After observing police activity at this weekend’s Occupy Wall Street protests, Sgt. Shemar Thomas says he saw better treatment of rioters in Iraq.
As the crowds continue to swell at the Occupy Wall Street protests, so are the incidents of police brutality against the demonstrators. This weekend, however, after former U.S. Marine and Iraq war veteran Sgt. Shemar Thomas saw innocent protesters being hit with batons, he decided that enough was enough.
"I saw a woman and a man getting hit with a baton. That infuriated me," he told ABC News following the incident. After becoming “infuriated,” Thomas began shouting at police directly, saying, "These are unarmed people. It doesn't make you tough to hurt these people."
Thomas continued to verbally unleash his anger upon police for several minutes while the officers simply stood in place, staring blankly. During the incident, police never asked Thomas to stop yelling or to move from where he was standing.
Thomas told police that there was “no honor” in their actions stating, “This is not a war zone. They don't have guns. Why are you hurting these people?"
Following the ordeal, Thomas went online where he further expressed some of his feelings regarding police behavior he observed during the protests. Thomas said that he saw more orderly conduct while containing a violent riot in Iraq than was displayed by the NYPD against peaceful protesters.
"I was literally involved in a riot where I saw a Marine get hit in the face with a rock. He literally fell off the truck and we didn't go into the crowd and start beating people — our mission is to win the hearts and minds, we didn't attack the people. And to see the NYPD now hurting unarmed civilians, and these people were not even throwing rocks, it didn't make any sense to me," Thomas said according to ABC.
Although he is perhaps more vocal than others, Thomas is not the first to call out New York officers for their conduct during the protests. Wednesday, information regarding an internal New York Police Department review surfaced confirming that an official violated department guidelines when he used pepper spray on unarmed Occupy Wall Street protesters last month.