Who does the ATM blame? (photo: colin_n, flickr)

Who does the ATM blame? (photo: colin_n, flickr)

Interesting stuff blowing in the wind recently. It’s called the baseless blame game. In Oakland the police have conveniently tried to blame Occupy Oakland for a tragic murder in Berkeley using the excuse that their resources were tied up handling peaceful protesters and they could not respond to the 911 call.

Here in Orlando there was some vandalism done to a couple of ATM machines in Ocoee by a single person who was caught on camera. WKMG, Channel 6 filed a story at one of the banks involved and the gist of the story is that the Ocoee police speculate that it could be someone affiliated with a group like Occupy Orlando. The investigating officer was not identified and the police department offered no opinion on the matter but that didn’t matter to channel six.

Neither the on air reporter nor the anchors offered any explanation as to why the speculation was centered on the occupy movement, nor offered any reason why it should be. It’s just a ploy to get your attention focused on a group that does not advocate violence in any form by suggesting that they use violence without any proof whatsoever. This was the kind of ploy that Captain Jeffrey MacDonald used in 1969 on the heels of the brutal Manson Family murders of Sharon Tate and Abigail Folger when he was accused and eventually convicted of murdering his family.

In those days, forty years ago the country was trapped in the paranoia and fear of “others who do not act or think like us.” Even though it was a few years later, the Patty Hearst affair was part of that period.

Occupy Orlando’s media team was quick to respond to the baseless allegations. Here’s a copy of their press release:

Ocoee Police Dept smears Occupy Orlando with baseless accusations of ATM vandalism

WKMG Channel 6 News reporter Eric Von Anchen says “police believe” Occupy Orlando is responsible for attacks

February 22, 2012 – ORLANDO, FL – Occupy Orlando was surprised to learn that the Ocoee Police Department is publicly accusing Occupy Orlando of vandalism on two ATM machines located at Bank of America and SunTrust branches in Ocoee. In the television report on WKMG Local 6 news, anchor Lauren Rowe reports that “investigators are trying to figure out what triggered a man to attack,” several ATMs.

Occupy Orlando would like to point out that if the Ocoee Police Department located the criminal, rather than speculating on his possible political affiliation, they could more easily ascertain his motivation.

To associate criminal activity with political groups without successfully apprehending the suspect should be beneath law enforcement officers.

Occupy Orlando remains dedicated to preserving a peaceful, nonviolent movement dedicated to empowering the 99 Percent.

Channel 13 also showed the video but refrained from any speculation. The Orlando Sentinel wrote about the incident and never once mentioned Occupy Orlando. Members of Occupy Orlando through their website and social media networks are upset with Channel 6 and their reporting of the incident and they are demanding that WKMG issue a formal retraction.

The people of Occupy Orlando are at a loss to explain why an incident in Ocoee would be tied to them. “The young man in the video appears to be well dressed and neatly groomed person driving a late model clean car; that is not what WKMG would want the public to see as a stereotypical occupier” said one veteran Occupy Orlando member. That happened in Ocoee and we’re in Downtown Orlando working on important issues that affect everyone. Don’t blame Occupy Orlando for that.”

Nope. You just can’t make stuff like that up……oh, wait……or can you?

Jerry Waxman

Jerry Waxman