Brickbat: Sugar, Sugar


For the past three years, members of the Anishinaanabe and Potawatomi tribes have held a sugarbush ceremony at the start of maple-tapping season in Detroit's River Rouge Park and shown people how to tap trees and boil sap. They've got a memorandum of understanding with the city to do that, and organizers claim they had the needed permits for this year's ceremony. But more than a dozen cops, some in tactical gear, broke up this year's ceremony shortly after it began. A video posted by the organizers showed one police officer saying, "The sovereign stuff is not valid." The police department declined to answer questions about the incident.

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  1. Is this another comment-free glitch?

    1. Nope, looks like this just doesn't tap into the commentariat's consciousness.

      1. It will slowly drip its way in until it fills up that bucket.

        1. It'll be a sticky situation.

  2. OK, I read the linked article and still don't understand WTF is really going on there! The "sovereignty" apparently refers to the "food sovereignty" mention in the piece, but tapping sap is so far from marketing food that I don't see the connection. Are people fed up with black violence and hence demanding oppression of people of some color, so crack down on Indians? Any idea what's alleged to be missing from the application for the park event?

    1. TFA only showed me up to where the cops showed up, then wanted a signup. So I can only speculate that the cops were ignorant of what was going on, maybe sen there by some citizen who didn't know what was going on but who saw something weird and applied the 9-1-1 solution out of ignorance and an abundance of freakout -- "they're attacking trees and starting a big fire!!!111!!" and once the cops were involved, it all went downhill, and maybe one of them had had a recent runin with some sovereign citizen types and applied his most recent tactical experience with all the gusto necessary to be a true fuckup.

    2. I think the sovereignty part is referring to tribal sovereignty.

  3. I dug deeper, looked at the comment thread in the newspaper report the Yahoo clip referenced.

    It sounds like the cops assumed it was a routine illegal bonfire and started moving in before the group leader spoke to the officer in charge - some distance from the gathering - and presented the permit. If the attendees just cited sovereignty and religious freedom instead of saying "Hey, we have a permit," it's not surprising the cops would tell them that doesn't fly.

    The OIC did say the event could continue after he was shown the permit, except his officers were already breaking up the gathering. So it sounds like the kind of misunderstanding that can easily occur when cops frequently deal with illegal bonfires and there's no system for telling them who does and does not have a permit before they move in.
    They use heavy handed tactics without knowing the facts and unwilling to listen to resaon.
    Usually I side with law enforcement but in this case they failed to use this as a community building event but instead they have a public relations proplem.

    So everybody reacted prematurely. The cops started shutting them down before getting the scoop, attendees started complaining before mentioning the permit, and finally the reporter left without getting the resolution of the story, which is that the event was allowed to resume.

    1. It's not about acting prematurely, it's about cops assuming something peaceful had to be stopped. That's what we get when literally every aspect of our lives is legislated and regulated. That which is not permitted is forbidden.

      Yes they had a permit, but the idea that they needed to show the permit is kind of stupid. Maybe I have a permit, but the time it takes to retrieve it from my pocket and unfold it is enough time for the cops to crack my skull and break my kneecaps and ask questions later.

      1. How about blaming the people who decided that you need a "permit" for everything?

      2. Stop resisting my baton with your skull!

    2. The problem is too many police departments have become dicks these days and instead of sending one car to investigate they send a tac team and helicopter and once they deploy they have use them or they feel like idiots. Same thing happened at Waco, instead of a us marshal knocking on the door and having a conversation they sent in a tac team right away and you ended up with a lot of dead people.

  4. Canada has some mounted police they could borrow if next year's syrup ceremony gets out of hand.

  5. He was right that "the sovereign stuff is not valid" if they were trying to use that as the sole justification for poking holes in trees and releasing evil carbon into the air with open flame. They're in a city park, not on the reservation. Now a permit -- that's the ticket!

  6. The Trail of Tears was over incomplete paperwork, too.

  7. If the cops are that eager to welcome a Russian takeover, I guess we needn't worry about anyone here resisting the way Ukraine did.

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