Was the lack of police presence at Occupy Koch event politically motivated?

Matthew Boyle Investigative Reporter
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Allegations that the lack of adequate police resources to deal with the protests was due to political considerations surfaced almost immediately after word spread that Washington, D.C., 911 operators apparently hung up on Americans For Prosperity event organizers this weekend.

On Friday night, as “Occupy” protesters stormed the DC Convention Center when AFP activists and conservative leaders including billionaire David Koch tried to leave, the conservatives forced to remain inside said there weren’t enough police officers to deal with the violent protesters. AFP organizers had tried to call 911 at least four times asking for more police help, but they say the 911 operators hung up on them.

The officers outside the Convention Center, at least according to the “Occupy” protesters’ victims’ accounts to The Daily Caller, weren’t much help either.

And, Washington has a Democratic mayor, Vincent Gray, who’s clearly opposed to conservative groups like Americans For Prosperity. So, those who were in the crowd that night, and some of the victims, think Gray and his local DC administration politically orchestrated the lack of police response to the violent mob of “Occupy” protesters.

Joella Kudron, one of the young AFP “Defending the American Dream” summit attendees who assisted an elderly summit attendee who was trampled by left wing Occupy protesters, said the lack of police presence looked political to her.

“After what I saw last night — you know, I only saw one person get arrested and it was because they kicked a car and damaged personal property,” Kudron told TheDC. “They didn’t go after anyone in the crowd who pushed these women down the stairs, and pushed them to fall on the ground. They didn’t stop the protesters from yelling at this woman, or from surrounding her when she was clearly in physical danger.”

“That, to me, is a huge problem, and I think that, I very honestly think that he [Mayor Gray] told them to not do anything, because, pardon my language, because it was bullshit last night,” Kudron added. “They didn’t do a damn thing.”

Heather De la Riva, one of the AFP staffers who said 911 operators hung up on her, said that she won’t comment openly about whether she thinks this was politically-motivated non-action from the police department. But, she’s got a clear opinion herself. “I’ll leave that up to your readers to decide,” she told TheDC. “It seems pretty clear to me.”

Melissa Ortiz, a wheelchair-bound AFP event volunteer who was attacked by Occupy protesters, said she doesn’t want to believe Mayor Gray was behind the non-action. But, Ortiz, a Washington resident, said, “I fully intend to make an appointment and visit him in his office and talk to him about it next week. I’m not above calling his office and talking to him about this.”

Ortiz added that she’s personally met Gray, and she doesn’t think he’s capable of such evil. But, she told TheDC she wouldn’t put it past some of Gray’s senior staffers “who might be using his name to further whatever political agenda they have.”

“I want to talk to him, or somebody from his office, and find out why this happened because the police take an oath that they will defend all citizens and we were doing nothing but our right to free assembly and freedom of movement, and we were being unlawfully held against our will last night,” Ortiz said on Saturday afternoon. “We were being falsely and unlawfully imprisoned and the police did nothing.”

AFP foundation’s programs director Katie Engdahl, the AFP staffer in charge of the entire weekend-long event, wouldn’t speculate as to whether there were political motivations behind the lack of adequate police resources on scene. But, when TheDC interviewed her on Saturday afternoon, almost a full day later, she said the Metropolitan Police Department showed no interest in righting the wrongs or communicating with her at all.

“I have not heard from the Police Department [as of 4 p.m. on Saturday, the day after the chaos],” Engdahl said. “Being the show manager, if they called the Convention Center, they would’ve been directed to me.”

Gray’s spokeswoman, Linda Boyd, told TheDC that there were no political motivations behind this and that the mayor and his staffers never issued orders about how to handle this particular event. “At no time did the command officials consult with or receive direction from the Executive Office of the Mayor relative to this event,” Boyd said.

Boyd also told TheDC that the chief of police, Cathy Lanier, told her “she would never give an order like that [choose who to protect and who not to based on political ideology] – she never has and she doesn’t know where that rumor started.”

Seton Motley of Less Government, who was at the summit but wasn’t there during the violent Occupy counter-protest, told TheDC that he thinks the police should keep much more of an eye on these “Occupy” protesters moving forward as they’re getting desperate for attention. When they’re desperate, Motley said, they’ll do anything – including commit heinous acts of violence – to get attention.

“There’s almost an inevitable possibility of an increase in violence because of the novelty of them illegally squatting in places is wearing off,” Motley said. “Much like Kim Kardashian, to garner more media things will have to get weirder.”

The local authorities have at least appeared to pick up on the trending increase in “Occupy” movement violence as of late. “The prior [Occupy protester] demonstrations have been peaceful,” Boyd said about the violent behavior Occupy protesters exhibited on Friday. “The aggressive nature of Friday’s demonstration prompted the Metropolitan Police Department to adjust tactics as needed to ensure safety. They will continue to protect life and property (residents, visitors, protestors –everyone) and adjust strategies as warranted.”

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Matthew Boyle