On John Gambling’s radio show this morning, Mayor Bloomberg once again addressed the controversy over press access at the NYPD’s raid on the Occupy Wall Street encampment in Zuccotti Park last month. Multiple reporters were arrested while attempting to cover the evictions and there were widespread reports of credentialed members of the media being prevented from viewing the raid. “We didn’t keep anybody from reporting, they just had to stand to the side while the police did their job,” Mayor Bloomberg said. “Police have to protect people.”
“The press made a big deal that they, you know, were denied their rights. They were asked as we do with every such thing where the police have to take action, ‘You have to step aside so that police can do their job,’” Mayor Bloomberg said. ”You don’t have a right as a press person, I don’t think, to stand in the way just in the interest of you getting the story.”
Press credentials ostensibly allow reporters to cross police lines and other barriers set up during emergencies. Politicker was present for the eviction and we witnessed multiple credentialed reporters blocked from crossing police barricades that kept them several blocks from the park.
On the morning after the eviction, Mayor Bloomberg said he kept the press back from the raid for their own good. Today, he said keeping reporters back also protected police and the protesters.
“Police are human beings. They want their lives protected as well and, in the middle of any police action, you just can’t let another group get in and get in the way of doing something,” Mayor Bloomberg said. “It would also not be fair to the protesters, because then you’re running around, you’re working around things. It’s hard to find out what’s going on, hard to communicate, and then, people can get hurt.”
In his radio appearance this morning, Mayor Bloomberg also reiterated his praise for the NYPD’s overall handling of the raid.
“I think, in looking back, they did a great job,” he said.