Occupy Wall Street

Occupy Wall Street Removed from Zuccotti Park by NYPD (11/15/2011)

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Around 1 a.m. on November 15, the New York Police Department forcibly removed Occupy Wall Street protesters (OWS) from their months-long encampment in Zuccotti Park. Depending on how you feel about OWS, the clearing of the privately owned park was either long overdue or a violation of First Amendment rights. A new policy allows protesters to gather in the park, but they cannot sleep or camp there.

Reason contributor Michael Tracey captured live footage as the NYPD forced OWS participants out of the park and away from adjacent areas. This four-minute video is taken from about 35 minutes of footage and includes an interview with a protester explaining how the original clearing of the park took place. "Even like the legitimate press," he explains, "like CNN, they [the NYPD] wouldn't allow them in there."

Watch also NYPD Cop Punches Protester, similarly taken from Tracey's footage.
And check out our ongoing OWS videos and coverage here.

Follow Tracey on Twitter at @mtracey

About 4:20 minutes. Shot by Michael Tracey; edited by Meredith Bragg.

Go to Reason.tv for downloadable versions and subscribe to Reason.tv's YouTube Channel to receive automatic notifications when new material goes live.

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  1. Whether or not removing the hippies was right or wrong, the actions of the pigs has been shitty all along.

    1. Yes. They should have been cracking trespasser skulls instead of trying to make friends with those vile trolls. Calling them “pigs” when they finally started doing what thy are supposed to do is pretty harsh.

    2. There are certainly no heroes anywhere to be found. The protesters were almost uniformly morons, assholes, and/or rapists, and the pigs, well, acted like pigs.

    3. Pretty much. Private property is private and cops are, well, cops.

      1. the “pigs’ acted appropriately in enforcing (in this case valid) law. i fail to see how they were acting as “pigs”

        1. Dude, the officers (meaning LT and above) have been rioting.

        2. The cops were fucking people up, unprovoked.
          Herding around media, and arresting them, just to prove “cops are in charge!”.
          The law can be enforced professionally, and it wasn’t.
          And, in general, the standard method cops use of approaching crowds sucks. Its done to show a presence of force, which creates a reason confrontation and invites reactions.
          All crowds that turn in to riots, always happen because the po-lice show up and act like dicks.

          1. “All crowds that turn in to riots, always happen because the po-lice show up and act like dicks.”

            What an asinine example of putting the cart before the mule.

            1. I have witnessed it happen on a regular infrequent basis in the small city where I reside. Some circumstances will lead to a large amount of people, up to several thousand, gathering in an area for some reason. It could be a power outage. It could be Obama winning or losing an election. It could be a sports thing or Halloween. Then the town operators panic and send in the authoritahs to jerk people around, instead of monitoring things low key. Most of the cops are young jockish pricks (who have shaved heads and wear Oakley sunglasses), or are middle aged women who think they have something to prove. The old dudes seem to keep cool. They bring with them mace, tear gas, and riot shit. They line up and block public right of ways and herd people around. “Go here, go there, go back inside”, that kind of shit. People get tossed around because they want to cross the street or go somewhere where the cops don’t want them. So you have a bunch of people who may be a little hyper and then a few cops start acting like dicks. Some of the people will feel like reacting, and it will be easier to create a ruckus because of the volume.

    4. This is one of those situations where you root for a meteor strike.

      1. That is about the perfect line ever written.

    5. I would expect no less from Colonel_Anus.

      1. The given name is Ennol Angus.

        1. That’s not The name I gave you!

    6. In addition to some of the measures to quash press coverage that have already been discussed on H&R, the NYPD barred press helicopters from operating over the city, shut down the subways, and confined local residents in their homes while the raid was taking place.

  2. Depending on how you feel about OWS, the clearing of the privately owned park was either long overdue or a violation of First Amendment rights.

    So this is the standard now, how you feel vs. who owns the place?

    1. That wording had me thinking as well. Thinking better wording and idea conveyance should have been used.

    2. how is this even a question for debate? What part of the First Amendment provides for unlimited free camping? They have the right to voice their opinions and the right to assemble in order to do the voicing, but there is no right to takeovers of any property.

      1. What you said, eagle.

  3. Private property has to trump the First Amendment, otherwise anyone could just burst into your home and camp out there, claiming they were protesting.

    1. The definition of a negative right.

    2. First Amendments does not (or should not) apply to private property. I keep my lawn jockey in my own yard, not the neighbors.

      1. Is this even a debate? I thought only luddites threw out “FIRST AMENDMENT!” for every possible evocation of speech, and not for, you know, laws and such regarding speech.

