Law & Order
On Sunday, someone claiming to be affiliated with the hacker activist group Anonymous, released a two minute clip containing footage of last November’s eviction of the Occupy Wall Street encampment in Zuccotti Park that they said was obtained from the NYPD’s Technical Assistance Response Unit. While the clip has widely been covered as having been “leaked” from the police, NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Public Information Paul Browne told Politicker the clip was ‘not ‘leaked” and may have been a combination of footage from television news cameras, public court records and even possibly from the occupiers themselves.
By this afternoon, Zuccotti Park was deserted. Approximately 12 hours after hundreds of Occupy Wall Street protesters gathered in the birthplace of their movement to mark its first anniversary, the space was vacant apart from the regular afternoon crowd of office workers and construction crews, who sat on the stone benches eating their lunches.
Prior to yesterday’s anniversary celebration, the occupiers vowed to stage “mass civil disobedience around the Financial District in resistance to economic injustice.” Indeed, according to the NYPD, there were 185 arrests in conjunction with the protests. However, in spite of the mass detentions, the simple narrative that is rapidly becoming conventional wisdom in the wake of yesterday’s protests is that Occupy Wall Street is finished.
Last night, the barricades surrounding the site of the original Occupy Wall Street encampment in Zuccotti Park came down for the first time since the protesters were evicted November 15. Protesters have been coming to the park to celebrate ever since and, this afternoon, they were joined by Councilmen Ydanis Rodriguez and Jumaane Williams.
Councilman Rodriguez came to the park to announce his plan to donate the $5,000 stipend (or “lulu” in City Hall lingo) that he receives from the Council for chairing the Committee on Higher Education to the Occupy Wall Street general assembly.
Occupy Wall Street protesters have been fairly quiet since their rally in Duarte Square last month, but the group is planning a series of candlelight vigils on Sunday to celebrate Martin Luther King Day with the support of local politicians, Russell Simmons and a pair of 1960′s folk musicians.
Politicker asked Mayor Michael Bloomberg about Congressman Jerrold Nadler’s call for a federal investigation into the NYPD raid on Occupy Wall Street at a press conference for the opening of a new probation office in Brownsville. ”Representative Nadler I know very well and, in most things, I agree with him. I think this case–that’s ridiculous,” Mayor Bloomberg said.
It is not hard to imagine that four years ago, if a few thousand Iowans had decided to vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton instead of Barack Obama, Howard Wolfson would now be at the front podium of the White House briefing room, whacking the Washington press corps for their supposed slights against President Clinton, or flying around the world on Air Force One, given a seat in a sweet spot near the Leader of the Free World, whispering into her ear about the political and historical ramifications of whatever crisis of the moment was unfolding.
At least six journalists were arrested during the NYPD’s raid on Zuccotti Park in the wee hours of yesterday morning and the New York Press Club has contacted the mayor and police commissioner asking for an official investigation.
“The actions of some police officers were not consistent with the long-established relationship between the NYPD and the press,” wrote New York Press Club Foundation President Gabe Pressman in a letter sent to Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Ray Kelly.
Occupy City Hall
New York Public Advocate Bill de Blasio blasted Mayor Michael Bloomberg today for his decision to raid the Occupy Wall Street encampment in the wee hours of this morning.
The Observer stayed up all night watching the NYPD’s raid on Zuccotti Park and witnessed several instances of credentialed reporters being barred from getting within viewing distance of the scene as the protesters were evicted. According to Mayor Bloomberg, police kept reporters from getting close to the park to keep them safe.
As a group of approximately 40 Occupy Wall Street demonstrators chanted outside, Mayor Bloomberg held a press conference at City Hall to discuss the NYPD raid on the protest encampment in Zuccotti Park. Mayor Bloomberg said the decision to clear the area was made in response the wishes of the park’s owners, Brookfield Properties, and his own concerns bout criminal activity and hygiene in the camp. He also said about 200 protesters were arrested during the clearing of the park.