According to legal aid volunteers on site in Zuccotti Park which has become the base of operations for the Occupy Wall St. protesters there have been about 10 arrests.
Most of these detainees are released after being written tickets. These citations could be written on the scene, but of course the NYPD makes use of “security theater” to chill the speech of the rest of the crowd. Protesters are taken to the local precinct, detained sometimes for several hours while NYPD “decides what to charge them with” they are then released with a citation.
This method gives the NYPD a merciful appearance, while generating revenue and sending a message to other protesters that they will be arrested unless the behave within the parameters the NYPD has set, Constitution be damned.
Protesters are being charged with vandalism for “chalking” the sidewalks with messages of peaceful revolution against Wall St. corruption.
Several people were arrested for “hopping” police baracades. Two others were arrested for trying to enter a Bank of America building, it is unclear whether that was to use an ATM.
Four were arrested for “wearing masks in violation of a law that bars two or more participants from doing so.” according to an NYPD statement citing a law from 1845.
The Law was challenged in 2002 by the KKK. The Southern District of New York sided with the KKK, and ruled the law unconstitutional. However, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, which included current Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, reversed that ruling in 2004, noting that the “individual’s right to speech must always be balanced against the state’s interest in safety, and its right to regulate conduct that it legitimately considers potentially dangerous.”
Obviously that is what the founders intended; freedom of speech unless the establishment considers you a criminal before a crime is committed.
Apparently these protesters with flowers in their hair who have been completely non-violent thus far, many who advocate the “non-aggression principle” (a person should never initiate force against another person unless it is in self defense) pose a violent threat in the eyes of the NYPD.
The ACLU released a statement saying, “We believe you do have a right to anonymous speech, and the Supreme Court has recognized that right. But the federal court of appeals upheld New York’s anti-mask law when we challenged it. Still, there may be grounds to challenge these arrests today. It’s also worth noting the law has a “masquerade” loophole—so it’s OK for people to wear masks during the Halloween parade but not for political speech”
According to even the most liberal interpretation of the Constitution wearing a mask during a political protest, and certainly a “Guy Fawkes” mask is clearly political speech, and therefore protected under the First Amendment of the Constitution regardless of what any corrupt court has ruled.
Protesters have been allowed to sleep in the park under the stipulation that they not erect tents or “structures.” on the morning of Tuesday Sept 20th morning it was raining in NYC so occupants covered electronic equipment used to live stream the events, and other moisture sensitive equipment with plastic tarps to protect it from the rain. One occupant decided to take a nap under the tarp at which point made that tarp a tent. The NYPD moved in. Occupants were told to take down the tarps, and while trying to explain the tarps protected electronic equipment the police lost their patience and began removing the tarps themselves. At that point one protester sat on top of the tarp to keep the police from removing the weather protection from thousands of dollars worth of electronic equipment. These videos tells the rest of the story:
In the second video at the :36 second mark one office can be seen throwing a laptop on the ground. Two protesters were arrested, one lost a tooth in the struggle.
Occupants of “Liberty Park” tell TruthSquad that for the most part the police are sympathetic and respectful, but that every once in a while they feel the need to remind the protesters who is in charge, so they send in the most aggressive officers to “do the dirty work” of intimidating the crowd.