Daniel J. Mitchell
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Even though I’ve expressed a small bit of sympathy for their motives, I’m not a fan of the OWS protesters. But other than sharing some jokes about the movement (see here, herehereherehere, and here), I haven’t had much to say.

But this video showing a clash with police at UC Davis is rather troubling.

I realize that I don’t know the context, but the police reaction seems rather excessive. Two questions spring to mind.

1. Why does anyone care that they’re blocking a sidewalk? I can understand that the police have to act if protesters decide to block a street,but why was there a need to have a big confrontation (one that the protesters obviously wanted) to clear a sidewalk? My instinct would be to leave them alone.

2. Why did they use mace? Surely there ought to be some rule of proportionality. If a bunch of protesters are smashing windows or overturning cars, then a more aggressive response obviously is needed. But why use pepper spray on some college kids sitting on a sidewalk?

I consider myself a tough-on-crime conservative, but mixed with a strong libertarian belief in individual rights. As I said in an earlier post, the real key is to make sure laws are just.

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Daniel J. Mitchell

Daniel J. Mitchell is a top expert on tax reform and supply-side tax policy at the Cato Institute.