This post is a little late, but better late than never. In early May of this year, videos and eyewitness reports revealed an excessive and brutal police operation at the annual Western Illinois University (WIU) Wheeler block party. This is an event largely missed by the mainstream media, perhaps because the cognitive dissonance created by such an event was too much for them to handle, and it was much easier to pander to misguided patriotism by overplaying the news about Bin Laden, and filling the media with images of drunk or happy Americans embracing, holding hands, cheering on the death of one man as if it were the second coming of Christ.
As many Americans across the country were drinking to excess, chanting patriotic slogans, and idiotically screaming about how the death of one man was a symbol of American power and freedom, police here at home were busy proving the ignorance and servility of many Americans.
The Wheeler block party is an annual celebration for the end of the school year. One news source alleges that an annual block party “turned violent” and police were called in because someone started a fire, and there were concerns of vandalism and excessive alcohol consumption. However, based on eyewitness accounts, it would seem the party turned violent because the police showed up, not the other way around.
Students were celebrating the end of the school year. Julio Rausseo, student, investigative journalist, and eyewitness to the event observed it was a peaceful event throughout most of the day. At about 6 p.m. at night, some students got slightly out of hand. Police saw students place a bicycle on top of a stop sign, but did not take any action. However, soon thereafter, police in full SWAT riot gear marched down the street in rows and began attacking students. Police also employed sound canons. Mr. Rausseo’s friend was tear gassed for sitting outside her own house. Mr. Rausseo himself was threatened for filming. Many students were tackled for no apparent reason.
From the videos and photographs available, it appears the block party created quite a mess. A significant amount of trash littered the streets. People were likely loud and drunk. Even so, the footage of police in SWAT gear marching down down a suburban neighborhood in rows in response to some rowdy, messy college kids should pose a bit of concern for the people chanting “USA! USA! USA!” in a zombie-like fashion, reveling in false superiority and freedom.
Police Chief Curt Barker explained, “Everybody was told to leave, so technically, if you’re standing there and you’re walking up to the crowd control unit and screaming, you’re subject to disorderly conduct and that’s what those individuals were charged with.” “We had undercover officers in the crowd, watching for individuals throwing beer bottles, and those people were grabbed and charged with aggravated battery.” The fact police were marching down the street in SWAT gear, throwing people to the ground, and using tear gas and sound canons in response to littering and loud noise is absurd enough. That the penalty for screaming and yelling at police for their violent behavior is further disproportionate punishment and yet another slap in the face of liberty.
In this country, if the police don’t like the way a person looked at them, or talked to them, they can easily find some stupid crime as a pretext for harassment, abuse and arrest. Loitering. Disorderly conduct. Jaywalking. Delaying or resisting. The list goes on and on. Peaceful people suddenly turn into criminals if they do not submit like good slaves and [god forbid!]if they dare so much as utter an impolite word to a member of the hallowed ranks.
According to the Reality Report, the University newspaper subsequently put out a hit piece on students who were participating in the annual celebration, calling them anarchists. The article accused students of starting a riot, although people who were actually there suspected that a fire was purposely started by members of the ROTC, not “anarchists” or violent students.
View another video of the event here.