NYPD Raid Occupy's Sleep-In Protest

Published on
by
Common Dreams

NYPD Raid Occupy's Sleep-In Protest

Arrests in defiance of 2000 court ruling allowing such protests

by
Common Dreams staff

photo: OccupyWallSt.org

This morning the New York Police Department began arresting Occupy Wall Street protesters who have reoccupied Wall Street for the last week by sleeping on Wall Street in front of the New York Stock Exchange. Occupiers say the arrests are in defiance of 2000 ruling allowing for protesters to sleep on the sidewalk, as long as they don't block building entrances or take up more than half of the sidewalk.

The New York Times reports that a police captain announced at 6 this morning: “Sitting or lying down on the sidewalk is not permitted.”  “Anyone who is sitting or lying down must now get up or be subject to arrest.”

Occupiers had started sleeping on the sidewalks in the financial district of Manhattan on April 9.

The occupiers believe that the 2000 Metropolitan Council Inc. v. Safir decision, which held "public sleeping as a means of symbolic expression" to be constitutionally-protected speech. They stated that if a few thousand joined the "sleepful protest," they "could lawfully occupy the entire length of Wall Street -- and beyond!"

Now ocupiers fear that "mass arrests may be imminent."

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Occupy Wall Street: NYPD Moves On #Occupied Wall Street

At 6AM this morning, NYPD -- including high ranking officials (white shirts) -- surrounded and raided the corner accross from the New York Stock Exchange where Occupiers have been sleeping on Wall Street. This police action appears to be in direct defiance of the 2000 decision Metropolitan Council Inc. v. Safir, which held "public sleeping as a means of symbolic expression" to be constitutionally-protected speech. Occupiers read text from the case to police as they were being removed. At least four people have been arrested and Occupiers are currently assembled on the steps of Federal Hall (which is under jurisdiction of National Parks police), where they are discussing whether or not to reject demands they submit to a daily permitting regime. Consensus at this point favors delaying until additional legal help arrives on scene. For the moment, National Parks police appear to be tolerating a limited Occupy presence on Federal Hall steps, but mass arrests may be imminent.

A motion for an emergency injunction against NYPD disruption of our sidewalk protests on Wall Street was reportedly filed this morning.

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NY Times City Room Blog: Four Protesters Arrested in Sleep-Out Near Stock Exchange

The first arrest took place on the east side of the street, just before 8 a.m., when an officer grabbed a large piece of cardboard from a man.

“That’s my cardboard,” the man said, trying to grab it back.

“You’re going to resist?” the officer said before arresting him. A few feet away, officers arrested a woman sitting on a curb.

Moments later, an officer placed a video camera close to the face of a man walking on Nassau Street. The man swung a bag toward the lens and the officer punched him in the face, then arrested him. A fourth arrest took place on Wall Street.

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