National Park Service Responds To Dancing In The Thomas Jefferson Memorial

The National Park Service says that while it supports dancing in general, there are some places in the National Park System -- such as the Thomas Jefferson Memorial -- where it is inappropriate and banned. Kurt Repanshek photo.

The National Park Service today released a statement upholding the arrest of five people last week for dancing in the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. While the statement said the agency "supports dancing and other forms of expression in its parks," it added that in some areas of the National Park System dancing is inappropriate and banned.

The arrests were made last Saturday when an organized group entered the memorial obviously intent on challenging Park Service regulations that ban dancing as both inappropriate for the setting and a form of protest that needs a permit. Those interpretations were formally reached when a woman who was arrested in 2008 for dancing in the memorial on Thomas Jefferson's birthday later sued the agency -- unsuccessfully -- for infringement of her First Amendment rights.

In upholding a lower court's ruling that went against Mary Oberwetter, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held that the Jefferson Memorial should have a “solemn atmosphere" and that silently dancing was an inappropriate form of expression there.

Furthermore, the appellate judges agreed with the lower court that the interior of the open-air memorial is "not a public forum," and that any demonstration needed a permit.

This morning the Park Service released the following statement:

In light of recent headlines we would like to dispel some myths and misconceptions on what is legal and what is not across the federal park system.

First, the National Park Service has a long and proud tradition of supporting and encouraging First Amendment rights and dancing in our parks is a great way to do this, whether it is on the National Mall on the 4th of July with tens of thousands of people or by yourself in front of a waterfall out west. In fact we may be the only federal agency that is required by statute to provide for “enjoyment.”

But just as you may not appreciate someone using a cell phone in a movie theater or someone dancing in front of your view of a great work of art, we believe it is not appropriate to be dancing in an area that memorializes some of the most famous Americans.

Visitors come from all over the globe to pay respect to, and read the words of Thomas Jefferson. These words, placed on the inner walls of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial chamber, are a moving testament of the good in humankind. We believe our visitors should be able to enjoy this experience without distractions.

The U.S. Court of Appeals agrees. In a May 17, 2011 decision, the court upheld National Park Service regulations that preserve the solemnity of the Thomas Jefferson National Memorial by prohibiting demonstrations of any kind within the chamber. The court ruled specifically on the act of dancing and found no infringement of First Amendment rights to free speech or free expression.

To protest the court’s decision, a group of dancers convened at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial on May 30. They were warned multiple times that dancing was not allowed and chose to continue. Five people were arrested. Organizers of last week’s protest are now planning a larger demonstration this Saturday, June 4, advertising a “Dance Party @TJ.”

Nearly every day, the national parks of Washington, DC, are venues for the unfettered exercise of the freedoms guaranteed to all Americans. Marches, protests, rallies and other events on the National Mall engage hundreds of thousands of citizens every year in civic and civil debate over serious issues facing our nation. We are proud that federal park land is used for these events.

There are over 2.4 acres of space available to dance or express yourself on the Thomas Jefferson Memorial grounds. We hope anyone who likes to dance in this area takes advantage of that space and allows our other visitors to enjoy a peaceful and inspiring experience in the Thomas Jefferson Memorial chamber.


U.S. Park Police Chief Theresa Chambers has not responded to requests concerning the conduct of Park Police in making the arrests -- videos of last Saturday's incident showed officers body-slamming someone to the ground and using apparent choke-holds and knees to pin a head on individuals who didn't seem to be threatening any of the officers -- and today's statement also didn't address that aspect of the matter.

But in a follow up request this morning Park Service spokesman David Barna said the matter was being reviewed.

Comments

Those dancers are true activists. Media Benjamin, one of the arrestees, is one of the creators of Global Exchange and Code Pink. These are extremely leftist leaning organizations working for the overthrow of this country. She lived in Castro's Cuba for a while and described living under that regime as "Dying and Going to Heaven".

It is evident that it was a challenge to see how far the activists could push the U. S. Park Police before they were arrested, which was their intent, and will most likely be this weekend. I also find it unreal that "Adam" took his case to the Russian press.

I would imagine that had the entire video been posted, not just the parts they wished to use to try and influence the public, it would have shown the step by step process used by the USPP that led up to the arrests.

Personally I loved to visit the memorial knowing it was a place of quiet solitude and do not think that Thomas Jefferson would be interested in activists who find living in a dictatorship as "Dying and Going to Heaven".

