NYPD Officials Pretending Journalists Weren’t Arrested at Occupy Wall Street

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Police stand by as protesters march to Wall Street during an ACT-UP and Occupy Wall Street demonstration on April 25, 2012 in New York City. ACT-UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), was marking their 25-year anniversary in supporting services for people with AIDS worldwide. They were joined by Occupy Wall Street protesters in a march from New York's city hall to Wall Street. The groups called for a tax on Wall Street transactions and speculative trades to raise money for to end the global AIDS epidemic and provide universal healthcare in the U.S.
Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

Ray Kelly and NYPD spokesman Paul Browne gave an exclusive interview to the Queens Chronicle in defense of everything they do, recycling department talking points about stop-and-frisk and surveillance of Muslims. But when it comes to Occupy Wall Street, and the raid on Zuccotti Park, Browne boldly attempts to rewrite history:

Paul Browne, the deputy commissioner for public information, who accompanied Kelly to the interview, added that only one journalist was arrested during the operation, despite stories to the contrary, which he called “a total myth.” Occupy Wall Street protesters were forging press credentials in an effort to get through the police lines, he added, but that doesn’t mean actual reporters were arrested.

Ignoring the odd reality that the NYPD gets to decide who's a credentialed journalist and who's not, that account is still off: As noted by the Observer, a spokesman for Mayor Bloomberg said at the time that five reporters with valid NYPD press passes were arrested, along with at least two others who may have had expired credentials, with the Committee to Protect Journalists counting seven, at least.

Beyond the quibble about numbers, treatment of the journalists by police was an issue throughout the protests, one still being diminished by the NYPD, apparently. Press executives across the board even registered their "profound displeasure, disappointment and concern over the recent actions taken against the media" in a letter. In response, Kelly himself gently reminded officers to be careful with reporters, but the clashes, a good handful of which were caught on video, continued, probably because those at the top don't really appear to care anyway.