The Law of Occupation

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May 1

NYPD Counterterrorism Bureau’s Open Source Assessment of OWS May Day Events

Open Source Assessment of “May Day” activities planned by Occupy Wall Street participants in New York City as published in the NYPD Shield on April 29, 2012 by the police department’s Counterterrorism bureau.

Event Assessment reads as follows:

The General Strike is the first of several major global demonstrations that the OWS movement has played a role in planning, including demonstrations scheduled for May 12, May 15, and May 17-21.  As such, it should be expected that organizers have emphasized the importance of turnout and will be seeking maximum media coverage.

Political fissures that are present within the OWS movement may impact the strategies of demonstrators during individual protest actions; in particular, the Wildcat March is not an officially sanctioned OWS march and may attract militant elements from inside and outside the OWS movement that may seek to directly confront law enforcement officials using barricades, riot shields, and possibly weapons such as pipes and rocks.

Although OWS organizers have publicized a large number of the marches, demonstrations, and activities that will take place throughout the day, it should be expected that “pop-up” demonstrations, splinter demonstrations, and flash mobs may occur at any time, especially during “evening actions” that are planned for 7:00pm and later.

In their planning, the OWS NYCGA has endorsed solidarity based on a “respect for a diversity of tactics,” which suggests that autonomous actions of demonstrators using Black Bloc tactics may occur at any time.

Full Document

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Occupy Lawsuits against New York City, NYPD, JPMorgan Chase et al.

Running record of select federal lawsuits related to NYPD misconduct arising from Occupy Wall Street and related demonstrations in New York City since 2011.

City Council members Rodriguez et al. v. Winski

"First Amendment Suppression”

City Council members Ydanis Rodriguez, Jumaane Williams, Letitia James, and Melissa Mark-Viverito, journalist John Knefel, and activist Jeffery McClain allege broad pattern of first amendment suppression and general misconduct by the New York Police Department and the Metropolitan Transit Authority conspiring with corporations JPMorgan Chase, Brookfield Office Properties, and Mitsui.  Broad reaching complaint details dozens of specific instances of alleged misconduct— along with numerous links to video and documentary evidence— and seeks appointment of federal monitor to reform NYPD.

Plaintiffs: NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL MEMBER YDANIS RODRIGUEZ, NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL MEMBER JUMAANE WILLIAMS, JOHN KNEFEL, NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL MEMBER LETITIA JAMES, JUSTIN SULLIVAN, JEFFERY MCCLAIN, NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL MEMBER MELISSA MARK-VIVERITO, STEPHANIE KEITH, DEMOCRATIC DISTRICT LEADER PAUL NEWELL, JUSTIN WEDES, PETER DUTRO, TIMOTHY FITZGERALD, PAUL SULLIVAN, MICHAEL RIVAS and YONATAN MILLER.

Defendants: DEPUTY INSPECTOR EDWARD WINSKI, THE CITY OF NEW YORK, THE METROPOLITAN TRANSIT AUTHORITY, J.P. MORGAN CHASE & CO., BROOKFIELD OFFICE PROPERTIES, MITSUI FUDUSAN AMERICA, INC., MAYOR OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, NEW YORK POLICE DEPARTMENT COMMISSIONER RAYMOND KELLY, METROPOLITAN TRANSIT AUTHORITY POLICE COMMISSIONER MICHAEL COAN, MTA POLICE OFFICER LAKERAM, POLICE OFFICER ROBERT MATRISCIANI, SERGEANT STEVEN CARO, POLICE OFFICER MARGARET MONROE, POLICE OFFICER FERNANDO TRINIDAD, ONE HUNDRED JOHN AND JANE DOE NYPD OFFICERS, EIGHT JOHN AND JANE DOE MTA POLICE OFFICERS, TEN JOHN DOE EMPLOYEES OF J.P. MORGAN CHASE & CO., TEN JOHN DOE EMPLOYEES OF BROOKFIELD OFFICE PROPERTIES, AND JOHN DOE EMPLOYEES OF MITSUI FUDUSAN AMERICA, INC.

Plaintiff Attorneys: Leo Glickman of Stoll, Glickman & Bellins; Wylie M. Stecklow of Stecklow Cohen & Thompson; and Yetta Kurland of The Kurland Group.

Rodriguez Et Al v. Winski et al.


Berg v. NYPD

"Barricades"

Claims related to NYPD’s use of barricades to kettle protesters on November 30, 2011 President Obama’s at Sheraton Hotel.

Plaintiffs: PHOEBE BERG, TOSHIRO KIDA, JOHN RIVERA, DAYNA ROZENTAL and JONATHAN JETTER

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TJ Max Designated Highly Sensitive Location and No Free Speech Zone: Violators Arrested

The sidewalk location adjacent to Wall Street used for more than one week by demonstrators to express their economic fairness related grievances was cleared by the New York Police Department earlier this morning and further use of the sidewalk for any expressive purpose has since been completely restricted by the Department.  Two individuals were arrested this evening for sitting against the wall of the T.J. Max store described by NYPD officers as a “sensitive location”.

Seven or eight other arrests were made later in the evening by the NYPD on and around the steps of Federal Hall just opposite the highly sensitive location.  Federal Hall housed the first Congress, Supreme Court, and Executive Branch of the United States of America.  Demonstrators were permitted to congregate on the steps of Federal Hall by United States Parks Department police officers, though some of the NYPD arrests were made in the presence of Parks Department officers.


The Law of Sleepful Protest: Metropolitan Council v. Safir

SleepfulProtest on Wall Street

A group of Occupy Wall Street demonstrators are relying on a 2000 injunction ordered by Judge Kimba Woods to occupy sidewalks in lower Manhattan near Wall Street.  The case, Metropolitan Council v. Howard Safir, Commissioner of the New York City Police Department; Henry Stern, Commissioner of the New York City Parks Department; and the City of New York, involved a group demonstrating against NYC rent regulations who wished to spend the night on a city sidewalk in the Upper East Side. 

Judge Woods determined that so long as participants were not subject to any danger and did not interfere with use of the sidewalks, the First Amendment prevented the city from restricting laying prone on or sleeping on the sidewalk.  Accordingly, her order imposed the following conditions on the sleep-on-sidewalk action:

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How Protesting Became a Crime in New York City

Here’s how the New York State’s penal code defines disorderly conduct:

A person is guilty of disorderly conduct when, with intent to cause
public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk
thereof:

1. He engages in fighting or in violent, tumultuous or threatening
behavior; or
2. He makes unreasonable noise; or
3. In a public place, he uses abusive or obscene language, or makes an
obscene gesture; or
4. Without lawful authority, he disturbs any lawful assembly or
meeting of persons; or
5. He obstructs vehicular or pedestrian traffic; or
6. He congregates with other persons in a public place and refuses to
comply with a lawful order of the police to disperse; or
7. He creates a hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act
which serves no legitimate purpose.

Here’s what has precipitated the vast majority of the Occupation-related disorderly conduct arrests in New York City:

Using a megaphone, writing on the sidewalk with chalk, marching in the street (and Brooklyn Bridge), standing in line at a bank to close an account (a financial boycott, in essence) and occupying a park after its closing. These are all peaceful forms of political expression. To the police, however, they are all disorderly conduct.

More.  And another take on the decade of police militarization and tactical changes which have resulted in wide grounds for arrest of those participating in Occupations.

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