Ban dance is WRONG. (capoeira)

Well, maybe the guy "didn't seem to be threatening any of the officers", but he sure as heck wasn't doing what the Ranger was telling him to do. There's gazillions of miles to go dance; they were there for the publicity and to behave as spoiled brats the way their parents taught them.

When making an arrest and asked by the person being arrested to cite the specific law under which the arrest is being made, an officer would be foolish to try to provide chapter and verse. Few of us ever had the entire CFR memorized and making a mistake, especially on camera, would be a serious detriment to the case. We were taught to make the arrest when we knew it was on solid ground and leave the arguments up to attorneys later.

The officers in this case had explained and explained and explained for quite some time before moving in to make the arrests. That part was edited out.

Putting on my devil's advocate hat for a minute or two, I think we all can agree that the "dancers" went into the memorial intending to force an encounter with the Park Police.

We also can debate whether the police used excessive force; a good friend of mine who spent a couple of decades as a state trooper says the police were well within their boundaries for dealing with individuals who weren't willingly submitting to handcuffs.

I think the question that rises above both the intentions of the "dancers" and the reaction of the police is whether the regulation against dancing is a sound one? Frankly, I'd find it more distracting to be in the memorial listening to other visitors chattering loudly away on their cellphones than a handful or two slow dancing quietly.

And how uniformly is this regulation against dancing enforced across the park system? An initial response from Park Service officials today when asked what other units of the National Park System are considered "non-public forums" where this sort of dancing might be outlawed cited the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

OK, but what about:

* Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument

* Manzanar National Historic Site

* Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site

* Gettysburg National Military Park

* Andersonville National Historic Site

Certainly, those and similar units would be more appropriate for a measure or two of decorum than a memorial that honors a man who said, The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it always to be kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all.

In 1984 the Supreme Court addressed a similar claim by the Community for Creative Nonviolence who wanted to stage a "camp-in" in Lafayette Park across from the White House. The NPS prohibited the CCNV from sleeping overnight in the park because of a regulatory prohibition against "camping." CCNV challenged the NPS actions by claiming, among other things, a free speech infringement. The Supreme Court upheld the actions of the NPS. In his concurring opinion Chief Justice Burger stated:

"The actions here claimed as speech entitled to the protections
of the First Amendment simply are not speech; rather, they constitute
conduct. As Justice Black, who was never tolerant of limits on
speech, emphatically pointed out in his separate opinion in
Cox v. Louisiana,
379 U.S. 536, 578 (1965):

"The First and Fourteenth Amendments, I think, take away from
government, state and federal, all power to restrict freedom
of speech, press, and assembly where people have a right to be
for such purposes. . . . Picketing, though it may be utilized
to communicate ideas, is not speech, and therefore is not of
itself protected by the First Amendment." (Emphasis in original;
citations omitted.)

Respondents' attempt at camping in the park is a form of "picketing";
it is conduct, not speech. Moreover, it is conduct that interferes
with the rights of others to use Lafayette Park for the purposes
for which it was created. Lafayette Park and others like it
are for all the people, and their rights are not to be trespassed
even by those who have some "statement" to make. Tents, fires,
and sleepers, real or feigned, interfere with the rights of others
to use our parks. Of course, the Constitution guarantees that
people may make their "statements," but Washington has
countless places for the kind of "statement" these
respondents sought to make.

It trivializes the First Amendment to seek to use it as a shield
in the manner asserted here. And it tells us something about
why many people must wait for their "day in court" when the time
of the courts is pre-empted by frivolous proceedings that delay
the causes of litigants who have legitimate, non-frivolous claims.
This case alone has engaged the time of 1 District Judge, an
en banc court of 11 Court of Appeals Judges, and 9 Justices of
this Court."

I dunno, guy.
Anyone who ever saw Blaze Starr dance knew what she was saying, and that also included numerous judges, justices, and governors.

Maybe next the Park Police can stop and arrest people from crying in front of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. That is so annoying....

/sarc

I am liberal, but I believe that "Freedom" <> "Do whatever the heck I want, when I want."

Folks, it's a memorial. You are not honoring the legacy of Thomas Jefferson by dancing in the space dedicated to his memory. And if someone in authority tells you, for the common good and for common decency, that you should not do something, YOU SHOULD NOT DO IT.

Rare concept these days, eh? Respect for law and authority as an expression of the will of the people?

Whoever wrote that statement from the National Park Service should be commended.

