Most Occupy Wall Street protests have been peaceful, but the response by American police have been anything but. Oakland’s transit system authority shut down the 12th Street BART station in order to keep citizens from attending a protest – possibly an unconstitutional action – and then fired teargas grenades, flash bang grenades, and rubber bullet weapons directly at the protestors who did show up.
Video taken from a local TV station’s news helicopter show police firing military “flash bangs” directly into crowds of peaceful protestors on public property who have every legal right to be there under the first amendment. Flash bangs were invented by British special forces as a weapon of war, and despite their non-lethal designation, can still cause severe burns, permanent damage to hearing, and ignite fires. Flash bangs have even caused deaths. A woman in New York died from a heart attack caused by a stun grenade in 2003, and a highly trained and most likely well armored SWAT officer in North Carolina was killed when one of his own grenades accidentally detonated.