Wait, don’t the police have a right to freedom of speech and assembly too?

If the support for the Black Lives Matter movement is anything to go by, it seems that anti-police sentiment is pretty popular among the jaded individuals that pollute social media. It seems to stem from the idea that the police are inherently corrupt and predisposed towards brutality, and this attitude can find itself provoked by instances of police brutality. But in the case of recent events that took place in Paris, where protesters attacked police officers who were holding demonstrations, I’ve got to call bullshit on the mentality.

A police car being set on fire in Paris during the demonstrations.

From what I understand all the police were doing was staging demonstrations on the streets of Paris in order to protest what they felt was a prevailing hatred of the police, as well as protesting plans for labor law reform by the government. As far as I can tell, this was supposed to be a peaceful demonstration on the part of the police and I’m sure they were doing this legally. They were exercising the right to free assembly, the same right that civilians have. The protesters who attacked police officers and set police cars on fire were definitely committing an act of violence. Evidently people don’t like the idea of police officers exercising the right to demonstrate. Maybe they believe that activists and labor unions have an exclusive monopoly on that right.

What’s interesting is that the protesters appeared to view the police demonstration as a “provocation”. Really? Think about that for a second: that would basically mean the police officers are committing a crime simply by holding a peaceful demonstration! However you look at it, this is a cut and dry infringement on the right to freedom of assembly – something that the protesters evidently had no concern for. It’s also telling that they chant “everyone hates the police” and “police everywhere, justice nowhere”. On the former chant, really? Does everyone really hate the police? I think this may be coming from previous conflicts with the police over the past few months, but does everyone hate the police? And does that entirely justify their right to freedom of assembly via peaceful demonstration? On the latter chant, I know that probably also comes from previous tensions, but what kind of justice do they prefer if they’re attacking police officers simply for demonstrating? Kangaroo courts? Mob rule maybe?

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2 responses to “Wait, don’t the police have a right to freedom of speech and assembly too?

  1. It’s a tough dilemma: on one hand we have (U.S., respectively) the few brutality-type police, and on the other hand, we have–which is actually the majority– honorable and hardworking officers who would never think to behave in a “brutality” mind frame. I for one have met both types of cops. I have quite a few family members and friends who are LEOs, they are good and just, and I’ve also had the displeasure of meeting not-so-good cops. But I too call bullshit on this present mentality. I mean, what are they to do? Civilians who haven’t served in a military or law enforcement capacity truly cannot conceive of how these service members are trained, how they think, and how they react to high-stakes situations. I will not judge a person’s character based on rumor or a badge. Their character will become apparent through their actions, and in my view, that’s the only thing we should ever use to judge a person’s character. Anyway, I found your post very moving and am in agreement that the hatred toward police mindset is total bullshit. It’s unfair to upstanding and noble LEOs, and it’s dangerous. Again, thanks for this! Very good read.

    • The reason I call bullshit on the mentality displayed in France specifically is because that this mentality seems to override the concept of the right to freedom of assembly. As a libertarian/classical liberal, that’s basically one of the most important tenets of political freedom, and it has to be universal. I’d also call bullshit on a similar mentality held by guys like Anonymous, who are want to blanket judge everyone deemed as involved in a system they judge as inherently corrupt.

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