OccupyDC — As I See It. Horses, Police Batons and Me

“Horse!!! Get back Nelson!!! Get back!!!”

Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier wasn’t kidding. In the November 7, 2011 issue of The Washington Times she stated that the Metro Police Department “is adjusting its tactics in response to Occupy D.C.’s “increasingly confrontational and violent” demonstrations, following the actions of other U.S. cities looking to evict — or at least crack down — on what officials are characterizing as unruly protesters.”

Now don’t’ laugh – but I’ve never considered myself unruly.  Unmanageable perhaps. A “Wildman” as the Secret Service in Indianapolis dubbed me and even “Hi Tigh” as the Choctaw in Philadelphia, Mississippi named me. By the way “Hi Tigh” is Choctaw for “Maverick”. But unruly? Me? Never.

The horses came today. Along with mounted police were cops dressed in their para-military black uniforms and batons. As the mounted police rode along the perimeter, the cops with batons formed a line about 10 feet away and it was through this gauntlet that the protesters had to walk.

I turned just in time to get a photo as this overweight cop on a horse galloping directly at me

I’m taking some photos as I go through the gauntlet when I hear Wade screaming at me, “Horse!!! Get back Nelson!!! Get back!!!” I turned just in time to get a photo as this overweight cop on a horse galloping directly at me. Just a split second after I squeezed off the shot you see here, I was knocked about five feet towards one of the black suited cops – yah, one of those with the baton.

Being the fool I am, I kept shooting even as he and I locked eyes. He pointed off to the

Being the fool I am, I kept shooting even as he and I locked eyes.

right and told me to go that direction. I was still off balance from the horse knocking me back and I couldn’t change directions fast enough for him. That’s when it happened. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the baton coming at me. Glancing off my left arm it landed square on my chest. Remember the breastbone that still hasn’t healed from the open heart surgery a couple years ago? Yep, he nailed me dead on it.

He pointed off to the right and told me to go that direction.

I don’t know if I was more pissed off or hurt, but I kept shooting. I wasn’t going to let this Rambo get the best of me. So as soon as I recovered enough where I could stand up, I kept shooting. His supervisor was talking to him and I could hear the supervisor telling the baton-swinging-cop to “Calm down…calm down…take it easy”.

One of the coalition medics saw what had happened and came over to me and told me to lay back down.  He checked me out and found nothing broken…just a little bruising on my arm and chest which’ll be gone before you know it.

So as soon as I recovered enough where I could stand up, I kept shooting.

His supervisor was talking to him and I could hear the supervisor telling the baton-swinging-cop to “Calm down…calm down…take it easy”

What else did I get out of this little episode? A strong desire to change the tag on my website and business cards from “I see it. I shoot it. I live it. Join the Adventure” to “I see it. I shoot it. I live it. Screw the damn Adventure”.

MMmm….one of those candy-ass studio photographer jobs is starting to look pretty good right about now.

Jerry Nelson is a nationally recognized photojournalist. His work has appeared in many national, regional and local publications including CNN, USAToday, Upsurge, Earthwalkers and Associated Content. Nelson travels the country seeking out the people, places and things that make America unique and great. Nelson currently is in Washington D.C. pointing his camera at OccupyDC and freelancing for The Washington Times the second largest paper in the nation’s capital.

CLICK HERE to see more of Nelson’s work or to hire him for a shoot.

One thought on “OccupyDC — As I See It. Horses, Police Batons and Me

  1. I hope you’re not going to let him get by with that. You’re probably not the 1st person he’s taken his frustrations out on and you’ll not be the last. He needs to lose his job!!!

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