An altercation occurred between U.S. Park Police and protesters at OccupyDC last Friday evening while officers were in pursuit of Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez, the alleged shooter at the White House, PJ Media has learned.
Raoul Duke, a self-described OccupyDC media representative told PJ Media today between 55-60 protesters encircled about a half dozen park police officers on Friday evening, November 11 when the police were searching tents for the alleged suspect in downtown Washington. While surrounding the police officers, the OccupyDC crowd chanted in unison “We do not consent to search.”
No violence or arrests occurred, but the scene was tense as police twice came to look for the alleged shooter and were challenged by a large group of protesters. The alleged shooter was captured today in Pennsylvania.
In both instances protesters confronted and surrounded the police. The police left both times without incident.
“About six officers came in,” Duke recalled, citing the first time park police officers entered the Occupy site. “They went to the southwest corner of the park, started going through tarp areas and tents,” he said.
“At that time a group of us surrounded them and just kind of asked questions of them, asking ‘why are you here, who are you looking for?’ We told them, ‘sorry but we do not consent to searches.”
Duke said he rallied the protesters who massed to surround the officers “I got the attention of all the Occupiers and we all surrounded them,” he said. “We started chanting ‘we do not consent to search.”
“The park police actually left twice and we surrounded then (each time) and we started chanting and they ended up leaving,” the protester said.
“We found out they were looking for the gentleman who shot at the White House.”
A TPM report earlier today also said Secret Service agents tried to search tents for Ortega-Hernandez.
U.S. Park Police have jurisdiction over the park, named McPherson Square. It is located about two blocks from the White House. The protester said park police officers had entered about five to eight tents before being confronted. Duke explained the harsh reaction from the protesters: “These are homes. We made it clear without a warrant there can be no searches,” he explained. ”They must ask permission to enter your house before they can come in.”
The protester complained that they should have received some police warning. “They kind of showed up out of nowhere and started going through people’s stuff and that can raise alarm. But they also were trying to say, ‘Hey we’re looking for somebody. We’re not searching for anything.”
Peppered throughout the tent city are signs reminding protesters of their civil liberties and “rights.” An earlier PJ Tatler post on October 5 described the distribution of laminated hand-out brochures authored by the liberal Washington Legal Clinic. They outline the many rights of protesters in the park.
Duke said no one knew the alleged shooter Ortega-Hernandez. “To my knowledge I haven’t seen him around and I’ve seen a lot of people. I saw a mug shot of him in the paper. He didn’t look familiar,” Duke said.
Duke said the day or two earlier three police officers were on the northwest corner and tried to get into a tent when they smelled marijuana. ”They said they had smelled marijuana and that’s why they wanted to get in,” the media representative recalled. The group barred the police from entering.
Many Occupy Wall Street sites around the country have been closed down for sanitary, health and public safety reasons. Crime including sexual assault and drug use have been alleged at many of the sites. This week New York City closed down the main Occupy Wall Street site in New York under orders from Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Other sites have been closed down by the liberal city governments of Oakland, California and Portland, Oregon.
The OccupyDC location is beginning to resemble a tent city that is there to stay. It has a library, medical clinic and dining area. A white board bulletin board announces counseling sessions, workshops and “General Assembly meetings” where collective decision making occurs.
The U.S. Park Police were contacted for comment. As of this post there has not been any response.