NYPD cracks down on journalists at Occupy Wall Street

Eric Murphy

This past March 17 was the six-month anniversary of the beginning of Occupy Wall Street. Protestors marked the occasion with a march and a return to Zucotti Park, but it didn't go as smoothly as they had hoped. The NYPD was not afraid to use violence to kick protestors out of the park, even hitting retreating protestors with batons. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has promised to be less forgiving with protestors this time around, saying "You want to get arrested? We’ll accommodate you.”

The NYPD cracked down on those documenting the protests and the police's response as well. This New York Times article shows that a police captain began pushing away someone who was videotaping an encounter between a police officer and a protestor, asking him for identification and saying that he wasn't permitted to document what was happening. The Daily Kos, a liberal blog, compiled a list of tweets from journalists who were attacked by police on March 17 including this one from BBC reporter Greg Palast: "Our photographer ZD Roberts beaten @OWS Zucotti Park by cops. Thrown to ground, hair grabbd, hit with clubs while yelling, I'M PRESS PRESS!"

It's unclear whether going after those videotaping and photographing the events of Occupy Wall Street is the work of a few officers who made mistakes or a strategy to intimidate journalists and prevent accountability. Several videos of police actions during the fall protests went viral and received wide viewership, resulting in a lot of bad press for the NYPD. But actions by police on the 17th paired with Mayor Bloomberg's rhetoric make it clear that this time around, police will be less hesitant to crack down on Occupy Wall Street protestors, and to do so violently.

 

–Eric Murphy