My biggest problem with all this is that, "dancing in a restricted area", "demonstrating without a permit", whatever you want to call it... are arrest-able offenses! Unless they were naked, it is in NO WAY reasonable to arrest someone for swaying back and forth with their arms around each other, jumping around like a fool, or even doing the Waltz in public through Jefferson Memorial...in the United States!

Police made it very clear that these people would be arrested if they dance. While police MAY have been within their boundries of conduct once "dancers" resisted being placed in hand-cuffs, it is the Police's attempt to arrest them in the first place, which I consider the "excessive force". They could have VERY easliy gave them citations, and this would not have been as big of a deal as it is becoming.

At least free speech is alive and well at Traveler.

Free speech is alive and well at Traveler. Good.

My biggest problem with all this is that, "dancing in a restricted area", "demonstrating without a permit", whatever you want to call it... are arrest-able offenses! Unless they were naked, it is in NO WAY reasonable to arrest someone for swaying back and forth with their arms around each other, jumping around like a fool, or even doing the Waltz in public through Jefferson Memorial...in the United States!

Yes... Police made it very clear that these people would be arrested if they dance. But while police MAY have been within their boundries of conduct once "dancers" resisted being placed in hand-cuffs, it is the Police's attempt to arrest them in the first place, that I consider the "excessive force". They could have VERY easliy gave them citations, and this would not have been as big of a deal as it is becoming.

Thank you, Park Police!

Those "activists" made a mockery of our national memorial, demonstrated
without a permit and disturbed tourists like myself who appreciate the
elevated spiritual experience that comes with visiting the Memorial.

There are places where dancing is clearly inappropriate -- places like libraries, museums, graveyards, and the Jefferson Memorial is unquestionably one of those places.

All the best from Michigan,
Katherine

Had they been ignored, after a brief period of time they would most likely have left and there would have been no incident to be discecting. It was dancing..... not foul language, offensive signs, or blatent disrespect for America or Mr. Jefferson or something that most visitors would even recognize as a protest. The reaction, in my opnion made a major incident out of what most other visitors would most likely not been offended by. As an urban ranger of 30 years I often let non offensive protests like this play out. Sure, there were enough laws on the books to come up with a whole list of infractions, but by letting it play out and keeping an eye on the protest to be sure it did not evolve into something serious, visitors had a pleasant day, protesters were able to vent, lawsuits were avoided, and I had a lot less paperwork to deal with. Just my 2 cents.

I find it rather ironic and strange that the NPS would ban dancing (a very basic and ancient form of human expression) in a monument dedicated to a man who not only helped to define the idea of free expression but also was a lover of music and dance in its own right. How strange it is to "honor" Jefferson by banning music, dance and free expression. It is as ludicrous as it would be to "honor" Beverly Sills by banning song! Ridiculous and bizarre.

I was about to write a big, long winded response to this whole issue. All I really have to say is this:
If I were a soldier returning from one of the wars we are fighting right now, I would seriously be questioning what I fought for. I don't necessarily think people should be allowed to do absolutely anything they want at anytime, anywhere. This, however crosses the line in my opinion. Don't we have bigger issues? Let people dance, and if they are really taking a toll on your reverance, perhaps ask them politely to stop? I don't have the answer to how this situation should have been handled. All I can say is that I am ashamed of the way it was handled.

and we dont have enough problems in this country.i am surprised ACLU wasnt involved.

Hmmmm, this is a tough one. I think the 'dancers' did intentionally provoke the PP, but there is the big question of exactly what is dancing? A couple embracing and swaying? How about if they didn't sway? Are they not allowed to embrace in the Jefferson Memorial either? It is a slippery slope when you begin to try and regulate subtle expressions and silent behaviours. In other words, if the 'dancing' had consisted of stomping around and creating foot noises perhaps, or had the 'dancers' been vocal in any way - this would have made more sense. The parameters of a 'dancing' infraction should be more clearly defined. Dancing is just too ambiguous of a word or a concept to be put to an enforceable measure. I totally agree that public memorials should have a reverent decorum, as someone above pointed out, like in a library. And what these people did in the face of the PP was poking the bear. Clearly, the whole scene is absurd and unfortunate for everyone. But it brings to the table an issue that needs to be resolved and that is that you should not, in a free country, ban something that is so loosely defined. If I were to be set to the task of rewording the "dancing" ban I would state it thusly: "No visually or audibly distracting behaviours". Then it would be up to a fellow attendee to complain to the PP, for instance, that the couple over there embracing and swaying was bothering them. For the PP to just jump in and arbitrarily decide that the behaviour of the couple could be defined as dancing or the man who was slowing and quietly lifting his arms and legs was also dancing, that is where the real problem lies.

