Who is Mike Hastie? Vietnam vet stares down feds after being pepper-sprayed, Internet slams 'Trump's gestapo'
American states have been wrapped with violence for quite some time, and with daily (rather hourly) reports of clashes coming in, there’s hardly any hope that it will end soon. The latest to be a victim of police brutality is a Vietnam War veteran and photographer Mike Hastie. The veteran was pepper-sprayed in the eye by federal agents as he railed against American atrocities during a protest on Sunday, July 26, in Portland, Oregon.
The incident was filmed and tweeted by journalist Andrew Kimmel as he was confronting a group of heavily-armed Department of Homeland Security agents outside the federal courthouse in downtown Portland. Hastie served as an army medic in Vietnam and in the video, he can be heard screaming at the agents who stood lined up a few feet away. Suddenly, a federal officer approached him and sprayed his face with what appears to be a chemical irritant. He can be seen saying: “We committed atrocities every single day in Vietnam. I stood next to a ditch in Vietnam and we murdered 170 Vietnamese people. And you guys don’t know that!”
Hastie was seen struggling to recover and wiping his eyes. He said he was directly sprayed on the eyes and “someone should get this on film”. People at the protest offered to assist him. In a follow-up video by Kimmel, Hastie was seen as having irritation in his eyes and he could hardly open his eyes while talking. About Hastie, Kimmel tweeted, "He was an Army medic for the 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment in Vietnam, recipient of the Bronze Star, and is also a retired RN."
Soon, the Internet was flooded with tweets slamming the incident. Some lauded that “a veteran who actually fought in a war is telling these gestapo storm troopers that what they are doing is the antithesis of democracy. Very scary for what is to come if trump continues to remain in power”. An angry user pointed out even though Hastie was yelling, he maintained a distance from the agents. The user said, “He was so far away from those soldiers and they were NOT in harms way, so they used unnecessary actions. Anyone who thinks otherwise well I’m glad I don’t see your reflection in the mirror is all I gotta say.” Another user said, “So this is a good use of our tax dollars? How much is it costing us to maintain federal forces to occupy a US city that never asked for federal help in the first place? I wonder if there is some better use of that money? Like helping out the 14% unemployed. Just a thought.”
Last weekend, a video that showed federal agents using a baton to beat a Navy veteran, Chris David, 53, went viral. As reported, David said that as a former service member, he wanted to talk to the agents about why they were blatantly violating their oath to protect and serve. However, when he approached a group of federal agents outside a Portland courthouse, an officer began beating him with a baton, while another sprayed chemicals at him, he added. The assault broke the veteran's hand in two places. "I wanted to ask them: 'Why are you guys not following the Constitution?'" He told Reuters. "But we never got there. They whaled on me like a punching bag."