‘The Moral High Ground’: Retired Philadelphia Police Captain Raymond Lewis Arrested in Full Uniform at ‘Occupy Wall Street’ Protest
It was a surreal sight to behold: a uniformed police captain being hauled off in handcuffs by NYPD officers who were visibly of much lower rank. That captain was Raymond Lewis, retired from the Philadelphia Police Department and standing with ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protesters as they denounced corporate greed and economic inequality in Manhattan yesterday. Lewis’ fellow Occupiers cheered as he was taken into custody, like 300 other protesters in New York yesterday. Not a single Wall Street bankster was arrested for crashing the global economy, destroying the life savings of millions of Americans or costing millions more their jobs and homes.
Chris Bowers of the Daily Kos posted an interview with Lewis in which the former captain offered advice to Occupiers on how to deal with police as well as expressing his pro-Occupy Wall Street worldview. Speaking of corporations, Lewis said “you have to get rid of the power they have. As long as they have the power they are going to continue to exploit and manipulate the working class. The cops are… workers for the one percent and they don’t even realize they’re being exploited.”
When asked if any police feel solidarity with him, Lewis replied: “I’m their worst enemy. Especially the white shirts… the bosses. Some of the fellow cops, they may be thinking, ‘That guy, he’s got a point,’ but the bosses, I’m their number one enemy.”
Lewis offered this insightful advice to his fellow Occupiers: “They [police] always take out the leader of a group.” He said that undercover officers infiltrate groups of protesters and ask who the leader is.
“Don’t confront them because you’re going to lose physically,” he warned. “If they tell you to move, move. Obey every order they give you and if you think they’re illegal orders, get in touch with the ACLU.”
As for police brutality, Lewis says that by law, force should only be used “to protect someone’s life or protect them from being bodily injured.”
“This bull rush that happened last night was totally uncalled for,” he said.
Lewis predicted that federal authorities will get involved if the Occupy movement continues to grow. “You’ll see a lot more of the FBI and everything else,” he said.
He also said that New York authorities have their priorities seriously mixed up. “They complain about the park being dirty,” he said of the pretext used to evict the Occupy Wall Street encampment in Zuccotti Park/Liberty Square. “Here they are worrying about dirty parks when people are starving to death, when people are freezing, when 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. It’s a farce.”
As for his future in the movement, Capt. Lewis had this to say: “As soon as I’m let out of jail, I’ll be right back here and they’ll have to arrest me again.”
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