Dozens of news cameras and reporters armed with tape recorders have attempted to explain the scene down at the Occupy Miami camp in Government Center, but sometimes someone armed with a sketchbook and a patient set of ears manages to capture the moment even better. Sarah Glidden, who recently published her first critically acclaimed graphic novel How to Understand Israel, was in town for the Book Fair last week, but decided to take a few days off during her stay to file a cartoon essay on the Occupy Miami movement.
Glidden seems surprised that in comparison to some of the more violent images we've seen coming out of other Occupy camps, the situation in Miami is almost peaceful.
She claims an officer tells her that they've been ordered to treat the protesters with respect because the Miami Police Department is currently under investigation -- as the cop bluntly puts it, because "we shoot too many people."
Granted, in reality protesters are camping out on County land -- protected by MDPD -- and it's the city police department that is under investigation.
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A member of the camp also theorizes to Glidden that the dark legacy of the 2003 FTA protests, and the ensuing messy riots and police crackdowns, has also made local authorities less than eager to clash with peaceful protesters.
"We seem to hear only about the camps which get raided right now, or the 'occupy' marches in which there are clashes with police," Glidden tells The Washington Post, "but there are smaller camps all across the country which are still standing and which are finding their own way to make things work in their communities."
Glidden's 10-page graphic essay on Occupy Miami is currently online at Cartoon Movement, and is the second in a series of graphic essays on Occupy movements across the country.