Martin Luther King has always been about barriers. In the 1960s, MLK fought to break the color barrier, while white segregationists fought to keep it up. Today, white segregationists hold pro-Confederate rallies on the holiday weekend bearing his name, as a barrier to keep the real world out. So too did the neo-confederates’ West Coast sister organization — also known as the “California Police.” They erected barriers, metal gates, around the State Capitol building on Sunday, to keep the world out while they held a carefully controlled pro-police rally inside. But what is life like on the other side of the gate? About the same as it was in 1964.
This screenshot was taken from the video below, which was itself taken on Sunday in Sacramento. Though if it were in black and white, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was taken in Birmingham 50 years ago.
The incident took place just outside the gates of the pro-police rally on the Capitol Grounds, which were surrounded with metal gates and armed police guards. The guards fastidiously screened entrants, keeping potential agitators and undesirables off the (public) Capitol grounds during the rally — a rally which was as carefully controlled and uniform in content, dress and message as anything ever held in Nuremberg. With just a bit of reality manipulation, the crowd of about 100 police supporters was all applause and rapturous, picture perfect faces.
Life inside the gates:
And life on the other side:
Funny what difference a metal gate makes.
The video here was shot by and posted to Facebook by one Rudy Ruiz, a participant in the counter rally — which by some estimates drew two to three times as many people as the officially approved rally inside the gates. A rally where participants were allowed only by permit, so as not to spoil the illusion.
But the metal gates and police cars surrounding the capitol were no illusion. Where gates weren’t an option, police blockaded streets with their cars, which protesters could approach but not go past. Not approach too closely, though, as the first man in this video learned. Bear in mind as you watch this: Stepping into the street (the cordon line) without a permit during this event was and is a monetary citation equivalent to a typical speeding ticket.
It picks up as he is already in the ground; details aren’t entirely in yet, but those there say that he was grabbed from behind by an officer and taken to the ground after coming too close to one of the cars, and saying something an officer didn’t like. There was no reason given for the takedown, attempt to arrest declared, nor citation read — and according to participants, there hasn’t been at any point since.
Almost immediately afterward, out of frustration, the police snatch another man from the front of crowd by the arm. As you can see from the video, he was not involved in the original altercation, and at the time he was snatched was literally doing nothing but standing there and looking the other way. As the police attempt to haul him away, a girl gets in between the two of them, and the man slips backward out of his jacket to escape while they’re distracted. He’s immediately swarmed by police officers, and tacked to the ground by one on a bicycle. Both the man formerly in the jacket and the girl who intervened are arrested.
Ultimately, arrested for resisting arrest. Naturally.
Meanwhile, inside the gates, Republican senator Jim Nielsen spoke to a carefully screened and applauding audience:
“There will be a terrible price paid if more restraints are put on our law enforcement. We need to thank them today. And not just today, but every day.”
And that’s life on the other side of the gate.
Welcome back to 1964.