Law of the Fist

New York Cops Vow to Crush Violent Protest at World Economic Forum

Seen through the eyes of New York cops, the anti-globalization movement looks like one bloody line of terror and mayhem, stretching back to the Seattle riots of 1999 and heading right at them. If the protesters pouring into the city for the World Economic Forum at month's end have plans for creating more scenes of violence and destruction, the NYPD says they can just think again.

"If there are demonstrations, they will certainly be allowed to go forward if they are peaceful. If they are disruptive and they break the law, we will take action," says Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly. "We are confident. We are prepared." He and the other brass say they know full well how ugly things can get:

  • Melbourne, 2000—Armed with cellular phones, grid maps of the city, noxious chemicals, urine, and a plan formulated on the Internet, violent anti-globalization protesters succeeded in halting the opening of the World Economic Forum.
    Ready as he'll ever be: New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly
    photo: Jake Price
    Ready as he'll ever be: New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly

  • Philadelphia, 2000—Burned-out police cars, stomped and key-scratched corporate "black cars," and finger-pointing at police became the signs of success for violent anarchists at the Republican National Convention.

  • Genoa, 2001—A summit of the G-8 ended with pools of blood inside a school where nonviolent union protesters took refuge from cops and with headlines of "Ragazzo Morto" dramatically mourning a young anarchist slain in a street battle by carabinieri who then ran him over.

  • Seattle, 1999—"Speechless in Seattle" is a fair summary of just how startled law enforcement officials were by the out-of-control demonstrations there during a World Trade Organization meeting. Powerful water cannons, smashed shop windows, and baton-bashed protesters all left a powerful retinal memory on world consciousness.

    Now these same protesters are expected in New York for the economic forum, which runs from January 31 to February 4 at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel. Kelly and company expect some 200 jet-setting troublemakers to infiltrate law-abiding activists, with the goal of damaging property, hindering access to the meetings, and garnering media attention for their anti-globalization agenda. They'll be met with a disciplined, experienced, blue-collar division of uniformed police, two battalions of detectives, three more of Secret Service and diplomatic security service operatives, and two more of FBI agents. The goal is to ensure that "Fortress Waldorf" is a safe environment for the 3000 attendees and that New York City is not the subject of any form of further violence. By all accounts, police will have their hands full with the sophisticated techniques of these determined anarchists.

    Taking their cue from demonstrations in other cities, the NYPD practices mass arrests.
    (photo: Jake Price)

    In the post-9-11 world of law enforcement, cops see these brick throwers and car burners as almost Al Qaeda-like, down to their transnational wandering, their leaders' wealthy backgrounds, and their fundamentalist message. The anti-globalization movement objects to the unfettered migration of capital in search of the best deal on labor, and holds the not-unreasonable paranoia of a global corporate oligarchy.

    Of course, that same migrating capital—as with arms maker Krupp, explosives king Nobel, and yellow-journalism baron Hearst—is what fuels its yang. By 1996, one of the movement's funding organizations had banked more than $34 million to fuel its agenda, according to Internet versions of a Left Business Observer essay. The publication goes on to report that the founder of this group has an Ivy League M.B.A., a track record at the U.S. Agency for International Development, and money provided by well-heeled parents from the retail trade.

    None of this wins the favor of the blue-collar former Philadelphia police commissioner John Timoney. "There is a core group of anti-capitalists who throw noxious substances, toss red liquid at cops, turn over cars, and interfere with the rights of peaceful demonstrators," he says.

    Dublin-born and blunt as a spade, Timoney came to New York as a teenager with a blue work shirt and not much else. "I came here to teach you people a lesson," he says, not totally in jest.

    When the streets of Philly flared during the 2000 GOP convention, Timoney adopted a much criticized policy of arresting demonstrators by the hundreds, sometimes slapping them with $1 million bail for charges that were later radically reduced or dropped altogether. The strategy led to accusations of jailhouse brutality and suppression of lawful protest, but in the end, the violence was contained, if not quelled.

    With a bare trace of brogue and a ruddy complexion, Timoney embodies the flip side of globalization—the migration of labor as it seeks a better life. As CEO of Beau Dietl Associates, a private security firm, the Philly commissioner is back to protect the kings and queens of capital at the Waldorf summit.

    "Obviously, these violent anarchists strike at what they think are the symbols of capitalism," says Timoney. "So they scratch black cars and cost the poor drivers a day's pay."

    Global anti-globalization protesters, meet globo cops: John Timoney, New York police commissioner Ray Kelly, Kroll bioterror expert Jerome Hauer, Madison Square Garden GM Michael Julian, Secret Service special-agent-in-charge Steve Carey, Diplomatic Security Service regional boss Patricia Kelly, Waldorf security chief Sal Caccavale. These are just a few of the resources New York has drawn upon.

  • 1
    Next Page »