Wired.com's Quinn Norton has been tirelessly covering the Occupy movement from the front lines in cities throughout the US. In New York, it's a very good idea to have a press pass when you're doing that, if you'd like to avoid being beaten or arrested—and, you know, who wouldn't? Earlier, Elizabeth Spiers at the NYO posted about how that's functionally impossible for most reporters. And Quinn's Wired.com editor Ryan Singel now has a piece up at Wired about the NYPD's nonsensical series of hoops reporters must jump through to obtain press passes that they won't be able to obtain anyway. They're not issuing any until January, 2012.
Wired has been trying to get NYPD press credentials for freelancer Quinn Norton, who is on special assignment to cover the Occupy movement. Even before this week’s arrests, the NYPD made it clear they would not issue her credentials, as she first had to comply with Kafka-esque rules, such as proving she’d already covered six on-the-spot events in New York City — events that you would actually need a press pass to cover.
When I asked if six stories on Occupy Wall Street would count, Sarubbi said no.
I then tried to make the case that issuing press passes to legitimate reporters might help prevent arrests and prevent police from beating reporters, as happened to two journalists for the conservative Daily Caller on Thursday, and that the lack of spots until January seemed odd, and Sarubbi got angry.
“Don’t tell me how to do my job and I won’t tell you how to do yours,” she said.
Sarubbi then hung up without even a goodbye.
PHOTO: An Occupy Wall Street demonstrator marches in front of a group of police officers in riot gear in New York. (REUTERS)
The librarians of Occupy Wall Street saw their carefully catalogued collection of over 5,000 books and archive of original writing, art and other material from the historic protest destroyed by the NYPD. There were early reports (spun and promoted by the office of NYC Mayor Bloomberg) that the library had been carefully stowed in a nearby lockup from which protesters could claim it. But these claims were overstated -- the books were indeed largely destroyed or missing, along with laptops, shelves and other library equipment.
As Xeni mentioned, OWS's librarians are rebuilding, and they're soliciting donations of books for their collection. Tachyon, who publish my essay collections, alerted me to this when they wrote to ask if I minded them donating copies of my books to the effort (the answer was an enthusiastic yes!).
You can donate to the library by posting books to:
The UPS Store
Re: Occupy Wall Street
Attn: The People’s Library
118A Fulton St. #205
New York, NY 10038
Some collateral damage in the police raid on Occupy Wall Street: over 5,000 books comprising the #OWS library have been thrown in the trash. I visited the library yesterday and interviewed one of the volunteer librarians who slept in the book-filled tent at night and helped patrons find reading material and conducted information literacy work during the day.
The Occupy Wall Street librarians tweeted the eviction all night: “NYPD destroying american cultural history, they’re destroying the documents, the books, the artwork of an event in our nation’s history … Right now, the NYPD are throwing over 5,000 books from our library into a dumpster. Will they burn them? … Call 311 or 212-639-9675 now and ask why Mayor Bloomberg is throwing the 5,554 books from our library into a dumpster.”
Occupy Wall Street Library Evicted
Writer Naomi Wolf attended a HuffPo event in NYC where Governor Andrew Cuomo was expected to attend, and which had attracted a group of Occupy Wall Street demonstrators who wanted to address the governor. Seeing the demonstrators penned up far away from the area where it would be lawful to protest, Wolf asked the police to clarify what the demonstrators should be allowed to do. Once the police had clarified that it would be legal for demonstrators to picket out front of the event, providing they didn't impede pedestrian traffic, she led a group of protesters back to the sidewalk. A "white shirt" (senior NYPD officer) told her she was breaking the law in doing so, and when she asked him to clarify how this was so, he had her arrested. The NYPD continue to insist that the public sidewalk out front of the event was off-limits, but have not, to date, produced the alleged permit that established this.
Another scary outcome I discovered is that, when the protesters marched to the first precinct, the whole of Erickson Street was cordoned off – "frozen" they were told, "by Homeland Security". Obviously if DHS now has powers to simply take over a New York City street because of an arrest for peaceable conduct by a middle-aged writer in an evening gown, we have entered a stage of the closing of America, which is a serious departure from our days as a free republic in which municipalities are governed by police forces.
The police are now telling my supporters that the permit in question gave the event managers "control of the sidewalks". I have asked to see the permit but still haven't been provided with it – if such a category now exists, I have never heard of it; that, too, is a serious blow to an open civil society. What did I take away? Just that, unfortunately, my partner and I became exhibit A in a process that I have been warning Americans about since 2007: first they come for the "other" – the "terrorist", the brown person, the Muslim, the outsider; then they come for you – while you are standing on a sidewalk in evening dress, obeying the law.
Watch live streaming video from occupynyc at livestream.com
445pm ET: Happening as I post this. Watch live video here.
Read the rest
This disturbing video is making the rounds today, and there are conflicting reports of what it documents.
The man on the ground has been identified as 32-year-old Ari Douglas, a legal observer at the Occupy Wall Street protests for the National Lawyer's Guild. The video appears to show a police officer running over Mr. Douglas' leg with a scooter.