        1. Reason is doing it now too, in more than just this post.

      2. Please, stop.

      3. First Amendment always applies, just when you use it on private property it can get you thrown out, fired or beaten.

        Getting evicted from the park has done NOTHING to the firs ammendment, the first amandment has no provision for squating on someone elses land.

    3. It’s an interesting argument. It’s not technically Private property because it’s owned in conjunction with the city. Brookfield had to put that park there in order for development rights across the street, so while they own it, it’s technically public space. The argument they used in court was not whether or not it was public or private, but that the space is not being used in it’s intended form, which, if it is public space, should be irrelevant. The judge didn’t see it that way. I think an appeal will come.

      I agree the phrasing of that statement was shady, but we’re not hippies. There ARE hippies there, to be sure, but the same way the tea party wasn’t all the media portrayed it to be, you should apply the same critical thinking here. Personally, I am middle class, privately educated, and I’m protesting against the entanglement of big business and government, as well as the erosion of the middle class and our 1st and 4th amendment. We welcome all of you, especially if you dissent. I know, because I began as a dissenting voice.

      1. oh my god, no one cares.

        1. obviously some do

      2. We welcome all of you, especially if you dissent. I know, because I began as a dissenting voice.

        Be a lemming for the marxists at Adbusters and ACORN? No thanks.

        But, if you kids ever manage to find your ass with both hands and decide to actually situate your protest at the correct target, about 300 miles to the south of Zucatti, I’ll consider joining as an adjunct protest.

        1. no thing wrogn with AOCRN they do gods werk in amercas tuffest nayberhoods

        2. ignorant sheep

        3. A lot of different people and organizations there. See you in DC I’m sure.

          1. And you’ll join in at a Tea Party rally?

        4. Hey everyone, look who doesn’t know what a marxist is!

      3. so you’re protesting “the entanglement of big business and govt” in front of those who are heavily regulated and controlled by govt. Hmmmm. Sounds a bit like being pissed off at Paterno, but picketing the NCAA instead.

        1. What it sounds like is that you need to read the Wealth of Nations.

          1. HIPPIE 2: [a blonde with a psychedelic fish on her shirt] “The corporations run the entire world! And now they fooled you into working for them!”

            STAN MARSH: “Are you serious? We never heard that!”

            HIPPIE 1: [smugly] “We just spent our first semester at college. Our professors opened our eyes!”

            … and, once again, real life imitates South Park.

      4. I am middle class, privately educated

        Fuck Off elitist scum!

      5. ” and I’m protesting against the entanglement of big business and government, as well as the erosion of the middle class and our 1st and 4th amendment. ”

        So much for “critical thinking”.

      6. privately educated

        You misspelled “inadequately.”

    4. This park is unusual. It’s private land, but has 24/7 public access. The city parks close at 1 and open at dawn.

    5. Not for long in my house!

  4. “A new policy allows protesters to gather in the park, but they cannot sleep or camp there.”

    As I understand it, people have always been able to gather in the park, since the (private) owner is forced by the city to keep the park open 24/7.

    However, during the demo the owner issued a “new policy” against camping or lying down in the park. In other words, the park is still open, per the city’s demands, but there are new rules about proper behavior for those who use the park. And these rules come from the private owner, not from Mayor Transfat.

    1. That was probably the same rule all along, about camping out and creating your own little squatter’s iPad slum.

    2. Those rules are not new.

  5. As described by the judge dealing with the eviction:

    “It would appear that Zuccotti Park is a privately owned public-access plaza, created in 1968
    by a City Planning special permit issued pursuant to then existing authority ofthe New York City
    Zoning Resolution…which encouraged the creation of space for public use in
    exchange for additional or ‘bonus’ development rights given to the owners of adjoining properties.
    Brookfield Properties, Inc. is the alleged owner ofZuccotti Park. It is undisputed that the special
    permit requires that Zuccotti Park be open to the public and maintained for public use 365 days per
    year.
    It is undisputed that, since its inception on about September 17, 2011, Occupy Wall Street
    began occupying Zuccotti Park on a 24-hour basis forthe demonstrations. Occupy Wall Street
    brought attention to the increasing disparity of wealth and power in the United States, largely because
    of the unorthodox tactic of occupying the subject public space on a 24-hour basis, and constructing
    an encampment there. It is undisputed that, at some time after the Occupy Wall Street began,
    Brookfield Properties promulgated rules which prohibited, among other things,

    “‘Camping and/or the erection of tents or other structures.
    Lying down on the ground, or lying down on benches …
    The placement of tarps or sleeping bags or other covering on the property
    Storage of placement of personal property on the ground, benches, sitting areas or
    walkways which unreasonably interferes with the use of such areas by others’

    “…The owner ofZuccotti Park has represented that, after cleaning and restoration ofZuccotti
    Park, it will permitthe Occupy Wall Street demonstrators to reenter the Park and to resume using it,
    in conformity with law and with the owner’s rules.”

