I truly believe it will be the only mark Occupy makes on society in general; they have no relevant message to leave behind.

Tom Casady said...

H,

The mall took a beating, but it's going to be ripped up and completely rebuilt beginning later this month, so it will soon be a construction site.

Steve said...

I didn't know "faling" to vacate was a crime! :)

Anonymous said...

A precedent has been set to allow anyone to homestead public property. When the unemployment rate hits 20% in a second term of Obama it is nice to know that I can pitch my tent on public property.
Gun Nut

Tom Casady said...

Steve,

Thanks for the typo--fixed.

Gun Nut,

You'll have to pitch quick, because if the City Council passes the proposed ordinance, it will go into effect in early June.

Anonymous said...

Will the bill for the services used to clean up their mess be billed to occupiers? I find it amusing and ironic that the occupiers feel they are above the rest of the citizens, feeling they can leave their trash and ruin city property.

Just another example of how Occupy was a group of people who failed to be part of the solution and instead became part of the problem.

ARRRRG!!!! said...

You can borrow my tent Gun Nut.

Anonymous said...

This was a situation which could have easily been handled poorly. It was not. I think the city, the police, and the protesters all handled it well. One more reason to love Lincoln!

Jim Goodman said...

As a former participant in OL's early existence I can't say enough of how proud I am of LPD's handling of the situation since the very beginning.

The restraint and the professionalism LPD has demonstrated time and again speaks volumes of the leadership and integrity of the men and women who don the uniform.

I apologized to 2 officers for insults hurled at them from others in my presence. It wasn't long after that I parted company along with others who could no longer be associated with those who chose the path of hateful and destruction language and behavior.

Kudos to LPD and I know you, Director Casady, were at the helm for a long time and it shows in the character of the officers. I wish I would have made it through the selection process. I'd love to have had the honor.

Anonymous said...

Good choice of time, to minimize the number of dweebs you'd have to remove, and good use of overwhelming presence, to cow them into compliance. The helo was a nice touch (one of Alinsky's rules for radicals - Whenever possible, go outside of the experience of the enemy - which makes for delicious irony). Well-planned and executed. Also good practice for the future.

Anonymous said...

Wow Argggg that is a classy tent. I might be borrowing it from you if my investments take a big hit.
Gun Nut

Anonymous said...

The analogy of a baseball bat and a mosquito is a bit off. I think a battleship and mosquito would be more accurate.

Anonymous said...

The Soviet-bloc era Polish riot police methods and tactics were quite different.

Steve said...

I thought the writer of the original LJS article was just writing with a drunken lisp. He (she?) also put an apostrophe in the word remnants for some strange reason. I know it's easy to make a typo and miss it, but these writers are supposed to be trained professionals, aren't they?

Steve said...

BTW; when I first saw the post title, I thought our former state legislator had joined the movement.

Heart of Gold Jewelers ~ said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tom Casady said...

Heart of Gold,

I appreciated your comment, but removed it because it contained your email and phone number, which I doubted you really wanted to share. If you want to resend the comment without the personal info, I'd love to post it.