[NEW YORK, NY] On the eve of the second anniversary of the Occupy movement, two video activists, have released a 10 minute short film providing perhaps the most detailed civilian account to date of the NYPD’s process of crowd dispersion during mass mobilizations. The video, shot on September 17th, 2012, during Occupy Wall Street’s first anniversary celebration action, details 10 arrests that took place over the span of 87 minutes. While at first glance many of the individual arrests appear to be arbitrary, careful analysis from the videographers illustrates a larger picture wherein the NYPD’s actions are calculated and designed to derail the protestors ability to effectively assemble.
This video is a powerful resource for activists of all stripes in New York City. Please watch it, share it, carefully examine the NYPD’s process in it, and use it to inoculate yourself from their coordinated attempts to stifle your first amendment protections.
“On the eve of the second anniversary of OWS it bears remembering that the occupations didn’t simply fizzle and dissipate,” says Paul Sullivan, who videotaped the police response, “this video, shot last year on the morning of the first anniversary, not only reminds us of how difficult it is to protest when the NYPD is determined to shut you down, but also how the NYPD continues to supress civil liberties in order to stamp out the movement.”
‘10 Arrests in 87-minutes’ was shot by Paul-Henri Sullivan and edited by him and his brother, Justin. Each were arrested while filming this video and each have had their charges since dismissed.
[New York, NY] On November 15th, 2011, the NYPD evicted Occupy Wall Street’s Zuccotti Park encampment. The department’s Technical Assistance Response Unit (TARU) was on site to videotape the eviction and Mayor Michael Bloomberg took the controversial step of imposing a media blackout.
On Sunday, September 23rd this TARU footage, totaling over 60 hours, was released to the public by an unknown party. We have logged much of this footage on our wiki. Although heavily edited, this footage reveals widespread police misconduct including arbitrary arrests, physical abuse, and press suppression.
The behavior of “Bloomberg’s Army” has been condemned by the United Nations rapporteur on Human Rights, and well-documented by the NYU School of Law and Fordham Law School, which concluded: “‘All the case studies we collected show the police are violating basic rights consistently, and the level of impunity is shocking,’ said Sarah Knuckey, a professor of Clinical Law at NYU and one of the lead authors of the report. ‘The point needs to be made that NYPD does not exemplify international human rights law, it violates it.’”
● The release of ALL unedited TARU footage pertaining to Occupy Wall Street protests. We plan on filing “right-to-know” requests to achieve this. We encourage others to do so as well. It is important that the NYPD not permitted to redact their crimes against peaceful protesters and journalists.
● A truly independent investigation by an agency (such as the investigation undertaken of the Oakland Police Department) outside New York City into the NYPD’s brutal and illegal behavior the night of November 15th, 2011, as well as the legality of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s media blackout. All offending parties must be held accountable – from Mayor Bloomberg to rank-and-file police officers.
● An end to police oppression in minority communities and the abhorrent practice of “Stop-and- Frisk.”
We stand in solidarity with @ChangeTheNYPD, people of color and the LGBT community who are brutalized and wronged by police throughout New York City, the country and world.
Interview requests and media requests regarding the NYPDTapes Wiki should be directed at NYPDTapes@gmail.com. You can follow the NYPDTapes project on twitter at @NYPDTapes
[NEW YORK, NY] The debate surrounding “diversity of tactics” has indeed become a polarizing one …perhaps we helped (in part) to change that last week as we attempted to bring the fervor of both sides to the CUNY Grad Center for a respectful debate surrounding tactical legitimacy in today’s contemporary social movements.
Chris Hedges made himself a self-described “lightning rod” for this tactical debate in February, 2012 when he published his now infamous “The Cancer in Occupy” article (an indictment of black-bloc tactics) on his syndicated TruthDig column. The sometimes ugly debate that followed Hedges’ article continued to boil over on internet forums and comments feeds surrounding the Occupy movement. Since there is little accountability on internet forums and similar venues we thought it would be prudent to bring both sides together for a respectful face-to-face debate. Short of a handful of passionate outbursts the audience at last week’s debate at the CUNY Grad Center between the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Chris Hedges and B. Travern of The Crimethinc. Ex-Workers Collective was perhaps the most disciplined “real-world” assembly surrounding this polarizing argument.Both Travern and Hedges attempted during the debate to define where tactical legitimacy begins and ends. While each had differing answers to the moderator’s questions, the audience was excited to see the intersections between the two. Travern conceded that he found himself agreeing with ~80% of what Hedges said about revolution. Interestingly Hedges also conceded when he proclaimed that “he is not a pacifist” and announced during the debate that he too is an advocate for “a diversity of tactics” …yet the two drift apart when defining what “diversity of tactics” personally means to each of them. Though some awkward gaffs were made, and some questions left unanswered, the event as a whole was an informative and encouraging experience that many could take a great deal away from. We encourage you to watch the video above, share it with your friends, embed it on your own blogs, continue to build dialogue surrounding the issues therein, and most of all take action for a more just future in the most effective and sensible ways you see fit.
