Retired Police Captain Joins #OCCUPY
Retired Philadelphia Captain Ray Lewis, quite possibly the first police officer to join the movement, became an occupier this week. In meeting him personally he was unexpectedly friendly and peaceful with a powerful message.
One day after the unannounced raid on the occupiers, I returned to Zuccotti park to find people assembled waiting for the unveiling of a large sculpture gifted by a local artist. While waiting for the main event, I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with retired Philadelphia Police Captain Ray Lewis. In his retirement he has enjoyed a quiet and peaceful return to nature in the Catskills, living as a humble farmer, somewhat isolated and very comfortable.
When asked why he decided to come join the occupiers, he said, “I couldn’t take watching this go on from a distance”. He also said that the commitment of the folks occupying inspired him to leave a very peaceful and comfortable life, dust off the old uniform and join folks on the front lines.
He said America’s news sources are corrupt and one should only get their news from the internet if they want the truth. If the media told the truth about what is actually happening here there would be more people in support of the occupiers. He also advocated that everyone watch the free film online; ‘The Inside Job’, to truly get a sense of the real corruption that is going on.
He went into great length about how people’s rights are unfortunately violated more often than not behind the doors of the precinct, making references to friends still detained from Tuesday nights eviction. He spoke of the nature of law enforcement to be comfortable only in an authoritative role and that they had even taken this tone with him upon arrival. He said, “they are being exploited and they don’t even know it.” He was asked to take the people’s mic and speak to the crowd; he said “I am public enemy number 1 in this park right now. NYPD would love to have any reason to arrest me. It might be a little too soon for that.”
He spoke of his frustration about corporate greed and what it is doing to the planet. The increasing amount of pollution and abuse of resources is a very real threat that should not be taken lightly. He states “This must be stopped and if these folks are getting up tomorrow morning to protest at 7am, on November 17 for a day of action, than I will be here too.”
Captain Lewis is a passionate, nature loving, ex Philly cop, back to the lander, environmentalist, occupier/ revolutionary! What a guy. I asked him how long he plans to stick around, he said, ”I plan to have Thanksgiving right here in Zuccotti Park.”
If you haven’t already met Captain Ray Lewis, check out the interviews with him below.
**Update: Captain Ray Lewis was arrested along with more than 240 other protestors on the Nov 17 day of direct action and civil disobedience. Mr. Lewis said, “All the cops are just workers for the one percent, and they don’t even realize they’re being exploited...as soon as I’m let out of jail, I’ll be right back here and they’ll have to arrest me again.”