I watched the entire video. The Park Police clearly violated protocol. Officer Bicycle Hat did a lot of pointing but rarely issued any warnings (that tends to be protocol). One man voluntarily turned around and put his hands behind his back but was thrown to the ground by TWO men to be cuffed.
Clearly, the Park Police violated any "dignity" of the building by lining the arrested on the floor like people waiting an execution.
The phrase "inappropriate response" is key here. The officers met mostly complying people with aggressive and inappropriate response. Officer Bicycle Hat should be demoted for what he did, not commended. He did not follow protocol, he did not meet with an appropriate response, and created a bigger ruckus than having let the dance play out.
When five people (who are listening via headphones) dance a little bit, who is that affecting?
From the comments above people seem to be more about STOPPING people from doing something they wouldn't do, rather than asking the real question, who is being injured?
Lastly, the DC Circuit has posed more questions than it answered. The National Park Service is talking about maintaining the solemnity - however, I am more interested in the REAL ruling which states in part "the Jefferson Memorial was built by the government for the precise purpose of promoting a particular viewpoint about Jefferson" - I'm sure that they don't mean chokeholds and throwing people to the ground. All in the the Park Police were in as much a violation of the ruling, if not more so.

The ruling is over the top. Silent movement seems fine. Blaring boomboxes, or a chorus line would be something else. But what happened the day the 5 got arrested did not seem to warrant arrest.

It was in fact the arrest itself that was disruptive -- not the "dancing". If you are going to enforce a ban on dancing, (and I don't think there should be one on silent dancing that does not impede other peoples access to the memorial), at least move away from arresting violatators and doing full body take-downs of the folks resisting arrest. Write tickets instead.

LOL

Standard Police Doctrine, the use of force continuem. The officer is required to stay 1 level of force ahead of the people the are dealing with. You can hate it, but it best protects the officer and the bystanders from danger. If someone is refusing a command then you try to out talk them. If that fails then you use physical force (wrestling). If the suspect meets the wresting with their own wrestling then the next step up on the use of force comes up (tazer, asp, mace etc). This varries based on the weapons availible to the officer. It makes for bad videos, but it is 100% accepted tactics, that have been upheld by the courts and is the only way to respond.

Someone who goes looking for a fight is a dangerous individual. They could have made their point without pushing so hard as to get arrested. Or they could have taken the arrest without resisting. They would have gotten the citation and criminal charges that they wanted, without the violence. The officers are just trying to do their jobs (whether you agree with that job or not). They come in and they try to go home safe and healthy. When they get into a fight on that smooth marble, the odds of someone breaking an arm or a wrist is very great. Does their desire to protest, just for the sake of protesting, justify the potential pain and suffering of the officers (or even themselves)?

I'm all for protesting and demanding a change. I would bet that with the right pressure that this rule could be modified or changed. But these tactics just won't do it.

I have never attended a protest and I'm no sort of extremist. I am a long-time, huge admirer of Thomas Jefferson. I attended the university he founded. I have read about his life over many years.

Jefferson would not have approved of these arrests. The Jefferson Memorial is a tribute to the LIFE and WORKS of Jefferson, which embodied freedom of expression.

To suggest that only solemn, sober, depressing expression is appropriate for Jefferson is to entirely miss the living value of his life's work. Jefferson would be appalled.

If people are going to the Jefferson Memorial to get a "Viewpoint" that appears to indicate that TJ was some kind of gloomly, controlling puritan, they are being grossly misinformed.

To quote the man himself, " "Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others..."[

I'd suggest the Park Service bigwigs make a trip to Monticello, perhaps visit his actual gravesite there, and read up a bit about his life. We live in the free country that Jefferson helped found, not a totalitarian dictatorship. We must defend those freedoms - even when exercised in ways that we ourselves would not. I would never dance at a National monument, but my ancestors died to create a free country where others can do so if they wish.

"Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others..." this quote from Thomas Jefferson himself says it all. The equal rights of all the people in the memorial at the time of this video were not being infringed upon in any way by the people who were "dancing". Even if the "dancers" did show up to make a statement, the PP reacted inappropriately - I saw no resistance from the couple embracing, in fact the minute the officers touched the couple, they stopped "dancing", the woman even stated that they were stopping, yet they were handcuffed and arrested anyway. This is so disturbing on so many levelss, but what appalls me the most is that it clearly came down to a mental power play between the PP and the dancers. The PP exercised inappropriate physical force, plain and simple. This cannot be tolerated in a free country, and if it is tolerated, we are taking very dangerous steps toward a police state. BTW does anyone have any info on yesterday's Dancing Demonstrators?

@ Jeanne Barnett

Yes... I watched the live stream from the protest Saturday along with almost 2500 others. There were initially several hundreds of people (not sure of the exact number) and they gathered on the steps before going into the memorial. They Danced around the Statue for about 30 minutes, and then were vocally planning to go outside to continue the protest with speeches on the steps. The police had lined the edge of the Memorial... the memorial was lined with metal gates except a single entrance. One officer wielded an assault rifle while the others were in riot gear. By the time the protesters were already moving outside for speeches, the cops began to descend, herding people out (the officer with the assault rifle also), and closed the memorial. They continued speaking on the steps of the Memorial for maybe an hour after that before everyone began to disperse. There was no outward violence from the police that I know of, but there were some people that I think were detained inside the memorial. Including a guy that attended wearing a Thomas Jefferson costume who was dancing pretty good, lol. I don't know if any arrests were made.

I
tended to wish they had been more persistent in their peaceful protest.
Perhaps, expecting something like the 60's (if you will), for everyone to sit
down and go limp... and make the cops drag them out, creating a high number of
arrests without resist... that would have got national coverage. The way it was
done, it didn't really seem to make as much a statement with people showing up
and dancing, but then (arguably) they left when the cops told them to. Overall,
the whole thing was over in a matter of a couple of hours (at least the live
feed anyway). I think they/we should do another one.

Thank you! I did actually manage to find comp. coverage at http://newsjunkiepost.com/2011/06/04/video-police-body-slam-and-arrest-dancers-at-lincoln-memorial/
this sure ain't the 60's, but at least it's something. I agree with you, it should be done again and again until the MSM picks up on it and makes the American people do a little hard thinking about what we are willing to accept from our government. No dancing indeed! The thought police are right around the corner. BTW where did you get the live feed?

Who are these people? What are they protesting and why? Help us understand what is behind all this.

@Jeanne Barnett ... It was a link from one of the posters through the facebook page "Dance Party @ TJ's" http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=150453268357946

"Those dancers are true activists. Media Benjamin, one of the arrestees, is one of the creators of Global Exchange and Code Pink. These are extremely leftist leaning organizations working for the overthrow of this country. She lived in Castro's Cuba for a while and described living under that regime as "Dying and Going to Heaven".

It is evident that it was a challenge to see how far the activists could push the U. S. Park Police before they were arrested, which was their intent, and will most likely be this weekend. I also find it unreal that "Adam" took his case to the Russian press.

I would imagine that had the entire video been posted, not just the parts they wished to use to try and influence the public, it would have shown the step by step process used by the USPP that led up to the arrests.

Personally I loved to visit the memorial knowing it was a place of quiet solitude and do not think that Thomas Jefferson would be interested in activists who find living in a dictatorship as "Dying and Going to Heaven".
"
a. you don't know what the video would have shown, the fact that you assume shows your bias.
b. your opinion on the quiet solitude of the monument is irrelevant.
c. it's hearsay and speculation to assume what thomas jefferson would want without something to back it up
d. Thomas Jefferson was a fan of Voltaire who said "Though I disagree with what you say, I will fight to the death for your right to say it"
Fighting to the death for someone else's right to expression- including and especially if you disagree with them... like say communists who like to live under dictatorships.
You have a pale image of freedom.

/Dottie/
"Well, maybe the guy "didn't seem to be threatening any of the officers", but he sure as heck wasn't doing what the Ranger was telling him to do. There's gazillions of miles to go dance; they were there for the publicity and to behave as spoiled brats the way their parents taught them.
"
a. he sure as heck WAS doing what he thought was fighting for his rights- what the cop didn't have to do is a damned body slam... y'know because "he didn't seem to be threatening".
b. the point of this protest was against zoning free speech. They are saying speech is free everywhere, you don't get to make little pockets of free speech area. The fact that there are loads of places to dance is irrelevant.