    1. Private property owners should be able to change the rules whenever they like on their own property, even if they let the public use it for loafing when they should be working.

      1. True, but this is the Peoples Republic of NY. Brookfield Properties could probably get sued or fined by the zoning authorities if it tried to close the park, even to smelly hippies. It did what it could to make the atmosphere more park-like and to keep access open to people who actually want to use the park for non-sleepover-related purposes.

        It’s Zuccoti *park,* not Zuccoti campground. If it were a campground, people could park their RVs there (or run over the hippies with them, which would be totally wrong and illegal if amusing).

        1. Camping is illegal in NYC parks.

          I’ve been posing this question to some of my Pro-OWS friends. When does it crossover from being a protest to a squatters camp?

          1. When the first tent was pitched.

          2. Obviously when the government says so.

  6. The important thing is that I am now free to gambol across the the concrete plaza.

    1. Don’t even tempt fate…

      1. “Biggie Smalls. Biggie Smalls. Biggie Smalls.”

  7. I think the most important part of the story is that it is a “public” space only because of a contract signed under duress as part of wide-ranging–and on-going–corruption in city politics.

    1. You must be new to the area.

      1. I am new. The last five years has just been a spoofer.

        I am the real SugarFree, dammit.

        1. Dude, that guy has portrayed you as some kind of twisted, sicko, freak, who revels in human depravity and grotesquerie.

          You should be pretty pissed off.

    2. That’s hardly accurate. A lot of public/private spaces in NYC exist because the government says, “Leave this plaza open to the public, and in exchange we’ll give you a variance on some zoning rule.” That might not exactly be libertopia, but it’s not bad, either. No arms are getting twisted; the developer has a choice about what they want to do.

      1. A choice that was limited by a zoning rule. In other words, less choice. In still yet other words, a coerced choice.

  8. OWS was becoming a demonstrable public health problem, which trumps First Amendment rights under the “time, place and manner” doctrine.

    I’m not a big fan of the cops smashing up stuff, and the First Amendment may have some impact because of NYC’s extortionate zoning policies. But the emergence of infestations and serious communicable diseases in Zucotti Park is more than enough reason to justify shutting it down.

    Hell, at the first sign of nearby lice or hacking TB cough I’d have been outta there with no need for police intervention.

    In any event, any sane OWSer would have realized they’re well past the point of maximum return from a “getting the message out” perspective.

    1. Hell, at the first sign of nearby lice or hacking TB cough I’d have been outta there with no need for police intervention

      I don’t even know what the hell a scabie is, and they terrify me.

    2. any sane OWSer

      Isn’t that basically a contradiction?

  9. Why am I supposed to care that a group of squatters with no purpose other than protest for the sake of protest were ousted? Here’s a hint: I DON’T.

  10. They were protesting for you, man.

    1. If they were protesting for ME, they’d be protesting the government.

      But that would be unthinkable because President Obama and the Democrat Party espouse beliefs that they find congenial.

      1. A lot of anger at Obama at Zuccotti. Our problems are bigger than just our gov’t.

        1. The universe doesn’t owe you a damn thing, so stick to protesting the government.

          1. The universe doesn’t owe you a damn thing

            [::head promptly explodes::]

        2. Our problems are bigger than just our gov’t.

          Yes, they are personal and mental ones, for sure.

          Oh, you meant that somehow, without government guns, corporations are sticking it to us?

          Yep, gotta go with mental problems on this one.

  11. ” Depending on how you feel about OWS, the clearing of the privately owned park was either long overdue or a violation of First Amendment rights. ”

    Given that the park was privately owned, there was no violation of First Amendment rights. 1st A only applies to the government.

    1. Not necessarily. There’s a whole body of law around privately owned property that constitutes a “public forum,” such as shopping malls etc.

      The owners of “public forums” have more limited ability to restrict the speech of those who are lawfully on their property. Zuccotti Park almost certainly constitutes a public forum. The questions are whether the camping activity constitutes “speech,” and whether Brookfield took sufficient steps to limit the degree to which the park is a full-on public forum in this context.

      Of course, you also get into the time, place and manner restrictions under the First Amendment, which is a different issue.

