Tuesday, May 31, 2011

UPDATE: Handcuffed and body slammed by police... for dancing at the Jefferson Memorial - 31st May 2011

A U.S. Parks Police officer who 'bodyslammed' a dancing protester - hurling him to the ground before choking him - is being investigated after footage of the incident appeared on Youtube.

The man was part of a group of dancers taking part in a 'flashmob' demonstration at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington on May 28.

They were protesting a ruling by a federal judge, made in January this year, that dancing at the memorial constituted an illegal demonstration and not an expression of free speech.

Parks Police officers are seen manhandling the demonstrators - some of whom are punched as they lie on the ground being put into handcuffs.

The video then shows a dancing man wearing a white T-shirt with the word 'disobey' on it being grabbed round the waist and lifted into the air by an officer who then throws him heavily down onto the stone floor. Read More

A woman was arrested and although charges against her were dropped, one of the other protesters filed a suit against the U.S. Park Service, claiming her arrest was illegal.

But U.S. District Judge John Bates ruled that the dancers were taking part in an illegal act.

He wrote: 'The purpose of the memorial is to publicize Thomas Jefferson's legacy, so that critics and supporters alike may contemplate his place in history.

'Prohibiting demonstrations is a reasonable means of ensuring a tranquil and contemplative mood at the Jefferson Memorial.'