/Lee Dalton/
"We were taught to make the arrest when we knew it was on solid ground and leave the arguments up to attorneys later."
a. how do you know its on solid ground if you don't know the law? I think cops should be required to know the law for which they are arresting you. You did take an oath to uphold the constitution, so you should know the law to see if it doesn't violate the constitution.

/Kurt Repanchek/
"a good friend of mine who spent a couple of decades as a state trooper says the police were well within their boundaries for dealing with individuals who weren't willingly submitting to handcuffs."
a. they weren't well within morality, to do way more than you have to should be illegal- yes they were resisting, but were they really resisting enough to hip toss them to the groud? That's ridiculous.

/Conduct/
"Of course, the Constitution guarantees that
people may make their "statements," but Washington has
countless places for the kind of "statement" these
respondents sought to make."
a. It's not countless if you minus some away from it.
/Justice Black a la Conduct/
"The First and Fourteenth Amendments, I think, take away from
government, state and federal, all power to restrict freedom
of speech, press, and assembly where people have a right to be
for such purposes. . . . Picketing, though it may be utilized
to communicate ideas, is not speech, and therefore is not of
itself protected by the First Amendment." (Emphasis in original;
citations omitted.)"
a. The federal government doesn't have that power anyway because it isn't specifically delegated to them. It takes no power away, it merely reinforces that you CAN NOT MAKE A LAW restricting free speech.
b. picketing is a part of speech because it communicates an idea, that is obviously what is meant by the first amendment. Speech is expression because it is our right to express what we want about whatever we want. We have the right to EVERYTHING that is not delegated specifically to the federal government or to the states. There is nothing in the constitution allowing them to restrict expression, ergo it is our protected right.

"It trivializes the First Amendment to seek to use it as a shield
in the manner asserted here. And it tells us something about
why many people must wait for their "day in court" when the time
of the courts is pre-empted by frivolous proceedings that delay
the causes of litigants who have legitimate, non-frivolous claims.
This case alone has engaged the time of 1 District Judge, an
en banc court of 11 Court of Appeals Judges, and 9 Justices of
this Court."
a. Maybe they shouldn't make it illegal, then it wouldn't be a problem would it?

/Bruce/
"I am liberal, but I believe that "Freedom" <> "Do whatever the heck I want, when I want.""
a. Then you don't know what freedom is. Every law is an infringement on liberty and rights, we allow that freedom to be infringed in the name of the social contract, but the law should never reach outside the scope of the constitution.

"And if someone in authority tells you, for the common good and for common decency, that you should not do something, YOU SHOULD NOT DO IT."
a. Why should I listen to their authority if they're wrong? Should not, and "will get arrested if you do" are different concepts.

/Katherine/
Inappropriateness is irrelevant to legality.

/Buck/
I know right? It offends me that it's been banned.

/Anonymous/
"Standard Police Doctrine, the use of force continuem. The officer is required to stay 1 level of force ahead of the people the are dealing with. You can hate it, but it best protects the officer and the bystanders from danger. If someone is refusing a command then you try to out talk them. If that fails then you use physical force (wrestling). If the suspect meets the wresting with their own wrestling then the next step up on the use of force comes up (tazer, asp, mace etc). This varries based on the weapons availible to the officer. It makes for bad videos, but it is 100% accepted tactics, that have been upheld by the courts and is the only way to respond."
a. It does make sense as long as you use common sense at the same time. These are peaceful protesters. They knew that they were coming well before they arrived- they knew that they were peaceful beforehand. What makes you think a peaceful group is likely to fight you when they already have their hands behind the back?

We did know the law. But sometimes under pressure, it's hard to remember the exact chapter, number and verse. If you misquote anything, you're open to ripping by some defense attorney.

Even so, this whole thing -- protest, demonstration, whatever you choose to call it -- strikes me as outlandishly foolish and childish. Somebody's mommy didn't pay enough attention when he was little and shouting for her to watch him jump off the diving board.

There are simply some places where reverent quiet is appropriate. Would these people try to "dance" at the Tomb of the Unknowns or at the altar of some great cathedral?

So far none of the posters here have provided an answer to the question, "WHY?" What is it they are after? And why are they after it? How are they being harmed in any way by being asked to do their thing outside of the monument?

We were provided our rights under the Bill of Rights with the hope that Americans would exercise those rights with appropriate thoughtfullness and wisdom. I fail to see much of that in the actions of these attention seekers.