S.F. Columnist Protests Protesters

Writing under the pen name Jami Tarn (CounterPunch, 3/27/09), one San Francisco lawyer is rallying against “a hate-filled column in the San Francisco Chronicle.” Chronicle commentator Debra J. Saunders “insinuated that Tristan Anderson, still lingering in a coma in Tel Aviv after taking an Israeli tear gas canister to the face, costing him part of his frontal lobe and possibly his right eye, deserves this comeuppance for daring to join Palestinians in protest against Israel’s illegal Apartheid wall.” Saunders, Tarn wrote, reduced such suffering to the snarky “love-it-or-leave-it Amer’kuh” line that Anderson now has “found out in the worst way that political protest outside the Bay Area isn’t all energy bars and catch-and-release.”

Tarn notes that, to Saunders, even “a temporary traffic-snarling protest is ‘menacing and violence-tinged’; everything the police say is credible”:

Saunders lamented, “The problem is, when an officer’s skull is fractured–as happened to SFPD’s Peter Shields during an anti-World Trade Organization protest in 2005–there are no angry marches closing down Market Street.” As one of the lawyers who represented independent journalist Josh Wolf, jailed for eight months for contempt for refusing on principle to turn over his video from that incident to the FBI (which did not show the attack on Shields, but did show Shields’ partner, Officer Michael Wolf, choking a completely non-threatening protester half to death), I know something about the events–a protest against the G8 Summit, not the WTO. It began when Officer Shields sped down a dark street in his patrol car, dangerously scattering protesters like chickens, then jumped out wildly swinging his baton. According to his own account, he was in the midst of striking a protester in the arms and legs when someone hit him over the head.