Cops refuse to stand down and honor oath
by Steve Watson
Protesters at a public park in Fresno were harassed and arrested by police for a third consecutive evening Monday as officers told them that local penal code allowed them to ignore First Amendment rights and break up protests.
The protest group, calling itself “Occupy Fresno”, has refused to move out of the park and onto a sidewalk, asserting that it is their constitutional right to remain where they are.
Over the weekend, more than 20 of the protesters were arrested and led away by police citing a county ordinance that defines the protesters as trespassers.
Officers in riot gear approached the remaining protesters Monday night, once again asking them to comply with police orders to leave or face arrest.
Fresno County Sheriffs Lt. Andriatti and Officer Neil Dadian were filmed informing protesters that local penal code outstrips the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.
“Does the penal code here and ordinances that you’ve said that we’re violating, trump the constitutional First Amendment to peaceably assemble and protest the government?” a protester asked the officers.
“In this instance here, that is what we are enforcing. That penal code…” Andriatti replied.
When asked to explain the law further, the officers refused.
Watch the video:
In another fascinating exchange captured on camera, protester Joseph Hunter calmly engaged an officer in conversation, asking that he refrain from carrying out unlawful orders and instead honor the oath he has taken to uphold the Constitution.
“The answer is no, we are not going to stand down.” the officer is heard replying.
Hunter added that should the police department attempt to discipline the officer for refusing to carry out orders, the group would help the officer seek legal representation.
The officer would still have none of it, however, and again ordered the protesters to disperse, prompting an impassioned reaction from Hunter.
“Amazing, right? Isn’t that amazing?” he said. “No Constitution in America. No protection for your First Amendment, constitutional right to peaceably assemble. We’re radicals because we stand here defending our constitutional right to peaceably assemble.”
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