Unlike police in Tampa and Charlotte during the recent political conventions, New York City police made no attempt in respecting the rights of protesters and photographers during the opening night of the one-year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street.
At least two photographers were arrested, including one man who was arrested last December during a protest, and a woman who appeared to have been randomly picked out of a crowd by a white-shirted supervisor cop as you can see in the above video shot by Tim Pool.
In fact, police made a habit of plunging into crowds of people marching on the sidewalks to make arrests, according to the New York Times.
The arrested male photographer is Charles Meacham, pictured above,who happened to be arrested by the same cop who arrested him last year; Deputy Inspector Edward Winski, pictured left
What are the odds of that in a city as big as New York? That would be like Nancy Perez arresting me for trying to enter the courtroom with a camera as I plan on doing during Wednesday’s trial.
Meacham managed to confirm his arrest via Facebook even though he was wearing handcuffs.
And he also managed to take a photo while handcuffed inside the paddy wagon.
Then he confirmed his release a few hours later on his Facebook page.
But he is still clueless as to what charges he is facing.
“(Winski) just said, ‘I’m taking you,'” Meacham explained in a telephone interview with Photography is Not a Crime early Sunday morning, shortly after his release”
“He knows who I am. We have a mutual friend. He knows I’m a professional photographer,” he said.
In fact, the two of them have made small talk during various protests in which he did not end up arrested.
Meacham said he was standing on a sidewalk when cops told them they were not allowed to stand there anymore, so they all started moving backwards because they were not allowed to stand on the street either.
Because the crowd was so dense, it was impossible to move as quickly as the cops wanted, which is when they began making arrests.
“It always changes. Sometimes they tell us to get off the streets and onto the sidewaks, but sometimes they tell us to just get off the sidewalks,” he said.
“But here, we had nowhere to go.”
Meacham’s charge of criminal trespass from his first Winski arrested was dismissed because the judge viewed him as a photographer doing his job.
Meacham said police arrested a Boston journalist who was in the cell with him but he didn’t remember his name.
At this time, at least 15 people have been reported arrested, but that number is increasing as I write this, according to a non-stop flurry of Twitter updates.
And that number will be sure to increase as the protests heat up for the official anniversary protest on September 17, which will mark the one year anniversary of the movement that ended up spreading throughout a multitude of cities in the United States and Europe last year.
The early tensions between police and citizens mark a sharp contrast to what we saw in Tampa and Charlotte during the Republican and Democrat national conventions where each city spent $50 million on security only to end up making a handful of arrests.
However, the conventions seemed to draw mostly activists organized by various special interest groups, such as immigrant rights, labor union and voting rights groups, which made minimal attempt at pushing the boundaries of activism as they tried to send their messages to the presidential candidates.
The Occupy movement, on the other hand, has always defiantly tested the boundaries of authority while maintaining an indifference towards political leaders, choosing to vent their frustrations towards the financiers that run this country no matter what political party is in office.
Unlike the political conventions where activists were content to march at designated times in designated zones, the Occupy activists have already proven they have the potential to carve out their own free speech zones and remain there for months.
“All day, All week, Occupy Wall Street!” was the chant heard on various videos.
So it’s not surprising that the NYPD is trying to send out an early message by turning public sidewalks into non-free speech zones as unconstitutional as that will prove to be in court.
After all, their main role is to protect and serve those same financiers these activists are protesting against.
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CARLOS MILLER’S LEGAL DEFENSE FUND
I am immersed in a legal case where I not only want to clear my criminal charges stemming from my arrest in January, but I want to sue the Miami-Dade Police Department for deleting my footage, which I was able to recover.
My goal is to set some type of precedent to ensure this does not happen as often as it does today where cops simply get away with it.
So if you would like to contribute, please click on the “donate” button below and contribute whatever you can afford.
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