There are updated reports at Gothamist, NYO, NY Mag, and the New York Times.
Initial reports said Mr. Douglas was hit and run over with the scooter, and that his leg was broken; the video appears to show him writing and screaming in pain.
The NYPD denies this, and says he "put his legs under the scooter and then claimed falsely he was trapped."
Medical treatment was delayed, but Douglas was eventually taken to Bellevue Hospital where he was treated in the emergency room. The Times quotes Gideon Oliver, a committee member of the NLG, which has been providing legal aid to the protesters.
Mr. Oliver said the police took Mr. Douglas to the Seventh Precinct station house before bringing him to the hospital for medical treatment. Another lawyer for the guild who went to the station house to try to speak to Mr. Douglas and others said his request was denied, Mr. Oliver said. “That is very bad,” he said.
The Village Voice notes a changed account at the New York Times of what exactly happened between police and demonstrators on the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday. Nick Greene at the Voice writes,
The above photo of juxtaposed screenshots from the New York Times website has been making the rounds on Facebook, and it shows two very different takes for the same story on yesterday's Brooklyn Bridge arrests. The screenshot on the left, from 6:59 p.m., appears to reflect what many protesters are saying: The police tricked them into marching on the bridge. At 7:19 p.m., any mention of the police allowing demonstrators onto the bridge was removed from the lede. Why did they make this change?
Why? Well, I imagine because it was a liveblog, not an "article" in the classic sense—and because when you're liveblogging a fast-moving event, you alter and clarify as new facts come in. Some have made much hay over the fact that the item was originally bylined with one reporter's name, then later by two names. Same reasons, I think, not a conspiracy. But it's a good thing in the general sense that people are pushing for fair and neutral reporting around this.
You can watch two different videos of the same scene here and here. anonops has four videos of the same scene here.
Continuing in an investigative series on ties between the The New York Police Department and the CIA, and coordinated activities involving Muslim populations in NYC, the Associated Press reports that NYPD collected lists of mosques, restaurants, and other Muslim-owned businesses identified as possible security risks, for reasons that included having religiously devout customers. The report is based on hundreds of pages of internal police documents obtained by the AP.
The records reveal the extent of an undercover effort that initially studied more than 250 mosques in New York and New Jersey and identified hundreds more "hot spots" in a hunt for terrorists. Many showed obvious signs of criminal behavior, but the police explanations for targeting others were less clear.
A Bangladeshi restaurant, for instance, was identified as a hot spot for having a "devout crowd." The restaurant was noted for being a "popular meeting location for political activities."
The documents obtained by the AP, many of which were marked secret, paint the clearest picture yet of how the past decade's hunt for terrorists also put huge numbers of innocent people under scrutiny as they went about their daily lives in mosques, restaurants and social groups. Every day, undercover officers and informants filed reports from their positions as "listening posts" inside Muslim communities.
At the White House, where President Barack Obama recently urged local authorities not to cast suspicion on entire communities, spokesman Jay Carney declined to comment Tuesday on whether it endorsed the tactics outlined in the NYPD documents.
An AP investigation last month revealed that the department maintains a list of "ancestries of interest" that it uses to focus its clandestine efforts. A secret team known as the Demographics Unit then dispatched plainclothes officers into the community to eavesdrop in cafes and chat up business owners.
That effort has benefited from federal money and an unusually close relationship with the CIA, one that at times blurred the lines between domestic and foreign intelligence-gathering.
Read the full report: The Associated Press: Documents show NY police watched devout Muslims
Image/REUTERS: A demonstrator holds a sign as he marches during a rally held in support of a proposed Islamic cultural centre and mosque in New York.
Undercover NYPD offices in New York arrested brothers Jose and Maximo Colon for selling cocaine in a night club. The men would almost certainly be serving lengthy prison sentences if it weren't for the fact that a surveillance video camera in the nightclub shows that the police made the whole thing up.
Paperwork signed by "UC 13200" — Officer Henry Tavarez — claimed that he told a patron he wanted to buy cocaine. By his account, that man responded by approaching the 28-year-old Max, who then went over to the undercover and demanded to pat him down to make sure he wasn't wearing a wire.
Max collected $100 from Tavarez, the report said. The officer claimed to see two bags of cocaine pass through the hands of three men, including Jose, before they were given to him.
What the tape doesn't show is striking: At no point did the officers interact with the undercovers, nor did the brothers appear to be involved in a drug deal with anyone else. Adding insult to injury, an outside camera taped the undercovers literally dancing down the street.
This isn't an isolated incident, either:
On May 13, another NYPD officer was arrested for plotting to invade a Manhattan apartment where he hoped to steal $900,000 in drug money. In another pending case, prosecutors in Brooklyn say officers were caught in a 2007 sting using seized drugs to reward a snitch for information. And in the Bronx, prosecutors have charged a detective with lying about a drug bust captured on a surveillance tape that contradicts her story.
Is it any wonder that police all over the world are trying to stop people from videotaping them?
Drug suspect turns tables on NYPD with videotape