It has somehow only just surfaced that on November 17th retired Philadelphia Police captain Ray Lewis, 60, was arrested at Occupy Wall Street in his old uniform (The rest of this paragraph is a summary for the lazy). He was chastised by Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey and the Fraternal Order of Police after being arrested in Zuccotti Park. Lewis has not let the incident deter him. On Monday, he arrived at Independence Mall in Philadelphia, wearing his uniform as a symbol of his dedication to the police force. Standing by a stone engraved with the First Amendment, Lewis told a crowd that “I will not idly stand by while law enforcement is administered only to the poor and disenfranchised while the rich flaunt their immunity.”
This is what we need. Those who oppose the Occupy movement will point out the counterculture-esque sleeves of the person adjusting Lewis’ hat. But the photo above reflects an apparent shift in the usual paradigm between protester and police. Most of the photos we see of Occupy protests depict the teargas bombardments in Oakland reminiscent of Greek riots, or college students being casually pepper-sprayed as they sit in silent civil disobedience. Maybe the image of a man who was dutifully employed for 26 years as a police chief seen standing with the protesters will finally shake the opinions of the “only unemployed hippies protest” crowd. The lack of care for such an obvious, widespread, and needed movement in the country is downright frightening. What is needed is not more bongo drums, but more people like Mr. Ray Lewis.