At times it makes sense for Sparrow to mute our “radical” opinions and instead provide substantive facts that mimetically lead the readers/viewers/listeners we engage with to reach their own radical conclusions. This is why we felt a public debate, in the vacuum of a highly controlled venue, would be the best way to harness the vitriol of 7 months of internet bickering and turn it into something hopeful and constructive. We hope we did just that…
This event would not have been possible without the help of the CUNY Grad Center, Sujatha Fernandes, Sarah Leonard, Mintwood Media, Jen Angel of Aid & Abet, and the volunteers that helped with everything from filming to de-escalation..
There is no question that the relationships law enforcement bodies have developed with activist communities has been a pervasive and chilling one. US history has shown time and time again that those who have chosen to speak truth to power are often faced with ridicule, coercion, intimidation, and out-right violence. The Occupy Wall Street movement is only different when you consider the speed in which it has materialized. The rapid growth of the OWS movement has not given some agencies time to adapt and therefore some of the investigative witch hunts associated with the anti-war, animal rights and environmental movements may not rear their ugly heads in this chapter. However, what we are seeing play out in the streets speaks to a new level of desperation. Grotesque abuse at the hands of rank-and-file NYPD beat cops is causing many to question whether a multi-million dollar support package that J.P. Morgan gave to the NYPD means the protests are getting “special” treatment.
Private interests have not only given money to law enforcement, they have also shared intelligence that would have otherwise required warrants to obtain, warrants the NYPD and FBI could not get because the OWS movement was not guilty of predicate criminal activity. Gawker reported yesterday that the FBI was spoon-fed information by Thomas Ryan, a conservative computer expert who supposedly hacked activist forums, sifted through private emails, and issued reports back to both Wall Street firms and the FBI detailing the moves and plans of the protesters. Ryan also brags to have “infiltrated the movement in hopes to discredit it.” Similarly, there has been a half dozen or more reports of ground-level infiltration of the OWS group by plain-clothes officers (some more noticeable then others) which is to be expected with any event of this size, but one of these plain clothes officers has become a pseudo-celebrity as of late.
Detective Rick Lee, Community Relations Detective for Manhattan’s 1st Precinct (or “Hipster Cop” as the world has come to know him) is now a larger then life character because of his unconventional dress and cocky attitude. While organizing at Liberty Plaza members of the Sparrow Media team were asked by a news agency if we had additional information about Lee, so we compiled some footage and info. In the big picture of the struggle against corporate greed Lee is nothing more then a pawn, but it is important to note law enforcements attempt to coerce and destabilize our movements. Even though it is hysterical to read comedian Jamie Killstein come to his defense saying “Guys! Stop making fun of #hipstercop! He’s trying to find himself.” or to read the myriad tumblr references to his style, it is important to remember Hipster Cop is part of the process of intimidation, ridicule, and violence being levied against us.
“What would have to happen is that a representative from Brookfield would go into the park, and say, ‘You’re in violation of the rules of the park that apply. You’re trespassing,’” Detective Rick Lee of the NYPD’s community affairs office told attendees.They pressed him to be sure: It’s Brookfield’s move to make, then?
“That’s the scenario,” Lee said. “Politically, when that button is going to be pushed is beyond my pay grade.”
Please practice good security culture and keep in mind that as things continue to ramp up nation-wide so will the response from law enforcement. Try to also not let your security protocols cripple your groups with paranoia, instead simply practice good security and fairness with the people around you. Lastly remember if they are not paying attention, then you are doing something wrong. Right now you guys are winning, keep it up!
Help us print the People’s Declaration of the Occupation of Wall Street on 10,000 booklets by donating atTHIS LINK.
Please help The Sparrow Project print tens of thousands of pocket-sized booklets of the first declaration of the Occupy Wall Street movement. We have access to a terrific offset printer, recycled paper, and soy inks, but we need donations from people like you in order to make this happen! Please consider donating whatever you can by clicking the donate button below. If you cannot afford to donate please consider sharing this post with others. We will print and distribute the declaration to the cities nationwide that are participating in the campaign. The following is the first (rough draft) declaration of the People’s General Assembly at Liberty Square in it’s entirety as transcribed and edited by Ryan Hoffman, Lex Rendon and the Call to Action Working Group. Let us dispel the notion that the Occupy Wall Street movement is one without a message. Please donate to the printing costs via Pay Pal at THIS LINK
THE DECLARATION OF THE OCCUPATION OF NEW YORK CITY
As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.
As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.
They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage. They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses. They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one’s skin, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation. They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization. They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless animals, and actively hide these practices. They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions. They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right. They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay. They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility. They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance. They have sold our privacy as a commodity. They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press. They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit. They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce. They have donated large sums of money to politicians, who are responsible for regulating them. They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil. They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people’s lives or provide relief in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantial profit. They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty book keeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit. They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media. They have accepted private contracts to murder prisoners even when presented with serious doubts about their guilt. They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad. They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas. They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts. *
TO THE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD,
We, the New York City General Assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power. Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone. To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal.