In today's New York Times, Michael Powell notes that the New York Police Department is not wild about letting journalists get near uncomfortable situations such as the early morning removal of Occupy Wall Street's Zuccotti Park encampment on November 15 — even if those reporters have official press credentials. But some media outlets are not interested in being corralled by the NYPD, even if it's for their own "safety."
On Monday, The New York Times and 12 other organizations sent a letter of protest to the Police Department. "The police actions of last week," the authors said, "have been more hostile to the press than any other event in recent memory."
Their letter offered five examples. I'll mention one: As the police carried off a young protester whose head was covered in a crown of blood, a photographer stood behind a metal barricade and raised his camera. Two officers ran at him, grabbed the barrier and struck him in the chest, knees and shins. You are not permitted, the police yelled, to photograph on the sidewalk.
Gothamist points to an awesome woman who knows her rights, knows how to stand her ground, and manages not to antagonize the cops, who don't seem as angry about her defiance as they seem baffled. The woman is Barbara Ross, apparently an activist with Time's Up! "NYC's Direct Action Environmental Organization." Regardless of her politics, Ross is a champion at not backing down.
Ross tells us she stood there for about two hours, defying repeated orders to disperse. she says. "I was so angry at what was going on around me I decided I was needed to be there to document this outrageous, illegal, unjust action orchestrated by Bloomberg and Kelly, and would do anything needed to get it on video. Finally I was physically pushed by a couple of female officers into the press pen."