The Burlington Police Department was well-represented at an anti-Ku Klux Klan rally last Thursday. Plenty of cops on hand, just in case things got cray-cray.
Or, in case two people threatened the peace by wearing masks in public.
A video posted on the Free Press’ website shows two young men with Guy Fawkes masks, standing in the crowd, doing absolutely nothing. They are then approached by uniformed officers; an inaudible conversation ensues, after which the two are separated from the crowd and taken into custody.
Their offense: refusing to take off the masks.
At least the two weren’t charged with a crime. Because THERE WASN’T ONE.
But refusing to unmask is an offense that warrants confrontation, questioning and handcuffing?
I’ll acknowledge that the Guy Fawkes mask is associated with the Anonymous hacker collective. But these guys weren’t hacking; they were simply listening.
This daring operation required the efforts of not one, not two, not three, but four uniformed cops. The offenders offered no resistance, made no threatening moves, didn’t try to escape.
At one point, you can hear an officer telling the two protesters that they needed to take off their masks so they could be identified.
Is that what we’ve come to? If you’re out in public, the police had better be able to identify you?
I hope the cops will pursue this new frontier in policing next Halloween. After all, you never know what kind of menace might be hidden behind that Elsa the Snow Queen mask.