      1. There’s a whole body of law around privately owned property that constitutes a “public forum,” such as shopping malls etc.

        A whole body of law with no grounding the First Amendment, I might point out.

      2. It ultimately does not matter whether the OWS was occupying public or private space. At the end of the day, hundreds of unregulated people cannot squat in one place for weeks (for whatever reason), if not months or years. If the park is privately owned but intended for public use, then the OWS is preventing tax paying citizens from utilizing it for recreational purposes.

        If I wandered into a job fair at a park and someone inside the booth punched me, I could sue the company. At OWS I could sue only the individual, because by their own admission OWS has no structure or accountability. (They note with pride that they let everyone in) They’re just a collection of individuals who came up with random rules and societies that makes sense in their own makeshift universe.

        1. “(They note with pride that they let everyone in)”

          . . . and then whine when the homeless turn up.

      3. you really need to read up on the facts here. imo, the removal was totally justified, but zuccotti park was not a conventional private space, or even a privately owned public forum (a la a mall). it was expressly created to be bound as publically accessible etc. iow, it fits in a weird gray area, but for the constitutional speech argument (see the discussion at volokh.com) most view it as a de facto/de jure public space equivalent.

        there would be NO first amendment controversy if it was a classic private space or even a mall.

        1. You’re right, I haven’t spent much time looking into the finer points of this, nor do I have the time to.

          Of course, time, place and manner restrictions are perfectly legitimate even in a pure public space.

        2. “or the constitutional speech argument (see the discussion at volokh.com) most view it as a de facto/de jure public space equivalent”

          Not most people in this discussion. The original owners should not have been coerced by the city in to conceding property rights.

          1. i’m discussing the actual case facts. they are making a normative argument. fine. at least hedge it as such

            the point is that the judge recently ruled that the ownership issue (to what extent it’s public) is IRRELEVANT since even if the park was a fully public park, the tenting restriction is reasonable and constitutional IN A PUBLIC OWNED PARK, thus the issue is irrelevant as to ownership etc

  12. I doubt those squatters have any respect for free speech, if I went to their squatter camp and started shouting my views on the virtues of freedom, inequality, private property and capitalism I probably would have been thrown out.

    1. Of course – permitting you to spout your right-wing propaganda would have disrupted their peace auras, or however the heck they put it.

    2. Go here to see a bunch of videos of OWS people assaulting videographers trying to document the protest per their first amendment rights.

      http://www.pixiq.com/contributors/carlosmiller

    3. I went to their squatter camp and started shouting my views on the virtues of freedom, inequality, private property and capitalism I probably would have been thrown out.

      Or raped.

    4. i’m no fan of OWS’ers but peter schiff was treated reasonably by OWS’ers when he engaged them on their (imo) fallacious and misplaced rage.

      i don’t know if he was in zucotti park proper, though

  13. Given the long-standing distinction that the courts have made between regulating conduct and regulating speech, I fail to see how even a good libertarian can interpret the clearing of the New York City park, closed during normal sleeping hours, as a First Amendment issue. I can see how a fool could but the people who read Reason and write for it aren’t usually fools.

  14. May I suggest using your nightstick, officer?

  15. It’s funny the topics on which libertarians find nuance.

    1. Even more hysterical, the topics on which “progressives” routinely and instinctively revert to Ape Law mode:

      On the 17th, we going to burn New York City to the fucking ground […] in a few days you going to see what a molotov cocktail can do to Macy’s.

        1. It will be interesting to see if Tony is appalled or happy to read that link, Jojo.

  16. I imagine most of them are thrilled to have been kicked out. Now they can go home to their warm bed without having to say they gave up.

    1. As I was braving today’s rain, I had the same thought.

  17. “Protesting beyond the law is not a departure from democracy, it is absolutely essential to it”

    1. Kiddy diddling is not a departure from democracy, it is absolutely essential to it!”

    2. In which case my trusty rifle is clearly a superior form of democracy.

  18. Atlas Shrugged 2 is coming out!! Why no articles from Reason?

  19. When will Steady-Cams ™ be mass produced and available at Best Buy? Fucking amateur videographers. I swear, they shake their camcorders just to make it appear as if something violent is happening.

  20. Cops don’t punch protesters. The protesters “draw contact.” At least according to the “news.”

  21. Seems to me that this is a win-win. The cops get to beat hippies and the hippies get to shout with righteous indignation and brag later on about how they fought with the pigs and got arrested. It’s proof of their commitment to the cause recorded for posterity on someone’s cell cam.

    Everyone goes home happy!

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