After viewing dozens of OWS protest videos, I've managed to uncover a 'triggering' mechanism that seems to set the police personnel into an arrest frenzy.
There are two protest behaviors that get drastically different responses from the police:
Protest Behavior Usually Leading to Arrest:
a) The protester, when asked to keep walking, fails to turn face and body in direction of the officer's request. The second time the officer attempts to make this request, the protester is clearly seen standing his/her ground. The officer is then seen going into an arrest frenzy.
b) The protester is yelling within 2-3 feet of the officer's ear, and at the officer. This close proximity yelling would be threatening to any person, officer or protester.
c) The officer physically pushes the protester with the force that should knock you down, and the protester stands their ground. Yes this is assault, but the officer's actions will never be viewed (from the judges perspective) as assault. The protester who is indignant enough to stand their ground, and not continue walking in the direction of being shoved, they will be arrested.
d) The photographer, when asked to keep walking or is pushed away from a SPECIFIC spot STANDS THEIR GROUND!
e) There has been at least one arrest made, as if in retaliation for one person whispering into the ear of an adjacent protester. The police are touchy.
Non Threatening Body Language - No arrest is made.
a) The protester, when asked to keep walking, exhibits compliance by physically turning head & body in direction of officer's request.
b) The photographer, when asked to keep walking, or pushed away from a SPECIFIC spot, swiftly creates a large distance between self and that officer.
c) SIT if you are practicing civil disobedience and don't argue. It is common sense that the officer will arrest the more aggressive, or foul mouthed protester first (all things being equal). "I'm not doing anything!" Sure, this body language is at the other end of the spectrum (passive as opposed to aggressive). You're not being threatening, but to the point of blocking some business, or traffic flow? This runs up against other laws the police are required to enforce as well. If you do decide to remain seated until arrest, that's your choice. In order to keep with the intent of this section and avoid arrest, comply with the officers orders and move out of the way.
d) Keep your hands in plain sight at all times and, if confronted, make no sudden moves other than those the officer has requested and will expect. Remember, the officer may not be able to tell you are not a physical threat to him/her in a chaotic situation.
These are general guidelines, and may not guarantee that the protester will be free from arrest. If the police are planning to 'kettle' several hundred, followed by an arrest frenzy, that would be a good example of an exception. Combative behavior is usually, from the perspective of the police, interpreted as threatening. Yes, I know this sounds too simple minded, but the police have a narrow window between combative and compliant. The further to the compliant side you can remain, the greater your odds of protesting without arrest.
Additional reading material on 'How to Behave in the Presence of an Officer': http://www.midnightspecial.net/files/dealingwithpolice.pdf
Mid way down the page in this Occupy Together Field Manual's legal section: http://occupytogether.wikispot.org/Legal
"Combative Body Language Will Lead to Arrest" was researched and initially posted by:
Content Contributors & Contributing Editors:
Link contribution "How to Behave in the Presence of an Officer" provided by: "The Ruckus Society" at http://www.ruckus.org/section.php?id=83
Note to contributing editors:
please provide info. so you can receive credit for your contribution.
The comment about whispering was moved to the "Protest Behavior Usually Leading to Arrest" section.
The link to additional information was changed to a "one click" and your at the relevant document. The previous link took you to a page where you had to search around for that document.
—— comments inspired by the reading of this document:
We must not let the police hold us down any longer. We must no longer conform to unjust laws. We must exercise our constitutional rights. They cannot jail all of us. We are the 99%.