Media Have Another Rough Night With NYPD at OWS #D17; Cops Threatened to Take Photogs’ Press Passes


Occupy Wall Street spent yesterday in a day-long struggle to occupy a new space (first Duarte Square, then One New York Plaza) on the three-month anniversary of the movement. Over the course of 12 hours, protests ranged from Duarte Square and its Trinity Wall Street-owned and OWS-coveted vacant lot to Times Square to, eventually, One New York Plaza, a Brookfield-owned property near the Staten Island Ferry. Two attempts at occupying a new space failed, and at least 50 arrests were made.

Meanwhile, the assembled press gaggle was having an almost equally rough night. Two photographers say that police threatened to take their official press passes away, a credentialed cameraman was hit over the head with a baton, and another photographer was arrested.

During the invasion of Trinity’s lot next to Duarte Square around 3:30, a number of photographers went over the fence with protesters. One was arrested, freelancer Zach Roberts. Roberts hopped the fence to get shots and tweeted, “on the other side of the fence arrest very likely.” A few minutes later he tweeted, “Being arrested #D17.” He was in jail until around 11 p.m., transported there in the same paddy wagon as Bishop George Packard, and was charged with criminal trespassing. He told us he was able to convince an officer to put his camera inside his bag. Roberts tweeted photos from inside One Police Plaza:

During the Duarte Square showdown, photographer CS Muncy (on assignment for the Village Voice) had an encounter with a cop that began fairly typically: the officer asked him to move and get out of the lot. According to Muncy, the cop told him that if he didn’t move, he would take away his official NYPD-issued press card. The cop then said “I’ve been told to take cards today,” Muncy says.

Freelance photographer Andrew Kelly had a similar run-in later in the evening during the protesters’ march to Times Square. Kelly told the Voice that a police officer grabbed his press pass in his hands and said “Please let me take this card. I want to take a card so bad today.”

Meanwhile, a Democracy Now! credentialed cameraman was hit with a baton:

At this point, last night’s incidents seem like more of the same (for reference, see: Robert Stolarik, our experiences at the Zuccotti raid, and Gothamist’s inability to get a press pass after seven years).